This project is no longer active. All submitted place stories have been archived below.
Clara Candy is a place that has changed for the better in recent years because the owners renovated an abandoned building and established a store where people can buy daily provisions. D'vion Harris chose Wells Goodfellow as the neighborhood in which to buy his first house. Although the house was purchased in 2016, he has spent a great deal of time in the neighborhood since 2001. He is the landscaper for the Fresh Coast Tree Farm. Recorded on July 22, 2016
Joyce P talks about the trees on her street and notes that many other parts of the street do not have sufficient trees to give people shade on hot days. Joyce P is a pre-school teacher who has lived in Wells Goodfellow since the 1990s. Recorded on August 20th 2016
Rick remembers being a young man and walking past the coffee factory every day. The smell of the coffee grounds reminded him of his father having his coffee before work in the morning, and that memory evoked a strong sense of connection to the building. Rick believes that places that are so strongly tied to memories need to be protected because familiar things can inspire people to work hard to improve their community. Rick has lived in the neighborhood since about 2005.
Robin explains that the coffee house evokes a sense of safety and community. The first time they came in, Robin’s daughter realized she had left her lunch for camp at home. Robin describes how the atmosphere of the coffee house made her comfortable enough to leave her eleven year old daughter there while she ran home to grab her lunch. Robin has lived in St. Louis since 1999, but has only been in Shaw for part of 2015. She chose to come here because she has friends in the neighborhood and because of its convenient location. She specifically picked Shaw because of its sense of community.
In this video, Mr. Lancaster describes the Comet Theater, and how its closing represents change in the neighborhood.
John Lancaster is general manager of Progressive Emporium shop on Sarah Ave.
Interview conducted October 2018.
Aberha cites the community garden as a beautiful place. People can come to the garden to exchange ideas or gardening tips, or get to know their neighbors. Aberha moved to Botanical Heights in the 1980s due to the affordable housing and the proximity to both his workplace and his siblings.
Brittany explains that the community garden provides the community with fresh, locally grown produce. Brittany just recently moved to the St. Louis area.
The community garden may not look like much, but Jametta explains that it is a hub for people in the community. It promotes creativity and it improves the appearance of the area. Jametta has lived in Botanical Heights since 2012 and believes the neighborhood is thriving.
The community garden is a gathering place for people throughout the neighborhood, and provides them with a chance to work together. The area also hosts parties about once a month, supplying more opportunities for the residents of the neighborhood to come together. Patrick has lived in Botanical Heights since 1979.
Robert explains that the community garden provides the neighborhood with a space to grow their own crops. It also promotes a sense of community as people share what they grow as well as gardening tips. It provides a nice place to walk or for children to play.
The community garden provides a green space among all the concrete and brick buildings. It inspires to community to work together to protect the environment. Rick has lived in the neighborhood since about 2005.
Community Gardens are beneficial to the neighborhood because they are pleasing to look at, they bring neighbors together, and they deter unlawful behavior. Douglas H has lived in Wells Goodfellow since the early 1960s, when he moved from Mississippi with his family. Recorded on July 23, 2016
Robert discusses the community garden which is a joint operation of Washington University and Our Lady of the Holy Cross. He appreciates the space it brings to grow food and flowers for the neighborhood as well as the committment not only on the part of neighbors but those from the University to keeping the garden a place of energy in the community.
Vincent Nyman believes the community garden is a great project which poses many advantages to pull together members of the community to connect more. The garden he states offers opportunities not just for beautification but community building. Also he stresses the ecological needs of the planet demands a closer attention paid to how individuals can be shepherds of their surrounding environment.
In this video, Mrs. McCrea describes a beautiful place on Cook Ave., a community garden founded by a resident on Cook Ave.
Cynthia McCrea is a residence of the Vandeventer neighborhood, and president of the Cook Ave. Block Group.
Interview conducted October 2018.
It is important to have an attractive building on a block corner because that is the first thing people see when they come down a block. Veneeda has seen this particular house go through many transitions, both good and bad. Veneeda grew up in the Shaw neighborhood and recently moved back to raise her three kids with her husband, Monty.
The playground at Cornerstone Center for Early Learning is a place where children of every economic background are able to go. Jacque believes the space is a center of mission and outreach in the community. She hopes the playground and the attached learning center will inspire the community to expand the care of children throughout the neighborhood. Jacque has lived in Shaw since 1996, and is the pastor at Compton Heights Christian Church. She believes it is important for her to live in the community and be a part of it. She loves the diversity of people in the community.
The Cornerstone Center for Early Learning was developed by two of Darrell’s close friends, and grew to serve over 150 children, and provides services for the community. It is a representation of how institutions can grow in positive communities. Darrell has lived in Shaw for his entire life.
The Corvette Plant at Natural Bridge and Union once provided jobs for many residents of Wells Goodfellow. It also attracted numerous food trucks. Douglas H has lived in Wells Goodfellow since the early 1960s, when he moved from Mississippi with his family. Recorded on July 23, 2016
The Country Girl Pie Shop is one of the few eating places that has been in business since Heather S was a young girl growing up in the neighborhood. Nicole S and her sister, Heather S grew up in Wells Goodfellow and continue to live there in adjacent houses. September 2016
The recently-opened day care center on Arlington Avenue is a beautiful building and a hopeful sign for the community. Edna S grew up in Wells Goodfellow and has lived at several addresses in the neighborhood. Most of her family still lives nearby. Recorded on July 30th 2016
In this video, Mrs. Knights relates how the neighborhood how changed with the construction of the Deaconess Foundation building. She also talks about the role of the West Belle Neighborhood Association in approving the Deaconess Foundation coming to the neighborhood due to their mission in helping children and their potential as a good community partner. In additional she praises the work carried out by the Healthy Homes Program in the neighborhood to supply residents with forgivable grant money for home repairs.
Kathryn Knights has been a resident of the Vandeventer neighborhood since the 1980's, and is a active participant in the West Belle Neighborhood Association.
Interview conducted November 2018.
Brian discusses his displeasure with a building near his residence which has received multiple code violation citations from the city. He states that while the neighborhood is an incredible place to call home, it has its share of problem properties that could be, with a little work and love, made into excellent properties. In general he states that living with the good and the bad is just part of city living.
In this short clip a resident discusses the need for better flood prevention measures on the part of MSD to keep the neighborhood and homes free of flood waters. She expresses an interest in this being done sooner rather than later. Recorded on July 30th 2016
In this video, Ms. Essie talks about the dilapidated conditions of some of the abandoned houses on her block, and her work to get the houses demolished.
Essie L. and her family were one of the first Black families to move on Beacon Ave. She has lived in Walnut Park East for 45 years, and serves as captain of her block.
Interview conducted November 2017.
This dilapidated buildings used to be a gas station, but is now overgrown with weeds. Robert thinks the buildings could easily be renovated into grocery stores or coffee house. Plans for the buildings have been in development for several years, and Robert hopes this video will inspire someone to take action.
In this video, Spencer describes how in recent years the Vandeventer neighborhood around West Belle and Sarah Aves. has changed. He uses The Diversity Gallery as an example of recent development and “growth” in small businesses, and attempts to continue development in the neighborhood.
Spencer Howard is a long-time resident of the Vandeventer neighborhood. Though Spencer has lived in the community since 1995, his family has lived in the community at least 60 years.
Interview conducted 2019.
The dog park provides an open space for people to come with their dogs and let them run around.
Dorothy Park is dedicated to a woman who lived in the neighborhood and did a lot of work for the community. The park attracts several visitors, and is in a very active part of the neighborhood.
In this video, Pamela remarks on the breadth of profressional Africna-Americans who lived in Lewis Places.
Pamela McLucas is a long-time resident Lewis Place.
Interview conducted August 2018.