Pruitt-Igoe

Grace Baptist Church, on Cass Avenue, as seen from the site of the former Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee has held a $1 million option to buy the former Pruitt-Igoe site from the city of St. Louis for three years.

That option was set to expire later this month.

But the city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority extended McKee’s option for the second time in three years during a closed meeting. It was part of an agreement the city made with McKee to buy land he owns within the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on St. Louis’ north side.

The dark red cylinder in the background is the 'hydraulic actuator' that moved a large steel box.The large red tube in front is the 'hydraulic accumulator' that supplied surge flows of oil, and absorbed the hydraulic pressure surges.
Provided by Jim Vosper

When I talked to Elaine Gregory McCluskey recently at her office at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., and explained I was working on a story about engineering experiments at the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in the 1970s, she was bewildered. Why, why was I writing about Pruitt Igoe almost four decades after the place had been obliterated?

The last streetlight in Pruitt-Igoe.
pruittigoenow.org

Going into the inner city and taking a hike through the abandoned Pruitt-Igoe public housing site could be regarded as a lark, but once the hike is finished, a visitor realizes it is considerably more than that. Pruitt-Igoe is forbidden fruit, but going in is all the more delicious because one is not supposed to be there. Plus, from the outside it looks dangerous, and that quality makes adventure even more appealing. Beyond those easily transgressed wires stretched across old, worn down streets, there is a place of rare beauty and of serenity.

Developer Paul McKee outlined his plans for an urgent care hospital at 25th St. and Maiden Ln. in July of 2014.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Developer Paul McKee unveiled plans Wednesday for an urgent care facility on the north side of St. Louis, but questions at the press event turned to the lack of infrastructure projects in McKee's massive, 1,500 acre redevelopment area.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

Updated at 6:14 a.m. Nov. 3 with statement from Sen. Claire McCaskill. 

A top Army official says that Cold War chemical weapons testing in St. Louis did not pose a health risk to residents in the test areas.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Army sprayed a chemical called zinc cadmium sulfide in low-income areas of St. Louis that were predominantly African American.

McCormack Baron Salazar

Over the past four decades Richard Baron has made a name for himself as a pioneering developer of blighted urban neighborhoods.  Baron’s firm, McCormack Baron Salazar has completed scores of projects in St. Louis and across the Midwest.  As a native of Detroit, Mich., Baron came to Missouri in the late 1960s. 

St. Louis Public Radio’s Adam Allington sat down with Baron at a housing conference of the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he asked him to elaborate on some of the development challenges—and similarities—between Detroit and St. Louis.

Pruitt-Igoe in the 1960s
U.S. Geological Survey

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Nearly 40 years ago, as viewers around the country watched the nightly news on their television screens, an 11-story tower framed by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis came tumbling down. It was the beginning of the end for Pruitt-Igoe, by then a crime-ridden, vandalized 33-building public housing complex that had been one of the largest of its kind ever built.

Razing the place was supposed to fix the Pruitt-Igoe problem. It did -- and it didn't.

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.