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The 14th Street Mall

March 2003: This is the largely-abandoned 14th Street Mall, a two-block pedestrian shopping district set up in the 1970s that failed spectacularly. Such malls were a commonly attempted method of urban revival in that decade, based on the notion that removing cars from existing retail strips will attract pedestrians. In truth, unless a district is already thriving, an absence of automobile access simply pushes people further away. Automobile access is a vital component of most urban settings.

This was once Old North's primary shopping street, but by the time of these photographs, nearly every building was abandoned. A tiny handful of businesses remained: Headhunters hair salon, a storefront church, and.... that was about it.

In 2008, however, the Crown Village Association began instituting a plan to return 14th Street to life. Full-scale construction began that summer and is underway in 2009. The following pages track some of the changes to these long-neglected buildings as they re-emerge as Crown Square.


  • Crown Square official web site
  • 2002 photos by Kurt Groetsch.
  • Picture Imperfect - from the Commonspace.
  • Every Day There's More Progress on 14th Street - Ecology of Absence
  • The Phoenix - Ecology of Absence
  • Land Assemblage Project Yielding Development Results in Old North St. Louis - Ecology of Absence
  • Area Street Map || Continue touring > > >