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Why East St Louis is so poor

East St. Louis is a legendary American city, for all the wrong reasons. Those three words conjure up thoughts of extreme poverty, extreme crime, and danger, sometimes perceived, and sometimes very real. It wasn’t always that way, to hear some locals talk. Others will tell you it was always that way.

In its prime, East St Louis was the place you went because if you couldn’t get a job there, you couldn’t get a job anywhere. And after the late 1960s, it became the place you stayed when you had no other options, but how it became that is something of a geographic and historical accident.

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Where is Route 66 in St. Louis?

Where is Route 66 in St. Louis? Two Missouri highways, 366 and 100, claim to be the old Route 66. Why? Because it changed over the years. Both have legitimate claims to Route 66 heritage, so let’s talk about the history, how far apart the roads are, and what makes both of them interesting.

There were at multiple alignments of Route 66 through St. Louis from 1926 to 1975, so no wonder it’s complicated. The two major ones are the 1926-32 version, along the modern MO-100, and the post-1932 version, which is approximately MO-366. There was also a bypass route, which served approximately the same function as the modern I-270/I-255 outerbelt today, but it was closer to the city, and all on the Missouri side.

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Fighter Jets on Chouteau Avenue, St Louis

At the intersection of Chouteau and Cardinal avenues, near downtown St. Louis, there is a curious sight. Sitting outside the Bissell Auto and Body Company is a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. And if you look behind it, you can see the hulks of numerous other airplanes and helicopters, in varying states of (in)completeness.

The airplanes on Chouteau Avenue near downtown St. Louis aren’t an airplane graveyard. They are the private collection of Dan Bissell, the owner of the garage whose lot they occupy.

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What happened to Eat-Rite Diner

Eat-Rite Diner, the 516-square feet flagship of a greasy spoon empire, sat on Route 66 for decades in St. Louis, at the intersection of Chouteau and Seventh street. Today it’s gone, but not forgotten. Here’s what happened to Eat-Rite Diner, the icon that struggled to make it into the 21st century.

The Eat Rite Diner at 622 Chouteau in St. Louis operated under that name from 1970 to 2020, with one interruption in 2017-2018. Today Fleur STL, an upscale take on traditional diner food, lives on at the old Eat Rite flagship location.

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National Lead Co, St Louis

From 1924 to 1979, National Lead Co operated a titanium dioxide plant at the confluence of River Des Peres and the Mississippi River, on the site of what is now River City Casino.

The street address had been 8900 South Broadway. The site was approximately 88 acres, bounded by River Des Peres on the north, the Mississippi River on the east, the Union Pacific railroad tracks on the west, and extending more or less as far south as Hoffmeister Avenue.

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What is the Up South

What is the Up South? Where is Up South? The phrase has its origins in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. During those decades, Black migrants were moving from southern states into midwestern cities, seeking jobs, education, and an exit from the Jim Crow south.

What they found was that the Jim Crow laws in midwestern cities like St. Louis were in effect. The housing and schools were segregated. Maybe there were fewer restrictions than in the deep south, but there were still restrictions on them.

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Mississippi Nights, St. Louis

Mississippi Nights was a St. Louis nightclub that featured live music. It was open from 1979 to 2007.

Mississippi Nights stood at 914 1st Street, on Laclede’s Landing. Originally a country venue, it is primarily remembered as a rock club, particularly for hosting modern rock, both national and local acts.

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Brains 25 cents: The story behind the meme

There is a popular photograph of a rundown urban building with a painted sign that says “Brains 25 Cents” with an arrow and words “drive in” pointing toward the back of the building. What’s the story behind the sign?

The “Brains 25 Cents drive in” painted sign was on the second story of Harvey’s Sandwich System, a diner at the corner of Chouteau and Carr Lane Avenue in St. Louis. The restaurant closed in 1976, the sign was demolished in 1983 or 1984, and the building was demolished in 1993.

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Abandoned castle in Oakville, Mo.

The existence of an abandoned castle in Oakville Mo. will either be the most obvious thing in the world to you, or an absurd thought that would never cross your mind. And yet, behind Bee Tree Park, abandoned in the woods, there are, or were, ruins of a Scottish castle overlooking the Mississippi River that dated to the 1920s that was never finished.

Oakville had an abandoned hospital in the woods on the north edge of town. So why not an abandoned castle in the woods on the opposite end of town?

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History of St. Louis style pizza

Few things in Missouri are more divisive then St Louis style pizza. From how you define it to who invented it to who copied who to even whether it qualifies as pizza at all is divisive. And the history behind it is surprisingly badly understood. So who invented St Louis style pizza, and when? What is the history of St. Louis style pizza?

Amedeo Fiore, proprietor of Melrose Pizzeria, served a prototypical thin-crust St. Louis style pizza starting around 1945, and created the market for pizza in St. Louis, in addition to probably deserving credit for inventing the style. Joe and Lou Parente, proprietors of Parente’s Pizza, were probably the first to use provel on pizza, sometime in the early to mid 1950s.

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