The 1960s construction of I-70 through northern St. Louis created a new spatial reality. No more would the lands east of the highway have any meaningful connection to the area to the west. Industry has thrived here in the decades since, but residential uses have waned.
Most of the St. Louis riverfront, both north and south of downtown, is owned and dominated by industrial enterprises. From railroads and bulk marine transfer points, to manufacturing complexes, chemical plants and decaying brownfields, the river remains the city's primary industrial corridor. Most of these industrial neighborhoods are neatly cut off from the remainder of the city by Interstates 70 and 55, making them hidden and easily overlooked segments of the city.
North of downtown, the industrial zones were once freely intermixed with residential neighborhoods. All up and down the northern half of Broadway may be found remnant houses and fragmentary neighborhoods, traces of a time before the Interstate came through, when living close to work was simply the standard of the day, long before zoning mandated separation of uses. The houses range from simple wood frame houses to solid red brick stock, with the same sort of elaborate brickwork and ornament characteristic of older St. Louis neighborhoods. They stand oddly juxtaposed with warehouses, factories, junkyards, empty lots, and loading docks.
Today, these houses are an endangered breed. They have suffered bizarre alterations, widespread neglect, and the disappearance of their residential context. They are disappearing rapidly, and many are abandoned. Even those that survive are often not in the best of condition. Their best best for survival seems to be a change of use; a number have been converted to commercial and industrial uses, and remain in service.
Starting from the south and moving north, this tour will document both the industrial sites in this area, and many of the houses that have survived into the 2000s. Most of the photographs were taken between November 2006 and September 2008.