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Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Another photo from the Mercantile Library's Globe Democrat collection. Looking east on Chestnut Street from 17th.

This neighborhood was once called Lucas Place (or, at least, was one street over from said neighborhood).

To see the demolitions of these rowhouses in downtown is painful, but I am convinced that the resulting Plaza Square Apartments (for which this site is being prepped--circa late 1950s) constitute a sound replacement. Built in 1961, Plaza Square is the first site in St. Louis (to my knowledge) to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places prior to its 50th birthday (it was placed on the list summer of last year).

This is a meandering post, reflecting my ambivalence about what I see--the potential of those buildings that was lost on those that financed this project and yet my affinity for Plaza Square.

I suppose I'm happy we have something to remind us of the good old days of Lucas Place, one of the first "suburbs" of St. Louis and truly the first leg of the westward march of the middle and upper class of our city.

The Campbell House (c. 1851) at 1508 Locust is now a museum, some of which is dedicated to Lucas Place itself.

Sometimes diminishing contexts give way to a new and equally good context. Unfortunately, as of late, this is becoming ever so rare in our fine city.



Brian said...

Nice work with your blog, Matt.

It's pictures like the first one that really break my heart. I wish I could have seen how dense downtown was before the green space took over. Imagine if Lucas Place was still intact - it could be like a little slice of Chicago's Old Town area right here in St. Louis. How cool would it be to live on a street of smart historic townhouses tucked in among the high rises and loft developments?

Matt M. said...

Thanks! I totally agree. It's rather unfortunate that St. Louis's central corridor's residential component has been so decimated. Midtown and Downtown West used to be highly populated; now you're lucky if there are structures that were intended for residence even left. It is great to see these manufacturing buildings breathe new life into moribund urban spaces.

Thanks for the support.

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