Built St. Louis > > Central Corridor > > Midtown East > > Olive Street

Olive Street is a major thoroughfare, the main street connecting Midtown and downtown St. Louis. When the grid shifts, the street keeps going due west but changes its name to Lindell. Olive becomes a smaller side street as it heads west into the core of Midtown.

Hart Printing
3431-3441 Olive Street
Architect: S.P. Toolee
1927

Long home to the Hart Printing company, this Streamline Deco building was recycled in 2006 as the Moto Museum, a motorcycle museum.

  • MOTO Museum website
  • Morgen-Scott Cleaning and Dye
    3407-3411 Olive Street
    Architect: William Wedemeyer
    1905

    The Morgens Building was home to a cleaners that had been in business for 50 years when it moved here.

  • National Register nomination form - West Locust and Olive Street Commercial & Industrial District
  • The south side of Olive Street has been largely wiped out by SLU, continuing the trend detailed on the Midtown tour. The buildings on the north side of the street survive in varied condition. The ones closest to SLU have largely been renovated by the university. In general, the trend is for larger buildings to survive, while smaller ones tend to be replaced by grass and parking lots.

    An aerial view tells the full story. The green swath at right includes much of the area originally cleared in the Mill Creek Valley urban renewal program at the end of the 1950s. Not all the area was cleared, however; as recently as the early 1990s, the south side of Olive/Lindell in this photo was lined with small buildings.

    The 1960s brand of slash-and-burn urban renewal was implemented by SLU in the 1990s, however. Between that and the failure and destruction of Laclede Town in the same area, the result has been a vast void in the city's fabric. From the university's perspective, this is "green space", or "park land", or sports fields. For Midtown, it means a quarter mile stretch of desolate street frontage where one passes nothing but parking garages and empty land.

    Many buildings have fallen to Saint Louis Univesity's bulldozers in the last 20 years. The two buildings here were the only ones I captured on film before they were gone. Neither is of any particular significance in itself; rather, it's a case of death by a thousand cuts - each "unimportant" building subtracts from the whole when it is removed.

    The first building, at right, held a small restaurant and stood on the triangle of land where Olive and Lindell come together. As seen in the aerial photo, the site a patch of unused grass today.


    Image courtesy of Kevin Kieffer.


    Olive/Lindell, circa 1995

    The site today - empty grass.

    The second building, at 3330 Olive, was a early 20th Century building in white glazed terra cotta, but with some awful 1960s infill. Next door, at 3338 Olive, is a floating 1960s building with parking underneath. Both buildings were torn down around 1996, and the site is part of a vast parking garage today.


    3330 Olive, circa 1996

    And the process continues today. An old livery stable on Locust Street was demolished in 2007. The tail end of the demolition is shown here.

    Other buildings demolished by SLU include Wagner House (2008), the commercial building that once stood diagonally opposite from St. Xavier, and several houses on Washington Boulevard.

    Off-site links:

  • SLU Strikes Again - Locust Street Livery Stable at Vanishing StL
  • Selling Students on St. Louis at Vanishing StL
  • SLU Purchases Mansion... at Ecology of Absence
  • SLU rings in the New Year with Destruction at Vanishing StL

  • The blocks south of Olive today - attractive, but not urban.

    Continue touring > > >