Friday, January 20, 2012

The Neighborhoods Around Lewis Place

North St. Louis is just one gigantic wasteland, right? Wrong, particularly just north of the Central West End, around the historic Lewis Place, the streets are lined with houses just as stately as those to the south of Delmar.
In fact, the entire western end of the city, stretching to the city limits, was once the wealthiest part of the city. While Lafayette Square was full of boarding houses and factories, its wealthy residents long departed, the areas around the West End teamed with some of the most important leaders in St. Louis industry, including the DeWitts, who lived on West Cabanne Place.
These neighborhoods survived suburban flight, but they're now at a critical stage where many of the residents, having bought the houses in the 1960's, are now passing away or moving out of the neighborhood. As with all neighborhoods, the question remains: who will replace them? Will young, energetic people move in and update the houses for the new millennium, or will suburban slumlords buy them and turn them into decrepit rental properties that breed crime?

7 comments:

  1. My money is on the greedy suburban slumlords. I saw a lot of that when I had a house in the Shaw Neighborhood.

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  2. Sadly, if history serves as a guide, this is what will happen, as it happened in every other neighborhood in St. Louis. We must change the status quo to prevent if from happening with the rest of St. Louis that hasn't yet received the "suburban landlord treatment.:

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  3. Tom Maher - KirkwoodJanuary 20, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    To me, one of the most infuriating aspects of this slumlord situation is how some (most?) regard themselves simply as property managers, performing a service to the community - and are proud of it.
    Some years ago I had an acquaintance (NOT a "friend"!) who owned some buildings in a changing neighborhood up North. He always bragged about how well he treated his tenants and the maintenance he performed.
    I had occasion one Winter day to be near the area, so dropped by a block where he owned four or five four-family buildings. WOW! Talk about being one step above condemnation!
    I actually mentioned it to him and he was mightily disturbed at my nosiness and TOLD me not to tell our neighbors. That was waving the red flag, of course...

    It would be interesting to know if the neighbors of these creeps in Olivette, T&C, and Weste Countye know of their holdings...

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  4. Another aspect that I find astounding is why the success of the CWE cannot be coaxed across Delmar. Could the leaderships of the two wards not cooperate on some aspects of general upkeep and security to the benefit of all?
    As a CWE resident I would love to see the area to the north reach it's spectacular potential.

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  5. Replies
    1. So anything better than absentee landlords is gentrification? Why can't these neighborhoods remain proudly middle class African American neighborhoods?

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  6. A notorious slumlord from the Shaw neighborhood went to prison.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2008/04/07/daily41.html

    Ironically, the judge who sentenced him was named Shaw.

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