Monday, December 07, 2009

Dissecting Soulard

Where ever I live, I pride myself on not being that guy who, when his friends come from out of town, is seeing the sights for the first time right along with them. Whatever the big attractions are, I become familiar with them in short order. By the time visitors arrive, I can tell them all about whatever they want to know.

Soulard is certainly one of St. Louis's top attractions, and my first photographs there are now over a decade old. I've visited it many times. So it was a surprise to find how little I've photographed there. However much you wander across a neighborhood, you don't find out what you have and haven't documented until you try to put it on a map.

On reflection, in my endless quest to find the city's more exotic, far flung, forgotten, neglected, and endangered corners, I have always regarded photo expeditions to Soulard as a guilty pleasure, an overdone cliche, something to be avoided in favor of seeking out places and buildings that might not be there tomorrow. In spite of its near-demise after World War II, Soulard today seems like a safe bet to stay put. So I've never put in the serious hours there needed to truly document it and capture its essence.

Nonetheless, I have gotten many of the highlights and landmarks, and present them on a humble tour of Soulard. This will be the first of many south St. Louis tours, and some day it will be more extensive. It doesn't fully capture the charm of this amazing neighborhood, but it's a start.


Anonymous said...

Very nice tour of Soulard. My mother-in-law went to school at Peter & Paul way back, and a friend lived there for a couple of years after they made apartments next door. I'm looking forward to more south-side tours. The in-laws still live in the Princton Heights neighborhood and I roam much of the City on my bike when possible. Absolutely beautiful.

adguy said...

Soulard is a wonderful link to what St. Louis' past must have looked like. Not all prettified, but still filled with people working, living, eating, shopping. And the scale of the place is amazing! If you're in Soulard, you get the impression of 2-3 story buildings; and churches and other buildings that actually feel tall by comparison. It's wonderful how seeing a place where the scale has not been devastated or dominated is such a balm to the eyes.

india flint said...

and a side-benefit of taking pix in Soulard is that great little restaurant on the riverbend that serves arguably one of the best gumbos i've tasted outside Louisiana - or my kitchen :0)