The Hyde Park neighborhood takes it's name from Hyde Park in London, England; but it was settled by Germans and referred to as Bremen. It is a Nationally Registered Historic District. The neighborhood website is of little value and most of the links are dead. There is also one glaring inaccuracy regarding the water towers:
This area is also the hub of several historic landmarks, including the Grand and Bissell Point Water Towers and the twin towers of the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church.Yes the twin steeples of the Most Holy Trinity church are in the neighborhood, but the Grand and Bissel towers are actually in the College Hill neighborhood. You can see the stately water stands from many parts of Hyde Park though:
There are small, yet noticeable rehabs and infrastructural upgrades that make me hopeful for the future. The bones of a the great neighborhoods are still here. But, the breakneck pace at which these neighborhoods emptied out is staggering. I think what I'm trying to convey is that, yes these places are depressing in their current state...and you may feel that way after looking at the pictures. But it's invigorating as well. This is not one of the scary (as in getting a nonsensical verbal drubbing or at worse fear of getting rolled) neighborhoods of St. Louis. The overwhelming sentiment that I have when I see College Hill, Hyde Park, the Ville, Fountain Park and others is that we've hit rock bottom as a city. We can only go up. But the boarded up and falling structures are still the prominent scene on the backdrop of current day Hyde Park. But, but, it's a worthy and important neighborhood. A key to our history and past that simply must be saved for future generations to enjoy and appreciate and consider as a place one would DESIRE to live.
Salisbury Street is a good example of how Hyde Park may be on the rise. There are some infrastructural upgrades right along the park including new sidewalks and street lamps. There is even a tastefully renovated storefront that houses a handsome little restaurant/cafe called Cornerstone Cafe.
Photo from Built St. Louis
But a fire on July 4, 2006 (guess how that happened) pretty much destroyed the building. Of course it still sits in the same condition as it did after the fire:
At one point you can tell that Hyde Park was a fully self-sustained neighborhood with residential and store fronts standing side by side with industry. The former Krey Meat Packing plant is a reminder of such and is quite a sight to behold in it's day. It must have made for some pretty interesting sounds and smells for the people living around it. It's now home to an auto salvage place (note the pile of transmissions in the next photo):
There is one remaining connection to the ways of the glory days of the neighborhood: Piekutowski's Sausage shop located at 4100 N. Florrisant Ave right at Angelica Street. This place is worth checking out because of a delicious Polish smoked sausage called Krakow. This stuff is dynamite and the storefront is a throw back to the neighborhood stores of old. Here's what it looks like today:
There is now a bust of the Pope behind the counter. I believe the store keeper told me that they've been in Hyde Park for 70 years, and they were at Cass/10th before that.
A neighborhood fixture for many years was the Hyde Park Brewery, which was founded in 1876 and was sold to the St. Louis Brewing Association in 1889. The plant at 3607 North Florissant was a major unit in the Association until prohibition. After repeal in 1933, the plant was acquired by independent operators, who sold it in 1948 to the Griesedieck-Western Brewery Company of Belleville, Illinois. That firm became a unit of the Carling Company in 1953, who produced Hyde Park beer at the North Florissant plant until 1958. Source
Modern Brewery Age magazine christened the Hyde Park brewery of St. Louis the "first brewery to sponsor a televised program anywhere." It was February 1947, and St. Louis was launching its inaugural television broadcast, consisting of a man-on-the-street interviewer talking to local residents. Hyde Park's early commercials--perhaps history's first prerecorded beer spots--featured "Albert, The Stick Man," an animated cartoon character with a knack for finding trouble. Whatever Albert's dilemma, a bottle of Hyde Park Beer always brought relief. Source
But there are some ghost signs that serve as reminders of the old days when this was a thriving area:
Soulard, LaSalle or Benton Park. Here are some of my favs:
The flounder, sometimes called a half-flounder, is a house type which appears to be unique to St. Louis. The flounder is a narrow house, usually two or two and a half stories tall, and one or two bays wide. Entry was most often from the side elevation, which sometimes had a two-story gallery. Since these houses were exclusively working class homes, decoration was limited, confined to segmental arched windows and perhaps a corbelled cornice. Flounder houses were especially appropriate for dense neighborhoods, where space was at a premium. They were often constructed as alley buildings, sharing a lot with as many as two larger tenement buildings. Flounder houses can be found in the City's oldest neighborhoods, Old North St. Louis, Hyde Park and Soulard.SourceMany are boarded up and awaiting rehab:
Much of the new housing that exists clearly won't hold up to the test of time as the originals have. This suburban crap makes me irate and is such a quick, short sighted, unsustainable detraction from what could be a neighborhood on the rise:
NorthSide project touches on parts of Hyde Park and here's some commentary for owner/developer Paul McKee (Thanks McKee, Legacy by McEagle, etc.):
All right, enough of my rant.
There are other stately buildings worth noting including the beautiful Most Holy Trinity Catholic church and school on Mallinkrodt with it's twin spires visible from I-70. This appears to be an anchor of sorts in the community and the are immediately surrounding the church is simply beautiful:
Oldest of the public schools in the Hyde Park area is the Henry Clay School, now located at 3820 North Fourteenth Street. Originally it was started in a three story brick building at the southwest corner of Bellefontaine Road (Eleventh Street) and Farrar Street in 1859. This school contained twelve rooms with a capacity of 940 students. The present Clay School, designed by William B. Ittner on a large H-shaped academic plan, was completed in 1905. The Library Service Center of the Board of Education is now on the site of the old Clay School. The Center was designed by Mariner and LaBeaume in 1909 as the Divoll Branch of the Public Library and was so used until about 1965. It was pilastered brick walls on a granite foundation with a richly developed stone trim. Source
Hyde Park is a classic example of St. Louis beauty and neglect. If I were in charge or had any kind of say, $ or power...this would be top 5 priority for the city to turn this neighborhood around and get more people living here. I imagine and day dream about an active and thriving community as I drive through it today. However, I don't think I'll see that in my lifetime.