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East St. Louis Illinois

Xing500

Cyburbian
Messages
112
Points
6
These first few images are not mine. I will note the ones that are. If any of you are curious of what East St. Louis might look like if it were not depressed, I suggest a trip to Belleville IL. Many of Belleville's neighborhoods look much like East St. Louis', and many of it's current residents once lived in East St. Louis as well. There are also many neighborhoods in East St. Louis that are in excellent condition, and many neighborhoods without crime. The crime in East St. Louis has dropped sharply just with-in the last year, and the East St. Louis police have an excellent new chief.
















































My Photos











 

Hceux

Cyburbian
Messages
1,028
Points
22
How old are the photos?

How old are the photos? I think the first set is older than your set. Is that right Xing?

I'm just curious about my observation that there were no spanking new cars in any of the photos. I don't really expect new cars in areas that may have succumbed, but I'd be even more surprised if the first batch of photos are recent because so many cars are old as in the 1970s and 1980s.

What is happening to East St. Louis? Or Belleville that you were talking about? (Sure a different Belleville I know - which is in Ontario - a city that I'm doing a paper on right now)
 

Xing500

Cyburbian
Messages
112
Points
6
The first set are from the 80's and early 90's I think. Mine are from around the year 2000. East St. Louis today is much quieter than it was in the 80's and 90's, and far less dangerous as well.

Also, Belleville's old neighborhoods look much like some of East St. Louis', but it's downtown is a little smaller and doesn't have architecture that is quite as nice. It also appears more "small-townish."
 

MennoJoshua

Cyburbian
Messages
56
Points
4
What beautiful buildings, with the exception of the apartment boxes. Are these government housing? It amazes me how the government can build things that are so horribly ugly, especially compared with the rest of the photos.

What are some ways to encourage government could make public housing look less hideous?
 

Jessie-J

Cyburbian
Messages
386
Points
12
I'm curious, what exactly happened to East St. Louis? As I understand it, it was once a thriving and affluent community. Was it deindustrialization or are there other factors?

I've never really been over there (as I was told that as a caucasian female, it would be most unsafe) but I have been to Belleville, and I just got the impression that it was a pretty boring community- nothing special. I enjoyed the pictures, some gorgeous architecture.

Also, what will happen to the east side, especially Granite City now that the historic granite processing plant (a tire plant?) burned down?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,704
Points
69
Rumpy Tuna said:
Wow, looks like Niagara Falls, US side.
[maggadino]Hey, don't you be talking about the Falls like that, or you'll be takin' a long bath in the Whirlpool, capiche?[/maggadino]

NFNY isn't that bad; it's an embarassment, but it has a long way to plunge before it hits ESL levels of blight. The city's old master plan called for industrial development to circle the city, which is why the abandoned plants seem like such a dominant feature. Downtown was gutted during 1960s-era urban renewal; buindings were torn down for development that never came. The inner city neighborhoods, although it has a rough working and lower middle class feel, isn't gap-toothed like ESL. The zoning code permitted tacky, tourist-oriented retail and commercial development in outlying areas. Huge electric pylons are everywhere, making the visual pollution among the worst in the US.

The Little Italy area is a relatively vibrant neighborhood, the gawd-awful ugly LaSalle area is experiencing a retail boom, and neighborhoods in north NF towards Lewiston are still relatively well-off. Wheatfield to the east may be considered a nice suburb, but it has ugly kountry kitschy commercial development, and Summit Park Mall is on the verge of joining the roster at deadmalls.com; it was sited next to the never-completed Outer Beltway, so its location now seems like it's in the middle of nowhere.

Niagara Falls is essentially a predominantly white grithole, more like Middletown, Ohio or Pueblo, Colorado than Gary, Indiana; Camden, New Jersey or ESL.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Dan said:
[maggadino]Hey, don't you be talking about the Falls like that, or you'll be takin' a long bath in the Whirlpool, capiche?[/maggadino]

NFNY isn't that bad; it's an embarassment, but it has a long way to plunge before it hits ESL levels of blight.
-Alright its not as bad as ESL, but it still is a dump. I did some work for a company a while back and we where collecting housing data for the city on all of the cities housing units. Sure there were well kept sections of the city (Pine Av area), but for the most part there are alot of abandoned houses that are either scorched by arson, or have all of their windows busted. The problem there is the lack of responsibility by landlords who let the houses fall into disrepair. You'd have a well kept house here, and right next to it you'd have an abandoned house right next to it. Also homeowners who can't sell there property just abandon them.
-Take a ride around some of the lower numered named streets like 10th or 5th and you'd swear your in ESL. Also Main Street is a modern day ghost town with over a 90% vacancy rate for commercial businesses. The great savior Casino hasn't really helped the area other than turning out more addicted gamblers, while burgarlies (sp?) and theft has risen since the opening.
-While its not ESL some of those pictures surely reminded me of the Falls.
 

Xing500

Cyburbian
Messages
112
Points
6
Jessie-J said:
I'm curious, what exactly happened to East St. Louis? As I understand it, it was once a thriving and affluent community. Was it deindustrialization or are there other factors?

I've never really been over there (as I was told that as a caucasian female, it would be most unsafe) but I have been to Belleville, and I just got the impression that it was a pretty boring community- nothing special. I enjoyed the pictures, some gorgeous architecture.

Also, what will happen to the east side, especially Granite City now that the historic granite processing plant (a tire plant?) burned down?
Well I believe it was a number of different reasons. One of the reasons was the fall of blue collar industry in the United States. We were making a transformation from Industrial to Commercial, and East St. Louis didn't make that switch. Another I hear , had a lot to do with greed from those who ran the factories. I just hear a lot of bad things about those businesses, and some things like; taking advantage of workers, running away and leaving the city when things went bad, etc.. Another reason had to do with racism. After many white people left because of job losses, the rest of the whites didn't feel comfortable living there and they left too. The desegregation of the city occurred around the same time of this loss of industry, and many African Americans spread through out the city. Previously, they could only live in the south side. Today , East St. Louis is 98% African American.

Another factor was the building of the freeway, and the building of a super mall about 10 miles east of East St . Louis. With the freeway , people could live further away and still work in St. Louis. When they built the mall , many stores left downtown East St. Louis due to competition. Besides a major loss of jobs and retail ,East St. Louis dropped in population from near 90,000 residence to 30,000 today.

Belleville isn't a great place to visit, but it's not a bad place to live. There's quite a few urban-like neighborhoods, metrolink, and interesting shops downtown. Belleville also lost a lot of retail due to competition with the super mall in Fairview Heights. It has plans to revitalize downtown with the help of the same people who fixed up the Central West End in St. Louis. The metrolink should make that process easier.
 

Xing500

Cyburbian
Messages
112
Points
6
Rumpy Tuna said:
-Alright its not as bad as ESL, but it still is a dump. I did some work for a company a while back and we where collecting housing data for the city on all of the cities housing units. Sure there were well kept sections of the city (Pine Av area), but for the most part there are alot of abandoned houses that are either scorched by arson, or have all of their windows busted. The problem there is the lack of responsibility by landlords who let the houses fall into disrepair. You'd have a well kept house here, and right next to it you'd have an abandoned house right next to it. Also homeowners who can't sell there property just abandon them.
-Take a ride around some of the lower numered named streets like 10th or 5th and you'd swear your in ESL. Also Main Street is a modern day ghost town with over a 90% vacancy rate for commercial businesses. The great savior Casino hasn't really helped the area other than turning out more addicted gamblers, while burgarlies (sp?) and theft has risen since the opening.
-While its not ESL some of those pictures surely reminded me of the Falls.
Well it's sad that you guys are arguing about this at all. The fact is, this is the United States, and many people in this country take pride in it being the "Richest, Most Powerful Country in the World." If we're so rich, then what is a city like this doing in the middle of our country? We need to do something about places like this, help the poor that live there, advertise the few attractive qualities of these places to developers, and we need to get people excited about urban rehab. I know it may be a little tough, but we can do it!
 

Xing500

Cyburbian
Messages
112
Points
6
jordanb said:
Doesen't Wendell Cox live in Belleville?
HaHa, no he lives in O'Fallon IL, which is the town I'm from. His office is in Belleville. There are just as many people in the metro east who are for urban rehab as there are people who want suburban development, like that guy.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,704
Points
69
My understanding on why ESL is such a lost cause:

1) Many of the factories that are in the area aren't in East St. Louis, but rather tiny incorporated cities that include the factory, and maybe a few mobile homes. East St. Louis gets the pollution, the damage to the roads from heavy truck traffic, and the other negative externalities, but not the tax revenue.

2) East St. Louis has has a poor history of race relations, and there have been several race riots in in the first half of the 20th century. As with other American cities, blacks flocked to East St. Louis during and after World Wars I and II, to work in higher paying factory jobs outside the racist South. As blacks moved in, neighborhoods hit a tipping point, where whites felt racial transition was imminent; they would then leave en masse. Because East St. Louis, like Gary and Camden, is a small city, racial transition was all-encompassing. Essentially, ESL went from being a mostly white, middle class city in 1960 to a working class, majority black city in 1970. The remaining white residents left in the 1970s. After that, it wasn't racial transition, but rather economic decline.

I wonder if it wouldn't be better to just abandon places like ESL and Gary. Reloate the existing residents, demolish everything within the city except major roads, land bank the entire city, and then wait 20 years.

I've never really been over there (as I was told that as a caucasian female, it would be most unsafe)
I don't have any qualms about wandering around Chicago's South Side, Buffalo's East Side, Cleveland's East Side, East Cleveland, north St. Louis, and Gary. East St. Louis, however, scares me.
 

Xing500

Cyburbian
Messages
112
Points
6
East St. Louis is just emptier, it's not scary. With 30,000 people and just a few trouble makers, it doesn't really scare me. I've been in scarier situations in Chicago than I have been in East St. Louis. I really don't think East St. Louis is a lost cause at all. Looking at pictures, and seeing things from an outsiders perspective isn't enough to understand its potential. You have to go there yourself and talk with the people and you will see how many people there want the best for their city. You can't just throw them all off as dangerous thugs. So many good people come out of that city. One of my best friends used to live in East St Louis, and so many of my other friends as well. The city needs tough police with a no bullshit attitude, tax revenue from businesses (Casino Queen and other future developments) and a new image (Riverfront development) All of those things are currently being planned or in action.
 

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,248
Points
30
For an historical perspective, here are some newspaper clippings that I have uploaded concerning a deadly race riot that took place in July, 1917

Toledo News-Bee July 3, 1917
94E_St_Louis_1.jpg

Toledo News-Bee July 6, 1917

94E_St_Louis_2.jpg


(continued)
94E_St_Louis_2b.jpg
94E_St_Louis_2c.jpg
 
Messages
1,264
Points
22
I think a lot of the problem with the decline of medium to large midwestern cities such as Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, etc... is the lack of opportunity for those who are under a certain income level. It is much easier for somebody in Washington, Boston or NYC to be on the upward slope because opportunity is in their face every day. They just have to want it. Which is why I moved from Omaha to Maryland. They're just aren't that many opportunites for young people where I grew up, so I left.
 

FlavorSaver

Member
Messages
3
Points
0
Wasn't there a riot in East STL in the 60's as well?

It looks like the points have been covered but this paper from a person at SIUE handles ESL and Edwardsville extensively. Great paper articles. Makes me think how we went from overt to covert racism here in the midwest.
 

Trinity Moses

Member
Messages
229
Points
9
Reloate the existing residents, demolish everything within the city except major roads, land bank the entire city, and then wait 20 years.

.

Has this ever been tried with a whole city?

Maybe thats whats happening anyway with these vacating old industrial citys...
 
Messages
1,580
Points
21
It appears that much of the area is quite rundown and shabby and that owners don't take care of their property. Why is that?
 

cadman12

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
east st louis decline

being from the area (not in east st louis but very closeby) i can say this.
DO NOT GO TO EAST ST LOUIS ALONE AND IF YOU ARE WHITE! I AM NOT A RACIST YET THERE ARE MANY THERE!!
i have been down there and i mean this is not a safe place for anyone.
the reason it looks like it does in these pics is because the people that did care about they're property got the hell out as the criminals took over. you can find a pimp or crack dealer on any given corner at any time of day. i would say that if you could search anyone walking down the street (males) you would find that 98% of them would be carrying a weapon and/or drugs for sale.
the city government is run by corrupt polititions and likewise so is they're police dept.(if that is what you call it). from what i understand the police will not respond to calls in a lot of places as they are afraid too! i befriended 2 twin black brothers from work and they were great people from ESL, they always told me, and i quote "don't go down to the east boogie, we are not racist against you buddy, we don't want to see you get killed"
the idea of landlocking this place is not too far offf from what should happen. the last time i was down there (about 1 month ago to courthouse) i was sickened and i also said then that this place should be bulldozed down for good and rebuilt and replace the whole governmental system.
 

Jaxspra

Cyburbian
Messages
3,516
Points
24
The other night I was heading downtown, going to get off at Broadway to head to Soulard and the exit was closed...problem with this is that Broadway is the last Missouri exit. So we went over the river, first place we got off to turn around sent us further east, next thing we know we had to turn around in East St. Louis. It was pretty frightening. I will walk just about anywhere in St. Louis, am not afraid to be in the City, etc, but East St. Louis is a very scary place. Since I learned to drive I was taught to never stop there no matter what.
The former Director of Community Development here in St. Charles, now works for a local consulting firm and they were hired at one point to work on a riverfront plan in East St. Louis. The plan is in place but I haven't seen any implementation at all. Razing the entire city would probably be the best start to getting anything done around there.
 

Nipples

Member
Messages
10
Points
1
cadman12 said:
being from the area (not in east st louis but very closeby) i can say this.
DO NOT GO TO EAST ST LOUIS ALONE AND IF YOU ARE WHITE! I AM NOT A RACIST YET THERE ARE MANY THERE!!
i have been down there and i mean this is not a safe place for anyone.
the reason it looks like it does in these pics is because the people that did care about they're property got the hell out as the criminals took over. you can find a pimp or crack dealer on any given corner at any time of day. i would say that if you could search anyone walking down the street (males) you would find that 98% of them would be carrying a weapon and/or drugs for sale.
the city government is run by corrupt polititions and likewise so is they're police dept.(if that is what you call it). from what i understand the police will not respond to calls in a lot of places as they are afraid too! i befriended 2 twin black brothers from work and they were great people from ESL, they always told me, and i quote "don't go down to the east boogie, we are not racist against you buddy, we don't want to see you get killed"
the idea of landlocking this place is not too far offf from what should happen. the last time i was down there (about 1 month ago to courthouse) i was sickened and i also said then that this place should be bulldozed down for good and rebuilt and replace the whole governmental system.

Stop spreading this paranoiac garbage. I'm from the metro east, and I have friends from East St. Louis. In high school I edited a video till 1am in the morning in downtown East St Louis. The place is empty, but I didn't see a thing dangerous. Since then, now that I'm older, I have driven through, taken photographs, done a video documentary, among other things, and nothing has happened. This is why the city doesn't get anywhere, because people that go once, or two times, they get freaked out, and they spread crap like this. They're the same ones that go to Mexico and get freaked out. My family is from there and we walk the streets, go to church, buy food at the market, and nothing happens. We're still alive. People that bring up the, "I'm not racists" comment, are often saying something that subconsciously feel has the potential to be insulting, or wrong. East St. Louis is a bombed out town, yes, but don't be such a chicken. I've been to third world countries, and poor ghettos in Mexico, and East St. Louis is nothing. At least they don't live in cardboard boxes. There are full blown genocides, massacres, and wars going on over the world, and you people are scared of a place that averages less than 14 murders a year? Granted, that's a lot for its size in the US, but give me a break. 90% of that is domestic. You don't deal drugs, date the crack whores, pick up the prostitutes, or join gangs, and you have no problem. Racism? I have had more issues with racism in the metro east from White people than I have from the black.
 

Nipples

Member
Messages
10
Points
1
Jaxspra said:
The other night I was heading downtown, going to get off at Broadway to head to Soulard and the exit was closed...problem with this is that Broadway is the last Missouri exit. So we went over the river, first place we got off to turn around sent us further east, next thing we know we had to turn around in East St. Louis. It was pretty frightening. I will walk just about anywhere in St. Louis, am not afraid to be in the City, etc, but East St. Louis is a very scary place. Since I learned to drive I was taught to never stop there no matter what.
The former Director of Community Development here in St. Charles, now works for a local consulting firm and they were hired at one point to work on a riverfront plan in East St. Louis. The plan is in place but I haven't seen any implementation at all. Razing the entire city would probably be the best start to getting anything done around there.
The plan is still in the planning stages. It is not in place. You will not see a massive plan, such as this, magically appear in 5 years. It won't happen. Chateau Lake in Downtown STL is running pretty much on the same timeline, and do you see the lake there yet? I have already seen some renderings, and I can show you as soon as I return to Chicago.
 

Jack

Member
Messages
50
Points
4
The downtown looks like it has a number of great buildings, and the old brick houses in the residential areas could be gorgeous. Rather than demolish everything, they should just tear down everything built after WWII and restore everything built before that isn't beyong saving. Sort of like an Underdog episode I once saw when I was little. I think the plot was that Simon Bar Sinister wanted to be a western outlaw, so he takes a whole town hostage and has his thugs bulldoze all the new buildings to restore the town's old west appearance.:p

They could also plant some trees along those streets. Right now it looks really barren and lifeless as well as run down.
 

passdoubt

Cyburbian
Messages
407
Points
13
cadman12 said:
DO NOT GO TO EAST ST LOUIS ALONE AND IF YOU ARE WHITE! I AM NOT A RACIST YET THERE ARE MANY THERE!!
If you are white? So if you're not white you get a free pass on being mugged? Please. I bet the vast majority of the victims of violent crime in ESL aren't white. Junkies and muggers usually don't discriminate.
 

JivecitySTL

Cyburbian
Messages
115
Points
6
My friend's father runs a chop suey joint in East St. Louis and I go there all the time. I am white (Jewish). I have never ever been the victim of any crime in East St. Louis. Some of you p*ssies need to grow up, you sound like babbling idiots. Stop whining you sissies, the black people aren't out to get you.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,704
Points
69
If I'm in a black neighborhood, I don't think that I'm going to be assaulted jsut because I'm white. Sure, there's a few that have a "kill whitey" mentality, but they're in a tiny minority.

There are factors in the built environment that influence how I feel about the ssafety of the area. Urban prairies, few pedestrians walking around in an urban environment, trash piles, abandoned buildings and many other things puts me on guard, no matter whether the neighborhood is white or black.

I did a lot of urban exploration in my college years, long bedfore it became cool, and there's not much that scares me; you learn to regognize trouble spots.

That being said, there's a few predominantly black neighborhoods where I would feel ncomfortable. Genesee-Moselee in Bufffalo is one place I stay away from, not because the population is racist, but because it's ground zero for the city's drug gangs; it's unsafe for ANYONE to be there unless they're very familiar with the area. I haven't explored East St. Louis extensively, but I'd feel very nervous there; I'm sure there are a few bright spots, but the deperation reflected in the built environment would give me a feeling of unease, regardles of who the people are behind the few remaining facades.

Ona somewhat related note, Jive - here's some Jewish people on Buffalo's East Side. :)



(It's the site of the first Buffalo Jewish Community Center on Jefferson Avenue.)
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
JivecitySTL said:
My friend's father runs a chop suey joint in East St. Louis and I go there all the time. I am white (Jewish). I have never ever been the victim of any crime in East St. Louis. Some of you p*ssies need to grow up, you sound like babbling idiots. Stop whining you sissies, the black people aren't out to get you.
Statistically, he's probably far more likely to be killed by some drunk while endlessly driving around the perfect suburban dream town. But, suburbanites discount the "violence" of 4,000 pounds of Excursion crushing them at 40 mph.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
I was scared before I went to Gary even though I've been in far more deterorated neighborhoods here in Chicago. I think there is a sense of the unknown that scares people. Now that I've experienced Gary and know that it's a very poor, very sad little town, but with no more goonies hiding around the corner than any other poor place (which is to say, not very many) I wouldn't think twice about going there.
 

megansteinman

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
Usage Request

To Whom It May Concern,

I am urgently trying to contact the photographer who took the image on this forum that includes the St. Louis Arch (from the East St. Louis perspective). Can you please call me at 323 871 5226.

Thanks, Megan
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
megansteinman said:
To Whom It May Concern,

I am urgently trying to contact the photographer who took the image on this forum that includes the St. Louis Arch (from the East St. Louis perspective). Can you please call me at 323 871 5226.

Thanks, Megan
You might try posting your request at urbanphoto. I believe XING still hangs out there.
 
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