November 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm #3804
Wanted to share a few thoughts about St. Louis and its environs.
First, my family has strong roots both in Chicago, and St. Louis, MO. I have no real memories of visiting St. Louis as a kid, but did take a trip there in my 20’s in the early 80’s. What I saw was extremely depressing. Hundreds of empty or burned out buildings in the inner city. It looked hopeless, on the level of Detroit a decade later.
Then you ring around the area on an extensive freeway system and you see pockets of upper middle class, not unusual.
Since then, it has just been shameful. On many levels.
Yeah, St. Louis picked up the Rams, but probably won’t keep ’em. Speculation at this point.
Then, TWA, which was taken over by American, pretty much pulled out of the market, of which TWA had made a hub. If there is one way to bust the balls of a city, take away a hub. And that is absolutely what happened. Lambert International lost about half or more of their flights when American pulled out. (When I flew into STL in 2011, I felt I was flying into Boise. They had completely lost their luster. And I think they actually closed a concourse due to lack of flights). BTW, see Lambert in full color on the film “Plane, Trains, and Automobiles”.
St. Louis today is still a strong metro area, but the core is in crisis. The funny thing is the area has the infrastructure, (highways, parks, landmarks), to make it a strong attraction. The Cards still are a big draw, and they are right downtown.
However, what I found in the inner ring (a local term) is disturbing. Lots of vacant buildings, lots of vacant land. When you get out of the city limits there is one suburb that seems to be doing well, (Clayton), but that is about it. The rest is lower to middle income, and there is a definite feel of near-poverty all over.
The Ferguson riots prompt me to write this. Perhaps some don’t understand Ferguson is almost within St. Louis, even though they are their own city. But they are so close, the association cannot be disconnected.
St. Louis. A once great American city, (not unlike Detroit), but unless you are 15 miles out, it doesn’t feel like it. I’m sure there are many who are working on this and trying to make it better. More power to you.
However, the takeaway, this Ferguson incident was bound to happen, and bound to happen in a place like St. Louis in late 2014.
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