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PR: City to Restrict Area around 11th and Spruce

September 20, 2011 Downtown, History/Preservation, Press Release Comments Off on PR: City to Restrict Area around 11th and Spruce

The following is a press release from the mayor’s office:

Contact: Kara Bowlin


September 20, 2011

Starting Tuesday, access to the area around 11th and Spruce Downtown will be limited because portions of the historic Cupples 7 building have become structurally unsound. The City will restrict access to the building to make sure no one gets hurt.

City engineers have determined that the building is unstable enough that the City will close 11th Street from Spruce to Poplar and half a block of Spruce east of 11th Street on Tuesday after the morning rush.

Cupples 7 was built in 1907. The City routinely inspects it and has repeatedly cited the owner because of its deteriorating condition. Severe damage to the building’s roof has exposed the interior of the building to the elements. But, representatives from Ballpark Lofts III LLC, the building’s owner, say it does not have enough money to make the needed repairs to shore up the building. So far, no one has stepped forward with enough money and a plan to protect the structure.

“Building inspectors regularly inspect the building,” said Building Commissioner Frank Oswald. “It’s our job to protect our City’s residents and visitors from unsafe buildings. Unfortunately, we no longer feel confident in this building’s structural integrity. To the untrained eye, the building seems stable at the street level – but years of a severely damaged roof have taken a toll on its stability.”

Cupples 7 is one of nine Cupples buildings. It is one of only two Cupples buildings that has not yet been renovated – and is the only Cupples building without a renovation plan in place.

Any proposed repair or demolition of this building, a designated City Landmark and in a National Register Historic District, will be subject to review by the Cultural Resources Office.



1907: “Colored” St. Louis School Principal Misquoted by the Press

September 16, 2011 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Media, Public Transit Comments Off on 1907: “Colored” St. Louis School Principal Misquoted by the Press
ABOVE: Dumas Public School was located on Lucas just west of 14th, all razed when 14th was extended to Washington. 1909 Sanborn map via UMSL Digital Library (click image to view source)

In researching the Dumas Public School, razed long ago, I came across an interesting tidbit about the school’s principal, Arthur D. Langston. The following appeared in the New York Times on December 8, 1907:

Colored School Principsal Advises His Race — Corrects Statement.

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 7. – Prof. Arthur D. Langston, Principal of the Dumas Public School of St. Louis, in addressing the Missouri Negro Republican League delegates here a few days ago, was erroneously reported as having said that  “no negro should occupy a seat while a white woman stands, and dirty negros should not be allowed on the street cars at all.”

In his address Prof. Langston said: “Colored people and whites associate more intimately in the street cars than in other places; therefore, it becomes a matter of great importance that we conduct ourselves properly in “every way on street cars.  Let the negro make the white man ashamed by never occupying a seat while a lady is standing.”

Wow, huge difference between the two! Mr. Langston (1855-1908) died the following April at the age of 52, he is buried in Nashville TN.

– Steve Patterson


Highly Recommended: Brick By Chance and Fortune

August 19, 2011 Media 1 Comment
ABOVE: The Tivoli Theater on Delmar

Last Sunday I finally got to see Bill Streeter’s documentary  “Brick By Chance and Fortune” at the Tivoli Theater as part of the 11th Annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase.

St. Louis is a city with a rich heritage of brick architecture. Home to some of the largest and most innovative clay working companies of the nineteenth century, you can still see some of the finest examples of brick work ever produced all over the city and region. Today the city’s brick heritage is under threat by neglect, brick theft and urban renewal.

It was primarily the solid brick buildings that got me to move to St. Louis 21 years ago. But after seeing this film, learning about the history, I have an even greater appreciation for what the generations long ago built. That we lucked out to be sitting on a large deposit of clay helped our city takes it form.


Two screenings are coming up at Off Broadway: Friday September 2nd & Saturday September 3rd, both at 7pm.  The cost is $8.

– 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



May 23, 2011 Press Release 13 Comments

The following is a press release:


WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today awarded $152.7 million to help eight cities across the country transform severely distressed public housing developments into mixed-income communities.

Housing authorities in the following cities developed highly successful revitalization plans to transform the physical condition of a public housing community and make a positive impact on the lives of their residents: Boston, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; Patterson, New Jersey; St. Louis, Missouri; Taunton, Massachusetts; Phoenix, Arizona; and Portland, Oregon.

“No one can dispute the exceptional track record of HOPE VI to improve housing conditions for hundreds of communities and most importantly, thousands of families,” said Donovan. “As we move toward the next generation of neighborhood revitalization – one that links housing, education, transportation, healthcare, and other support services – we will always remember it all began with HOPE VI.”

The following housing authorities are being awarded grants through HUD’s HOPE VI Revitalization Program:

  • Boston Housing Authority will receive $22 million to revitalize the Old Colony public housing development;
  • Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver will receive $22 million to revitalize the South Lincoln public housing development;
  • Louisville Metropolitan Housing Authority will receive $22 million to revitalize the Sheppard Square public housing development;
  • Housing Authority of the City of Patterson (NJ) will receive $18.4 million to revitalize the Alexander Hamilton public housing development;
  • St. Louis Housing Authority will receive $7,829,750 to revitalize the Arthur Blumeyer public housing development;
  • Taunton Housing Authority will receive $22 million to revitalize the Fairfax Gardens public housing development;
  • City of Phoenix Housing Authority will receive $20 million from FY 2011 funds to revitalize the Frank Luke Addition public housing development; and
  • Housing Forward (Portland Housing Authority) will receive $18.5 million from FY 2011 funds to revitalize the Hillsdale Terrace public housing development.

The eight housing authorities announced today were selected among 36 public housing authorities that applied forFY 2010 HOPE VI Revitalization funding.  Six of the grantees will be funded from FY 2010 HOPE VI appropriations; two awards will come from FY 2011 funding. Later this year, HUD will conduct a competition to award $65 million in FY2011 funding to implement the Department’s new Choice Neighborhoods Program.HUD awarded high marks to applicants who plan to extend neighborhood transformation efforts beyond public housing linking housing interventions with early childhood education programs. The Obama Administration is challenging communities to build upon the HOPE VI lessons to employ a comprehensive approach to community transformation.  Choice Neighborhoods aims to transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable mixed-income neighborhoods with access to economic opportunities by revitalizing severely distressed public and assisted housing and then linking these neighborhoods to well-functioning services, effective schools, public transportation and jobs.

Housing authorities are competitively selected for HOPE VI grants based on many factors including the effectiveness and project readiness of their revitalization plans.  HUD gives recipients the flexibility to develop revitalization plans that meet their local needs.  Among other criteria, grantees are selected based on the capacity of their  housing authority and its development team to administer and manage completion of the revitalization effort; the severity of physical distress of the development; the ability of the housing authority to supplement the HOPE VI grant with funding from other sources, private, state or local government; the ability to provide supportive services to displaced residents; and the proposed green development and energy efficiency strategies.

Since 1993, HUD has awarded 260 HOPE VI Revitalization grants to 133 housing authorities– totaling nearly $ 6.3 billion. HUD began awarding HOPE VI grants following a 1992 report by the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing that found approximately 86,000 public housing units in the U.S. needed revitalization.  HOPE VI Revitalization grants are used for an array of activities, including: demolition of severely distressed public housing; acquisition of sites for off-site construction; capital costs of major rehabilitation; new construction and other physical improvements; costs for mobility counseling and relocation; and community and supportive service programs for residents, including those relocated as a result of revitalization efforts.

Read a summary of the HOPE VI grants awarded today. #