Mill Creek Valley | St. Louis Public Radio

Mill Creek Valley

Former Mayor Raymond Tucker (at right) and then-civic leader and bond issue chairman Sidney Maestre look out over an area of Mill Creek Valley slated for clearance in this photograph from 1956.
Missouri Historical Society

Lois Conley of St. Louis grew up in Mill Creek Valley, where everything was in walking distance, and neighbors kept a close eye on each others’ children.

“You felt safe; You felt protected. Everybody knew everybody,” Conley said.

But in the late 1950s, the area between Union Station and Saint Louis University was condemned in the name of urban renewal. Families moved away and lost touch.

Now St. Louis is a finalist in a national contest that would help fund a public art project documenting the destruction of Mill Creek.

Josephine Baker, who grew up in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood and lived much of her adult life in France, is the focus of an episode of “The Nod.”
Jac. de Nijs | Dutch National Archives

Josephine Baker is remembered for being many different things over the course of her remarkable life – a burlesque performer, a film actress, an activist, even a war hero. Less well known is the St. Louis-born celebrity’s role as a mother to 12 ethnically diverse children she began adopting in the 1950s as her “rainbow tribe.”

Former Mayor Raymond Tucker (at right) and then-civic leader and bond issue chairman Sidney Maestre look out over an area of Mill Creek Valley slated for clearance in this photograph from 1956.
Missouri Historical Society

Gwen Moore can rattle off the names of all sorts of characters who once walked the streets of Mill Creek Valley, a historic St. Louis neighborhood demolished in the name of urban renewal in the late 1950s.

General William T. Sherman lived in Mill Creek at one point. The poet Walt Whitman stayed there during trips to visit his brother, and the owner of the Daily Missouri Republican also called the community home.