The Delmar Divide in St. Louis

Delmar Divide in St. Louis

In St. Louis there isn’t a wrong side of the tracks so much as there’s a wrong side of Delmar. Delmar is an east-west drag in north-central St. Louis that separates the haves and have-nots, very visibly. The protests in St. Louis in 2020 brought this out very visibly, if unintentionally.

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Is St Louis dangerous?


Is St Louis dangerous? It’s a little more dangerous than places most people consider safe. But the dangers of St. Louis are at least slightly overblown, and they are certainly manageable.

St Louis crime rates are often reported in ways to make them sound larger than the actual risk. But beyond that, the rule in St Louis is that if you don’t go looking for trouble, trouble probably won’t find you.

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Charter Hospital / Charter Behavioral Health: A look back

Charter Hospital, St. Louis

A discussion with a couple of people who went to the same high school I did brought up a few dark topics from that era. One of them mentioned a place called “Charter.” I asked him if he meant Charter Hospital and/or Charter Behavioral Health.

He said yes. He didn’t know much else about it. It turns out the company still exists, though not under the same name and not under the same line of business. The Charter name and business model disappeared in 2000, even though the company who owned it still survives today.

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Stan Musial and Biggie’s, St. Louis

Stan Musial and Biggie's

For St. Louisans of a certain age, Stan Musial was almost as famous for his restaurant as he was for what he could do with a baseball bat. Musial and his business partner, Julius “Biggie” Garagnani operated a steakhouse near Musial’s residence. In 1949 he sold a half share to Musial and they renamed it Stan Musial and Biggie’s.

Stan Musial had a storied career in St. Louis. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and spent his whole career with the Cardinals. In 1947 he even played with a failing appendix. He lived a very public life both during and after his baseball career. His various businesses contributed to that public life, but they also made him wealthy.

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Bavarian Inn, St. Louis

Bavarian Inn St. Louis

I’ve driven past the old building dozens of times. An old German-style restaurant building still stands at 3016 Arsenal, with a faded sign across the street that reads, “Bavarian Inn. Free Parking. Customers only.” Here’s what little I can find on the story of the Bavarian Inn, St. Louis.

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Velvet Freeze history

Old timers in St. Louis and Kansas City talk sometimes about Velvet Freeze, a St. Louis-based chain of ice cream stores. One Velvet Freeze ice cream store remains in the north St. Louis suburb of Jennings, and a few other reminders of the chain remain around St. Louis and Kansas City, but it’s mostly a memory now. Here’s a look back at Velvet Freeze history.

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Central Hardware, St. Louis history

Central Hardware St. Louis History

St. Louis-based Central Hardware was one of the first big-box home improvement chains. It peaked in 1993 at 39 stores in six states in the midwest, employing 3,700 people. It was once the 19th largest hardware retailer in the United States.

Central Hardware’s motto was “everything from scoop to nuts,” a play on the English idiom “soup to nuts,” which means beginning to end. Their inventory was over 40,000 SKUs, comparable to today’s home improvement stores. Its stores regularly exceeded 50,000 square feet. That’s about half the size of a typical home improvement store today, but it was large for the 1970s and 1980s. Traditional hardware stores ranged in size from 2,000 to 10,000 square feet. Its employees wore orange vests so customers knew who to ask for help.

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