This is the second part of short description of my day out with a group from my son's school in St. Louis city. The first part is here.
St. Louis city has endured wider swings of good and bad fortune than most comparable cities since its founding in 1763, not least due to the adminstrative decision in 1876 to seceed from the surrounding county, St. Louis County. What might have made sense at the time in purely economic terms rebounded nearly fatally in the 20th century as the balance of prosperity moved to the county's advantage.
Even as little as ten years ago, downtown St. Louis city was an area of abandoned buildings, with a dead night-life away from a few concentrated riverside locations and was strongly associated with the poverty and crime that still mar parts of the north and central south city.
This has changed. …
This was very obvious as we walked down 9th street past the freshly renovated Board of Education Building – home of yet more downtown apartments. Look at that beautiful arched exterior facade.
Our next destination was the Old Post Office. This building in itself mirrors the vicissitudes of the city with use followed by abandonment and then eventual restoration.
Originally the site of a fortified federal armory (remnants of which are apparent on the lowest floor) that became a vital focus during the Civil War but never fell into Confederate hands, the building that exists in essence today was originally constructed between 1873 and 1884. Used as a Post Office and government building, abandoned and then renovated into a multi-use center, I found it to be one of the loveliest buildings that we visited. Not least due to the wonderful central skylightthat illuminated the main stairs, a statue by Daniel Chester French Peace and Vigilance with Eagle and our group
By now everyone was getting very hungry and not paying too much attention to our guide. So myself and the three children in my charge consulted on where to eat, settling on Swifty's for a hamburger. So did almost everyone else.
And I'll continue this little tour in Part Three tomorrow.