Photos: Can Melvin White Save Dr. Martin Luther King Drive?

Categories: Photos

Photo by Theo Welling
This week's Riverfront Times feature story focuses on efforts to revive Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in north city St. Louis. The street is a bleak seven mile stretch of shuttered businesses, trash-strewn vacant lots and rampant poverty, but one man -- a maverick postal worker named Melvin White -- thinks he can reverse the decades of decline.

The headquarters of White's organization, Beloved Streets of America, sits on one of the roughest corners on the whole street, Hamilton Avenue and MLK Drive. RFT sent photographer Theo Welling there to visually document White's struggle, as well the businesses and residents who still call this street home.

Read the full story, "He Has a Dream," here.

Theo Welling

Theo Welling

Theo Welling

Theo Welling
This funky-looking building used to be the J.C. Penney department store, back when the neighborhood served as the anchor of a thriving, miles-long retail corridor. The store closed in 1976 and the building has been empty ever since. The building's owner, however, agreed last month to allow Beloved Streets of America to design a hydroponic vegetable garden that, some day, could fill the structure's vast interior with fresh greens and new jobs.

Continue for more photos of MLK Drive.

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Brian Mull
Brian Mull

Smok Eingspirit, dude, seriously? That is about 8 minutes I'll never get back. Smh

Roy Kissel
Roy Kissel

what a waste of time the crime rate is not gonna change so why try lol

Robert Vroman
Robert Vroman

Anyone who wants to try, there are several properties on MLK going up for tax auction for a few grand, on Tuesday 5-20-14, 9a at Civil Courts building. Plenty others in Benton Park, Marine Villa, and Hyde Park. Message me for details.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I strongly agree with Melvin White. When I go to that area of town, all I see is potential. I am sure there are millions of ideas of what to do and how to do it, But...until the crime is under control in N. City, ...people will be reluctant to invest and plant roots there. Unless the investors are those who don't have much to lose. The kids in the area who are graduating high school/college now need to be shown how to do what needs to be done. The new generation will have to be the ones to revitalize the area they grew up in.

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