P0197 St. Louis City Planning Agencies Collection Guide to the St. Louis City Planning Agencies Collection P0197 EAD by Lauren Sallwasser using ArchivesSpace. Missouri Historical Society, Photographs and Prints Department 2017 Library and Research Center 225 South Skinker Boulevard St. Louis, MO 63105 firstname.lastname@example.org URL: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2018-10-01 06:25:06 -0500 . English Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Missouri Historical Society, Photographs and Prints Department
St. Louis City Planning Agencies Collection
Saint Louis (Mo.). City Plan Commission
Saint Louis (Mo.). Community Development Agency
Land Clearance and Housing Authorities of Saint Louis. Human Resources Division
Photographs ; Negatives ; Lantern slides ; Posters ; Design drawings ; Documents
Processed by Lauren Pey, 2015.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by the St. Louis Development Corporation in 1995.
City Plan Commission Throughout the 20th century, city planners often sought to solve the problems of the modern city through manipulation of the built environment, leading to drastic changes in the urban landscape. The St. Louis City Plan Commission, led by Harland Bartholomew, was the dominant force in St. Louis city planning throughout much of this period and exemplified this school of thought. The City Plan Commission grew from the work of the St. Louis Civic League, which published “A City Plan for St. Louis” in 1907. This plan was one of the first comprehensive city plans in the nation and presented an overall strategic vision to guide the growth and development of St. Louis. Many of the proposals the plan presented were taken up by the City Plan Commission, which was established by ordinance in 1911. Bartholomew, who became the one of the nation’s most prominent city planners, was brought to St. Louis in 1916 and served as Chief Engineer of the City Plan Commission until 1950. The Commission’s work during the 1920s and 1930s reflected the proposals laid out in the 1907 Comprehensive Plan, as well as Bartholomew’s own ideas about land use and urban development. These projects included the widening and extension of major streets; creation of strict zoning districts; construction of a Civic Center across from City Hall; development of an extensive park and parkway system; improvement of the riverfront; and control of the River des Peres. In 1947, the City Plan Commission issued a new Comprehensive City Plan. The plan’s most notable proposals called for slum clearance and urban renewal in areas designated obsolete and blighted; construction of interstates and expressways connecting the central business district with the expanding suburbs; and revisions and updates to the zoning code. This plan served as a starting point for many of the post-war urban renewal and development projects undertaken in St. Louis. St. Louis Housing Authority and Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority The Housing Authority and Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) were instrumental in implementing post-war urban renewal, particularly in the form of large-scale slum clearance projects. These projects took areas or neighborhoods declared obsolete, such as Mill Creek Valley and Desoto Carr, and demolished them in their entirety in order to rebuild with new industry, commerce, and housing projects. In 1963, the Authorities created a joint Human Resources Division to provide social and recreational activities, as well as needed services, to low-income residents of the housing projects and urban renewal areas. Programming and activities coordinated through the division included Missouri University Extension classes on home management; Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops; resident councils; athletic teams; day care centers and pre-school programs; holiday parties; medical care, including X-ray programs and mobile dental clinics; educational opportunities; job training; and neighborhood improvement programs. The Human Resources Division also published the “Housing Digest” for residents of public housing and “West End Horizons” for residents in the West End urban renewal area. Community Development Agency In 1974, the City Plan Commission was merged with the Model City Agency, Municipal Business Development Commission, and the Beautification Commission to form the Community Development Agency (CDA). The CDA took on the functions of the four merged agencies, in addition to administering the new federal block grants for housing and urban development. In the early 1970s, the City Plan Commission had begun work on a new Comprehensive Plan, and this work was continued by the CDA. A draft of the plan was released for citizen review in 1975 by the Community Development Commission, the board in charge of overseeing the CDA. Prior to the publication and adoption of a finalized plan, Team Four consultants were brought in to advise on public policy guidelines and strategies for implementing proposals in the draft plan. However, these recommendations proved controversial, particularly a recommendation to focus resources on neighborhoods that could still be rehabilitated, while allowing neighborhoods deemed past the point of rehabilitation to be starved of resources and continue to decline. A formal plan was never published, and the 1947 plan remains the last comprehensive plan formally adopted by the city.
Scope and Contents
The St. Louis City Planning Agencies Collection contains photographs, negatives, printed material, original drawings and other items documenting 20th century city planning efforts and the resulting transformation of St. Louis. Strategic visions for tackling the challenges of a modern city were presented in both the 1907 and 1947 comprehensive plans, and many of the urban changes documented in the collection can be traced back to proposals in these plans. Issues documented in the collection include providing access to adequate housing and eliminating slums; restructuring the transportation network to accommodate both a changing population and the large scale adoption of the automobile; creating and preserving strong, stable neighborhood communities; creating and preserving a strong, stable central business district; redeveloping the riverfront; and beautifying the city. Material includes photographs showing views taken before and after the execution of large projects, as well as projects underway and completed projects. Also included are photographs taken to document existing conditions as part of initial research; maps showing demographic information, neighborhood boundaries, areas designated for renewal, and information about the built environment; and renderings, site plans, elevations, and other architectural drawings showing proposals for new growth and development. Of particular note are original drawings by Fred Graf, Hugh Ferriss, William F. Crowell, and May Steinmesch. Early projects include street widenings and improvements, construction of a Civic Center across from City Hall, construction and improvement of neighborhood parks, and channeling of the River des Peres. Mid-century material focuses on large scale slum clearance and urban renewal efforts, including major demolition in Mill Creek Valley, activities in the housing projects, and rehabilitation of declining neighborhoods. In addition, many photographs document the general built environment of the city. These photographs show homes, businesses, housing projects, public buildings, parks, and streets in many of the city’s neighborhoods, particularly downtown and in the surrounding central areas. The collection also includes draft material of an Interim Comprehensive Plan proposed in 1975, but never formally adopted due to controversy. Much of the collection was probably created by or for the City Plan Commission, under the leadership of Harland Bartholomew. The collection also includes material relating to the activities of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority; St. Louis Housing Authority; and the Community Development Agency, the successor to the City Plan Commission.
The collection is arranged in the following seven series:
Series 1: Surveys, Studies, and Projects
Series 2: Buildings, Park, Public Works, and Streets
Series 3: Activities in the Housing Projects and Redevelopment Areas
Series 4: Exhibits, Maps, and Proposals
Series 5: Areas outside St. Louis
Series 6: Lantern Slides and Glass Plate Negatives
Series 7: Publications
Two urban renewal scrapbooks and two joint annual reports for the St. Louis Housing Authority and the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority were transferred to the collections of the MHM Library during processing.
Formerly known as the Community Development Agency Collection (CDA) Collection. Collection was renamed in 2015 to more accurately reflect the creators of the material.
Conditions Governing Access
No viewing restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright restrictions may apply. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Some film stored in freezer. No other physical or technical restrictions.
Existence and Location of Copies
Digital copies of select images can be accessed via the Cross-Collections Search on the Missouri History Museum website ( http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/373090 ). Minor dust-removal and color correction done as needed. Master files were saved in TIF format, and JPEG viewing files were automatically generated from the master files.
See the St. Louis Redevelopment Projects Collection (P0198) for related material.
St. Louis City Planning Agencies Collection, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis
See PDF finding aid for full folder list: http://mohistory.org/files/archives_guides/CityPlanningFindingAid.pdf .
Sources consulted during processing
Tranel, Mark, ed. St. Louis Plans: The Ideal and the Real St. Louis. St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 2007.
Land Clearance and Housing Authorities of Saint Louis. Human Resources Division. St. Louis, Mo. : [Land Clearance and Housing Authorities], [196-?]
Heathcott, Joseph. "The city remade : public housing and the urban landscape in St. Louis, 1900-1960." PhD diss., Indiana University, Bloomington, 2002.
City planning -- Missouri -- Saint Louis
Community development -- Missouri -- Saint Louis
Saint Louis (Mo.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
Bartholomew, Harland, 1889-1989
Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (St. Louis, Mo.)
St. Louis Housing Authority
Series 1 -- Surveys, Studies, and Projects P0197-S01 1916-ca. 1977 Scope and Contents Series 1 includes photographs and negatives generated through neighborhood surveys, studies of particular issues, and special projects. The bulk of the material was probably created by or for the St. Louis City Plan Commission, although several surveys undertaken by the Community Development Agency are also included. Neighborhood surveys show before and after views of areas slated for rehabilitation and urban renewal projects, including Mill Creek Valley, Kosciusko, the Central Business District, Cherokee, Compton Heights, and riverfront areas. Additional neighborhood surveys were undertaken as part of Operation Interim Assist, which was a program to implement immediate changes in areas designated for long-term urban renewal projects. These areas include Montgomery-Hyde Park, Murphy-Blair, and Tandy. Traffic and parking represent the bulk of the issues studied in this series. These studies were conducted around several hospitals, including City Hospital, and in the Central Business District. They document overcrowded streets and parking facilities struggling to cope with the increasing dominance of the automobile. Special project photographs show before and after views of the following: widening and improvement of major thoroughfares; construction of street cut-offs; land clearance for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; construction projects in Kosciusko and Mill Creek Valley; and the City Beautification project, with particular emphasis on the Central Business District. To browse catalog records and digitized images from this series, visit our Cross-Collection Search: http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/373070 . Series 2 – Buildings, Parks, Public Works, and Streets P0197-S02 ca. 1910-1985 Scope and Contents Series 2 includes photographs and negatives that document the general built environment in St. Louis. Photographs were taken across St. Louis City, with particular emphasis on downtown and the surrounding central neighborhoods. Photographs of buildings include commercial buildings, government buildings, houses, apartment buildings, public housing projects, industrial buildings, and a variety of public buildings. Photographs of parks and plazas show playgrounds, shelters, swimming pools, and fountains, as well attractions in Forest Park. Of particular note is a group of photographs showing the Memorial Plaza site prior to and during construction of the plaza. Photographs of public works show railroads and the construction of several sewers, including sewers and channels for the River des Peres. Photographs of streets show general street scenes, often including pedestrians and vehicle traffic. To browse catalog records and digitized images from this series, visit our Cross-Collection Search: http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/373091 . Series 3 -- Activities in the Housing Projects and Redevelopment Areas P0197-S03 ca. 1955-1968 Scope and Contents Series 3 contains photographs and negatives that document the activities of residents in the public housing projects and areas targeted for redevelopment. Photographs predominantly show activities in the housing projects: Blumeyer, Carr Square, Cochran Gardens, Darst-Webbe, LaClede Town, Peabody, Plaza Square, Pruitt-Igoe, and Vaughn. A great variety of activities are shown, including Missouri University Extension classes on budgeting and cooking; clean up campaigns; athletic teams; tenant meetings; Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities; parades; holiday parties for children and for the elderly; children attending day care and preschool; and health care services, such as a bloodmobile and a polio vaccination unit. Photographs of urban renewal areas show a groundbreaking in Kosciusko and office staff working on the West End urban renewal efforts. Additional photographs show general housing and redevelopment activities, including St. Louis Housing Authority staff and the 1964 meeting of the Southwest Regional Council of the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials. Many photographs in this series may have been taken by or for the Human Resources Division, a joint division of the St. Louis Land Clearance and Housing Authorities. While only one group of photographs, titled “Human Resources Book”, is explicitly linked to the Human Resources Division, the remaining photographs show the sort of activities that were coordinated by the division. Where possible, labels on original envelopes have served as the basis for folder titles. To browse catalog records and digitized images from this series, visit our Cross-Collection Search: http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/373097 . Series 4 -- Exhibits, Maps, and Proposals P0197-S04 ca. 1892-ca. 1965 Scope and Contents Series 4 contains photographs, negatives, printed material, and original drawings showing maps and proposals compiled during planning efforts, as well as exhibits promoting urban renewal projects to the general public. Photographs of exhibits show maps, drawings, photographs, and text promoting public housing and urban renewal projects. Some projects are still in the proposal stage, while others are in progress or already completed. The exhibits were held in a variety of public locations around St. Louis, including the St. Louis Art Museum, Kiel Auditorium, and Stix, Baer, and Fuller department store. Most were sponsored by the St. Louis Housing Authority or the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, although several were sponsored by the City Plan Commission. Maps may have been compiled as part of studies or background research that supported planning efforts. They show information about the population and the built environment, as well as the boundaries of neighborhoods intended for large-scale urban renewal projects. Examples include the location of employers in 1935; traffic counts in the Central Business District, maps showing comparative property values in various central business districts across the country, including St. Louis; and topographical maps of the Mississippi River. Many were compiled by or for the City Plan Commission. Proposals include a variety of renderings, site plans, elevations, and architectural models. These include proposals for rehabilitation of entire neighborhoods, as well as proposals for specific buildings or projects. Of particular note are original drawings by Fred Graf, Hugh Ferriss, William F. Crowell, and May Steinmesch. The bulk of the proposals are copies or photographs of original drawings. To browse catalog records and digitized images from this series, visit our Cross-Collection Search: http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/372619 . Series 5 -- Areas outside St. Louis P0403-S05 ca. 1910-ca. 1970 Scope and Contents Series 5 contains photographs and negatives documenting areas outside of St. Louis. This material was collected by St. Louis city planners, most likely the City Plan Commission, to serve as reference material. Material includes photographs of buildings and streets; architectural drawings for buildings, plazas, and playgrounds; photographs of sculptures and fountains; and before and after views of the Bronx River Parkway. Locations include cities across the United States and Europe. To browse catalog records and digitized images from this series, visit our Cross-Collection Search: http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/372621 . Series 6 -- Lantern Slides and Glass Plate Negatives P0197-S06 ca. 1915-ca. 1945 Scope and Contents Series 6 contains groups of lantern slides and glass plate negatives, most likely created by the St. Louis City Plan Commission. This material shows maps, charts, proposals, and photographs documenting St. Louis city planning efforts, as well as examples of city planning problems and solutions from around the world. Notes on the original boxes for some of the glass plate negatives indicated that lantern slides were produced from these negatives. Many slides and negatives were numbered using a letter and a number, and material has been sorted into these original letter groups when possible. Each group appears to present an analysis of a specific issue or problem faced by the City Plan Commission. Letter groups were not originally titled, and they have been assigned the following topical titles: “A” group - Riverfront Development; “B” Group - River des Peres Valley Development; “C” Group - Parks and Parkways; “D” Group - Traffic Flow and Street Improvement; “E” Group - Civic Center Development; “F” Group - Bridge Approaches and Street Intersections; “H” Group - Homes; and “X” Group - Zoning Restrictions. Material that was unnumbered, or had a number but no original letter group, was designated as the “ungrouped slides” and sorted into an artificial topical arrangement. These slides present material very similar to that found in the grouped slides, including
maps, charts, proposals, and photographs related to St. Louis city planning. However, the bulk of the material relates directly to St. Louis city planning efforts, with very few examples of city planning in other areas. Topical arrangement within the ungrouped slides is as follows: Commercial Buildings; Housing and Urban Renewal; Land Usage and Neighborhood Boundaries; Parks and Recreation; Plazas and Monuments; Population Density and Demographics; Streets and Transportation; and Waterways. To browse catalog records and digitized images from this series, visit our Cross-Collection Search: http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/372622 . Series 7 -- Publications P0197-S07 ca. 1975-1980 Scope and Contents Series 7 contains draft material for the 1975 Interim Comprehensive Plan for the City of St. Louis, as well as several posters published by the Community Development Agency (CDA) to promote life in the City of St. Louis. Draft materials in this series contain area maps and narrative text describing recommendations for land use change in select areas. The following areas are represented: Area 1 -- Carondelet; Area 2 -- South Riverfront; Area 2 -- Loughborough; Area 3 -- Maryville; Area 4 -- Jefferson/Chippewa; Area 5 -- Grand/Chippewa; Area 6 -- Gravois/Morganford; Area 7 -- Kingshighway/Chippewa; Area 8 -- State Hospital/West Tower Grove; Area 9 -- Forest Park South; Area 10 -- Rankin; Area 11 -- Washington UniversityMedical Center; Area 12 -- New Town/In Town [Midtown]; Area 13 -- City Hospital; Area 14 -- Downtown; Area 15 -- Lindell/Vandeventer; Area 16 -- Lindell/DeBaliviere; Area 17 -- Lindell/DeBaliviere; Area 17 -- Greater Tandy; Area 18 -- Yeatman; Area 19 -- Pruitt-Igoe; Area 20 -- Broadway/North Grand; Area 21 -- North Riverfront; Area 22 -- O’Fallon Park; Area 23 -- Southeast Walnut Park; Area 24 -- Natural Bridge/Goodfellow; Area 25 -- North Riverfront; Area 26 -- Chain of Rocks Tourist Center. Work on the plan was probably begun by the City Plan Commission, but finished by the Community Development Agency (CDA). The draft was released for public review by the Community Development Commission, the board in charge of overseeing the CDA. To browse catalog records and digitized images from this series, visit our Cross-Collection Search: http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/372609 .