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Friday, January 16, 2009

A Corner in Wells-Goodfellow

This photograph shows the corner building at 1975 Burd Avenue (at Wabada) in April 2005, before its demolition in October 2005. The bakery brick pattern at the cornice and the tiled roof porch over the entrance were fine distinctive features. Like many north side neighborhoods, Wells-Goodfellow, where this building was located, has lost many mix-used corner storefront buildings. These losses erode the bookends that hold blocks together. While walking the streets around here, one turns the corner to find a vacant lot rather than a landmark signifying this location. The impact of such loss on the neighborhood is obvious. Residents complain about the loss, but they also complain about having to live around so many vacant buildings.

Consequently, Alderman Jeffrey Boyd (D-22), whose ward includes Wells-Goodfellow, and residents have been working to leverage federal block grant funds to pursue historic district designation for buildings and sections of the ward. These designations create incentives for rehabilitation and investment. Sure, it is a long road, but the neighborhood has been down a longer road of decline. Things aren't going to change overnight, but things won't change at all without laying groundwork for reinvestment.


Anonymous said...

I wonder how many bloggers know that the area you write about was once heavily Jewish? Is there one Jewish person left there? I don't think so. What happened? They left during white flight. That's what.

I want to learn more about the history of Jewish people in St. Louis. It's one of the most Jewish cities in the US. It must be a fascinating history.

I love the old Jewish cemeteries; however, I don't think there's one Jewish cemetery in the St. Louis city limits. Was there ever one? There's a totally awesome Jewish cemetery at the southwest corner of Hanley and Olive in UCity.

I wonder why the graves are so close together? Is there some history or tradition whereby Jewish cemeteries have tiny plots to fit as many family members/graves as possible all in one cemetery?

My German immigrant grandmother says her family has Jewish roots, but my dad denies it. Her maiden name? Michel (like Me'-shell) ..Adelheid Sophie Michel. That sounds like a beautiful Jewish name, doesn't it? Adelheid Sophie Michel.

St. Louis is fortunate to be such a center of Jewish tradition. Catholics and Jews. St. Louis is a very religious town. No matter what the atheists would think.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI: The STL metro area currently is made up of a bit over6% Jewish. STL is *not* in the top 12 of US cities of Jewish population. The Lutheran population was also fairly large here at the turn of the century. You will find many of the older German immigrants will have Russian/Ukrainian and Polish backgrounds too.