The Thinking 

The Formerly White City of St. Louis

April 1, 2014


The Stix Baer and Fuller Department Store in St. Louis in 1959

The Stix Baer and Fuller Department Store in St. Louis in 1959

ALAN writes:

Speaking of savages:

One night last week, a thug fired eight to ten gunshots through a window of a house in south St. Louis.  An 11-year-old boy (black) was struck and killed, though he was not the intended victim.  The response by “The Law” and the “news media” was the standard mix of evasions, omissions, and ready-made phrases.

The context for that is this: That house is in an area that was occupied fifty years ago only by white men and families. I know, because I was there and walked through that area many times.  A miniature golf course was just down the street. I had cousins who lived a few blocks away. In 1962, I had friends who lived one block away.  They and I walked throughout that neighborhood that summer as we compared the merits of current hit songs by Pat Boone, Connie Francis, and Jimmy Dean. My boyhood doctor’s office was two blocks away.  The Little Sisters of the Poor were three blocks away and had been there since 1902.

Within a half-mile radius from that house were a bank, department store, two dime stores, a Rexall drugstore, a bakery, a flower shop, a Catholic hospital and a movie theatre. The Melba Theatre was named after the opera singer Nellie Melba.  It was in an attractive three-story building along with shops, offices, and apartments.  The theatre had uniformed ushers. In or about 1954, my father took me there to see the western movie “Shane.”  A 1955 magazine advertisement quoted the theatre’s manager as saying “We are very proud of the teen-agers who come here, because they act like ladies and gentlemen, and so we treat them that way.” 

That neighborhood was still as pleasant as could be on days when I walked along those streets thirty years ago.

All of that is gone now—and was replaced by this:

In 1995, a 76-year-old woman walking home from grocery shopping on a Saturday morning was assaulted in an alley just up the street from the house where the shooting took place last week.

In 1996, a bank three blocks away was robbed four times.

In 2000, a man was shot and killed on a supermarket parking lot three blocks away.

In 2002, four young black males robbed and threatened to kill a man outside his home one block away, even though he offered no resistance;  and a thug driving a stolen car at 70 plus miles per hour killed another motorist at an intersection two blocks away.

In 2003, traffic along a busy street was diverted because two robbers hiding in an apartment building in the same block as that house engaged in a five-hour standoff with police.

In 2005, a 48-year-old black male bit, beat, and slashed a white woman to death in her apartment three blocks away.  I was walking in that block one day that year at two o’clock in the afternoon when I overheard a young black male say to a young black female walking along the street, “Can’t I grab your booty?”

In 2005-’06, a bus shelter outside a bank one block away featured a colorful poster advertising a radio station that was “#1 in Hip-Hop and R & B” and depicting two menacing-looking young black males;  the sidewalk there was littered with glass fragments from a portion of the shelter that had been smashed;  and a wall behind the bank was defaced with the words “F—  Mob.”

In 2011, a 72-year-old Vietnamese man walking home with his wife after grocery shopping on a pleasant Saturday morning was viciously punched by a young black male in an alley three blocks away, and he died shortly afterward;  and a Rent-A-Center store three blocks away was robbed by people who drove a Jeep Cherokee through its plate glass window.

In 2012, a brick shattered a window at a Radio Shack store three blocks away;  and two young black males fired shots outside a 7 Eleven store across the street from there (it is now boarded-up).

In 2013, thieves drove a truck through a plate glass window of a beauty supply store catering to blacks, one block away.  A month later, they or others like them did a repeat performance by driving a van through its window.

Today, within a radius of three blocks from that house, there is a “Zozo Mart,” the “Mecca Hair Studio,” and at least eight stores offering nails, hair braiding, and beauty supplies.  There is also a “Baghdad Market” and an “Afghan Market” side by side.  It is one measure of a Cultural Revolution that if people who lived there in 1964 had seen any such markets in their neighborhood, they would have concluded they were living in an episode of television’s “The Outer Limits.”

The handsome Melba Theatre building has now stood vacant and boarded-up for more than ten years.

A bank had occupied an architectural gem of a building one block from the house where the shots were fired last week.  The bank had built it in 1927.  It featured a mosaic ceiling, marble staircase, gilded-metal-and-glass chandeliers, and a balcony with wrought-iron tables opposite glass-enclosed tellers’ cages.  A 1993 newspaper article quoted a bank vice-president as saying, “I hope any future management of the bank—say 50 years from now—continues to preserve its historical beauty.”  He was an optimist: The building is still there but the bank is now long gone.

The degradation by blacks of what once was a peaceful, civilized neighborhood is a law of nature as predictable as day following night.  In his article “To Chicago, With Love,” John Bartlow Martin wrote in 1960:  “Half a million Negroes live in a jungle of poverty and crime” in the “South Side’s Black Ghetto.”  [ Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 15, 1960, p. 19 ]

What he left unsaid was that the reason for that is that blacks will make a jungle out of any town, neighborhood, or city if they are permitted to do so.  I have seen them do this to five neighborhoods in St. Louis where my friends and I lived, played, and roamed at leisure when we were children more than fifty years ago and without ever any concern for our security.  Because of stupid white men and jungle savage blacks, I am now a stranger in those very neighborhoods in my own home town.

— Comments —

Sunshine Mary writes:

Alan’s story is very similar to the one my in-laws tell about growing up in Detroit, and not so different than my own story of growing up in Grand Rapids.  You might find my post from today interesting:

“My in-laws told me many times about the peaceful, charming neighborhoods where they grew up in Detroit, with everything anyone could need within walking distance.  Those neighborhoods, like Alan’s, are now full of violence, destruction, decay, and unbelievable filth. As I mentioned yesterday, my mother-in-law has often spoken fondly of shopping at Hudson’s Department Store in the 1940s and 1950s in downtown Detroit.”

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