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Old 04-27-2014, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
3,360 posts, read 7,328,122 times
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I think it'd be interesting to see...I wonder what the numbers would look like though. 25 years ago, South City wasn't what it is now...but, it wasn't what North City is now either...The same is true about the Central West End.

I think we'll see some solid growth in neighborhoods. ONSL is already coming along, albeit a bit slow. I can remember what that area looked like 20 years ago, and it wasn't very pretty. Baden is a cool area, with an awesome little downtown, I could imagine it making some improvements, but I don't know what's going to spur that.

I too would wonder what happens to the current residents...North St. Louis has an intense crime problem and most people planning to gentrify and raise families don't want to live next to a guy who's a drug dealer...or in a gang...or anything else. The neighborhood that those individuals thrive in would be destroyed by the improvements that gentrification makes for the masses. I'm sure there would be some relocation by many of those residents, and likely to the most affordable areas of the county...and those locations would feel more decline.

I see some of the best opportunity for quick wins just North of the CWE. You'll find some beautiful homes that are already near very popular attractions and a revitalized area. Which is quite different than what we'd find in much of North St. Louis City.
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Old 04-27-2014, 08:56 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 5,814,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
If the neighborhood was supposedly upscale, why is nearly all of it gone?
What happened with a lot of the areas on the Northside (as well as the Southside for that matter) was immediately following World War II, with the Great Depression over and new wealth being created, it was no longer fashionable to live in the large townhomes, villa style houses and mansions that graced the city. Of course, at this time, most of these properties were 50 years old or less, so they didn't yet have the historical significance they do today. They had become obsolete in a lot of ways- they were expensive to upgrade with all of the mod-cons (modern central heat and air conditioning systems, new modern kitchens, etc) and expensive to maintain in general.

A lot of the older properties were built for the days of horses & carriages and streetcars, so no 'attached garage' (which became all the rage in the 1950s) was going to exist. The larger houses also had space for a number of servants that was no longer common in Post-War America. While the wealthy families still had hired help, it was becoming less common for them to have live-in servants (with the help just coming to work as required for their workday and maintaining their own residences).

Therefore, the middle classes, upper middle classes, and even the upper classes, made way for the brand new suburbs that were being built in the County.

Ladue Estates in Creve Coeur is a perfect example of large, Mid Century Homes that would have attracted the upper middle classes of St. Louis away from city life (if you read the list of original owners and their occupations, you'll see that it's primarily Company Presidents, Managers, and a few Doctors).

With the city being abandoned by the affluent, and even the working and middle class whites, African Americans who moved to St. Louis from the South seeking opportunities in local industries, moved in. The African Americans who migrated to St. Louis were often poor and uneducated.

A lot of the larger homes in the formerly-wealthy areas of the city got subdivided in order for landlords to house multiple families for bigger profits. A great deal of the then-considered-obsolete homes were bought up by 'investors' who ended up being akin to slumlords- overcrowding the residences and not maintaining them properly. A lot of properties subsequently fell into disrepair, and either fell down, burnt down, or were condemned over the years.

In the end, we're left with the urban prairies and blocks of empty space that we have now on the Northside.
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Old 04-27-2014, 08:58 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 5,814,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynavyj View Post
I too would wonder what happens to the current residents...North St. Louis has an intense crime problem and most people planning to gentrify and raise families don't want to live next to a guy who's a drug dealer...or in a gang...or anything else. The neighborhood that those individuals thrive in would be destroyed by the improvements that gentrification makes for the masses. I'm sure there would be some relocation by many of those residents, and likely to the most affordable areas of the county...and those locations would feel more decline.
.
My thoughts exactly. I believe that gentrification, even on a 'middle class' level would possibly displace the 'worst' of North City into places like Jennings and surrounds.
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:51 PM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
My thoughts exactly. I believe that gentrification, even on a 'middle class' level would possibly displace the 'worst' of North City into places like Jennings and surrounds.
Did anyone else think that the "worst" would relocate to Illinois or South City, or was that just me? I had never even thought about North County but then everyone names it as the obvious first choice for migrants from a gentrified North City. Weird how it never occurred to me even though its pretty clear it's where most of the displaced would go first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
What happened with a lot of the areas on the Northside (as well as the Southside for that matter) was immediately following World War II, with the Great Depression over and new wealth being created, it was no longer fashionable to live in the large townhomes, villa style houses and mansions that graced the city. Of course, at this time, most of these properties were 50 years old or less, so they didn't yet have the historical significance they do today. They had become obsolete in a lot of ways- they were expensive to upgrade with all of the mod-cons (modern central heat and air conditioning systems, new modern kitchens, etc) and expensive to maintain in general.

A lot of the older properties were built for the days of horses & carriages and streetcars, so no 'attached garage' (which became all the rage in the 1950s) was going to exist. The larger houses also had space for a number of servants that was no longer common in Post-War America. While the wealthy families still had hired help, it was becoming less common for them to have live-in servants (with the help just coming to work as required for their workday and maintaining their own residences).

Therefore, the middle classes, upper middle classes, and even the upper classes, made way for the brand new suburbs that were being built in the County.

Ladue Estates in Creve Coeur is a perfect example of large, Mid Century Homes that would have attracted the upper middle classes of St. Louis away from city life (if you read the list of original owners and their occupations, you'll see that it's primarily Company Presidents, Managers, and a few Doctors).

With the city being abandoned by the affluent, and even the working and middle class whites, African Americans who moved to St. Louis from the South seeking opportunities in local industries, moved in. The African Americans who migrated to St. Louis were often poor and uneducated.

A lot of the larger homes in the formerly-wealthy areas of the city got subdivided in order for landlords to house multiple families for bigger profits. A great deal of the then-considered-obsolete homes were bought up by 'investors' who ended up being akin to slumlords- overcrowding the residences and not maintaining them properly. A lot of properties subsequently fell into disrepair, and either fell down, burnt down, or were condemned over the years.

In the end, we're left with the urban prairies and blocks of empty space that we have now on the Northside.
Interesting. So why was St. Louis so hard-hit? Why do cities like Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, who were built up in a similar manner, have so much of their own housing stock intact when ours was hit so hard?
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:09 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Interesting question and I'm glad you brought it up!

With regards to Pittsburgh, it never had the same level of 'white flight' as St. Louis. To this day, it's still only about 25% African American.

However, the preservation of the city can largely be traced to the foresight of the city's leaders in the 1970s. When the Pittsburgh economy started to collapse due to factory closures and a decline in the steel industry, the city began repurposing itself and began a project called Renaissance II which focused on neighborhood sustainability and development, a move which saved a lot of the areas and houses in the inner city. By the 1980s, they'd also shifted a lot of their focus onto the tourism industry, realizing they could never regain their legendary industrial status in a changing world. They have still lost half their city population since the mid century peak, but due to the civic efforts started in the 70s, it doesn't appear as blighted as St. Louis.

As for Cincinnati, in the 1950s, St. Louisans were wealthier per capita. Ironically, Detroit was the richest city per capita in America at the time, and it's turned out the 'worst' of all! Despite Cincinnati having less wealth half a century ago though, they still saw white flight but it wasn't initially as dramatic as St. Louis. If you look at racial migration maps from the 50s and 60s, you'll see that St. Louis changed hard and fast between the decades, whereas Cincinnati's white flight was more gradual.

However, racial tensions in Cincinnati still occurred over the years, and like St. Louis, it remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the nation.

So why doesn't it look as bad? Well, there are still a lot of bad and decaying neighborhoods in Cinci if you go off the beaten path a bit, but for the most part, it doesn't look as bad as St. Louis due to incredible foresight from the city leaders way back in the 1950s. Following WWII, the city anticipated the problems they would have with the aging housing and infrastructure in the city, and way back then drew up a master plan to combat the problem. By the 1990s, *billions* was being spent on improvements to the core of the city.

In contrast, St. Louis and Detroit, regrettably buried their heads in the sand or spent money on failed attempts at combatting the slums such as Pruitt Igoe.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:25 AM
 
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Interesting. It really seems that the more money a city of manufacturing had, the worse off it became. That money always seemed to go towards the wrong things, whether that was wrongful demolition, ill-fated housing projects, or in the case of residents, fleeing the city. Perhaps maybe our city leaders lacked foresight more than the leaders of other cities; it really seems like that sometimes, what with the wholesale demolition or destruction of so many historic structures (the Ambassador Building, Century Building, and the Admiral come to mind, and they're only the tip of the iceberg). Thinking about those losses frustrate me; but at the end of the day, we as a city won't be defined by our losses, but rather how we cope with those losses. Hopefully our leaders will be smarter looking to the future than they historically have been.

Thanks for your input glamatomic, that was a great post.
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:09 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 5,814,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Perhaps maybe our city leaders lacked foresight more than the leaders of other cities;
I think that's the biggest part of it. When changes began to happen in the middle of the 20th century with white flight, the leaders of St. Louis (and Detroit), in my opinion, were too complacent. Because St. Louis and Detroit were wealthy cities back then, it's as if they were too arrogant to realistically look what was happening at the core of cities throughout the U.S.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:20 PM
 
1,710 posts, read 1,774,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
I think that's the biggest part of it. When changes began to happen in the middle of the 20th century with white flight, the leaders of St. Louis (and Detroit), in my opinion, were too complacent. Because St. Louis and Detroit were wealthy cities back then, it's as if they were too arrogant to realistically look what was happening at the core of cities throughout the U.S.
It could not be said better, you nailed it.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:51 PM
 
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Or so arrogant they didn't think the rotting core would affect them.
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:04 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
4,009 posts, read 5,814,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankMiller View Post
Or so arrogant they didn't think the rotting core would affect them.
In the 1950s, downtown and the core of St. Louis was a very vibrant place. Historic photos from the era show a level of hustle and bustle completely removed from how things are now.

Even though the white flight was sudden, I don't think the city leaders ever imagined that the core of St. Louis would be affected as greatly as it was, because it certainly wasn't rotting half a century ago.

By the 1970s when the decay had started to set in, action still wasn't taken, either through lack of funds or lack of foresight, hence the problem accelerated in the 80s and 90s before finally seeing reversals toward the end of the 20th century, primarily through involvement of individuals and private entities, rather than the city leaders.
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