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Carondelet Coke
N. Grand Avenue, St. Louis

A 40 acre complex of buildings, in operation in various capacities since the 1800s, was a site for manufacturing coke for steel production since the 1950s. It has stood abandoned since 1989.

Nature has fiercely reclaimed the site in the 15 years of its abandonment, and it has become a popular site for graffitti artists and juveniles of many stripes, as well as a fascinating destination for urban explorers. Ruined buildings and massive abandoned machinery abound, emerging from the trees like an ancient temple in a jungle.

Considerable contamination has long made re-use of the riverside site prohibitive. In 2007 plans got underway to demolish everything on the site and construct a new industrial park. Work got about half way through the "demolish everything" part when the economy struck and work ground to a halt, leaving a landscape of smashed buildings and rubble, and little accomplished beyond the destruction of a favorite site among urban explorers.

The site is a short distance from the Mississippi River, where a massive ore loading crane once brought coal from barges to the furnaces of the plant.

More information and photos at Preservation Research Office.

The site in September 2006

November 2008, with demolition half-finished

The coal loader crane

Gallery: Co-Products Building
Filled with pipes, ovens, furnaces, boilers, precarious walkways, this building was the site's biggest attractor for the urban explorers and miscellaneous hoodlums who frequented the site.

2008 found the Co-Products Building half-demolished and in ruins.

Other buildings

Coke Ovens

September 2006

November 2008

The site in 2008, with the abortive demolition halted.

Bing.com captured a before-and-after aerial view of the site.

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