In the Spring of 1991, at age 24, I moved to a 3-room flat on Sullivan Street.Â It was quite a change from my first St. Louis apartment on Lindell.
My place was the one with the green shutters over the front door/transom (right edge). The four unit building didn’t have indoor plumbing when first built — my tiny bathroom had been built into a corner of the middle room.Â The only sink was in the kitchen.Â My rent in 1991 was $50/month, a fraction of the $330/month of the studio on Linedell.
In those days I’d talk with many neighbors after arson fires.Â These fires were numerous too.Â I’d go out later to check out another building lost to fire.
There were so many I don’t recall where they all were.Â I’m not sure about the one above.Â Hopefully someone can identify this building location from the contextual image below:
The myriad of issues that have faced this neighborhood has always fascinated me.Â Population decline, loss of the middle class, highway construction, the Model Cities program, and the 14th Street Pedestrian Mall:
Through all the negatives there were many brights spots: great neighbors, Marx Hardware and, of course, Crown Candy Kitchen:
I haven’t lived in Old North St. Louis in over 15 years but it occupies a special place in my heart.Â Much has changed from the three years I was a resident.Â More of the old building fabric has been lost but more has been renovated and more built new.Â Very soon the North 14th Street Mall will again become just North 14th Street again — the first time in over 30 years.
My Capstone (thesis) for my Masters degree in urban planning will be titled The Pedestrian Mall as a Revitalization Strategy.Â The North 14th Street Pedestrian Mall, that I first saw 19 years ago, will serve as the primary case study in my research.
- Steve Patterson