Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Lafayette Square Neighborhood

Lafayette Square is a south St. Louis neighborhood located north of I-44, south of Chouteau, east of Jefferson and west of Doleman:
The 2000 counted 1,761 residents, down 2% from 1990's count.  68% white, 28% black, 1% Asian, 1% Latino/Hispanic occupying 1007 housing units, of which 88% were occupied, 65% owner, 35% rental. 


Undoubtedly, one of St. Louis' premier neighborhoods.  This is a destination place as well as a nice, dense neighborhood.  If you are taking someone on a tour of St. Louis, you'd be crazy to pass this neighborhood up.  Lafayette Square is St. Louis' oldest national historic district.  I will try to shut my mouth and just let the pictures do the talking.

The Victorian mansions surrounding the park are what make this place famous.


 
 
 
 
 
 
But, it's the innards of the neighborhood that really stand out to me.  The row houses and townhouses add to the charm. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Some nice apartments:
 
 
Another positive is the sensitive infill construction that has occurred in the neighborhood.  This has to be one of, if not the best examples of modern infill.  With a few exceptions, most of the neighborhood has a good flow.  There are still some empty lots and spaces awaiting more infill.  But, in my time living in St. Louis, the neighborhood has seen some amazing progress. 

The Lafayette Walk:
 
 
 
An exception:
This is almost a full service neighborhood.  It's got independent retail, coffee shops, cafes, several restaurants, Square One micro brewery, community gardens, highway access, churches, racial/lifestyle diversity, proximity to major employment areas and the central business district.  There is now a pharmacy in the adjacent vicinity; the Barr branch of the library is right across Jefferson in the Gate District neighborhood.  You are a short bike ride from City Garden, Busch Stadium, Scottrade Center, Soulard, McKinley Heights, Randall's Liquor Store, Schnucks Culinaria, the Union Station Metrolink stop, etc.  

Shopping, entertainment and relaxation along Park:
 
Rue Lafayette Cafe:
 
Community gardening:

Neighbors looking out for each other and not backing down to the idiots:
 
A former shoe factory converted to condos, and the tasty Eleven Eleven Mississippi restaurant:

 
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot.....the park.  Today I saw a group of people playing old school baseball complete with bare hand defense, wooden bats and period costumes.

There are some sites along Jefferson and Chouteau that are less than attractive including the former Praxair site, which had a tragic explosion back in 2005.  


 
But there are many other signs of positivity that outweigh the negatives along Chouteau and Jefferson:


 
 
Eden Lofts:

There are still some opportunities for further re-use and density:


 
 
 
 
Cheers to all the people who have invested their time, money and creativity over the years, toward making this a premier St. Louis place.  Keep up the good work.

2 comments:

Doug Duckworth said...

Truman Parkway being my only dislike tied to this neighborhood.

Fantastic photos!

Mark Groth said...

^Agreed, Truman Pkwy is a barrier. And it's driven like a speedway.