Central West End is a St. Louis MetroLink Station, located in the Central West End at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Children's Place. This station services the Washington University Medical Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital, and St. Louis University High (by crossing the pedestrian bridge that spans the highway). Bus connections at this station are located in the new Central West End Metrobus Center, adjacent to the platform and is accessible via lighted walkway at the east end of the platform. The MetroBus Center is located on the ground level of the Barnes-Jewish staff parking garage. All bus routes that serve the Central West End Transit Center, which is accessible on a lighted path from the east end of the platform. This is the most traveled station in the St. Louis Metrolink system.
How about the location? CWE has direct proximity to Forest Park, easy access to I-64, the previously mentioned Metrolink/MetroBus access, a world-class hospital complex, multiple independent and chain restaurants, independent shopping/galleries, bars, mixed architecture, civilized movie theatre, public library branch, walkable streets, mid-century mod buildings, history, economic/racial/ethnic diversity, you name it....CWE has it all. It's the perfect neighborhood for a date night, a must-stop on visitor tours of St. Louis and a great spot for lunch/dinner or a snack before heading to Downtown, Forest Park or many of the other nearby draws of Grand Center, Midtown Alley, etc. The presence of Barnes/Jewish, Children's Hospital and Washington University Medical School also make this a powerhouse employment area.
Secondly, this neighborhood is abuzz with pedestrians and street activity. It's a great place to people watch. No other neighborhood in St. Louis can match the big city feel. Downtown is coming close, so is Downtown West. But for now, I'm of the opinion that you can't top the CWE for the true "big city" experience. And in a town of only ~320,000 people, I think you'll be quite impressed.
This is one of those neighborhoods that you could take scads of photos on each and every block. There's so much beauty, architecture and charm here, it's overwhelming. As a result, I'm going to break this neighborhood into three parts as it's huge in overall area.
The first will be the westernmost chunk between Lindell, Kingshighway, Delmar and Union.
This part of the neighborhood is largely residential. Some of the biggest and most beautiful mansions in the entire city are here. One of the most scenic stretches of east-west road runs right along the northern edge of Forest Park on Lindell Boulevard. Old growth trees and landscaped mansions line the northern edge of Lindell from Kingshighway to Union, and the best urban park in the nation lines the southern edge of Lindell. Most of these streets in and out of Lindell in the CWE are clearly marked as private with no trespassing. Sadly, on my visit today, it was being enforced; so you won't see many pictures of these stately homes on private streets. Here are a few examples of the homes lining Lindell:
DeBaliviere Place neighborhood line the western edge of Union. The eastern side has some awesome apartments and homes as well. The streets of CWE are largely lined with old growth trees providing shade, color and life to its streets, thus making photography a challenge, so I'll apologize for some rough shots. Union Boulevard:
Third Degree Glass Factory which occupies some very cool buildings:
For example, the New City School has renovated a classic former school building that is built right into the fabric of the neighborhood and has anchored a part of the neighborhood that at one point was completely neglected and falling apart. Now it's a true site to behold with lots of current upgrades underway as of my visit. This school was started by CWE residents back in the late 60s/early 70s:
In 1971, the School’s founders purchased our “friendly castle” at the corner of Waterman and Lake Avenues. The building, built to house Mary Institute in 1901 and later serving as Lutheran High School, had been sitting vacant for years. Again, New City School served as an important anchor in the Central West End with the purchase and incremental renovation of this landmark building.(source)This is one handsome educational setting:
One of my favorite scenes in the entire city is from the Steinberg Ice-rink in Forest Park. If you turn around to face the CWE to the east on a chilly winter night you'll be provided a view of the city lights and skyline of the CWE. That leads us to the second chunk of neighborhood which is the northern part between Lindell, Kingshighway, Delmar and Vandeventer.
This is the CWE that I think most people in the region identify with as it has most of the restaurants, entertainment and easily recognizable institutions.
The Chase Park Plaza is a familiar place for most St. Louisans at Lindell and Kingshighway:
Wrestling at the Chase, The Miss America Pageant, performances by the Rat Pack, Bob Hope and many others. I remember Wrestling at the Chase broadcast on Sunday mornings on KPLR-11. For those who are old enough to remember, I give you this flashback:
I found this tasty photo here
The Chase is still a swanky hotel among other things, with bars, restaurants, a multi-screen movie theater, etc. It's a St. Louis classic.
The building that sits directly east is being renovated as luxury apartments and has been re-branded as the York House. This used to house the amazingly unique KPLR Channel 11 TV station. The station still exists, but left St. Louis and moved to programming as bland as its suburban location. Here's to new life for a historic place!
San Luis Apartments (former DeVille Motor Hotel)...now a (take a guess) surface parking lot. A dedicated group of concerned citizens spoke out and protested over the planned demo of this building and the church's lust for more surface parking. They lost out to the powers that be, and now you have a cheap looking dead zone/parking lot in one the most high profile streets in the city.
Cathedral Basilica is a work of art. It took nearly 80 years to complete. Ground breaking was on May 1st, 1907 and the final touches were done in 1988:
Rosati-Kain, a private all girls high school has been at Lindell and Newstead since 1922:
Bowood Farms is among the first to invest in the transformation of this part of Olive. Here's what it looks like:
The western edge of Olive ends at Washington Blvd. with these angled homes and the Samuel Kennedy pocket park.
Gaslight Square. This was the hub of St. Louis entertainment and cool from the 1950's through the 1960's. All that's left are a couple signs commemorating the era. There's a lot of good info here, take a look:
Yet, the streets in this part of the neighborhood are lined with beautiful trees and the new homes look pretty nice.
But we lost a lot of our heritage, history and cool with Gaslight Square. VanishingSTL did a fantastic 2 part series on Gaslight Square. Read here and here. And there is an impressive photo gallery here. Here are some shots of what used to be.
Moving on to Delmar, there are a lot of cool old buildings, mostly vacant and a lot of open space due to demos:
Some opportunities for great spaces and infill exist within the residential areas:
In many respects, this is the working part of the Central West End, with the huge hospital complex, the Central Institute for the Deaf, Resale Row (Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul, Salvation Army outlets, etc on Forest Park Blvd.), light industry/distribution, research and development incubators, world class biotech firms and a successful magnet school (Stix Early Childhood Development).
Barnes-Jewish, Children's, Washington University Medical School: