St. Louis has a great deal of urban decay, and while not as obvious as neighboring East St. Louis or certain Rust Belt cities, a huge number of abandoned and neglected structures can be found throughout the city and its suburbs. Buildings ranging from churches to police stations and schools, as well as a few caves, drains, and rail tunnels all provide sites to explore, but many are a constant reminder of the poverty and economic trouble that produced them. One can meet a wide variety of people living in such places, some who are simply down on their luck, and some who can be dangerous. Some of our site visits were cut short by respect for the inhabitants of the structures, who probably have more of a right to be there than simple curious explorers.
A 1930s Art Deco police station, complete with paint-peeling cells, a target range, and lockers plastered with law enforcement stickers. Evidence of homeless inhabitants and drug use existed throughout the building, but no one was encountered here.
Two abandoned churches, the larger still had a lot of stained glass, a tunnel to the nearby religious school, and carvings in the belltower dating from the early 1900s. The smaller church and nearby abandoned school were slated to be torn down, and may have been demolished by the time this page gets published.
An abandoned school (first photo) and a large collapsing hospital complex (2nd and 3rd photos).
The "River Despair", or Des Peres. The raised section of canal bottom is actually a sewer tunnel that is diverted out of one of the tunnels, through a valve station, and down the riverbed. The sewer is poorly separated from floodwaters with open and missing manholes and grates.
A large suction dredge abandoned on the river just outside a small suburb. The dredge was apparently partly refurbished as a houseboat and hasn't moved for some time. Equipment and furnishings inside seem to date from the late 50s or 60s, and a number of nearby tugboats and barges appear to be neglected as well. While climbing the radar mast to take photos a police car showed up and spotlighted nearby caves, but totally missed our presence aboard the ship.
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