Wellston Station | St. Louis Public Radio

Wellston Station

The back door of St. Mary's Infirmary shows some of the deterioration of the building.
Robert W. Duffy | St. Louis Public Radio

The old St. Mary’s Infirmary is on life support.

St. Mary's -- once a valuable component of the health-care structure of St. Louis and an institution of special importance to the community's African-American population -- has a month left, but after that month has passed, it’s marked for demolition. Even now it is considered an “an imminent threat to public safety."

Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, as seen from atop the old  J.C. Penney building between Hamilton and Hodiamont Avenues.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This is the first of three reports looking at the history, present and future of Martin Luther King Drive.

Today is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Had he lived, he’d be 87 years old. About four years after the shooting death of King in Memphis in 1968, two contiguous north St. Louis streets were renamed in his honor and his memory.

This renaming followed a by-then well-established practice in the United States — one that eventually spread abroad. St. Louis wasn’t the first or the last to join this tradition. The first street named for King was South Park Way in Chicago; that memorial was initiated about four months after his death.