On the corner of Garrison and Sheridan in St. Louis stands a vacant building that for decades housed a thriving African American business. Its owner is remembered as an entrepreneur and informal activist during the civil rights movement. But now, the building is crumbling.
The Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis was once considered the template for post-war public housing, a national model. For awhile it was—until it wasn’t. The high rise complex was constructed in 1954. Two decades later, and by then notorious, Pruitt-Igoe was a pile of rubble, imploded and bulldozed into history. What went wrong and why? That’s the subject of a new documentary film called The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History. Directed by Chad Freidrichs, the film will have its St. Louis premiere this Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.