Monday, March 3, 2008

Comments About East St. Louis

Donna (Boyer) Juarez 28-Feb-2008 18:24

I lived in ESTL in the 1960's I lived at 716 N.16th St. which has long been torn down
I went to Longfellow Elementary School, which now in it's place is Miles Davis on N, 15th St. I would give anything to be able to come and walk through my old stomping grounds. I had such wonderful memories there. You have no idea how many times I wish I could turn back the clock just for one day and be a kid again in ESTL.I try to read everything I can and look at every picture I can find.I would love to have a picture of the area I mentioned and also a picture of the old Longfellow School, I'm willing to purchase these at a reasonable price if anyone can help me out.

Stay true to what you believe and I believe there is hope for East Saint Louis Illinois!!


Donna (Boyer) Juarez.

Guest 26-Feb-2008 23:12

I couldn't wait to move away from ESTL. My negative memories are of smelly factories and the stockyards, constant racial tension, corrupt city management, and rundown buildings. On the positive side, I had many good friends who will remember Price's, Hannigan's and A&W Root Beer. I bowled at three different bowling alleys in ESTL and went to Fairmont Park and Cahokia Downs many times. Grand Marais State Park was our favorite place for exploring nature. But I'm glad I moved.

jimjim 26-Feb-2008 08:15

Quite a few people mentioning Nichols B-B-Que in East St. Louis and they were quite good but I wanted to mention Sam's B-B-Que in French Village, mainly since I've found no mention of it anywhere else on the Internet. It was ran by Sam Visitine and he cooked up some great B-B-Que. His "trade secret" was to add orange soda to his sauce, so eating his ribs would leave your fingers stained. 25-Feb-2008 15:57

People are so uneduated! I live in east saint louis born and raised..the mayority of the people on here can post there attacking comments but who about a city they know nothing for people who actually live here its a shame how people down their history..if u don't like it hell move..East Saint is home and even if I leave I will always come back to my roots..The city yes is 90% black very poverty stricken and a high crime rates.but what city doesn't..also east saint is a very small city so in no way can people compare it larger cities when it comes to crime rates..mainly because of poor management and corrupt system..but if u don't lived there don't judge it..its not nearly as bad as people on the outside looking in make it 2 be..I knw of cities more rundown and with higher crime rates..but I am not gonna down those cities...Be proud of where u come from because its forever in your heritage..I KNOW I AM DESPITE WHAT ANYONE SAYS..GOD IS THE ONLY..for all of u negative talkers East Saint Louis is actually in a developmental stage of coming back up..come check it out progress is being

Guest 25-Feb-2008 04:51

Born in St. Mary's 1951--saw some racial hatred, both sides, but always had friends of both races and individaully, all was cool. Damn politicians, industries, and many of us too. Moved when young, because there was no jobs. Dropped out of East Side, but always a Flyer. Used to hang out by Firehall 7.

TexanTimm 21-Feb-2008 20:05

I was born in St. Mary's Hospital in 1958. I attended Holy Angeles for two years and then St. Phillip. We lived in the Loisel Village area before we moved to Texas in the earty 70's. I remember Sussman Drug and Neider's Dairy from the Lansdowne area. Of course, baseball was big at St. Phillip, and we had Loisel Village Shopping Center. Do any of these places still exist? Loisel was still nice when we left. How is it today?
Guest 21-Feb-2008 02:50

Grew up in East Saint during the 50s and 60s. A great place with excitement back then.

If you want to see destitution, go to Oglala, South Dakota (Pine Ridge Reservation). That place will break your heart faster than East Saint.

Guest 21-Feb-2008 02:02

I was born at Christian Welfare Hospital in the late 40's and raised in Washington Park, which looks like a bomb went thru it, unless for the strip clubs. With all the revenue from casinos and strip clubs, why hasn't E.St.Louis and Washington Park rebounded and become a safe and nice place for people to live. Where is all this money going? Am sure to the crooks that have ran Washington Park and E.St.Louis for the last few years. Both cities were a nice place to live at one time. Thought the casino in ESTLOUIS was supposed to bring so much revenue to city, how has it helped the citizens. Same with Washington Park, how has it helped these people and the high, really high crime rates for these cities. Drug dealers everywhere, where is the revenue to help the PD to curb these activities.What is the answer, just let them kill each other or just die from drugs, maybe that is the answer.


Michelle G 19-Feb-2008 18:37

Hi my name is Michelle and I was raised in East St Louis. I still have family there and in the surrounding area. I go back to visit every time I visit my brother. I'm not afraid but I am also cautious, they same way I am whenever I go anywhere. The devil is everywhere and he doesn't care who he uses to commit the crimes and where the crimes are committed. We are planning our first family reunion, right back in E St Louis. My siblings and I have all moved out to different states and we have become very successful. I would never turn my back on the city I was raised in. In fact I have some future plans in helping in area of drug rehabilitation and a women's shelter. So many times people have criticism about something that disgust them, but my thoughts are - 'Since we have may it, what are we going to do about it?"

Guest 18-Feb-2008 05:54

I grew up in E. St. Louis. I went to Wilson Elementary School, and Lansdowne Jr. High School. Dutchie's Diner at 40th and Waverly was where I learned to play pinball, and I loved going to National and getting Eagle Stamps. I left ESL in 1972. Right before I left, my mother sold her house because she was afraid to stay in our neighborhood any longer. Break-ins and attempted break-ins were becoming routine, and the last straw was two kids trying to break in with crowbars while I was in the room. It was no longer safe to play kick the can, or stay out until the fireflies stopped lighting the sky. The corner store on 47th and Bunkum was about to close (shoplifting increased), and, my high school, St. Teresa's Academy, was scary, as the nuns had to form lines sometimes so we could get to our classes without rocks being thrown at us. What had been a paradise had turned into hell. My moms house sold back to the bank for less than 500 dollars - a two bedroom, one bath good sized house, with lots of pretty trees, and a garden. Dutchies Diner closed, and for a short time, there was work to be found at Esthers Diner in Loisel Village. But swimming at Jones Park, once the best thing to do any summer day, was out of the question. Walking down State Street was unsafe.

I've been to many cities, in the US and Worldwide. The way ESL is now is far beyond anyhing I've seen or could imagine, and I've seen some pretty abandoned desolate places.

Are there some good things there now? Without a doubt - the ESL High School Coach, some of the teachers at Wilson School - but any time I've ever contacted anyone about going back to just see my old home, one last time, I've been advised to stay away, that it would not be safe. That its too dangerous. That I'd need an armored car to take me past my old house.

What could I give back to ESL? My teachers and my sunday school teachers - they changed my life, and were the most positive influences I have ever had. Mr. Knight, my Landsdowne Science teacher, changed my life forever. But they are all gone too. Probably Rosemont Baptist Church isn't even there any more - at least I can't find it on Google Earth.

Its just sad. Most people can go back to where they grew up, but those of us who grew up in ESL in the 60s are told that its not safe for us. St. Louis, on the other hand, is fine. And the one reason that is always given that I should not try to go back - that its not safe because I'm white. That I wouldn't be welcome. Well, duh. I GREW UP THERE. The kids who grow up there now and goto Wilson school are walking on ground I walked on, we share this, regardless what color we are. The kids at Lansdowne with no colour copier for books, etc. - we shared the same lunch room. I was there, you are there now. We share this 'history' , what will be the legacy of people who were in ESL. Why does the fact I'm white make a bit of difference. East St. Louis helped make who I am today - and I suspect it will help mold kids today to overcome even worse trauma and situations, and to be strong. But that's the only good thing I can find to say about it. It's sad. Really sad.

Isaiah 16-Feb-2008 02:18

Ciara, you need to get out more. In fact many of the people in East St. Louis need to get out more. It is great to have pride in your hometown but some of you are just fools. East St. Louis is in the Top 5 in the country for crime, decay and abandonment. It isn't like every other city out there. You have been brainwashed. Educate your self and get out of your town and see how others live. East St. Louis is a hell on earth and America's version of a shanty town or favela. Basically the worst of the worst in this country. I feel sorry for St. Louis having to deal with such a wasteland across the river. I went up in the Arch once and couldn't believe how underdeveloped and decayed the Illinois side of the Mississippi River was.

Ciara 15-Feb-2008 18:18

I still live in E.St Louis. I live in on 47th street the cut off of Washington Park. I love my city no matter what anybody says about E.Saint. I was born at Touchette Regional Hospital in 87. I gorw on 36 street. I must say there good and bad areas in E.Saint. Though it is no different then the other city that you see on T.V. where there is a killing everyday. Like I said before I love my city and nothing about that will ever change.

Guest 14-Feb-2008 20:54

I also worked with Charlie Pettus at Cerro. I believe he was president of the Steelworkers Union at Cerro very nice man.

Guest 14-Feb-2008 02:37

my late Husband worked at Cerro, my cousin Charlie and My cousin Carlos Pettus and his dad worked there.

pdooleyesh1980 14-Feb-2008 02:33

Is there a live chat or my space to talk to some of the peeps on this site.

dennis blacharczyk 13-Feb-2008 19:56

are you Eugene Crow's son? I worked with Eugene at cerro copper. Last I heard he was driving a truck.

ladycamaro 11-Feb-2008 09:20

I was born in ESL, but left as an infant. I remember going back in the 70's for our family reunions. It was great then. In 1974, my aunt & 12 yr. old cousin was burned alive in their apartment a think they lived in Washington Park to have to a better area to live as they thought. Little did they know that was moving next to a person who hated blacks. I have not been back since.Do anyone remember and can direct me to archived news articles of I think they published in true crime or detective magazine in 1984 or 1985. My cousin had the magazine article but lost it and i haven't been able to find anything since. I would love some info! Good luck on rebuilding that once great city.

Guest 11-Feb-2008 08:40

Does anyone remember 1974 when a mother & daughter was burned live in their apartment in East St. Louis, Il. while they slept by their next door neighbor because he didn't want blacks living next door to him? if so, do you know where I can find that artical in the newspaper archives or I think it was published in 1984 or 1985 true crime or true detective magazine. They were my aunt & 12 year old cousin. I would appreciate any info.

jim jim 10-Feb-2008 09:50

30-Nov-2007 10:28 :me (jim jim)
08-Oct-2007 21:47 : my sister juli(julie)

we actually grew up in Loisel Village. It was so beautiful there when we were children. An oasis, really.

Guest 10-Feb-2008 01:03

For all of you who once lived here and got yourself out...Good Job!! PLEASE tell the current residents HOW you got out, for their sake! For everyone else who STILL lives there...What the hell are you still doing there? Why would ANYONE want to live like this? How can the parents allow their kids to grow up in a place like this? OF COURSE it's got the highest crime rate, there's apparently nothing to do BUT hurt each other, the ENVIRONMENT breeds hate among yourselves, you feed off each other's pain. YOU must do something to better your life, your life is YOUR responsibility. Is this a racial issue because every race except one accually left? What are you still doing there? Take the hint, everyone left because your town is dead. I just can't understand it! This IS America, and NOBODY is keeping you there but yourself, so it's obviously because you for some reason like it there, or you're not motivated enough to get out. What is it? Someone (who lives there right now) please it that you don't think it's that bad, or do you stay out of pure laziness?

Sorry to be so harsh, but people really need a wake-up call to reality here.

lenny 07-Feb-2008 16:21


Come on man. No one is saying every city doesn't have bad areas. What is being articulated here is that virtually every area in ESL is bad. There are no good areas. At best the better areas in the City are just "not too bad." Here in the City you have bad and very bad. Proof is in the pudding.

In 2007 we had a total of 31 homocides in a City with a population less than 30,000. The entire county (St. Clair) as a whole had 44 total homocides. Go figure. What's even worse, just about everyone who lives here either knows each other, or know a friend or family member of each other.

I have accepted the reality of the condition of my City. This enables me to deal with the real issues concerning it. Nothing sugar coated. It is what it is.

Toni 06-Feb-2008 05:29

I was born and raised in East St. Louis. I attended Garrison School in Centerville, Grahman and Hughes-Quinn Junior High School and Graduated from East Side in 1972 and State Community College and I have never had any regrets living in East St. Louis. Yes East St. Louis has good and bad areas, but can you name a city that doesn't?

Guest 03-Feb-2008 18:06

Cocabrown, I saw the AHS website. It would be good if they would show all of the classes instead of just the senior class and some of the other yearbook pictures. There were a lot of people who went there who left to go to East Side or Lincoln. I also looked at the reunion pictures and they were mostly the older white guys who went there in the early 70's (probably before it went co-ed because there were no women). I don't know if anyone who went there when I did even wants to get together (I can't think of anyone I want to "catch up with"). When I went there I thought a lot of those Assumption kids were stuck up. After I graduated and started going out to clubs in the city I hardly ever saw anyone from Assumption. It's kinda strange that 2 guys I saw a lot both passed away last year. RIP Stephen "Boogie Boo" Ray and Mardie "Crosseyed Mardie" Olden.

I think they both graduated in the Class of '80.

Guest 29-Jan-2008 16:24

I grew up in East St. Louis during the fifties and sixties. I left in '71 when I was afraid to go home after dark, or if I was in my apartment, afraid to leave after dark. I was living in what are now abanded apartment buildings that were located on North Park Drive and Linden. No way to live. I have many fond memories of EStL. We moved alot when I was a kid, so I lived all over EStL from 84th and State to 101 Missouri Avenue (east to west), and 40th and Forest in Lansdowne to Parkside subdivision (north to south). I lived on 41st & Balediere (my step father built the apartment building there) in what was then Rosemont. Today it is Washington Park (when did that happen?). There are very few areas I didn't live in. I continue to visit East St. Louis periodically because I still have friends there, but it hurts my heart to see what has happened to my home town. The first 15 to 20 years after I moved across the water, was really difficult to watch the deterioration. Now I'm kinda anethesized to the condition, I suppose. I would love, however, to see EStL come back.

East St. Louis population was in the 80,000's when I grew up there. We sported 4 high schools, East Side (my alma mater), Lincoln, Assumption, and St. Teresa's. We had a couple of movie theaters, a drive-in, a bowling alley, and all kinds sit down, eat in restaurants that were really nice, Andrew's Steak House, Wagon Wheel, The Spaghetti House, The Stop Light. I can remember as a kid going to the Stop Light almost every Sunday where they served awesome fried chicken and big bowls of vegetables at the table. We had Hannigan's and Price's drive through restaurants to hang out at in high school. And an A&W Root Beer stand in Edgemont. There was another restaurant on 89th & State called Dizzy Dean's that had outstanding chili.

We had two busy swimming pools. Lincoln Park and Jones Park. I went swimming twice a day almost every day of the summer at Jones. Learned to play tennis there, too. Actually, I learned to drive a stick shift in Jones Park on the parking lot next to the tennis courts.

I remember sleeping with the door opened in the spring and fall and never being afraid. My friends and I would walk all over the city with no fear. To those of you still in EStL know that there are alternative lifestyles. Hopefully, there will come a day when you have an honest human being you can elect into office that will be serious about healing the ills of your city. It won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight, but I believe it could be done. As a citizen it is up to you to contribute to the solutions of your city. If you don't help to solve the problem, you are part of the problem. God bless you all.

Oh yeah, and a note to Lenny - your advise is sound and on the money! Hang in there.

Guest 27-Jan-2008 15:26

I was born in Christian Welfare Hospital in East St. Louis in 1956. We moved a lot, like a lot of folks did "East Side" when I was a kid; I lived on 13th Street (my favorite place), 42nd Street, Lincoln Avenue, and Illinois Avenue. I remember walking all the way from 13th Street to Jones Park on a hot summer day with my big brother and bunch of neighborhood kids to go swimming; going "window shopping" downtown or just walking down to SEARS.

Does anyone remember the 6th Street BBQ place or "Dizzy Deans" hushpuppies?

I attended Hawthorne School in the 2nd grade and we had mixed races there; I don't remember any problems, we all got along pretty much. I guess no one had taught us to hate yet. We moved because the neighborhood got unsafe. There were break ins and robberies. My mom had two guys try to snatch her purse outside SEARS in broad daylight. We moved out to 42nd Street, then Washington Park, and finally out to Edwardsville and beyond.

I'm living in another State, but I will always love East St. Louis and go home every chance I get. The pictures above break my heart because I used to play on those streets. My uncle had a window cleaning business based on 7th Street, not too far from the old "Golden Gloves." I worked there for him in 74 and remember how bad things were getting then. We used to have to park our cars in the garage after we removed our vans or we'd find them vandalized when we came back from our late night/early morning rounds.

Reading these posts, I can understand outsiders' horror and the folks sticking it out's defensive attitude toward the place. I feel the same way, though I haven't lived there in over forty years, it is still "home" to me. But if East St. Louis is going to change and I pray it does, it will have to be the folks who live there who will stand up and say "enough!" to the garbage going on. Throw the bums out who lie to you to get in office and then rob you blind once you get there. Organize and stop the gangs and drugs rampant on your streets. Help the cops and firemen do their jobs; I know there's bad blood there; I remember the rubber hose in the basement treatment from back in the day, but it's going to take good people to stand up and reclaim the town.

It sure would be nice for me, a white guy, to be able to go back and walk through Jones' Park again; the last time I tried it got real hairy.
cocabrown 24-Jan-2008 20:16

Hi Guest,

This is you went to AHS. I found somehting you may find You will NOT believe it. Amazing!!!

lenny 24-Jan-2008 19:04

Jim Dwyer,
I a man hasn't found something worth fighting for, then his life is not worth living. Sound familiar? Some of us in ESL choose, and I repeat, "choose" to stay the course and fight. And after we fight, we will fight on!

Guest 19-Jan-2008 21:37

I never "surf the web" or even look at websites and while setting up my daughter's laptop I entered a search for E St Louis. I am shocked at how many people make comments and even care about my hometown. I grew up in East Boogie near Parkside and graduated from Assumption in '81. It's interesting to read everyone's analysis of "what went wrong". It's easy to blame black politicians and white flight but obviously, like a lot of small factory towns when the factories leave so do jobs and people.

When I was a kid we never had to leave East St Louis for nothing. We used to catch the Bi-State, ride our bikes or walk to Shop City, Jones Park, Lincoln Park and all over. We would even walk across Frank Holten Park to the Talk of the Town out in the "Ville" (Centreville). When we crossed the viaduct by Assumption going to Washington Park the white boys would chase us back to the "boogie". That shit was fun and we had a hell of a lot of fun growing up there!!! The best thing about East Saint was you could do anything. No one ever asked for an ID; the cops didn't mess with you if you didn't mess with them; and you could get almost anything you wanted (That's why people still go there to party). I started going to clubs when I was 17 and never got "carded" unless the old playas was trying to keep the young thugs out! Me and my boys kicked it in the city for over 20 years. But all thing change. Now you can't even get a "set up". I settled down now and just chill at home with my wife & kids. My parents and a lot of relatives still live there. Believe it or not it ain't that bad. I live in O'Fallon, IL now for my kids sake but I still love East St Louis forever!!!
ps To cocabrown you don't know me but I remember you and Pickles. She was in the same grade as me at Assumption for about a year. She was beautiful and all of us had a crush on her (You too)!

jim dwyer 18-Jan-2008 22:39

I am from ESL and I attended Holy Angeles Catholic Elementary back in the early and mid-1960s. As troubled as the city was and is, I love ESL and I still get back there every decade for a family funeral. My mom taught at Lansdowne Jr. High (is it still there?!) and my dad taught English at 'East Side.'

I now live here in San Diego, California, where we moved in 1963, after my dad's ESL school district paychecks started bouncing. San Diego is a city with a great economy (lots of jobs!) and a good social sewrvices infrastructure, including excellent city- and state-run healthcare programs for the economically disadvanteged (like me; I currently receive no-cost treatment for diabetes and heart problems). And, there is an excellent program for AFDC (Aid For Families with Dependent Children).

Realistically, ESL has no economic future, despite the recent ascendancy of riverboat gambling (now legal, but in my boyhood, a mob-controlled illegal industry). It pains me severely to say it, but my fellow East. St. Louisans should consider packing and moving to San Diego, where there are jobs, sun, and fun-on-the-beach! I love all of you! Save youselves and join me out here! Move while you still can!

Guest 18-Jan-2008 17:59

Left ESL when I was five and have not returned, not because of not wanting to just have not had the time. I remember in the early fifties, going to st paul church and playing at linclon park. from the looks of things all that is ove.

lenny 15-Jan-2008 21:34

Stay where you are! At least for now anyway.

cocabrown 15-Jan-2008 14:48

This is to Nickaboo...before going into the modeling business, please be sure that you can read, and write properly and get the right contracts. Just an FYI, it is there. Not their.

Beauty fades-dumb is forever!

nikaboo 14-Jan-2008 05:26

Its crazy because my boyfriend is from their,and he makes it like its just this big dream place to be... and see I've never been their thats why Im checking it out!! and Im the type of girl with BIG DREAMS!! (modeling dreams) and he makes it like I can have a succesful life living in down their!!!

Tessynce 10-Jan-2008 22:26

My dad was born in ESL, and moved to Cali with this mom and siblings. He did go back to live with his father for a few years either in the late 40s or early 50s, and has fond memories of living in ESL "back in the day". I am looking for African American Brownlees who live or used to live in ESL. Trying to research my dad's family. Any info is appreciated! My email is

lenny 10-Jan-2008 16:27

To guest, 6 January, 2008 3:15
Let's not blame the politicians for the City's condition; let's blame the voters who put them in office. After all, they had to be elected by the very people over whom they preside. Just a little something to "think" about. Let's educate ourselves!

guest 06-Jan-2008 03:15

The crooked politicians are the reason for the city's downfall. Take a look at any Monitor newspaper and you will see every corrupt politician hires their relative to take some of the few jobs left for the residents and embezzle even more of the city's money.

Guest 05-Jan-2008 13:27

In the depths of the greatest disaster lies the greatest opportunity. If there were nothing to be done what would you work on? The people I know who have come from ESL and moved to other places have been very successful, because they learned to fight for what they wanted. "You have to fight harder over a little than you do over a lot". ESL is not the only city with dope and crime problems and when those problems begin to have enough impact on the Whites they will probably legalize the drugs and thus end the crime. However, joining forces in small groups and developing individual projects has always been the key to growing communities, cities and societies. We as African Americans have done so much dirt to each other in the name of rugged individualism, me-ism and hedonism that we are afraid to trust each other even in small groups. The inner cities, ESL included, are being gentrified and we don't have the resources to stop it. We had better join in and participate or we will see yet another prosperous metropolis built out of our ashes and we will not even get to warm our hands by the fire. Be careful when you decide that running is the answer because wherever you go may turn in to the same ashes, because you won't keep wood on the fire!!!

Zandra Y. Hayes 23-Dec-2007 17:25

My dad was born in East St. Louis and lived there until he joined the army and moved to Chicago after being discharged. Each summer we travelled to East St. Louis to visit my aunt, uncle, and grandmother. They eventually moved to Belleville because of the crime and break-ins. I have a cousin who currently lives there in the downtown area. It is very bleak, but the people who were born and raised there are some of the best. The other thing that keeps me longing for East St. Louis is the barbeque pig snoots. No where else in America where you can get this treat.

guest who? 21-Dec-2007 01:52

east st louis,il was once to me the best place on earth in the 50s and early 60s. i was raised there in the john de shields apts. life was poor but we had an over abundance of fun and good times. i saw all the racism, but the good part about that is, we fought back and didnt take that crap. the memories will always be there. thanks east st. louis for all the memories. the masonic hall--lincoln park--astronaut playboys skating rink--the delux theatre--the broadwaytheatre--the harlem theatre-- the manhattan club -the foxhole--club delisa--15th&broadway--little richards pool hall&many other fun places. also thanks for the mamories washington elemantary (gone) hughes-quinn jr. high (gone)and lincoln high school(gone). heres a hint as to who i buddies ed

lee--gil--highpocket--birdsong--richard--donzell--benobra--monk--larry--freddie s.--tony w.--tyrone c.--pete&mike--hazel--lena--beverly--alva gene--barbara k--ann a.--jack r.---yit--frank s.--francell--david b.--junebug. if i forgot someone forgive me. but look for the name thats missing and you will know who this is. i was the first one to leave. east boogie forever.

ROBERTA MOORE 17-Dec-2007 20:00

Well hello people i live in washington park and i think and wash.park still have potential,only if some one give us a try .When you think of any city you have to be care full. Most of the homocides that you see around here are drug,gang,or you have bothered someone ore their property.Lets think of what good that can be made of what bad that can come out of it. Those who have seen the bad and seen the good need to not forget about the presant because it can be and will be a good city after all. just look at the suround ing states in america where death is hapining every day.we get ours every blue moon .Iwas born in missouri and i will not be looking for a place to call home there any time soon or ever. thank-you my brothers and sisters.c/o LINCOLN SR. HIGH 1994 I LOVE YOU GUY'S

Joe C 14-Dec-2007 02:28

I was born at St. Mary's in 46. Grandpa owned a tavern at 52nd and Bukum Road called Matt's Place, later the Red Feather Inn. My best memory are of going to Sears on Saturday in downtown ESL, then to Nichol's BBQ for the best ribs ever. Great times at Assumption High. Friday night football games at Parson's Field. Playing baseball at Jone's Park. Drive In movies at French Village and the Drive Inn behind East Side High. Driving between Price's and Hannigan's. The summer Firemens Picnics. Alwasy something to do as I got older -- playing pin ball for money -- poker games at the Stockyards -- gambling and pool at Ray Easton's Coach Light. Horses at Chokia Downs and Fairmont Park. Golf. Hunting and fishing. Lost of good places to eat great local dishes like Chili Mac and fried ravioli. I miss ESL and hope someday it comes back to the good old days I remember.

Ricardo Perry 11-Dec-2007 21:51

ricardo perry

I was born and raised in east st louis.I left after the military and moved to colorado, but east st louis is still home. i visit when I can but not much since my mother passed. I' m still a Flyer forever.

lenny 03-Dec-2007 19:40

Territorialism has long been one of the City's many problems. Rather than take a regional approach to population diversity and business and economic development, we tend to limit our outside influence and involvement. Why? Because it allows for more internal control. The fact is, many of our leaders do not really want to see the City prosper. The way it is right now, they can collect fat checks and do nothing, while everyone else suffers. They don't even live in the City, yet our uneducated voters continue to put them in office. I said it before, and I will say it again. Until our public is educated, they will continue to elect the wrong people to lead them. Hell, almost half of the entire population in ESL is functionally illiterate. No kidding! Let's go further, the largest part of the population is comprised of individuals between the ages of 16-25. Guess what? The most unproductive part of the population is comprised of this same age group. Another thing, the biggest moneymaking industry in the City at this time is Crack and Marijuana. Guess what? I can give a crack head 5 or 10 bucks for a vote. I can get their vote everytime. This is a good amount of money for a dope head to get a bump.

Guess what? The drop out rate here is almost 50% between the 10th - 12th grade. Guess what? 70% of people with children are single parent households. An even higher number are the recipients of some form of government subsidy. Guess what? More than 50% of the property in ESL is owned by non-residents. Guess what? Only 3 out of 10 people comprise the tax paying base for the entire City. I think you get the picture. PRAY!

Guest 01-Dec-2007 22:38

Is ESL developing a Hispanic population? Here in Southern California several cities have transitioned from almost all black to a mix of black and Hispanic today with even some whites moving back in. In my opinion the results have been mostly positive with an influx of small businesses in previously underserved areas. Some racial diversity would help ESL in my opinion.

Congrats on the Flyers' football success this year. Next year should be a good one too.

jim jim 30-Nov-2007 10:28

someone posted:

It's safe to say the decline began when James Williams became our first black mayor in '71.

BS. The problems go back much earlier to the WHITE MAYORS like Al Fields (a thief)and the bond issue problems this city went through and are still dealing with. I grew up in East St. Louis (Loisel Village) and will always love my home town. Period. If it's to be re-vitalitized, I may just move back there.

But come on white-flighters now living out in Fairview, O'Fallon or even further out... Quit blaming everyone else for what happen. We all played a part. My father was chastized for not selling (he is a cheap bastard) when everyone else was.

I AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN BORN AND RAISED THERE and the color of my skin doesn't mean anything.

guest 29-Nov-2007 23:49

I was born and raised in East St.louis as was my mom and dad and their parents.Moving in 1972 was the BEST move my parents decided.Why do city leaders let this happen?Why is it always black and white?Why in the hell would someone say they love east saint louis?I would like to see the residents of this ghosttown get some help,are get out..My warmest memories of my childhood were in this city at a time kids were in the City today with memories of love yes,being safe no!!...come on people!!!!!

lisa 29-Nov-2007 03:31

I was born and raised in East Boogie also, moved away in 1983 when i graduated (Go Flyers). I also attended Martin Van Lucus, Clark Jr. High, and East St Louis Sr High. I have not been back to the city in about 20 years,will be there to visit next year, I live in Florida now, but I must agree with another comment I read, you won't find BBQ like our hometown anywhere. I don't know how the city is now, but I don't have any complaints about growing up there from 1965-1983.

Guest 24-Nov-2007 04:20

I live in Belleville and would never want to drive through there at night.


voyager 21-Nov-2007 20:16

I too have very fond memories of E.St.Louis,i was born in 1956 at St.Mary's hospital,lived on Regent Place and then on the 1300 block of N.42nd st.what a great place it was during those years! I went to Holy Angels Catholic School on 37th and Caseyville Ave.(all boarded up now)played for hours at Jones'Park,had pick up ball games on any empty lot we could find etc. We moved in 1970,by this time the city was in position for a full slide down hill!,and down it went!! I drove through my old neighborhood a few months back just to see what the place looked like. Well to say the least I could barely believe my eys!! (while my wife's life was passing in front of hers).It was barley recognizable!! The trash,the weeds,the junk scattered in every direction!! Closed shops,burned out houses,abandoned cars!! A real dump!! in,at one time, was one of the best places to live in the entire country!! Such a shame!! East St.Louis has to rise again,because I don't think it could possibly sink any lower,get rid of the poverty pimp politicians,and elect someone to office that actually gives a rats ass about the place. Maybe then the city can be trusted to manage it's own finances without the State of Illinois looking over your shoulder! Anyone who grew up in E.St.L. in the "hey day" could go on and on and on about this. The problems are many,some would say too many,and I would tend to agree with that. So here's a good starting point. Clean the place up!! Poverty is no excuse for filth!!,soaps'cheap,so are rakes and trash bags. However the aforementioned does require some effort. So get busy,get organized and get the place cleaned up!!! After all,any improvement would be a step up from where you are now.

Guest 21-Nov-2007 11:05

I grew up in and around ESL and lived in the city from 1980 to 1984. We had a nice home - but we also had a six foot chain link fence, two dobermans and handguns. Everyone knew that no one who was up to any good or valued their safety was out on State St. after dark. I don't recall ever being afraid there - being careful was just a fact of life. I did drive through on a trip home around 90-91 and it looked like a war zone. My dad talks about how the city was in the 50's & 60's before it was bled dry by corrupt politicians. As he puts it, "After the white politicians stole as much as they could, they abandoned the city and the black politicans stole what little was left. The folks who could get out, got out and the ones who couldn't were left to fend for themselves." That's probably a pretty good synopsis. I know there may be other areas just as bad or worse - but it's still a shame.

lenny 19-Nov-2007 20:28

To Guest 12 Nov-2007 18:57

Christian Welfare building was changed to Gateway Hospital, then downhill from there to ruins. The plans now are to renovate the building and the area around it, and make the entire area a senior citizens community called Columbia Place.

St. Mary's hospital is on the verge of closing as a result of losing approximately 3 million in revenue annually. The City is currently lobbying Federal, State and private investment, and basically anyone they can to keep the hospital open. Also, it is no longer St. Mary's Hospital. It was renamed Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital due to some previous administrative changes, also because of loss in revenues.

The Polish building of which you speak is not a Polish building, but rathe a Masonic Temple. Clearly it is one of the most beautiful structures in the City. It's still there, and still well maintained, obviously because it is still run by white Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (AF&AM)

13th and Baugh Avenue is the site of the one of the City's newest neighborhoods. Nearly the entire neighborhood has been rebuilt, with over 400 new housing units. This location is one of the better developed neighborhoods in the City and is called the Emerson Park Neighborhood. Believe me, you would not recognize it now.

43rd and Forest. Essentially the same.

Hope this information helps.

Guest 15-Nov-2007 16:29

As dead as North Korea on a friday night...

Guest 13-Nov-2007 04:51

I am Dioune Jenkins-Singleton and I love my city, from the trash on the street to the Bums on the corner. If you have a problem whith east saint louis then help clean it up if you love in the city and if you dont live her then just shut up and stay out. there is a GHETTO every state, country, continent are wherever you have to just make the best of it. live free and happy in EAST SAINT LOUIS, ILLINOIS. E SIDE CLASS OF 1998

Guest 12-Nov-2007 18:57

I lived in E.St. Louis back in the late fifties and some in the sixties. My daughter was born in the Christain Welfare Hospital there. Is that hospital still there. Also is the Saint Mary's Hospital still on 6th street? I think? Back in the fifties we lived on 7th street close to a big Polish hall. My parents later lived at 13th street & Baugh Ave. Then later on 43rd and Forest Blvd close to Washington Park. Is anything still standing around those areas? I haven't been there in many years so was just wondering.

Anthony Bradley 12-Nov-2007 15:06

OKAY GUEST, I was born and raised in ESL, yes I am offended by your comment.Though I live in Atlanta now ESL will always be my home.Sense you stated that we are an embarrassment to the state and country.So where should we move to, do have a place for us to move to.Once we are gone what are you going to do with the land? You are going to rebuild everything in the down town area of ESL. Buy out the lower income homes and projects for an unreasonable amount of money.Then you want to place these 5 Star hotels down town along with Five Hundred Thousand dollars homes and lofts.And you will get the goverment funding, which we should have gotten a long time ago.This is going on in just about every state. Run the poor out and rebuild to where as only the rich can live in these areas.Damm the tourist and travlers, what about the wealth of the residents of ESL.The travlers are here today and gone tomorrow.I don't think so partner!!!!By the way who the hell are you and where are you from talking this nonsense. Come with a better solution that we all can benefit from and not just the "WHITE MAN" and his small percentage of uncle tom's !!!! Try to tell us, what is best for our city and you do not live here. Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest 11-Nov-2007 01:50

E St Louis is an utter failure and a bleak gateway to the great state of Illinois. Nowhere else in the nation do three major interstate highways conjoin than in ESL. What an embarrassment to the state, and country for that matter, to greet travelers with the utmost worst place imaginable in the USA. All those blocks that are 90% vacant should be COMPLETELY demolished of not just buildings, but infrastructure as well. Return this once decent city back to a state even better, a natural forest and prairie. I'm not trying to offend any resident of ESL but for God's sake your city is offensive to this country. Do the right thing and move out so they can finally put the last nail into this ready to be buried coffin.

Guest 09-Nov-2007 17:24

My Name is Jarvis bester and im from estl and its not as bad as people think it is

Octavius Crow 01-Nov-2007 20:50

I just figured that I would comment further more about my beloved city E.St.Louis Il... As time goes on, things get worse, and now I can truely say that we are really fucked up... I mean look at it this way; I've been there my whole life and when I reacently moved to Michigan I had problems sleeping just because it was too quiet... No gunshots, No crooked cops, and I still carry my 9mm pistol with me everywhere I go... People say old habbits die hard, but in this case its the person that has to die too. E.St.Louis is not a terrible city

njbruce 31-Oct-2007 17:00

Looks like the Camden, NJ of my youth in the early 60's. Camden does not look that way anymore (at least to people passing through to or from Philadelphia).

Anthony 31-Oct-2007 13:46

Jeremiah, I was just home a month ago visiting my family. You best belive I made a stop on State Street and got me some "Good Old Ribs". Nothing like home barbecue...

Jeremiah 26-Oct-2007 05:44

Things are slowly getting better. From 1997, the first time I had the experience of running out of gas driving through East Saint, of all things, to the last time I was in the area (2006) things have gotten a lot better. The area has potential and nobody beats East Boogie for roadside barbecue stands!

Guest 24-Oct-2007 01:59

To GR Johnson:
I noticed your note on this site; we have a lot in common; I guess I was one year behind you in the two schools you mentioned and I lived on the same street.e-mail at

lenny 22-Oct-2007 15:01

I don't know you, but I can assure you that Central Ave. does not look anything, I repeat anything, like you remember. The entire area from Wilford up to Russell Ave. has been redeveloped. You have mostly market rate and affordable housing development in this area now. This part of the southend is actually one of the better developed parts of the City. FYI. Wish you well in serving the country.


Cynthia 22-Oct-2007 02:30

I would like to say that I love East St. Louis and Washington Park. I grew up there 16 years of my life. I did not move far. I've lived in Missouri for a few years and now I am back in Illinois living in O'Fallon. Not far from East Saint at all. I still frequent the area on a regular basis supporting the businesses. Of course someone needs to come thru and improve a few things and the people need to be a lot more positive. Besides the two states I have mentioned, I have been to other states and there are always those "type" of areas in all communities. My husband and I were in Memphis for Music festival and we met some friends in a less to be desired neighborhood. Our friends who now live in Memphis suburbs were comfortable because they grew up there. That city, no matter how it looked, was home to them. Just like E. St. for me. Your pics look AWESOME!!!! Much love...

Gerry Johnson 21-Oct-2007 20:52

My name is Gerry Johnson. I lived in East St. Louis from 1979 (age 6) to 1986. I went to Lilly Freeman Elementary School and Martin Van Lucas Elementary School. I lived not too far from Martin Van school at 1405 Central Avenue. I had a great time growing up their as a kid and I can remember a lot of things as if I was still growing up there. When I lived there on Central Avenue, there were only 3 houses on our side of the street and we were the first family to live in our house. On the other side of the street were 3 or 4 houses.

There was always something to do outside. I played outside on Central Avenue when it was still a dirt road and not paved. I had lots of friends (Anthony & Timothy Reed, Darrell Ray, Andre Wilson, Marlon Tucker, Thaddeus Griffith, Kimberly Douglas, Montrice Lewis, Kimberly Gee, Tiffany Shaw, Tyson, Greg Smith and his 2 fine sisters, Quintin, Bernard, Keisha, Barbara aka Faye, Antonio Johnson, Catherine Jackson and a few more.

Growing up there was rough. There were so many gangs in the area such as deciples, vice-lords, smurfs, crypts and more. Me and my friends had a run in with the deciples when we were riding our bikes near St. Mary's hospital and my friend Anthony was knocked off his bike and scraped the crap out of his thigh on the ground.

My 1st grade teacher at Lilly Freeman was Mrs. Grade. At Martin Van Lucas, my 2nd graded teacher was Mrs. Fort, 3rd grade was Mrs. Spencer, 4th grade was Mrs. Anderson and my 5th & 6th grade teacher was Mrs. Tony. I remember that we occassionally had a substitute teacher for the 5th grade who was a police woman. I remember that Mrs. Anderson and her husband both died within 15 minutes apart of each other.

The street behind my house was Gay street. I remember that a house on that street was being built around 1985/1986 for a celebrity. I think it was for Jackee Joyner.

Even today, I tell myself that now that I am 34, I would like to go back to my old neighborhood and see how things have changed and see if some of my old friends are there. I used to communicate with Anthony until a few year ago before I was stationed in Germany (yes, I have been in the Army since 1992). Last I heard, Andre was a policeman and Darrell was a barber.

If you think you know me, please feel free to email me at GPJ77@MSN.COM or GERRYPJOHNSON@GMAIL.COM.

TowelGuy 20-Oct-2007 05:04

I started 1st grade at Slade School, 1962 through 1966 when we moved to Belleville. Great great memories! I'd be interested to hear from any alumni out there. Very proud to say I was born in East St. Louis!

tommy 19-Oct-2007 18:09

I think they should rename the city. I think that would help.

Octavius Crow 18-Oct-2007 21:25

U may not know anything about E.St.louis, but I was raised there... Let me be the first to introduce U to our one and true language; Fuck everyone that hasn't lived the nightmare themselves... I often get tired of people misjudging us for what the city as a youth has brought upon themselves. Yes we've sold drugs and robbed and killed but we have as people have reasons... Just think about it: U have two children yet there are no jobs. How can U survive without doing wrong... I myself am 21 yrs. old and I have outlived my citie's statictics as far as getting locked up or killed... If U lived in E.St louis today your slogun would be (Recieve Education OR Die) for our city has no outlets...........

Sis Saint James 18-Oct-2007 01:06

There is much to be done in East Saint Louis. And it is going to take some time to get it to the place, economically, physically and emotionally that it needs and deserves to be in. But natives such as myself who has had a chance to see cities all over this country and abroad, I am still proud and hopeful for my city and every other African American community in the U.S. Some of the judgmental comments that are being made about a city that has suffered much, are out right rude and disheartening. There are truths about the city that I am not oblivious to, but I also know that alot of the despair and destitution has more to do with past administration nationally and locally than it does with the people themselves. A city, a country, a world and anything that is supposedly a democracy will reflect its leadership. Leaders of all kinds political, religious, and otherwise need to begin to step up to the challenge that our city has placed in front of us. So to all of the East Saint Louis hopefuls such as myself, stay strong, be proud, get involved and know that the best is yet to come for our great little city.

Love you all, even the confused and judgmental. God Bless Sis. Saint James

Guest 16-Oct-2007 03:39

GMH is either a fool or a fraud. The correct phrase is "...or within the last five years have lived in East St Louis." It may seem minor, but it ain't. Like them Romans sez, caveat emptor.

GMH 14-Oct-2007 23:07

I am a 'sociologist' and college instructor. I would like to meet with individuals currently or within last 10 years that has lived in East St.Louis. My goal is to do an update on the conditions within the schools and the community.

Please contact me through my email address:

I will be glad to provide additional information concerning my reasons for this research.

Brad K 12-Oct-2007 23:03

where are the people in these photos? No cars or people, looks like a ghost town?

Joe 10-Oct-2007 10:03

I lived in ESL during the 50's and 60's. everything was fine until race problems than the Govt comes along destoys the town. It is now a crime wave. I am truely surprised that the Casino Queen does as well as it does. But I see St. Louis the same way. My wife is from desert state still amazed at the crap that goes on in the midwest. 6 years ago I took my adult children of a tour of my old residences They said no wonder I am a hard assed person and just could not beleive it. Crime, that is not the proper word for ESL. It needs to be rebuilt. Starting with the oneab's. There is some history to the buildings in that town, but thanks to negleince of State and Federal Level it is shot to hell. Does anyone have information on a flood in the 1940's??? please post.

Guest 08-Oct-2007 21:47

It's funny- I left E.St.Louis at the age of 13 to O'Fallon,Il and then life took me all over the United States. When I tell people I was born in E.ST.Louis they seem horrified,like how could I have survived that. When I tell people from St.Louis or surrounding areas they tell me I come from more of Fairview Heights. I grew up in French Village area and have fond memories always of my childhood. Playing sports at ST.Phillips and walking home after dark with no fear,riding my bike all over the backstreets of my life for hours-this was the 70's and it was a great place to roam. I live in a well established area of AZ. and would never dream to allow my child the same liberty as now there are so many crazy's out there.I went home 2 years ago and it broke my heart to see what my neighborhood had become. I can only hope for the best-Juli

watson 08-Oct-2007 05:00

hello east st louis i live here in dallas tx iam from esl class of 1985

An ESL Diplomat-PR 30-Sep-2007 10:51

I grew up in E. St. Louis and attended E.St. Louis High School. Beside the arts and sports celebrities and crime, do you realize that E. St. Louis is known for raising more PhD & Doctorates than any other city in the US. That's what needs to be applauded. Those teachers who chose to teach for low pay in ESL instilled knowlege instead of foolishness. No, I do not have my PhD or doctorate yet but I don't make light of that accomplishment. Those of you who have achieved that goal-Hurray for you! The fight is still in me to achieve it based upon the core values I was taught living there. When you are faced with poverty and crime all your life - and you survive-- you want more for yourself and your family. I moved away taking strength, courage, determination and a desire for a better life. Now values I was taught as a child growing up there. I'm teaching my two children and sharing as a diplomat abroad. There are still those who are trying to make a difference there. For the last three years, I've lived on continents with more poverty than E. St. Louis instead of complaining we volunteered with Habitat for Humanity! Instead of complaining about what's not being done by the city--and putting their work down, lend a hand, volunteer and give your time to children still there in need. Clean up a park, paint a play area, take five children not your own to a baseball game,or sponsor a recreational event just because. If 100 people sponsor 5 troubled youths each that's 500 kids that will have an opportunity! You may be the reason they choose a life and not a life of crime!

Guest 28-Sep-2007 04:06

There is an organization called VOC that has plans to revitalize East St. Louis. They are asking for our help. See web site:

Angel McLaughlin 26-Sep-2007 13:14

I believe in Bill Clinton, he came to East St. Louis when no one else was paying it no mind, I thank you for that, I have been really scared to claim East St. Louis from all of the violence and dirtyness, but as all know, no matter where you come from, it's up to you to make a difference. I say St. Louis cause noone recognizes East Saint, but it's cool I love my home town, I now live in Toledo, Ohio and I'll claim East Saint long before I will here, cause not by choice I wasnt ready to leave my home. I love all my peoples from there. I just pray that the drugs and violence will cut completely down n my fellow black americans show them you can make something out of nothing. If I ever become rich I will make East St. Louis my priority.

lenny 25-Sep-2007 15:37


The City has recently entered into a contract with a developer for developing the downtown area, river front and housing throughout the City. Under Mayor Park's "Life More Abundantly" motto, it is discernable that the City will take off with new developments as soon as Spring of 2008. Bear in mind that the City is a State Enterprise Zone, soon to be a State River Edge Redevelopment Zone, A Federal Empowerment Zone, and is in the process of developing a Mid-America Medical District. What does all of this mean? Well, there are benefits, incentives for developers, and funding avaialable with each of these programs.

Beleive me, the City is well on its way to economic prosperity. What will happen with this is a lot of the current largely indigent community will be displaced (gentrify) as a result of being priced out. This is a normal occurrence in Cities like ESL. The only way to prosper them is to attract middle income, educated tax paying citizens. This is accomplished in part by building more market rate housing and less low income housing, bringing in upscale businesses and entertainment. Public safety is always important, but what happens is crime will naturally decrease as you attract more middle class rather than low income people.

The City is definitely on its way to economic redevelopment and prosperity. Stay tuned.

Guest 24-Sep-2007 22:30

I grew up here (ESTL)! Not what I remember. WOW! Remember downtown ESTL -- waited for the bus to go to STL in front of the glass bldg (used to be a bank with a sign giving time & temp. This downtown did not look like this when I left ESTL. Really wish that there was a Habitat for business to come in and bulldoze the entire downtown & start over. I have fond memories of ESTL and growing up in ESTL.

T.Bradley 24-Sep-2007 13:49

Jennifer, If you would like to purchase the book "Savage Inequalities" by Jonathan Kozol. I would recommend that you go to E-BAY, I bid on the book and won Cost$ 2.00. You can purchase it out right for about $6.00.

Terry 23-Sep-2007 23:00

No it isn't one of the worst places on Earth but it is one of the worst places to live in America.

Guest 23-Sep-2007 19:52

1 comment:

Norman Taylor said...

Dear Towelguy..I went to Slade and would love to compare notes with you, if you are still out there reading these posts