Built St. Louis > > Central Corridor > > Historic Downtown > >

This circa-1950 postcard (with a photo from the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce) shows the area of the tour. Downtown St. Louis in those days was densely developed; land was valuable, and the city thrived. There is not a vacant lot to be seen; this is a healthy urban landscape.

Today, that landscape has disintegrated. There are vast swaths of wasted urban land in downtown St. Louis -- "green space" (generally unused), parking lots, highways, and garages, which in combination have sucked the life from most of downtown.

Every single building between the Old Courthouse and the Civil Courts is gone -- every last one.

Downtown aerial view, looking northeast. The Civil Courts, the Bell Telephone Building, and the Old Post Office are all in a line at lower left; the Old Courthouse is at upper right. Full-sized scan.

The following pages further explore the impressive density of historic buildings on Olive Street and the surrounding blocks... and to show a sampling of what has been lost to demolition since the 1960s.

As you explore, recall the 1950 postcard view. Compare it to the map on the next page. Remember that every white and red space on that map is an old building demolished, a bit of history wiped out, and often as not replaced with a garage, or with the nothingness of a parking lot.

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