I’m kicking off a five-part series on gentrification, modern infill development, rehabbing and urban clearance. The Botanical Heights Neighborhood is probably one of the best parts of town to explore these topics.
Nobody likes paying taxes, but when it comes to St. Louis taxes, you gotta pitch in. We’re dying here, folks. Less people and business to pay the bills means skyrocketing taxes for homeowners. A bitter pill, but one worthy of some contemplation. Tax breaks aren’t the evil some portray them as. We’re on a constant cycle of abatement and paying the full price.
Here are some initial thoughts on the merger proposal after reading through the Better Together report. Can’t wait to listen to the people who will vote for and against this and learn more in the coming weeks and months. This is the set up to a three-part post with my perspective as someone who has lived the St. Louis way for 20+ years, I’ll follow with a second post highlighting the positives of the proposal and finally the negatives that need improvement and fixing before it comes to the electorate.
I am going to be in Soulard tonight entertaining out of town family and I had some thoughts about several projects in the neighborhood that were at the top of mind a year or so ago. Thought I better drive by and see where they’re at in case I need to brag about the neighborhood seeing lots of investment and rehab activity.
A life-affirming interview with a Yale student and member of the world-renowned “Whiffenpoof” a cappella group is a St. Louis native and product of the St. Louis Public Schools. He and the rest of the group are performing in town October 13-15th. Go check them out and help spread the love.
I stumbled into another fascinating mystery relating to my two favorite topics in life: Rock and Roll and St. Louis. What started with a Valentine's Day present turned into a long research phase relating to guitartist Robert Quine and his connection to St. Louis and some of the best rock records ever made. This story culminates with an interview with one of Quine's lifelong friends who met in St. Louis while attending Washington University. Kind readers, I was giddy doing the research for this blog. I realize only a small handful of people know this music, but it means everything to me and having a St. Louis connection is a lovely bonus.
I was recently reminiscing about my first trips to St. Louis back in the 1990's delivering windshields to auto dealerships all over the bi-state region.
I was trying to find photos of some of these new car dealerships from the past. Turns out, it's pretty hard to find online history and photos of long gone businesses. I was looking for pictures of Hanna Oldsmobile when I starting finding hints on other auto dealerships.
The best bet is looking through Globe Democrat and Post-Dispatch ads on microfiche.
But, when I was researching St. Louis firehouses, I came across a book that had great photos of the city throughout the years, mainly related to catastrophic fires. It's called, St. Louis Fire Department: The First 150 Years of Service (1857-2007). It is a little hard to find, but can be referenced at the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center at 225 South Skinker Boulevard.
Netflix recently made "The Sunshine Makers" available for streaming.
This 2015 documentary chronicles the life and times of two men, Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully, who together set in motion the psychedelic revolution of the late 1960's. Both men were idealists who thought that if everyone would just drop a little acid, the world would be a better place. People would be kinder to each other and the planet, have a larger awareness outside of one's own selfish desires, etc, etc.
Scully was a sharp scientist who knew the formula to make lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and had a method to produce and tablet it for distribution. Sand was driven by idealism and spiritualism and bent on bringing the psychedelic experience to the masses. The two became underground chemists who made the drug and did indeed change the world...for a little while anyway. They made massive amounts of LSD and got it in the hands of an entire generation, globally.