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Screening of Select Scenes from Documentary Film on Pruitt-Igoe

June 18, 2009 Events/Meetings, Urban Renewal 4 Comments

Saturday June 20th scenes from the still in-production documentary film on Pruitt-Igoe will be screened.


The 33 buildings known as Pruitt-Igoe only stood for two decades. The bulk of the site has been vacant now nearly twice as long.

Here is a short clip from a 1981 program entitled Trouble in Utopia:


Pruitt-Igoe’s architect was Minoru Yamasaki.  Yamasaki is best known for the World Trade Center project that was destroyed on 9/11/2001.

The scrrening location is the Des Lee Auditorium at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park at 5700 Lindell Blvd (map).  Bike parking is presumably available and access is easy from the Forest Park MetroLink light rail stop.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. barbara_on_19th says:

    Interesting… I will advertise to my neighbors on Mullanphy who have watched the whole sorry tale out their kitchen window these many years.

  2. john w. says:

    It’s seems out of place to see that footage without a Phillip Glass score in the background, but instead to hear the implosion reports echo.

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  4. Darrow...for the Prosecution says:

    Some of my earliest memories as a young child are in and among these walled giants. My mother took a “suite” on the 8th floor of one on these buildings located at the intersection of 7th and O'Falon streets. We were soon visited by various “salesmen”, some representing the project management assisting us in the delivery of NEW furniture (the apartment was BRAND NEW to us in late 1952) and some just representing themselves in the hawking of all nature of consumer goods. One of the sales pitches I still recall was the wonder of a new plastic then called Melamine. I thought it was incredible that you could throw a dinner plate for glass onto the floor (the floor was a finished and painted concrete surface) and it not break. My butt was starting to heal already just thinking of the possibilities of such modern wonders.

    There was NOT much entertainment for the young set in these buildings and even at the ripe old age of 6, I was often bored with the daily routine. I don't remember attending school ever while living there. I remember one time a “company” of people came to the north end of the property (a large playing field) and setting up a large movie screen and putting on movies for free. There was later a request for donations and I offered a few pennies that I had but it was not appreciated. One of the great pass times was to go up to the 16th floor (some buildings were capped at 12) and drop water balloons out of the foyer windows overlooking the grounds (sidewalks and people) This went swimmingly until we discovered a small 4 inch long plastic “bomb” devise with guiding fins and a removable head for inserting a few “caps” (who will remember caps?) in. We would lean out of the window and wait for pedestrian traffic to clear and let 'er rip. It was about THIS time that I discovered that the essences of the moment of release of this devise was not to be the essence of the moment when the devise had fallen some 16 floors down. We missed a few people by just inches thinking it was grand sport never understanding the amount of energy in the devise or the amount of harm that it could do to someone.

    Since I was essentially unsupervised for the most part of the day (my mother worked) I wAs able to move far aNd wide (within the Pruitt Igoe complex). I learned to ride my first bicycle (okay, I learned to fall properly) there -I later perfected my skills in this area remembering a substantial lesson, guile and perseverance will get you a long way if it don't kill yourself first.

    All in all I spent some 16 months there. The place was a serious impediment to my growing up as a mentally healthy person. Later in life as I drove along Roosevelt Parkway in New York City on the way to visit a customer in the Bronx, I spotted across the river a series of “projects” in the distance surrounded by a cloud of “red” dust at the upper floors (like a toxic cloud of dirt) and instantly became physically sick to my stomach. I wondered for several day how it was that I was able to “escape” that social prison and become a net contributor to society. When I think back I shudder as to the closeness of my escape.

    Pruit Igoe was a BAD place to be in.

    The Deuceman


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