Chris Naffziger at St. Louis Patina has a post today entitled “The Death of Central St. Louis.” It’s well worth reading; it looks at the stretch of the City of St. Louis between Interstates 64/40 and 44between Lafayette Square and Kingshighway. What few knew when they were built, we all know now: highways form barriers; highways divide.
In 2010, Tim Lee at Bottom-up had a similar post, “Freeways and the Decline of St. Louis.” It’s worth reading, too. (Note that the older posts are archived but Lee’s blog has moved to Forbes and is now called “Disruptive Economics.”)
It’s progress, it is, and
not all progress is bad but
the total cost is rarely calculated
in the configuration of concrete
and beams, pavement and bridges,
archways and signage and lamps
engineered and designed perfectly
but the other cost is there, nonetheless,
and usually identified long after, when
The Hill is split and Webster Groves
divided and neighborhoods
isolated and displaced so that schools
and factories and office buildings
become tombstones for what once was.
Once there was life in this moonscape.
Photograph: The construction of the connection of Interstates 44 and 55 in St. Louis. Photographer unknown. Source: Preservation Research Office.