Before Pruitt-Igoe

Lately I have been working with Sanborn Maps to track the scale, pattern, and use of the Pruitt-Igoe and Gateway Arch sites. This is very much still a work in progress, but it begins to suggest what Pruitt-Igoe looked like between 1930 and 1950. Many lots had already been cleared; many with structures still present were marked “junk”. There were industrial uses, too: warehouse, liveries, garages, and a Coca-Cola bottling plant in the northwest corner. Churches were labeled with the race of their congregants–and there were many more then than there are now.

This page from a 1951 Architectural Forum article gives a sense of the architecture that existed in the neighborhood — but you can probably guess how it was viewed at the time, given the map labeling much of the city as either “obsolete” or “blighted”. (The glowing review of the Pruitt-Igoe design, and subsequent 1965 retraction, deserves its own post.)

This entry was posted in mapping, pruitt-igoe. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Before Pruitt-Igoe

  1. Daron says:

    I was in the Mercantile Library recently and kept looking at these two images of the city side by side on the wall. Pruitt-Igoe stands out and terrifies.

    Excellent work with the map btw.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s