Corrections to the Mill Creek Valley Narrative

 

 I feel the need to correct the record regarding Mill Creek Valley, to counter the false information being repeated. Though St. Louis was founded in 1764 it wasn’t incorporated until 1823. At that time “the city limits were expanded west to Seventh Street and north and south by approximately 5 …

A Look at City Foundry St. Louis…in August 2013

 

 In August 2013 the vacant brake foundry in Midtown St. Louis, Vandeventer Ave. & Forest Park Ave., was an “eye sore” just south the main campus of Saint Louis University.  IKEA’s announcement to build on the opposite side of Vandeventer was still a few months away. I visited the foundry …

New (ish) Book — ‘New Mobilities: Smart Planning for Transportation Technologies’ by Todd Litman

 

 Mobility is very important to our lives, and humankind continues to consider new/different modes of transportation. Both of my grandfathers were born in simpler times: 1886 & 1899. The latter was my maternal grandfather, he lived until the age of 97. He saw and experienced many forms of mobility in …

Research Notes on the History of Grocery Stores in St. Louis, 35 Years Since Kroger Closed

 

 After visiting the newest grocery store in St. Louis last week, I took a deep dive into the history of grocery stores in St. Louis, spending hours in Post-Dispatch archives through the St. Louis Public Library website. I’ll write about the new store soon, but today is my research incomplete …

Recent Articles:

15th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com; Future Uncertain Due To Cancer Diagnosis

October 31, 2019 Featured, Site Info, Steve Patterson Comments Off on 15th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com; Future Uncertain Due To Cancer Diagnosis
 
Me pre-stroke in the December 2006 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Photo by Dillip Vishwanat

I don’t normally post on a Thursday, but today is not just any Thursday.

It was 15 years ago today, Halloween 2004, when I registered the domain UrbanReviewSTL.com and began posting my thoughts on urban planning and architecture in the St. Louis region.

I initially began this blog to distract myself from my father’s recovery from a heart attack on the first of October ’04. I had no plan for longevity, I just needed something else to focus my attention on at the moment.

Within a few months I was the first openly-LGBT candidate for the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. I lost, but the experience was great and it increased attention to this blog. I was motivated to make a difference.

In 2006 my mom passed away, later that year St. Louis Magazine named me the 50th most powerful person in St. Louis. In these early years I posted about a variety of topics including buying/riding/parking a 50cc Hondas Metropolitan Scooter, valet parking, Loughborough Commons, etc.

In late November 2007 I moved into a loft in Downtown West, just as my father went into the hospital in Oklahoma City. On January 1, 2008 my father died. Within a couple of weeks I was driving a friend of a friend, and her two cats, to Providence Rhode Island. After a night there I spent a day & night in Boston, flying back to St. Louis from there. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be my last walking/exploring trip.

On a cold & snowy Friday, February 1, 2008, I had a hemorrhagic stroke at home alone. It was 15-16 hours before a worried friend found me the next morning. After 3 months in 3 hospitals I retuned home on April 30, 2008. Read more on my post about the 10th anniversary of my stroke.

In the nearly 12 years since my stroke I’ve posted a lot about obstacles encountered while using my power wheelchair, my increased use of public transit, meeting & marrying my husband, etc.  I’ve been working out at the downtown Y (YMCA) and, between July 2018 and July 2019, managed to get below 200 pounds for the first time in decades — lost nearly 40 pounds in a year of working out. Felt so great to achieve that goal.

And now, the reason why the future of this blog is uncertain.

For a few years I’ve had an enlarged thyroid. Each year I’d go to the Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) for a CT scan, once also getting a biopsy to test the tissue. Nothing.

The chest x-ray at my annual physical this year spots were seen that weren’t there last year.  My doctor thought it was cancer, so back to CAM for a CT. Yep, spots that weren’t there before. Next up was Barnes Hospital for a CT biopsy of my right lung. The results showed metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) — kidney cancer that has spread to my lungs.  It might be another type of kidney cancer, but RCC is most common. Interestingly it’s unrelated to my enlarged thyroid.

My favorite color is orange so I’m pleased with the ribbon.

I meet with an oncologist next week at Siteman Cancer Center to discuss diagnosis and her proposed treatment plan. My plan is to continue posting four days per week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), but I can’t predict how the cancer treatment will affect me. My research has shown a lot of drugs, combined with chemotherapy, have good success with advanced kidney cancer. I’m optimistic about my odds.

I’m still working out at The Y, still going about my life as usual. You’ll still see me out and about, but don’t be surprised if I begin crying — I have pseudobulbar affect as a result of my stroke. I greatly appreciate positive thoughts, well wishes, and such. However, please don’t tell me you’re praying to your deity on my behalf — that’s about you not me! When I was certain I was going to die while experiencing a stroke I didn’t suddenly cease being an atheist/humanist.

“Humanism rejects dependence on faith, the supernatural, divine texts, resurrection, reincarnation, or anything else for which we have no evidence. To put it another way, Humanists believe in life before death.”  ? Greg M. Epstein, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

Pray if you like, just please don’t think sharing that information with me will bring me comfort — it won’t.

So many blogs have come and gone over the last 15 years — it’s a lot of work so I understand why many ceased being published. I’ll post updates on my health on social media, and a post likely on Friday after Thanksgiving (11/29).

— Steve

Fifty Years Since the St. Louis Rent Strike of 1969 Ended

October 30, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Fifty Years Since the St. Louis Rent Strike of 1969 Ended
 

Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of the end of the 1969 St. Louis Rent Strike. Upset by poorly built & maintained public housing, tenants refused to pay their rent.

The 1969 rent strike focused on the failed Pruitt-Igoe project.

Much was written about the rent strike, here’s the abstract from a 2013 academic paper titled The St. Louis Rent Strike of 1969: Transforming Black Activism and American Low-Income Housing:

In 1969, public housing tenants launched a rent strike that shaped federal legislation and helped make housing a central concern of the Black Freedom Struggle. In addition to providing a detailed narrative of the rent strike, this article follows the lives of the rent strike’s three primary leaders—Ivory Perry, the Rev. Buck Jones, and Jean King. Following the rent strike, Ivory Perry worked to curb lead poisoning while Buck Jones sought to reform welfare in Missouri. Later, Jones labored to improve living conditions in East St. Louis, Illinois. Jean King worked with private developers following the rent strike, helping remake the architecture and management of low-income housing. By focusing on how these individuals aided the rent strike, and by following their subsequent life careers, this article demonstrates that the St. Louis rent strike influenced developments central to American low-income housing and black activism in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Strikes are an effective way to force change. Still, some would like to end unions and strikes. In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll there was more responses than usual, but the pattern didn’t change.

Q: Agree or disagree: To reduce economic disruption strikes should be limited by law

  • Strongly agree: 2 [2.7%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [1.35%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 5 [6.76%]
  • Strongly disagree: 65 [87.84%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1  [1.35%]

We must be diligent to protect the right to strike.

— Steve Patterson

New Book — ‘They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis’ by Molly Butterworth and Tom Eyssell

October 28, 2019 Books, Featured Comments Off on New Book — ‘They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis’ by Molly Butterworth and Tom Eyssell
 

Despite thinking the St. Louis region has been destroyed for the automobile, I’m also a car buff. For good or bad, the car had a big influence on the 20th century and St. Louis.

A new book looks at the auto manufacturers that called St. Louis home, the dealerships, and everything else to do with cars in St. Louis. (I may need to write the book on how Harland Bartholomew destroyed the city to accommodate the car.)

Anyway, ‘They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis’ is a photo-filled history of the car in St. Louis from early manufacturers, to dealership rows like Locust & Kingshighway, Corvette assembly at Union  & Natural Bridge, etc.

From the local publisher:

Were it not for a few quirks of history, St. Louis might have become the center of the American automotive industry instead of Detroit. Since the late 1800s, St. Louis has been home to dozens of automobile makes and to numerous manufacturers, large and small. In They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis, head down the road of automotive history in the Gateway City, where transportation has always meant power.

Many St. Louisans have heard of the famous Moon automobile of the early twentieth century, but what about the Dyke, the Dorris, and the Gardner? Learn about the city’s prominence as a key automobile manufacturing hub through the 1960s, and the role played by notorious St. Louis playboy and bon vivant Harry Turner in bringing the automobile to St. Louis.

Do you know which vehicles produced here helped the Allies win World War II? Or which ones helped carry and sell beer, create the legend of America’s first true sports car, or were raced around ovals and across the country? Dig down under the roads to uncover the previous lives of streets that once served as Automobile Rows lined with beautiful buildings in which to buy or repair cars.

Authors and car enthusiasts Molly Butterworth and Tom Eyssell deftly take the wheel of this in-depth guide to the automotive heritage of St. Louis. Sit back and enjoy the ride, from the horseless carriage, through the halcyon 1920s, and up to the everchanging automobile industry of today. (Reedy Press)

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed flipping through the pages of this book.

Here are three upcoming events, all free, where you can hear from the authors.

  1. Book Presentation and Signing
    Tuesday, October 29 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    Webster Groves Public Library
    301 E. Lockwood Ave.
    Webster Groves, MO 63119
    (314) 961.3784
    Free and open to the public
  2. Book Presentation and Signing
    Tuesday, November 12 from 7 to 10 p.m.
    Alpha Brewing
    4310 Fyler Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63116
    (314) 621-2337
    Free and open to the public
  3. Book Presentation and Signing
    Monday, November 18 from 7 to 8 p.m.
    St. Charles City-County Library – Library Express WingHaven
    7435 Village Center Drive
    O’Fallon, MO 63368-4768
    (636) 561-3385
    Free and open to the public. Please register here.

A fascinating book packed with St. Louis history.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Strikes Be Limited By Law?

October 27, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Strikes Be Limited By Law?
 
Please vote below

The 2019 worker strike against General Motors has ended with a new 4-year contract.

The longest auto workers’ strike in 50 years is officially over.

General Motors employees voted overwhelmingly in favor of a deal struck by the United Auto Workers union and company executives. Nearly 48,000 workers who were on strike will return to work on Saturday.

The vote ends a painful work stoppage that has lasted six weeks, costing GM nearly $2 billion in lost production and employees nearly $1 billion in lost wages. (Vox)

The St. Louis region has only one vehicle manufacturing plant remaining, a GM truck plant:

The members of the local auto workers union approved a new deal with General Motors as part of a nationwide vote to end a five-week strike.

Exactly 3,300 members of United Auto Workers 2250 cast ballots on Thursday; 20 ballots were voided.

The local UAW were in favor of the agreement by a final tally of 2,115 to 1,185 votes. (Fox2)

Local transit workers haven’t voted to strike, but they’ve had some days where many called in sick.

Bi-State Development and the Amalgamated Transit Union 788 have been negotiating for more than a year. The existing contract’s one-year extension expired at the end of June. A new contract would affect the wages and benefits of more than 1,500 workers across St. Louis-area transit systems in Missouri and Illinois, including vehicle operators and mechanics. (St. Louis Public Radio)

So today’s poll is about strikes.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. My thoughts and results on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 20 of 2019-2020 Session

October 25, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 20 of 2019-2020 Session
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 20th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 19.

Today’s agenda includes five (5) new bills.

  • B.B. #135 – Ingrassia – An ordinance allowing persons, business enterprises, and other entities, organizations, and groups who reserve any of the City of St. Louis’ park amenities by permit issued by the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to exclude from the permitted area persons carrying firearms in accordance with 571.107(15) of the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, regardless of whether carried concealed on or about their person and whether they hold a concealed carry permit or endorsement; and containing an emergency
  • B.B. #136 – J. Boyd – An Ordinance, recommended by the Board of Public Service of the City of St. Louis (the “Board of Public Service”), establishing multiple public works and improvement projects within the City of St. Louis (the “Projects”).
  • B.B. #137 – Middlebrook – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to vacate public surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel on Frederick Street and in conformity with Section l4 of Article XXI of the Charter and imposing certain conditions on such vacation.
  • B.B. #138 – P. Boyd – An ordinance regulating the storage, transportation and disposal of waste tires, and the permitting of waste tire haulers and tire dealers, and providing penalties for violations of the provisions thereof.
  • B.B. #139 – Guenther – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub-surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel in westernmost 5 foot of Missouri Ave. from Cherokee St. south approximately 115 feet to a point, abutting City Block 1558 as bounded by Cherokee, Missouri, Potomac and Jefferson in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, as hereinafter de- scribed, in accordance with Charter authority, and in conformity with Section l4 of Article XXI of the Charter and imposing certain conditions on such vacation.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

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