St. Louis, MO

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St Louis Ghetto Story

The St Louis ghetto is one of the roughest in the country and has been ranked as the most dangerous city a number of times.

The change in the streets started in the mid and late 80s, with the movie “Colors” bringing the attention of Los Angeles’ gang culture, followed by people from California establishing gang sets through drug connections.

In the 90s, the St Louis ghetto was mostly made up of Bloods on the West Side with the exception of 59 Wabada, 57 Cates and 13 BOD, while the North Side was mainly 6-0 and 6 Deuce Crips, other than Walnut Park and a few blocks around Grand Blvd., like JVL or Beam Street.

st louis ghetto

JVL

During the 70s, many areas had already neighborhood affiliations or cliques as the streets started to become active in the St Louis ghetto, with the JVL Posse, WestSide Rockers, Horseshoe Posse, VTO (Vaughn Takin’ Over), Thunderkats, or Boys of Destruction.

Not until the introduction of drugs of the late 80s, did these neighborhoods became gang affiliated with their ties to people from Los Angeles.

st louis ghetto

West End around Goodfellow

Many blocks would later become demolish or vacant and creating many ghost sets, like the Stroll, 1100 Rose, blocks in the West End area around Goodfellow, as well as old housing projects like Darst-Webbe of the South Side, Vaughn Projects, Blumeyer, and Laclede Town / Lawton Place.

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Today, the city of St Louis is mostly black, with the exception of parts in South St. Louis being predominantly white. Before the city’s population became majority African-American, there were a few small communities in the city, from the late 1800s to the early-mid 1900s.

The first all-black communities were Mill Creek Valley, the Ville, home to the first all-black hospital in Missouri and a number of famous people like Arthur Ashe, Tina Turner, and other entrepreneurs, Finney Avenue District, DeSoto-Carr, and few other communities on the South Side like Compton Hill around Park Avenue.

st louis ghetto

The Ville

Unfortunately, most of these communities were destroyed in the 1950s and 60s as the city was experiencing urban renewal and slum clearance in sections of the St Louis ghetto. Many black neighborhoods were wiped out by the interstates, housing projects, and businesses.

DeSoto-Carr was once labeled as the worst St. Louis ghetto, which was centered around Cass Avenue, became replaced by housing projects in the 1940s and 50s, like Cochran, Pruitt-Igoe, and George Vaughn.

st louis ghetto

DeSoto Carr

Pruitt-Igoe was one of the biggest housing projects in the country. The segregated complex, with half originally being for white families in Igoe and the other half for black families in the Pruitt section, was actually too large, especially when many people left the city for St Louis County during the 60s and 70s.

With the majority of the 33 high rise building housing project, being either vacant or in need of maintenance, Pruitt-Igoe was demolished in the late 1970s, being the first housing project to be torn down in the country.

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During the 1960s, many white families began to leave the city of St. Louis for the suburbs in nearby St. Louis County. The once segregated city, with Taylor Avenue being the racial dividing line for the neighborhoods of Finney Avenue and the Ville, changed when people were able to move into other parts of the city.

The West Side was one of the first areas to become predominantly black and after Pruitt-Igoe was demolished many families moved into the North Side, in areas like Walnut Park.

st louis ghetto

South Side’s McRee Avenue aka Dark Side

Right after the white flight into St Louis County and the suburbs, the city began to decline as people who were able to afford housing in other areas, which eventually led to vacant lots and vacant houses to plagued the majority of the St Louis ghetto.

The city is changing, the once dilapidated downtown has become redeveloped, parts of the South Side have been almost completely demolished and rebuilt, due to the neighborhoods close location to St. Louis University, Botanical Gardens, and downtown.

st louis ghetto

Rebuilt apartment complexes around Cass

The West End community off of Goodfellow between Page and Delmar, with its close location to the Central West End and the Delmar Loop, and blocks along Delmar and Cass are other areas that are in the process of rebuilding.

In some cases, many properties are being left abandoned and allowed to deteriorate throughout parts of the city. Even though the city is steadily losing population, the streets of St. Louis are still one of the most active in the country.

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*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

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