Caption: An aerial view of the St. Louis riverfront taken in 1933, when local leaders began discussing a major urban-renewal project to honor President Thomas Jefferson with a riverfront memorial. Local lawyer Luther Ely Smith suggested clearing a wide swath of the old riverfront commercial area for the memorial. After talks with Mayor Bernard F. Dickmann and federal officials, who were interested in the idea as a Depression-era job creator, Smith and others incorporated the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association. Planning soon fixed upon the area bounded by the Mississippi River, the Eads Bridge and Washington Avenue (bottom of photo), Third Street and Poplar Street (a few blocks north of the MacArthur Bridge, then the Municipal Bridge, near the center of photo). It also would include the city's Old Courthouse. Beginning in 1939, the city would demolish 486 buildings, sparing only the courthouse, the Old Cathedral and Manuel Lisa's Rock House at Chestnut and Wharf (now Leonor K. Sullivan) streets. By the 1930s, many of the buildings and warehouses along the riverfront were vacant or underused, and many had deteriorated. Condemnation officials reported that 179 were vacant, 131 partially occupied and only 176 fully occupied. But the area also included a few gems, such as the Old Customs House at 218 North Third Street. All was swept away, something probably unthinkable today. (Post-Dispatch)
Album ID: 1092643
Photo ID: 31999522
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