Welcome to St. Louis!

Welcome to St. LouisWelcome to St. Louis

This is a page from a wonderful little book called Problems of St. Louis, Being a Description, From the City Planning Standpoint, of Past and Present Tendencies of Growth, With General Suggestions for Impending Issues and Necessary Future Improvements. I found an original copy from 1923 at the St. Louis Public Library, but an internet search revealed that you can buy new copies on Amazon. It is a really fascinating read, complete with maps and photographs of St. Louis in the early 1920s. The book was authored by Harland Bartholomew, a city planner responsible for much of how St. Louis is laid out today, especially with regard to the flow and width of streets. Harland Bartholomew was not a fan of the extremely narrow streets found in the oldest parts of the city – now part of the Arch Grounds. He also did not like how some important roads, like 12th Street and this street leading to the new Municipal Bridge (known as the MacArthur Bridge since World War II), dead-ended into blocks of rows houses. It’s easy to imagine Bartholomew sighing and shaking his head as he complains how this “Welcome to St. Louis” scene “looks like the approach to a frontier town.” Bartholomew likely did not recognize the irony of his choice of words – a century earlier, St. Louis had been the frontier town.

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