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St. Louis newspaper today looks back at a large public housing project there that started out with so much promise but ...

A look back: Pruitt and Igoe started strong, but in the end failed

ST. LOUIS %C3%A2%C2%80%C2%A2 During World War II, the crowded city's 860,000 residents included many newcomers who found jobs in defense plants and housing in grim 19th-century tenements. War's end ignited demand for better places to live. Those with a few dollars rushed to the suburbs. For the poor, government leaders had a vision of high-rise apartments neatly arranged in tight rows.

The biggest here was Pruitt Homes, named after Wendell O. Pruitt, a fighter pilot and Sumner High alumnus who died in an aircraft training crash in 1945. Next door was Igoe Homes, honoring William L. Igoe, who grew up in the neighborhood and went to Congress. In 1952, bulldozers smashed 20 blocks of slums near Jefferson and Cass avenues, northwest of downtown.

"These two projects are tangible evidence of progress in the continuing war against slums and decay," said Mayor Joseph M. Darst. "St. Louisans can point to their city as a model of modern development."

Pruitt housed blacks. Igoe, heralded as the city's first integrated public housing, opened on July 23, 1955, accepting four white and three black families. Construction continued as more families moved in from fast-disappearing slums.

At $36 million to build, Pruitt and Igoe comprised 33 11-story buildings and 2,868 apartments. Monthly rent began at $20. The Post-Dispatch wrote of the "bright new apartments with modern conveniences." Some families enjoyed their first indoor toilets. (Story continues at link)

by Anonymousreply 1101/19/2013


by Anonymousreply 107/25/2010

In another thread there was a site that featured photos of the deserted old buildings that the housing project replaced.

It took Chicago decades before they faced up to what St. Louis learned early on - high-rise housing projects don't work.

by Anonymousreply 207/25/2010


People do not like living in charmless, barren, cheaply built housing.

by Anonymousreply 307/26/2010

Damn! Damn! Damn!

by Anonymousreply 407/26/2010

And yet high rise public housing has worked very well in every other country where it has been instituted, other than the United States. As usual the 'doesn't work' crowd have the brains of two year olds...that is to say, racist republicans.

by Anonymousreply 507/26/2010

Check out the Hundertwasser House for cool public housing.

by Anonymousreply 607/26/2010

Ain't we lucky we got 'em?

by Anonymousreply 707/26/2010

This is why we can't have nice things.

by Anonymousreply 807/26/2010

St. Louis is an example of a once-great city ruined by racism. The collatoral damage is historic neighborhoods that have been razed and a city AND county government that doesn't work.

by Anonymousreply 907/26/2010

collateral* (Give me a break, the coffee hasn't kicked in)

by Anonymousreply 1007/26/2010

Yet it works in Asia and Europe without too many issues, R3. Wonder why it didn't work in St. Louis...

by Anonymousreply 1101/19/2013
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