Built St. Louis > > East St. Louis > > Downtown

View northeast on Collinsville Avenue - August, 2001

Downtown East St. Louis is one of the few parts of the city that still looks like a city.

Downtown consists primarily of four or five blocks along Collinsville Avenue, the city's main street, and scattered buildings on the streets to the south.

There is an actual Main Street a block north, but it's totally vacant, sliced into two parts, and apparently has not been the commercial center of town at any time during the twentieth century. Much of it seems to have been obliterated beneath the Interstate.

The original City Hall, in the style of a French chateau, stood there at one time but was torn down many years ago.

August 2001

A lot of the buildings are run down, but many business still thrive here. Collinsville Avenue was bustling when I visited on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The businesses are dominated by second- and third-tier types: beauty salons, pawn shops, payday loans and check cashing, nightclubs.

Pass through on a Saturday night, and you will find a lot of activity as well.

August 2001

November 2007.

By contrast, pass through on a Sunday morning, and you'll find the street utterly empty.

- A gallery of tales from East St. Louis, at RiverWeb.
- A gallery of Collinsville Avenue photos

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