Old North Saint Louis is a neighborhood of distinction that is experiencing a rebirth. From arts advocacy groups, to restauranteurs and building developers, to a committed and close-knit community, Old North Saint Louis continues work to reclaim its former glory.
Old North began as the village of North Saint Louis in 1816. It’s designers had ambitions to build a city that would rival in greatness the one directly to their south, the inland port of St. Louis. For many years, the dream flourished, and Old North Saint Louis prospered. Even after the city’s annexation of Old North in 1841, the neighborhood continued to draw many new residents with opportunities in shipping and manufacturing. However, in the 20th century, the area was dealt a series of crushing blows; from the dismantling of the streetcar system, to the construction of Interstate 70 (which cut the neighborhood off from the river), to a failed pedestrian mall, Old North suffered great declines, and the previous greatness was eventually difficult to see. Despite this, the area maintained loyalists and long-time residents who banded with dedicated outsiders to impart the dramatic changes now occurring.
Given that Old North Saint Louis is almost 200 years old, it is no surprise that its original planners had great flexibility for how to lay out the street grid. Unique names exist, which honor original residents, and there are many landmark buildings (there are three, separate National Historic Districts in Old North). Probably the most unique surviving features are the three, circular city-blocks near the neighborhood’s eastern border with I-70. These three plots are known as Clinton Place, Jackson Park, and Marion Place. Collectively, this municipal district was meant to represent mind, body and spirit, with one of the circles housing a school, another a park, and the last, a place of worship. Native American ceremonial mounds (those which contributed to St. Louis’ nickname of “Mound City”) were removed from these three blocks, and tales of indians still buried there prevail.
This Flood in Old North St. Louis marked our six-month anniversary of Photo Flood Saint Louis, so we really wanted to head somewhere special after shooting. What better place for our end point then than Crown Candy Kitchen? Makers of specialty chocolates, candies and milkshakes galore for 100 years, this north side soda fountain deserves every bit of its popular reputation. We even had a Flooder with the guts to tackle their massive Heart-Stopping BLT, a nominee for Alan Richman’s “Best Sandwich in America”.