St. Louis opulence 1880 – 1925

St. Louis was one of the three or so richest US cities around 1880 to 1920 and has perhaps the country’s most extravagant collection of residential architecture in a single neighborhood. Sadly, the houses lie just a few blocks from equally remarkable levels of poverty and desolation of a type unknown in the crowded northeast today.

Especially poignant is the house where Scott Joplin, ragtime composer (“The Entertainer”) and a key grandfather of jazz lived during the height of his career. The house lies preserved in an empty wasteland where the decay was so extreme the neighborhood of once-stately row houses has been wiped clean, leaving only the occasional auto body shop.

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