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City Hospital once part of a dense neighborhood

February 11, 2010 History/Preservation, Public Transit 4 Comments

Cities, and the neighborhoods within them, slowly change over time.  Old photographs and written accounts are our best window into life before we existed.  When I arrived in St. Louis in August 1990 the old City Hospital complex on Lafayette was long vacant.  Now the main building is The Georgian condos but two other structures were razed for the condo project.

From Paul Hohman of Vanishing St. Louis:

The aerial photo below from 2002 shows the City Hospital site as a fairly dense urban village with the old Administration Building along Lafayette, the 13 story Tower Building at center fronting on Carrol Street (notice how Carrol connects to the residential area to the west), and the 6 story former Malcolm Bliss Mental Heath Center along Park Avenue. In late 2002 demolition began on Malcolm Bliss and the Tower Building prior to the conversion of the Administration Building into the Georgian Condominiums by Gilded Age.

Image source: Vanishing STL, click image for post

Last year I brought the following photo which shows the construction of the now-razed tower building.

Source: scanned original photo

This was an era of increased building possible through rail transit (streetcars).  I know perceptions were changing anyway, but I can’t help but think the demise of the last streetcar in 1966 contributed to further decline.  Eight lines were closed in 1946/47.  Cities like New Orleans, San Francisco and Toronto kept their lines running and that has paid dividends for them.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Double J says:

    I am surprised they didn't level the whole thing given St. Louis' history of doing such things. Any idea what the rationale was of tearing down the tower and keeping the older structure? From your photographs it looks like the older (now restored) structure was in much worse shape. I can think of a similar situation of the “mental hospital” on Arsenal . They tore down 60's era additions and preserved the historic portions.

  2. Ernie Piffel says:

    Let's see — St. Louis lost nearly 250,000 people between 1946-1966. I'm sure the closure of streetcar lines played a major role in that decline. You transit geeks crack me up.

  3. Dense neighborhood? Needing significant planning changes on and around Truman Boulevard.


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