North St. Louis, 1908

From Housing Conditions in St. Louis by the Civic League of St. Louis (1908). The book was published with the intent of illuminating the extremely unsanitary and unsafe conditions of the homes and tenements from 7th to 14th and from Washington Avenue to O'Fallon Street. The area today has been almost totally cleared; in its place is the convention center, a host of parking facilities, and, perhaps not coincidentally, public housing projects.

The photograph above depicts the view of "minimum light and air space between front and rear tenements on North 11th Street." This was the view of an alleyway, as it once looked. Below is a photograph of the yard area between tenements that faced Morgan and Linden streets.

Below, another photograph, this time of three "yard toilets" located on Morgan Street that served the needs of some eighty persons. The Civic League was primarily concerned with rehabilitation and sanitation for the depressed area north of downtown.

Finally, a series of wood-frame homes on Morgan Street, likely dating to the early 19th century, which the Civic League labeled as "A house on Morgan Street. No law by which it can be torn down. The shed is occupied."

The book is highly recommended for those who might think that the bygone era of St. Louis was one of only towering office buildings and glittering civic jewels. Like virtually every other metropolis of its age, St. Louis was a gathering place for the world's tired, hungry and poor. Here is a direct link for the book:

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