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Maybe The World Breaks On Purpose, So We Can Have Work To Do

August 24, 2011 Books, Events/Meetings 2 Comments

Earlier this month I attended a couple of events with Peter Kageyama, author of For the Love of Cities. In his presentations he talked about attachment with where we live, quoted here from his website:

“A 2009 Gallup study that looked at the levels of emotional engagement people have with their communities, found that just 24% of people were “engaged” with their community. Gallup also found a significant relationship between how passionate and loyal people are to their communities and local economic growth. The most “attached” communities had the highest local GDP growth. Despite this, it feels as though our places and our leadership have forgotten how to connect with us emotionally and our cities have suffered because of it.”

Attachment, he explained, might be as simple as voting, going to a PTA meeting, etc. Forty percent were not attached, thirty-six percent were neutral, and only twenty-four percent attached. See the Gallup Soul of the Community website for the detailed reports.

“Over the past three years, the Soul of the Community study has found a positive correlation between community attachment and local GDP growth. Across the 26 Knight communities, those whose residents were more attached saw more local GDP growth. This is a key metric in assessing community success because local GDP growth not only measures a community’s economic success, but also its ability to grow and meet residents’ needs.” (p5 2010 report)

I asked  Peter Kageyama to say a few words to St. Louis:


Good advice! In the presentations he mentioned a January 2011 report in Newsweek listing the top 10 dying cities.  Those listed were:

  • 10. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 9. Flint, Michigan
  • 8. South Bend, Indiana
  • 7. Detroit, Michigan
  • 6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 5. Cleveland, Ohio
  • 4. Rochester, New York
  • 3. Hialeah, Florida
  • 2. Vallejo, California
  • 1. New Orleans, Louisiana

Newsweek wrote:

“Michigan dominates much of this list, with several cities experiencing significant declines in population as the state suffered high unemployment rates and above average foreclosures in recent years due mainly to the collapse of the auto industry.”

As you can imagine Grand Rapids wasn’t pleased.  But their response was not the typical stuffy political press release as if so often the case from municipalities. Check out this news report:


In short the city leaders listened to a 20-something controversial local artist, Rob Bliss. The result was the 9+ minute Grand Rapids LipDub:


This video has now been viewed more than 4 million times! The $40,000 production cost was raised through private donations and was a bargain given the positive PR it has generated for Grand Rapids. Thousands of residents participated. Newsweek said they didn’t do the study and they think better of Grand Rapids.

Another town Kageyama mentioned was Braddock PA, a 19th century suburb of Pittsburgh. It has lost 90% of it’s population from a peak of 20,879 in 1920.  They know they have issues, no rose colored glasses. They partnered with jeans maker Levi’s on the following:


“People think their are no frontiers anymore, they can’t see how frontiers are all around us.”

“Maybe the world breaks on purpose, so we can have work to do.”

Powerful stuff! Thanks for the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) and STL-Style for bringing Peter Kageyama to St. Louis!

– Steve Patterson


St. Louis Native Celebrated 105th Birthday

ABOVE: Margaret Kohlhauff celebrates her 105th birthday

Recently I went to Tower Grove Manor on South Grand for Margaret Kohlhauff’s 105th birthday party. There I met the sweet  little old birthday girl, born in St. Louis in 1906. To me she could have been a grandmother.  To many of you out there you are thinking great grandmother or even great great grandmother.

My paternal grandmother was born the year before in 1905, and my maternal grandmother was born in 1902. They’ve both been gone for many years now, so this was nice for me. Same generation.

What interested me in going was the fact she lived in St. Louis her entire life. She did travel extensively throughout her long life, but St. Louis was always home.

ABOVE: Margaret lived at 2011 Virginia Ave for more than 50 years.

The house where Margaret lived for more than 50 years would have been about 35 years old when she bought it. An Aunt lived with Margaret, she never married or had children. Margaret has now lived at Tower Grove Manor for 30+ years.

Margaret only had one job, a bookkeeper for St. Louis Commission, a fur trading company. The original location not longer exists, was where I-70 cuts off downtown from the Arch grounds. She would take the streetcar to work.

I showed her my copy of Streets & Streetcars of St. Louis: A Sentimental Journey, and her face lit up. The pictures in the book brought back many memories for her.

Neither of my grandmothers ever learned to drive a car. Margaret, however, did, but later in life.  In her 40s, I believe. She drove a Buick last.


ABOVE: Tower Grove Manor began as the Marmaduke Apartments in 1923

Advertising and old photos in common areas at Tower Grove Manor show the Marmaduke was a modern apartment building in 1923.

– Steve Patterson


Saturday Jubilee Food Drive July 30th

July 23, 2011 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Homeless Comments Off on Saturday Jubilee Food Drive July 30th

A week from today, Saturday July 30, 2011, is Saturday Jubilee:

“Together we can help area families through the toughest economic times we have known. We have the opportunity to be the change we are seeking. In an area of plenty, let us show our gratitude by giving back.”

Non-perishable food items will be collected (9am-5pm) at numerous grocery stores throughout the St. Louis region. Food collected at four stores will go directly to The Bridge St. Louis, which serves thousands of meals per month to the homeless.

I will be volunteering at Schnuck’s Culinaria (315 N. 9th Street  63101) from 9am-11am. The other three locations benefitting The Bridge are:

Again, the drive is from 9am-5pm. Please plan to grocery shop that day, purchasing just one or two items on the provided list will be very helpful.

In the month of June The Bridge:

  • Served 12,741 meals to 5,700 persons
  • Provided mail service to 1,627 persons
  • Had 271 volunteers provide 870 service hours.

That’s a lot of food! You can follow The Bridge on Facebook & Twitter.

– Steve Patterson



Happy July 4th, Steve Patterson on KDHX 88.1FM Tonight at 8:30pm (CST)

July 4, 2011 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Media Comments Off on Happy July 4th, Steve Patterson on KDHX 88.1FM Tonight at 8:30pm (CST)
ABOVE: The Eads Bridge was dedicated on July 4, 1874, the country was only 98 years old

Happy 235th Birthday America! Tonight I will be DJ Wilson’s guest on KDHX 88.1FM at 8:30pm CST.  For those of you who don’t live in the St. Louis region, you can listen online here.  The show will be available later as a podcast.

– Steve Patterson


Transit Changes During the Komen Race for the Cure Saturday June 11

June 10, 2011 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Public Transit Comments Off on Transit Changes During the Komen Race for the Cure Saturday June 11
ABOVE: Finish line for the 2009 Komen Race for the Cure, the Peabody (then Kiel) Opera House in the background

Thousands will gather in downtown St. Louis for the annual Komen Race for the Cure. Thousands means thousands of cars.  Public transit is an option for those coming to walk, run, volunteer or just watch.

ABOVE: alert in MetroLink trains

First the good news, Metro is operating MetroLink light rail trains on a rush schedule, from the alert:

Komen Race For the Cure Special Service- June 11, 2011


On Saturday, June 11 from 5 a.m. until noon, MetroLink will operate:

Every 15 minutes on both Red and Blue Lines

Every 7-8 minutes between the Forest Park and Fairview Heights MetroLink stations

And now the bad news, because 14th Street, Market and Olive are closed during the event nine (9) buses will be rerouted:

Hopefully those who ride these buses to get to work are aware of these reroutes.

ABOVE: The fountain at Kiener Plaza is pink in preparation for the big event

If you are coming to the event please consider taking a MetroBus or MetroLink.  Those coming from Illinois should definitely consider taking transit:

I-64 Weekend Closures:

MODOT will close all lanes of westbound I-64 from the Poplar Street Bridge to 20th Street beginning 8 am Saturday, June 10 for bridge repairs. The closure will end at noon Sunday, June 11.

Komen Race for the Cure Participants should be aware of several closures that could impact getting to the event:
• On Saturday, from 5 am to 2 pm for the Komen Race, the following ramps will be closed: the eastbound I-64 exit
ramp to Market Street/Bernard and the exit ramp to 20th Street and Chestnut and the westbound I-64 exit ramps to 21st Street and Market, and the exit ramp to the 3000 block of Market. (source)

Have a great weekend!

– Steve Patterson