PHOTO FLOOD SAINT LOUIS

A surge of images along the banks of the Big Muddy.


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Mini-Flood 24: Compton Hill Reservoir Park

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

The story of water distribution in St. Louis is a marvelous tale of engineering might combined with a fast-rising city’s Victorian sensibilities. The first water delivery operation was a privately held company that went into business amid the first major influx of German and Irish immigrants in the 1830’s. However, by the end of that decade, the city had become sole owner of its waterworks. It had also inherited a major health problem with subsequent outbreaks of Cholera, which were to become the worst per capita of any city in America. Thereby, water treatment was not only needed, it was necessary.

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photograph by Kristi Foster Photography

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Photo Flood 23: Fairground Park

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photograph by Anne Warfield

Historic Fairground Park was purchased by the city in 1908 from a private entity which had hosted an annual agricultural fair on the land since the mid-1800’s. The Agricultural and Mechanical Fair, as it was known, drew huge crowds from all over the country, but was suspended during planning for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 , and never reinstated. The Park is notable for several features, namely as the site of the city’s first zoo (a facade for the bear pits is still visible) and first municipal pool. Unfortunately, Fairground Park was also ground zero for the race riot of 1949 that stemmed from the desegregation of public pools. Racial tension is still a point of contention for the park as evidenced in recent news events. Still, Fairground Park is a beautiful natural respite on the city’s north side that offers many opportunities for recreation.

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photograph by Scott Jackson

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Mini-Flood 23: Soulard Farmers Market

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photograph by Ann Aurbach

Established in 1779, Soulard Farmers Market claims to be the oldest continuous farmers market in the United States. Replacing a building destroyed by the Great Tornado in 1896, the current structure was erected in 1929 and emulates the Foundling Hospital in Florence, Italy (designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1419). Today, the Market remains a hive of activity with vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to elk jerky and custom spices.

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photograph by Kristi Foster Photography

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Photo Flood 22: Clayton

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photograph by Michelle Williams

Clayton, the administrative and economic center of St. Louis County, shares a relationship with St. Louis that is both symbiotic and affronting. In 1876, residents of the city grew tired of seeing their tax contributions distributed to what was then a small population spread across a vast area; reasoning that the city would be unlikely to ever grow beyond its current border, legislation was drafted that would formally separate the city, and its 300,000+ residents, from the county, with its measly 20,000+. If the situation had remained forever as it was then, this move would have made sense, especially since the much larger city required exponentially more funds to extend services to its residents. However, not long after the split was made final (a move known as The Great Divorce), St. Louis was already pressing against its boundaries, which did not prevent growth from occurring outside of them, and in fact, exacerbated new development within the city limits. In the long history of St. Louis, no decision had more deleterious an effect on the stability of the municipality than deciding to form an independent city, seceded from St. Louis County.

Still, one might feel compelled to ask, were there any benefits to the Divorce? The answer is yes, for Clayton.

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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Mini-Flood 22: Urban Chestnut Brewery

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photograph by Theresa Harter

Committed to sustainability practices and supporting the local business community, Urban Chestnut Brewery is the city’s largest, locally-owned brewery. Their recently opened brew plant and bierhall, on Manchester, is an expansive, state-of-the-art facility that does a lot to rekindle St. Louis’ past label as a beer-brewing mecca. Oh, and have you tried the beer? It’s amazing!

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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Photo Flood 21: Bevo Mill

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photograph by Jason Gray

Bevo Mill is a south St. Louis neighborhood punctuated by the independent character of its many waves of inhabitants. Nearby where they intersect, a thriving commercial and dining district exists along the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares of Delor, Morganford and Gravois. Here, the health of the area is less related to gentrification than it is to a shear sense of pride and community (a welcome trait that generations of immigrants have imprinted on Bevo Mill).

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photograph by Jason Gray

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Mini-Flood 21: Goldenrod Showboat

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photograph by Diane Cannon Piwowarczyk

Built in 1909, the Goldenrod Showboat (designated a US National Landmark) is one of only two extant showboats from the era of its origin. The Goldenrod was the last showboat to operate on the Mississippi River, and afterward was moored to the levee downtown for several decades as a destination for live theater and ragtime music. Since, the ship has fallen into disrepair, but a group of dedicated preservationists are now raising funds for its revival and eventual return to the St. Louis Riverfront.

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photograph by Ann Aurbach

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