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History bulldozed on this day in 1963

ABOVE: MLK & Leffingwell, Franklin no longer goes through, July 2010

One of my favorite books is St. Louis Day by Day by Frances Hurd Stadler (1989). The entry for July 24th takes us back to 1963, forty-seven years ago today:

Bulldozers moved in to demolish the large cast-iron watering trough at the triangle formed by the intersection of Franklin, Easton and Leffingwell avenues. Made of fourteen sections bolted together, the trough had long served as a refreshment spot for some of the city’s busiest draft horses. Franklin and Easton, now Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, had formed part of the first road to St. Charles. As the nation expanded west, this link became vital, joining with roads beyond St. Charles up the Missouri River, and eventually branching off onto the Santa Fe Trail.

Within the city, Easton was an important business thoroughfare, and the Y formed by the three streets was the logical place for trade wagons to halt and for horses to drink. The only remaining St. Louis example of this once-common feature of equine architecture can be found at Alabama, Virginia, and Ivory avenues, where neighborhood residents have built a small park and planted the old watering through with flowers.

Today the triangle of Franklin, Easton & Leffingwell isn’t a triangle. The Franklin side was removed when Dr. Martin Luther King Drive received new curbs and sidewalks, around 2004.

Since the book was published the flowers have been replaced by a fountain at the Ivory Triangle:

ABOVE: Horse trough used as a fountain in the Ivory Triangle

I wonder if the trough that was removed in 1963 would be an interesting community spot had it remain?

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Yeah, maybe, but progress happens. With trucks replacing draft horses, these were truly obsolete. Save one or two? Sure. Save 'em all? No way. It'd make about much sense as saving every outhouse made obsolete by indoor plumbing . . .

    • To replace something old with something new, better and useful I get. What I don't get it razing something just because it is old, isn't used at the moment, and nothing is planned for the site.

      • G-Man says:


      • JZ71 says:

        Like Pruitt-Igoe? 😉

        But seriously, these were utilitarian items / structures that had become (in the 1960's) functionally obsolete, like hitching posts, trolley loops, police call boxes and telephone booths. As a historical anachronism they have value, and yes, a few examples should be, and have been, preserved. But progress also needs to happen. The way we live our lives, today, is significantly different from how it was lived in the 1960's, the 1920's or the 1880's. Our built environment evolves to meet these changes. We can discuss, and likely disagree, to varying degrees, on whether or not some of these change are for the better or for the worse, but the physical changes are only a symptom of the larger societal changes that have happened.

  2. Everyone Likes Me says:

    The West St Louis Turner Hall stood at the corner of Franklin & Leffingwell many years ago. Don't know when it was torn down.

  3. Chuck Baker says:

    Comparing your two pictures gives me enough of an answer – the MLK intersection has been decimated, while the ivory triangle has maintained its streetscape.

    Obviously there are many other factors at work given where in the city the two intersections are, but as much as the water tower on Grand helps define that neighborhood, a trough here could have had some effect.


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