Just beyond that well kept block of Hebert we are confronted with the abandonment of Clara across from the Horseshoe, which has not gotten any better than when I walked down these streets back in March of 2017.
The Horseshoe is gone, of course, and is serving as parking for this church as well as a water retention pond for MSD (funny how that worked out), but the scars remain from the scourge of the crack wars of the 1990s.
One thing that is noticeable is the lack of stores, not even a liquor store or convenience store selling junk food. There are still 4,473 residents as of the 2020 census, and it’s always surprised me that all the corner stores are closed.
But again, I could probably trick people into thinking this row of tidy Cape Cods was over west of South Kingshighway, not on Kennerly Avenue and Hamilton.
There’s even some much newer in-fill that has been built recently.
But then there’s this street, one block to the south on Lotus, where it looks like some vegetation has become sentient? and is methodically attacking and devouring houses alive.
Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, which is the heart of the Wellston Loop, is also not doing well, with large amounts of abandonment. The old J.C. Penney’s is still sitting abandoned, waiting for a new use.
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That J.C. Penney’s store really needs to be preserved soon, before it is too far gone. It is one St. Louis’s best Art Moderne buildings and one of a relatively few remaining examples nationwide of department stores of that era and style. I know there were some political shenanigans related to this building and its alderman in the late Aughts. I have no idea what happened with that situation.
I agree it is an exceptional building, and that more effort should be made to help save it before we lose another rare style of architecture in St. Louis.