As you can see I-55 butchered Carondelet and divided it in two. It's a rough cut that makes access nearly impossible by foot/bike. It's a sad part of Carondelet's long history.
the Patch as Carondelet anyhow, and it's branded as such, so why not just merge them? The charming area around the Ivory Theatre which includes several cafes and bars has a big "City of Carondelet" painting in the middle of the road. Here's some more on the history of Carondelet (source):
An act of the State Legislature on March 1, 1851, authorized the incorporation of the City of Carondelet. It was divided into three wards and authorized election of a mayor and two councilmen from each ward. In 1862, the city offices were moved to Lafayette Hall at the southeast corner of Broadway and Loughborough. This landmark, later converted to commercial uses, was destroyed by fire in 1949. During the late 1860's, the city began to attract many industries and prospered after opening of the Iron Mountain Railroad from St. Louis.
The political complexion of Carondelet changed during the Civil War. Older inhabitants were generally Democrats, whereas the more recently arrived Germans were Republican and Northern sympathizers. At the 1859 city election only two Democrats were elected, all other offices going to the Republicans, who dominated the city's life for many years. Henry T. Blow remained the leader of the pro-Union people during the war years. Southern sympathizers rallied to join the Confederate Army under Captain John S. Bowen, who, as a general, died of complications from the effects of the siege of Vicksburg.This part of town is brimming with potential. Particularly, the stretch of Broadway that goes through Carondelet and the Patch could be one of THE premier city streets in all of America. It reminds me of New Orleans or Charleston, South Carolina. It feels like the South, which is odd because Carondelet played an important role in aiding the Union Army in the Civil War. There are many bars and restaurants including Slo-Toms Lounge made semi-famous by the legendary local band the Bottle Rockets:
A special census in 1865 reported the population of Carondelet to be 4,534. Native Americans comprised 3/8 of the total, while Irish and Germans comprised 1/4 each and French and Creoles were the remaining 1/8. On the first Tuesday in April, 1870, by act of the legislature, Carondelet was annexed to the City of St. Louis, amid much bitterness among Carondelet residents who had no voice in the precedings.
Until 1900, Carondelet continued to be a pleasant place to live, having enjoyed the extension of city services after the 1870 merger with St. Louis. With the advent of the twentieth century, a gradual decline began in the area to the extent that considerable rehabilitation is now necessary, especially in the older portions of Carondelet.
Carondelet's topography is on a bluff, which then slopes down toward the river right around Michigan Avenue. There are some amazing structures in this part of the hood, espicially on Michigan and Minnesota. For instance, the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph who have an amazing history dating back to 1836...from Carondelet many institutions had their start and continue their good works to the present day. St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf, St. Joseph’s Academy, Fontbonne College, now Fontbonne University, all began in the convent at Carondelet. Check this 175 year old beauty out:
During the renovations, construction crews will add a new entrance, an elevator and ADA-compliant bathrooms, and the parking lot will be expanded. The mural will be cleaned and restored, and the library plans to update its computers and its collections of books, magazines and DVDs. (source)Hopefully the orininal ceiling will be re-exposed. Of course in St. Louis, progress always seems to come in the 2 steps forward, 1 step back nature. A beautiful brick building directly south of the library was demolished to make way for a parking lot. My family has never had a problem parking on the street to access this place....never. But, I realize the ADA component and other factors require parking, etc to improve access. So it goes.
Carondelet Historical Society is housed in the former Des Peres School building which was the site of the first public Kindergarten in the United States founded by one of my favorite St. Louisans: Susan Elizabeth Blow.
Then you have Woodward on Bates, well, the sign is on Bates; but the front faces Bellerive. This one was completed in 1921.
Carondelet's first school for blacks was also built in 1873, in response to a state law reguiring segregated schools. This was Public School No. 6 at Virginia Avenue and Bowen Street which was later named for Martin R. Delaney, a Negro physician and publisher. The old school was razed in 1911, and was replaced by a new Delaney School, which was renamed Maddox in 1952. From 1940 to 1952 it was named the Virginia Avenue School (for White Children.) source
Iron Barley. I love the atmosphere here and the food and live music and bar. Fred's Six Feet Under is a major contributor to Carondelet soul as well.
Carondelet city recreation complex run by the YMCA. This is a fantastic place, and a clear asset to the neighborhood. This photo of the rec plex is not meant to show you what the place looks like, but to make note of the fact that the Loughborough bridge widening currently underway utilized the old iron railways from the previous bridge...kudos Carondelet:
The severe southern end of Carondelet is the most industrial part of the neighborhood, right by a huge automotive junk yard and the massive phosphates and phosphoric acid plant. The industrial plant has a long history (source):
Throughout the 1800’s, until the 1920’s, the flood plains adjacent to the River des Peres were used for farming. This activity was gradually abandoned in the early 1920’s because of persistent flooding and the flood plains were then used for trash disposal by the City of St. Louis.The site was industrialized dating back to 1840 when it operated as a lead smelter, refining metal for lead shot. It helped supply munitions for the Union Army during the Civil War. Iron smelters were also in the area when the Iron Railroad came through. During the Civil War, the Carondelet Shipyard manufactured 32 ironclad gunships for the Union Army. From 1870-1930, the site was operated by the Hertz Metal Company still as a lead smelter and they made bailing wire. Monsanto took over in 1935 and ran the site for years focusing in on phosphates and phosphoric acid by products. The site is still used for this application, but Monsanto divested its raw chemicals business as Solution Inc. back in 1997. In 2000 Astaris took over and most recently Israel Chemical LTD has been running the plant since 2005. Surely many have seen this plant from I-55.
First of all, I damn near crashed my scooter into a car on my approach as I gazed at this one-of-a-kind home. I just stopped and wondered how this came to be. Is that a MCM addition on a 1930's St. Louis gingerbread? No, is that 1950's era new construction? Hmmm. I was parked on the sidewalk trying to photograph this place when a kind neighbor waved me over to give me the history of the block. People in this town love talking about their neighborhoods. I have some awesome stories of prideful and amazing people from Lewis Place to the Patch who have entertained and enlightened me with their oral history lessons of this town. I'm grateful for the chance to hear their stories and usually I respectfully leave them out as its sometimes quite personal. But this story really intrigued me so bear with me on this long winded background. The home was intended to be a 2-story dream home of a rather wealthy son of a man who owned a successful cleaning company in St. Louis and lived 2 doors west of this property. This son and his new young bride had dreams of making this a unique home that would display their wealth and sense of style. Sadly, the young couple who were aviation hobbiests, crashed their small airplane in the Florida Everglades and were killed. The home was never finished to it's intended glory, but boy does it stand out. In all my travels, I've never seen one like this. It get's better though. Whenever the husband would return from his long day of work, his bride would could be seen looking out the window and pointing to the clock as to indicate that he's late (or on time, I don't specifically remember which). It was her ritual to greet her hubby. Neighbors and other owners of the home have claimed to have seen her image pointing toward the location where the clock was once hung. The place is haunted and her spirit is told to have lived on in the place of their dreams. I am a sucker for stories like this and I was glad my acquaintance across the street relayed the story amid the 101 degree heat of a sweltering South City day in July.
Carondelet is a great neigborhood adding to St. Louis' history and story.