North St. Louis

For the past sixty years of St. Louis history, the Northside has remained the most misunderstood, stereotyped and neglected section of the city. And a large segment of the city it is; if one considers the cliche boundary of Delmar to be the southern border, the northern portion of the city dwarfs the southern half. While many neighborhoods do suffer from severe abandonment, crime and despair, there are many shining examples that are stable, diverse and improving. Often the image on the nightly news portrays the area as a giant maelstrom of violence, erupting at any moment; the reality is that much of the Northside is tranquil vacant lots and volunteer forests, the city having slipped away and disappeared in many places. There is hardly any crime where no one lives. The future of the entire city cannot ignore the neighborhoods in the north, and what becomes of them, and their historic built environment, will help determine whether the city continues to struggle or rebound.

North St. Louis Neighborhoods

Old North St. Louis

While much of the historic fabric of Old North St. Louis is gone, what is left of what was once an independent town is being rehabbed, and the recently renovated Fourteenth Street Mall is ready for new tenants.

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St. Louis Place

This neighborhood has been devastated by abandonment and brick theft, and in some portions, entire city blocks, once teaming with life, have been completely demolished. But hope remains, and some streets are remarkably well preserved.

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Historically known as the Yeatman neighborhood, JeffVanderLou's name was the product of urban planners in the 1960's. The area is large, often densely settled, but just as often severely depleted of structures and increasingly falling victim to neglect and brick theft.

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Near North Side

Once one of the most densely settled sectors of the city in the Nineteenth Century, the Near North side has fallen victim to urban renewal and disinvestment, which has swept away much of the buildings once in this area. Meanwhile, large warehouses have moved into the area, further separating the Northside from downtown.

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Near North Riverfront

Rarely visited by most St. Louisans, and often forgotten, the Near North Riverfront features giant warehouses, small storefronts, and the massive landmark Ashley Street Power Plant.

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Hyde Park

Once the independent town of Bremen, Hyde Park is perhaps the most intact Nineteenth Century neighborhood in North St. Louis east of Grand. Rehabilitation has begun, but will it be in time to save this area?

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Fountain Park and Lewis Place

Before the 1960's, the Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods were really just the northern half of the Central West End, filled with grand mansions and private streets. Segregation drew an arbitrary line at Delmar, and the resulting split changed the destiny of these neighborhoods for the last fifty years.

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The Ville

The Ville was long the center of the African American middle class in St. Louis, and of some the city's most famous residents such as Chuck Berry lived in the neighborhood. Sadly, with middle class flight to the suburbs, the neighborhood has seen some hard times, but remains strong and hopeful for the future.

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The neighborhood of Fairgrounds seems to have developed slowly over many decades, as it features a wide variety of different architectural styles. Long beset by violence, new leadership is turning the neighborhood around.

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O'Fallon Park and College Hill

The O'Fallon Park and College Hill neighborhoods is tucked into a corner of the city, high on a hill that overlooks the river and surrounded by the interstate and O'Fallon Park itself. While O'Fallon is largely intact, the College Hill neighborhood has a feeling of remoteness, right in the middle of the city.

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Far North Riverfront

Dominated by industry, the Far North Riverfront has few residents, but is full of trucking depots, railroad trestles and the occasional house. Its main artery is Hall Street, which stretches the length of the area.

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The West End

Not to be confused with the more famous Central West End, the West End was once home to some of the wealthiest citizens of the city. It faced decline in the past decades, and while much of the area has been devastated, there are gems such as the majestic Cabanee Place, just north of the Loop.

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A sense of sadness, isolation and abandonment typify much of the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood. The city has ceased to exist on whole blocks, and trees and vegetation have taken over and strangled buildings of their life. Long a rural area of the city, its future is uncertain.

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Mark Twain/Penrose

Isolated in the bend of I-70, the Mark Twain/Penrose area has streets of well kept houses from all eras, and large swaths of abandonment and decay. Dominated by a large industrial park, the neighborhood was named after its local elementary school.

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Walnut Park

Separated from the rest of the city by the interstate, Walnut Park was long a stable neighborhood that has now seen some of the worst decay and crime in the city in the last decade. The architecture variety reflects its slow development over the last century.

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Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries

The gigantic Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries, founded in the aftermath of the cholera epidemics of the mid-Nineteenth Century, feature some of the most distinctive buildings in the city. Greek Revival mausolea sit next to sphinxes and the Louis Sullivan masterpiece of the Wainwright Tomb.

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Baden, beyond the railroad tracks, is further from downtown St. Louis than Clayton, but it retains a character all of its own. While many of the original inhabitants who founded the once independent town are gone, the lively commercial strip along North Broadway remains.

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A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.