Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Kosciusko Neighborhood

Kosciusko is bound by I-55 on the north, Cherokee on the south, 7th and 8th on the west and the Mississippi River to the east:
There is no 2000 census data reported on the city site, so I have nothing to report in the ways of demographics or housing units available.  Why is this?  Largely because it's been cleared for rail roads, ABI, former industry (Nooter Corporation), now service, distribution and wholesale operations.  It's also home to a major facility for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Anyhow, Kosciusko is one of the easternmost neighborhoods in south St. Louis.  Many of it is easily recognized from Broadway near the brewery, Soulard, LaSalle and the I-55/I-44 convergence right before the Poplar Street bridge exit to Illinois.  Sauget, Illinois is right across the river from Kosciusko.
 
Joe Holleman recently did a piece in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about correct and local pronunciation of various streets and places in the city.  He mentioned Kosciuszko (notice the "z" that doesn't exist in the city spelling).  Anyhow, it's a Polish word and the formal pronunciation is kuh-SHOO-sco whereas the locals say kozz-ee-OSS-co.

Lyon Park has a couple baseball/softball fields in the shadow of the brewery and sits right next to the NGIA facility.
With the exception of the retail businesses that operate along Broadway and 3rd street, it's really hard to get photos of this neighborhood.  I first got stopped by the NGIA security.  I played the "I'm on public property card" even though (admittedly) it was a weak hand, and I was basically asked to get lost in the most polite manner possible.  But, the security guard then notified Anheuser Busch InBev security of my presence who proceeded to stop/question me near the flood gates.  They indicated that the road I was on was private rail road property, and I should stay on the public roads.  This warning meant I was pretty much blocked from getting more pictures of the graffiti on the flood walls.  The security guards were actually nice though, and I realize they are just doing their jobs.  They were very interested in what I was doing.  I mentioned that I had heard there were several residential properties still existing, and they mentioned one was recently torn down.  We went our separate ways, and they once again stopped me in another section of the neighborhood.  This time, to fill me in on the presence of a couple people that run a catering business and live here:
They also recommended this bar, I think it's call Al's that has a really good breakfast:
I had a heck of a time finding these still-standing residential properties.  Maybe these are a few, not completely sure:
There are signs of people living here though and I know there are some Kosciusko-ins lurking about in strange places:
Frankly, most of the buildings are modern warehouse sheds and surface parking for trucks and not worth photographing.  But, the Chouteau's Landing area on the north side of Kosciusko is pretty cool.
There are many, many paint wholesalers and retailers in this neighborhood.  Porter, Sherman Williams and many others can be found.  This could be the "paint district" of St. Louis.
 Coincidentally, the entire stretch of the Mississippi River flood gates are spray painted with some of the most elaborate graffiti I've seen.
If you're into rail road operations, trestles and bridges, this is one of the best spots in town to check out; many of the roads are shared with train tracks:

Trestles and  bridges near the river:
I wish I had a photo of the old Nooter Boilermaker neon sign that graced Kosciusko years ago.  If anyone has a photo, please forward to me, I'd be most appreciative.   There are other industrial signs in this neck of the woods:
 Kosciusko is home to Lift for Life Academy, the first charter school in St. Louis.  It's housed in a pretty sweet building that resembles a bank:
It's also home to St. Mary of Victories, the first Hungarian Catholic church west of the Miss.  and the second oldest (1843) Catholic church in the city (the old cathedral DT is older).  It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1980:
There are some really cool businesses and signs along Broadway (remember Hullaballoo?).  My favorite guitar/string shop in town J. Gravity and others:

Globe Drugs is always a fun visit, it's kind of like a lo-fi Walgreens if you haven't been:
Grass seed?  check.  5 lb block of caramel?  check.  Diabetic socks?  check:
 Old, meet new:
The greatest potential of this neighborhood is the Chouteau's Landing development of Powell Square and the other warehouses/factories near the river just south of Downtown.  This would be a great link from DT to LaSalle and Soulard.

5 comments:

Matt M. said...

Oh man...was this building torn down after all? It's probably what they're talking about.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Saint+Louis,+MO&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.916234,93.076172&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Saint+Louis,+St.+Louis,+Missouri&ll=38.598308,-90.200125&spn=0.00971,0.022724&z=16&layer=c&cbll=38.598253,-90.20002&panoid=vCGePDM7Py7ybVggPpbAmA&cbp=12,347.66,,0,-4.6

Sad, if so. Though I'm not sure why. There is little hope this area will ever be anything other than a light and heavy industrial maze of private streets. This was, of course, horrible planning on the city's part. Can you imagine if the residential neighborhood (which looked a lot like Soulard) still remained here? It would have a pretty nice pedestrian connection to downtown and perhaps the city's best residential relationship to the river. Sigh. At least they didn't get to Soulard!

Matt M. said...

That photo you snapped at Victor and DeKalb is the C. Hager and Sons Hinge Company complex. That nice tan building is a good window into the old, historic Kosciusko. It was built in 1873. I am glad it remains so well preserved. It'd be neat to open up an "Urban Renewal" museum inside the building--what a fitting location it would be for one!

EUO said...

I'd like to make special note of the Donut shop pictured in this post. I used to live a few blocks west of there in LaSalle Park and we would walk over to get fresh baked donuts at 11pm at night when they open up and start the ovens. Best tasting donuts I've ever had and a great St. Louis secret snack place. I was constantly running into late-night party goers, police officers taking a quick break and couples out for the evening looking for a sweet snack. Everyone was always happy, pleasant to be around and unanimously swore by the quality of donuts from John Donut Co. If you've never been, you must stop by.

The Mikado, et al. said...

Yes, there's not a lot here now. But for decades, a lot of Polish, Ukrainian, and the like lived in and around here. My people lived and worked on Sidney, Victor, and Dekalb. My great-grandfather had a grocery store here for years (1920's-30's) and his cousin had a saloon, of which we have a picture. In my notes, I have the address. I'll have to find all that.

Anonymous said...

I was walking around the Arch and wandered into this neck of the woods and was able to snap a whole bunch of photos of the amazing graffiti you were talking about. Here is a link to my photobucket album of them,

http://s1253.photobucket.com/albums/hh598/patrickrich1856/