Wellston History

For the past three weeks, I’ve been providing highlights from Colin Gordon’s provocative study, Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City (Penn Press, 2008). This week, I thought I’d take a look at what Gordon has to say about Wellston and about Wagner Electric. Gordon traces the development and then abandonment […]

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Linda Tate on April 18th, 2011

Researching and writing about Wellston has got me thinking about what makes a great neighborhood. When I hear my mother and my aunt tell stories about growing up in Wellston – how safe they felt, how they knew everyone, how they could buy anything they needed right there in their own neighborhood – I envy […]

Continue reading about What Makes a Great Neighborhood?

Linda Tate on March 28th, 2011

One of my goals in keeping this blog is to share resources I’m finding helpful as I research Wellston and St. Louis history (and soon I’ll be sharing resources related to the novel’s three target decades – the 1920s, 1950s, and 1970s). One resource I come back to again and again is Andrew D. Young’s […]

Continue reading about Streets and Streetcars of St. Louis, Part 1

Linda Tate on February 28th, 2011

Ray Suarez’s 1999 book, The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration, 1966-1999, identifies a persistent pattern in city after American city: the heyday of the old urban neighborhood, the decline and loss of that neighborhood, and the subsequent ghetto that took its place. Suarez describes the tight-knit urban communities that many […]

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Linda Tate on February 21st, 2011

As I reported last week, Wagner Electric – once a mainstay of Wellston residents’ employment – closed its doors in 1981. What happened next is one of the most tragic stories in Wellston history. “When Wagner Electric abandoned Wellston,” writes U.M.-St. Louis historian Andrew Hurley in his outstanding 1997 Environmental History article, “Fiasco at Wagner […]

Continue reading about Wagner Electric and Brownfield Redevelopment

Linda Tate on February 14th, 2011

In 1891, Herbert Wagner and Ferdinand Schwedtman started Wagner Electric, a small motors company. Located in downtown St. Louis, the small company quickly grew and, according to historian Andrew Hurley, “became one of St. Louis’s most prominent manufacturers.” In his article, “Fiasco at Wagner Electric: Environmental Justice and Urban Geography of St. Louis,” Hurley goes […]

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Linda Tate on January 10th, 2011

In my last blog post, I reported that the Wellston School District has been shut down and that Wellston students now attend Normandy schools. Before the school district closed, a group of students at Wellston’s high school – known most recently as Eskridge High School – worked with StudioSTL to document the history of the […]

Continue reading about Remembering Wellston’s High School, Part 2

Linda Tate on January 3rd, 2011

As many readers will know, the Wellston School District ceased to exist at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Because Wellston schools had lost state accreditation in 2003 and were struggling with infrastructure problems, the state board of education made the decision to merge Wellston schools with nearby Normandy School District, home of Wellston’s […]

Continue reading about Remembering Wellston’s High School, Part 1