Central High: Buyer Needed to Save Historic St. Louis School Before It's Too Late

Categories: Architecture

NaffzigerCentralVandalism.JPG
The front steps of Central High School, showing recent vandalism.

As late as 2004 the building stood in a respectable, if slightly ragged, state of repair. However, in the following years, vandals have destroyed the elegant balustrade that lines the front steps and smashed out windows, leaving piles of broken stone and glass strewn about the front lawn. Bushes and trees, once properly maintained, are now wildly overgrown, giving the school a neglected and foreboding appearance. Taggers have found the building as well, leaving their graffiti on the brick exterior.

See also: State Legislature to St. Louis Public Schools: Sell, or Else

NaffzigerCentralBack.JPG
The side of Central High School facing Natural Bridge, showing the "For Sale" sign.

In 2012 the district reported it had a buyer for the property, only for the deal to fall through. It's still on the market, though, as the "For Sale" sign indicated on a recent visit. Andrew Weil, Director of Landmarks Association of St. Louis, best sums up the problem facing the old St. Louis school buildings, such as Central High:

"Excess capacity is not a problem that is going to be disappearing soon. The trick to preventing Central and all the other un-needed schools from falling into ruin is for the SLPS to admit that they are done with them and to market them aggressively [priced to sell] to anyone who is willing to buy. Even if they sell them for below what they perceive to be market value, they will probably realize a better return than if they let them sit around vacant, vandalized and decaying for years. That is what has happened too many times."

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Vacant and boarded up, Central High School awaits a new owner.

The need for action was made even more apparent with the recent fire that gutted the abandoned Hempstead Elementary School, which had also been dormant since 2004. The district's provisional board has a moral and legal obligation to properly care for the property of the citizens of St. Louis. Letting these architectural treasures rot is no longer an option.

Chris Naffziger writes about architecture at St. Louis Patina. Contact him via e-mail at naffziger@gmail.com


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29 comments
Angie Cunniff
Angie Cunniff

I graduated here in 1996. Such a shame to see it being wasted for so long. What can we do to help? And how can I get in to take photos?

Jim Phillips
Jim Phillips

Way sad. This entire story is sad, let alone the building.

Phil Janovick
Phil Janovick

Really ??? Our city would be that ignorant to let this be destroyed Really ????

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Wish I was rich so I can go save awesome buildings like this!

Michael M Moore
Michael M Moore

I say tear it down and put in its place a dollar tree store...yeah that will brighten up the neighborhood...another dollar store...or how about a check cashing place...

Steve Keller
Steve Keller

Architecture isn't the point. Education is. This neighborhood needs a new center for education and doesn't have any money to fund it.

Stancy Tarheel
Stancy Tarheel

just make it an historic landmark and use goverment funding or is that easier said than done

Polly Phillips
Polly Phillips

It is such a shame. never again will our country see such architecture.

Linda SansSouci
Linda SansSouci

What a great looking building. I home someone buys & develops it, leaving the historic features......

Stu Katz
Stu Katz

My Mom graduated Central in '34

Rob Allen
Rob Allen

WTF do you know, your "great city" is worse than St.Louis.

Rob Allen
Rob Allen

Knock it down, there isn't anything that can be done with that POS. The only thing it's good for is to make a housing unit for hookers and crack heads...something else Stl needs more of.

Isabelle Jean
Isabelle Jean

Had a lot of great days in that school. So sad to see it now.

wgferg
wgferg

It's not hard to sell. They city has a grandiose fantasy of how much a 100 year old school building is worth. Instead of auctioning the schools to get "fair market value", they're going to hold onto them into they are nothing more than a demolition ball target. It's pretty obvious to anyone that something that hasn't sold for 10 years, isn't priced at fair market value.

whoq
whoq

Just a block down from beautiful Fairgrounds Park... how could it be so hard to sell in this lovely neighborhood?

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Shut the fuck up fat fuck

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Great idea coming from the fucker from farmington, country fried asshat

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@whoq I'm sure your mom would be interested since she spends so much time on the side of the road up there anyway

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