Central West End | St. Louis Public Radio

Central West End

Kris Kleindienst is co-owner of Left Bank Books.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Left Bank Books is turning 50 this year, and on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, co-owner Kris Kleindienst talked about the shop’s storied history with St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann.

Located in St. Louis’ bustling Central West End neighborhood, the independent bookseller got its start in 1969 when a group of Washington University graduate students set out to create a place where one could find all kinds of literature.

Left Bank will formally celebrate its 50-year milestone in October.

Coffee Cartel, Central West End, St. Louis, CWE
Rachel Heidenry

The Coffee Cartel will close Tuesday after 22 years in the Central West End.

After a 36 percent drop in sales over the past two years, owner Dennis Gorg said Monday it wasn’t feasible for the business to stay open.

“There are a lot of small businesses in St. Louis and what a proud community we have to have such great small businesses, but you gotta get out and support them,” Gorg said.

Fiction writer Michael Nye (at left), Left Bank Books co-owner Kris Kleindienst (center) and Kathleen Finneran, a senior writer in residence at Washington University, are among those involved in this weekend’s festival.
Erica Ott & St. Louis Public Radio

Kris Kleindienst need only glance out toward the entrance to her bookstore at the corner of Euclid and McPherson avenues for some solid reminders of St. Louis’ literary legacy. The busts of four canonical writers adorn the intersection – T.S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin and William Burroughs, all of whom spent formative years in the city.

But Kleindienst is just as enthusiastic about St. Louis’ contemporary writing community as she is about the region’s historical claims to writerly fame.

“We’re a great literary town, and that – in my 44 years of bookselling – has really just become clearer and clearer to me,” the Left Bank Books co-owner said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air during a discussion ahead of Bookfest St. Louis.

The Chase Park Plaza is in St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood.
Paul Sableman | flickr

The topic of development incentives is one that’s complex and controversial.

Are incentives such as tax abatements and tax increment financing (TIFs) fair? Would building or renovation projects typically awarded such incentives get built if they weren’t offered?

Those are just two of the questions explored in Jack Grone’s recent reporting. Grone is the editor of McPherson, an independent journalism startup in St. Louis.

Patrick Murphy and Candace O'Connor have tracked the rise and fall and rise of St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood in two recent documentary projects.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Central West End, considered by most to be a vital neighborhood in the City of St. Louis was not always viewed that way. In the 1970s, it was considered a symbol of blight. What happened in the space from then to now to transform the neighborhood?

Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens listens as wife Sheena talks about her expirence of being robbed to reporters in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Updated after Eric and Sheena Greitens' Tuesday press conference - Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is praising the quick work of law enforcement, and expressing sentiments of forgiveness, after Missouri's future First Lady was robbed at gunpoint on Monday night.

St. Louis police said in an emailed statement to St. Louis Public Radio that Sheena Greitens was sitting in her car near Cafe Ventana in St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood. Her car door was suddenly opened by a suspect, who then pointed a gun at Sheena Greitens and demanded her property. She gave the suspect her laptop and cell phone.

Plans revealed for major Cortex expansion

Oct 20, 2016
Cortex Innovation Community

The Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’ Central West End will undergo a major expansion over the next two years.

Developers announced plans Thursday for the district’s first hotel which will include a restaurant, apartments with over 200 studio, one and two bedroom units, approximately 20,000 square feet of street level retail, a new technology and lab building and an innovation hall to be used as a meeting space.

Henry Schvey and Carrie Houk, of Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Tennessee Williams was not the world’s biggest fan of the town he grew up in. But that’s not stopping the first-ever Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis from happening here in tribute to one city's greatest playwrights and most beloved iconoclasts.

Farewell to Duff's from one who knew it well

Jun 18, 2013
Karen Duffy, left, and Margaret Kelly, a Duff's waiter since 1978.
Harper Barnes | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: "Welcome to our tavern, a fine and public place

to rest and talk, in momentary stay,

where food loves drink, and life and art embrace."

-- Jon Dressel, founder of Dressel's pub, in a poem read at Duff's

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 11, 2013 - On Wednesday, along Edgewood Street in downtown Atlanta, 80-foot-sections of steel rail were lowered into trenches in the street. It was the first section of rail for Atlanta Streetcar, following a process that took 10 years and millions of dollars.

The first rails went into the historic Martin Luther King district of Atlanta and, once complete, will feature an east-west line with 2.6 miles of rail.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Building in Midtown fire up to code, fire chief says

City fire officials say a Tuesday night blaze that left an apartment building near Saint Louis University completely uninhabitable does not appear to be suspicious.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 27, 2010 - T.S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams are now Central West End neighbors -- or at least their busts are. Eliot's likeness was unveiled this past Sunday at the corner of Euclid and McPherson Avenues in front of Left Bank Books and across the street from Williams' bust, which was installed in 2007 at the entrance to Rothschild's Antiques.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 20, 2008 - Hotel developer Charles Drury and associates gave the public on Tuesday an early glimpse of their still-evolving proposal for two 16-story hotels overlooking Forest Park along Kingshighway, just south of the newly opened Kingshighway and Interstate 64 interchange.

The approximately $100 million hotel project would be the largest in terms of size and expense for Drury Development Corp. since the family-owned business built its first hotel in Cape Girardeau, Mo., in 1969.