The Carr Square neighborhood is located in north St. Louis. It is south of Cass, north of Cole, east of Jefferson and west of Tucker/N. 13th Street:
Carr Square had a 19% decline in residents from 1990-2000. 98% of its 2,339 residents are black, 1% white and 1% Hispanic/Latino. There is no website for this neighborhood on the city neighborhood page.
Carr Square's 1,327 housing units are 74% occupied, 99% rented and 1% owned. Can that be right? The numbers suggest a lot of apartments and condos and no owner occupied properties. But, the stats don't lie. Good news is the 2010 densus data indicated a gain of nearly 16%! No racial shifts occurred, census counts stated it is still 98% black.
This is one of those parts of town that has seen such massive disinvestment and lack of care and respect from it's inhabitants and leaders, that it is basically a wasteland. There are huge swaths of unused land, mainly the north west corner where Pruit-Igoe used to be, that are just jungles of weeds.
There are so few reminders of St. Louis' history here, it's disturbing. It's been leveled. It's been filled in with some good intentions, but unsustainable rental/subsidized housing that attracts very little growth potential, nor historic meaning or urban context.
Carr School being one of them. Please click on the link to see some amazing photography from Built St. Louis. Here's what is looks like today:
I was recently on the roof at the City Museum and rode a ferris wheel where the cars face north toward CS; if they were pointed east or south, you would get sweeping views of Downtown and Down Town West giving you an idea of how great the city still is. But the aerial view of Carr Square helps prove my point that this area is a low density, urban wasteland with some low rise subsidized rental apartments, condos and not much else.
But the weird thing is, I had one of the best north city experiences yet in my visit to Carr Square. Firstly, my 3 year old and wife were with me today. We stopped into Kram Fish on Biddle Street to check out the retail side of the business that's been around since 1904. This place is a simple fish stand with buffalo, cat, carp, etc. They also have some frozen fish and shrimp, but no salt water fish. Nonetheless, it's a cool little place with soul.
Secondly, we knew we had to get some solid photos of St. Stanislaus Kostka. If you haven't heard of this parish, you should do some reading on the history. In short, this proud Polish-American Catholic church founded in 1847 has been fighting to retain their heritage and financial anonymity from the larger St. Louis Arch Diocese. The Catholic Arch Diocese tried to take over the finances of this church and close them down. The church has raised it's own money over the years through generous contributions of parishioners, corporations and other notables such as baseball great Stan Musial.
My wife came back to the car and told me that these fellas asked her if she wanted a personal tour of the inside. Sure. So we were lead on an insider showing and telling of the history of many pieces inside the church.
We also got some good anecdotal stories on Pruitt Igoe and it's effect on bringing down Carr Square. But the church has remained. One interesting tidbit we mined was that the tenants of PI would shoot holes in the roof of the church. Kudos for St. Stans for not packing it up and shutting down. They took a stand, waited out the worst of times, and now have a strong parish and church once again.
Anyhow, here are some photos of the inside of the church: