St. Louis Neighborhoods

The Mark Twain Neighborhood

The Mark Twain Neighborhood

This is one of the north city neighborhoods that is in quite good condition overall.  I'd put this up there with North Pointe andthe West End as some of the more stable neighborhoods on the city's north side.  

Much of the area is marked with the familiar pillars that can be found in the north side neighborhoods along W. Florissant Avenue:

Much of the housing stock is really quite beautiful and stable.  There are a lot of people living here and the streets were active with pedestrians, dog walkers, etc even on an icy cold winter day.

Neighborhood Profiles in 2011

I've been putting off the neighborhoods with the largest area simply out of laziness.  I'm VERY interested in Carondelet, Dutchtown, Baden and others...but they are huge and will take me all day or weekend to capture.

Central West End and Downtown will probably be last on the list simply because they will require walking to do them justice and I could take 1000s of pictures of these two premier locations in St. Louis.

The Fountain Park Neighborhood

The Fountain Park Neighborhood

"Stable community" are not words that could be used to describe current day Fountain Park by most objective people.  I must admit this is my second attempt at photographing this neighborhood.  To make a long story short, I was convincingly asked to get the #$%& out the first time.  The drug trade is alive and well on some streets in Fountain Park and it's as obvious and out in the open as can be.

The Skinker/Debaliviere Neighborhood

The Skinker/Debaliviere Neighborhood

This is one of the greatest neighborhoods in St. Louis.  Why?  Well, it abuts Forest Park one of America's greatest urban parks.  Then you have the mansions along Lindell Boulevard.  The Metrolink blue line stops here with an underground stop at Forest Park Parkway and Skinker.  The East Loop is on your doorstep as is the Washington University Danforth Campus.  It's really a beautiful, very urban, walkable neighborhood.  There's a lot to like here.  And with the news of a potential grocery/farmer's market right by the Delmar Metrolink stop on the red line (technically in the West End neighborhood), the sky is the limit for Skinky-D.  This is one of the St. Louis neighborhoods that make you feel like you're in a big city.  There are scooters, bikers, walkers everywhere.  It's a vibrant place.  There is a small branch of the St. Louis Public Library right along Skinker (note the bike rack).

The College Hill Neighborhood

The College Hill Neighborhood

Overall, College Hill has huge potential, as it has a nice mix of all styles of architecture that old St. Louis has to offer.  It has of course seen better days and much of the neighborhood is crumbling; but it's not a hopeless place at all.  There is still enough of the backbone to make this a contiguous neighborhood with a lot of future potential.

College Hill is clearly another neighborhood lying in wait for those with the ideas, resources and desire to make change and bring this place back to it's original glory.  College Hill with some TLC could easily add to St. Louis' resume as one of the, if not THE brick city of the universe.

Walnut Park West Neighborhood

Walnut Park West Neighborhood

So I've been at the this neighborhood profile project for over a year.  Walnut Park East was one of my first North City posts.  I walked away from Walnut Park East feeling pretty hopeless for this part of the city.  But, an individual working for positive change in the Walnut Park area contacted me and invited me to discuss some of these positive activities that are occurring in the area and I decided to do a part 2 post for Walnut Park East after meeting with her and understanding some details around the charity/social work in the community.

So I'm not changing my approach in Walnut Park West today; but I will try to get more pictures to document what I see.  When I did the WPE post, I was hesitant to show the many, many negatives that I saw.  WPW is pretty similar to WPE.  Demographically and racially speaking, it's got absolutely no diversity.  Take a look at the census numbers above, they don't lie; and, I don't expect to see any increase in diversity in the 2010 numbers based on my observations.

The Gravois Park Neighborhood

The Gravois Park Neighborhood

This is a south city neighborhood brimming with potential.  It's a diamond in the rough.  There are south city neighborhoods that never went down in quality in terms of property maintenance and residential/neighborhood pride.  Holly HillsBoulevard HeightsSouthamptonNorth HamptonLindenwood ParkSt. Louis HillsPrinceton Heights are all examples of neighborhoods that have largely remained clean, tidy, safe and well maintained.  Gravois Park has slipped from it's original graces and is rough around the edges.  BUT...it's lying in wait for continued positivity that is spreading through the neighborhood, with Cherokee Street as the impetus.

Gravois Park, not unlike Fox ParkMcKinley HeightsBenton Park WestMarine Villa and Dutchtown are absolutely beautiful neighborhoods waiting for more people who care to bring them back to life.  Gravois Park is no doubt on it's way up.  

The Lindenwood Park Neighborhood

The Lindenwood Park Neighborhood

This is another one of St. Louis' clean and tidy neighborhoods.  Manicured yards, uniform tree lined streets and a strong sense of neighborhood pride help showcase Lindenwood Park.  The extremely high occupancy rate proves it's a popular and desirable place.  The current residents are acting as great stewards of the homes along narrow, hilly city streets mostly built in the 1930's.  The streets on the west side of the neighborhood are wider than usual, with some of the largest front yards in the city.  Homes built in the 1940's and 1950's set back rather far from the street sit on the west side near I-44 and Wabash.

St. Louis Place Neighborhood

St. Louis Place Neighborhood

This neighborhood has seen better days, no doubt.  There are the problems that plague many city neighborhoods and especially north side neighborhoods.  Unused urban prairies, crumbling housing stock, abominations/failed attempts from the 1970's-1980's and contemporary construction both decent and not so much.  I'll show examples of both.  There is no walkable business/retail within the neighborhood that serves the area to provide the essentials of decent food (fast food joints appear to be the only option), clothing, or anything the normal household would need to exist.

St. Louis: A City of Neighborhoods

St. Louis:  A City of Neighborhoods

Some neighborhoods are branded well and recognized throughout the region.  The Hill, would be a perfect example.  Almost everyone in the city and the metropolitan region knows the Hill.  Soulard is another example of a clear regional identity that is well branded and defined.  Maybe we should sell this "city of neighborhoods" thing a little more.  Maybe this should be our city slogan.  Mound City, Gateway to the West....The City of Neighborhoods.  Who knows.

The Hi-Pointe Neighborhood

The Hi-Pointe Neighborhood

Hi-Pointe is also home to one of THE coolest movie theaters I've ever seen.  This place not only shows great films, but the experience is like no other in town.  It is legit and soulful in every way.  It is not pretentious and it's a true relic of its time.  Even the bathrooms (at least the men's room) is cool and unique.  And it's much more affordable than other city and county options.  If you haven't been to the Hi-Pointe Theater, you're missing out on a St. Louis landmark.  It was built in 1922 on the highest point in the city of St. Louis.

The Franz Park Neighborhood

The Franz Park Neighborhood

So what does Franz Park look like?  The three neighborhoods of Dogtown are surprisingly hilly.  The streets are packed with cars on both sides, evidence of the high residential occupancy rate.  Overall, this neighborhood really doesn't remind me of any other St. Louis neighborhood I've seen so far...maybe a well cared for Walnut Park East would be the best comparison.  It's a real mixed bag; and as per the entry above "...the erratic way in which the houses in the neighborhood were built, a variety of architectural styles exist within the area..." That description couldn't be more accurate.  If there is a prevailing type or style of home, I'd say it was the small frame homes from post WWII...

The Hill Neighborhood

The Hill Neighborhood

If you wanted to live here and you are a cooking/food enthusiast, not only could you walk to get your groceries and supplies, you could walk to one of SEVERAL independent, Mediterranean style groceries and bakeries with plenty of homemade meats, cheeses, pastas, breads, desserts, etc. Di Gregoio's and Volpi (if you haven't had their prosciutto, you're missing the boat) are my two favorites.

North Hampton Neighborhood

North Hampton Neighborhood

As you can see in the map, the neighborhood is mainly on the rectilinear grid south of Fyler.  The northwest section of the hood has some winding, bendy roads and the northeast section, north of Fyler that consists of a large series of well manicured lawns and seemingly well maintained apartments called Hampton Gardens...

The Lewis Place Neighborhood

The Lewis Place Neighborhood

I am inspired by the savvy fight of Robert Witherspoon.  American history is full of struggles, and this is evidence of the epic struggles for freedom right here in our own backyard.  Anyone that stands up and fights against social injustice is a hero in my book. Why Robert Witherspoon is not part of the local social studies or Black History Month curriculum is beyond me.  My kids should be on a bus going to visit the gates of Lewis Place that marked the boundaries of where a black person could and could not buy a home.  This is part of our history and we need to face it head on.  I'm proud of what Witherspoon was able to accomplish, and proud that these residential restriction covenants were struck down right in our backyard.

The Covenant Blu/Grand Center Neighborhood

The Covenant Blu/Grand Center Neighborhood

With all the housing issues that CBGC has, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots in the entire city.  Everyone knows Covenant Blu/Grand Center because of the Fabulous Fox Theatre,  Powell Symphony HallThe Black Repertory Theatre, etc.  This is probably the arts center of the entire region, or at least it's billed that way.  There is a lot of good info on upcoming events, etc at the Grand Center website.

CBGC is one my favorite parts of town because it's a convergence of the burgeoning Midtown Alley, SLU's main campus and a gateway to the Central West End to the west and Downtown West to the east.  And it's one of the most photogenic spots in town.  My favorite approach is heading south on Grand between Delmar and Lindell...

Near North Riverfront Neighborhood

Near North Riverfront Neighborhood

There is a lot of open space for future industrial expansions.  There is quite a lot of activity here with truckers everywhere and smoke rising out of factories.  Workers are scurrying about....always a good thing.    Several of the restaurants and bars seems well patronized.   I get the sense that this neighborhood employs many, many people.  I actually pine for the days where America made stuff.  I mean not everyone wants or can go to college or trade school. We need factory and manufacturing jobs.  I like the days when my Levi's, Dickie's and Chuck Taylor's were US made. 

The Soulard Neighborhood

The Soulard Neighborhood

Without a doubt, Soulard is one of St. Louis' greatest neighborhoods.  It's a prime example of quality structures weathering the storms of both mother nature and changing human behavior patterns.  The neighborhood was severely battered by a cyclone in 1896...

We almost lost it to suburban flight too, as it was a straight up slum in the 1970's.  It's just a prime example of what the power of successful rehabbing of original structures can do for the city and makes a desirable/historic place for people of all ages to enjoy for generations to come.