Photographer Captures Scenes of St. Louis' Decay, Rebirth Six Years Apart

Categories: Architecture

Photos by Eric Fogleman
Six years later, the tree remains.
A lot can change in six years.

That's especially true for the historic and traditional brick buildings that cover St. Louis, where just six years can mean the difference between rehabilitation and total ruin.

Utah & Wisconsin, six years later.
Photographer Eric Fogleman, a St. Louis native, returned home ten years ago and noticed how quickly real estate changes in the city. He started recreating old shots of neighborhood buildings six years apart, juxtaposing dilapidated buildings with their futures as empty lots, reworked buildings or, sometimes, just the same brick structure six years older.

As a student at St. Louis Community College's building inspection program, Fogleman says he can spot a building that's too worn down to survive much longer.

Chippewa & Oregon.
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"I can look at the thing and say, 'This sucker's going to fall,'" Fogleman tells Daily RFT. "I can smell it. St. Louis is pretty ripe."

This home at Lafayette and Nebraska disappeared in six years.
See more photos of St. Louis buildings six years later on the next page.

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Interesting photographs,but it really points out a problem with incentives to rehabilitate.  When the city of St. Louis calculates property taxes to include the value of the building on a plot of land, it effectively says to an owner "don't make your building more valuable because it will cost you."

If instead, the property taxes were calculated by the size of lots and services provided, owners can create all the value they want in a building and it's fair to base paying for municipal services based on services provided to that lot.  When a building still has value, then let the rehabber or business owner increase it without penalty because that benefits everyone.  The flip side of that is even if a building goes down in value by sitting and rotting, the property taxes wouldn't change and if not paid, the ownership of the lot should be forfeited.

Jason Charney
Jason Charney

BTW, the old Bethlehem Lutheran Church at Salisbury Street and North Florissant Avenue COLLAPSED this weekend in Hyde Park (Old Man Bosley's Ward). The building featured huge Stained glass windows and gothic architecture features.

Gina Marciano Mitauer
Gina Marciano Mitauer

I blame city inspectors for not properly citing these properties years ago when occupied!!! If they were doing their job and holding the owners feet to the fire and fining them when the property started failing and not meeting code... This would never and should of never happened!!!

Matt E. Berens
Matt E. Berens

Is it possible we will ever see Residential Regeneration of E. St. Louis?

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