In 1959, the city of St. Louis demolished more than 5,500 housing units in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood, which stretched from St. Louis University to Union Station. It was the city’s largest urban renewal project — or, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch called it at the time, "slum clearance."
But for Vivian Gibson and her seven siblings, Mill Creek wasn’t a slum. It was home. Gibson’s new memoir, “The Last Children of Mill Creek,” explores growing up in the bustling African American district, where indoor plumbing wasn’t a given but close connections thrived. The eight siblings and their two parents shared 800 square feet of space, living in Mill Creek until a year before it was razed.