Gaslight Square was a popular arts and entertainment district in the St. Louis Central West End neighborhood whose heyday ran from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s. It was a three-block area near the intersection of Olive and Boyle, a mile or so north of what’s now the Cortex District. Today, suburban-style housing stands where the clubs and shops once stood. One business with a Gaslight Square connection remains, operating nearly three miles away.
Gaslight Square was a phenomenon, a widely cited example of urban redevelopment, born of a tornado, and extinguished by a highly publicized murder. Despite its best efforts, St. Louis has never replicated it.
Homer G. Phillips hospital in St. Louis was a public hospital owned and operated by the city of St. Louis from 1937 to 1979. Between 1937 and 1955, when its hospitals were segregated, it was the only hospital for Blacks in St. Louis. It holds the distinction of being the first teaching hospital to serve Blacks west of the Mississippi River.
Homer G. Phillips hospital was named for a prominent lawyer who recognized the inadequacy of the existing Black hospital in St. Louis and led a campaign for a larger facility. It had 685 beds, stands at 2601 N. Whittier Street, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was largely vacant for 23 years but reopened as senior living apartments in 2003.
In St. Louis there isn’t a wrong side of the tracks so much as there’s a wrong side of Delmar. Delmar is an east-west drag in north-central St. Louis that separates the haves and have-nots, very visibly. The protests in St. Louis in 2020 brought this out very visibly, if unintentionally.
Charter Communications is the second largest cable operator in the United States. The history of Charter Communications includes early financial struggles before emerging in recent years as the second largest company of its kind. Here’s a look back at its history.
Is St Louis dangerous? It’s a little more dangerous than places most people consider safe. But the dangers of St. Louis are at least slightly overblown, and they are certainly manageable.
St Louis crime rates are often reported in ways to make them sound larger than the actual risk. But beyond that, the rule in St Louis is that if you don’t go looking for trouble, trouble probably won’t find you.
The Welsh Baby Carriage Company, and its eponymous five-story factory, is a prominent landmark along I-55 in St. Louis. The Welsh Baby Carriage Factory on the south side of downtown no longer bears the company’s name. But the building survives as the Soulard Market Apartments.
A discussion with a couple of people who went to the same high school I did brought up a few dark topics from that era. One of them mentioned a place called “Charter.” I asked him if he meant Charter Hospital and/or Charter Behavioral Health.
He said yes. He didn’t know much else about it. It turns out the company still exists, though not under the same name and not under the same line of business. The Charter name and business model disappeared in 2000, even though the company who owned it still survives today.
For St. Louisans of a certain age, Stan Musial was almost as famous for his restaurant as he was for what he could do with a baseball bat. Musial and his business partner, Julius “Biggie” Garagnani operated a steakhouse near Musial’s residence. In 1949 he sold a half share to Musial and they renamed it Stan Musial and Biggie’s.
Stan Musial had a storied career in St. Louis. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and spent his whole career with the Cardinals. In 1947 he even played with a failing appendix. He lived a very public life both during and after his baseball career. His various businesses contributed to that public life, but they also made him wealthy.
I’ve driven past the old building dozens of times. An old German-style restaurant building still stands at 3016 Arsenal, with a faded sign across the street that reads, “Bavarian Inn. Free Parking. Customers only.” Here’s what little I can find on the story of the Bavarian Inn, St. Louis.
Old timers in St. Louis and Kansas City talk sometimes about Velvet Freeze, a St. Louis-based chain of ice cream stores. One Velvet Freeze ice cream store remains in the north St. Louis suburb of Jennings, and a few other reminders of the chain remain around St. Louis and Kansas City, but it’s mostly a memory now. Here’s a look back at Velvet Freeze history.