Photographer Captures Scenes of St. Louis' Decay, Rebirth Six Years Apart

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Six years later, the tree remains. - PHOTOS BY ERIC FOGLEMAN
  • Photos by Eric Fogleman
  • Six years later, the tree remains.

A lot can change in six years.

That's especially true for the historic and traditional brick buildings that cover St. Louis, where just six years can mean the difference between rehabilitation and total ruin.

Utah & Wisconsin, six years later.
  • Utah & Wisconsin, six years later.

Photographer Eric Fogleman, a St. Louis native, returned home ten years ago and noticed how quickly real estate changes in the city. He started recreating old shots of neighborhood buildings six years apart, juxtaposing dilapidated buildings with their futures as empty lots, reworked buildings or, sometimes, just the same brick structure six years older.

As a student at St. Louis Community College's building inspection program, Fogleman says he can spot a building that's too worn down to survive much longer.

Chippewa & Oregon.
  • Chippewa & Oregon.

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"I can look at the thing and say, 'This sucker's going to fall,'" Fogleman tells Daily RFT. "I can smell it. St. Louis is pretty ripe."

This home at Lafayette and Nebraska disappeared in six years.
  • This home at Lafayette and Nebraska disappeared in six years.

See more photos of St. Louis buildings six years later on the next page.

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Fogleman says he often takes photos of street signs or addresses when he's out snapping pictures as a way to remember where he was. When he spots a building that's newly torn down or rehabilitated, he finds a photo from the past and recreates it.

See also: Post-Apocalyptic Portraits of Abandoned YMCA Taken by St. Louis Pastry Chef (PHOTOS)

It's not all ruin and decay. This building at Lafayette and California avenues changed for the better in six years.
  • It's not all ruin and decay. This building at Lafayette and California avenues changed for the better in six years.

Fogleman rails against the landowners -- or "coked-up banker guys," as he calls them -- who let buildings fall to waste.

"We just let rotten shitholes blossom right on our riverfront," Fogleman says. "Sometimes it would be better to just let a field grow than to let a human mess with it."

Can you spot the difference? Utah and Wisconsin, six years later.
  • Can you spot the difference? Utah and Wisconsin, six years later.

Fogleman spots a lot of his potential photo subjects while driving around the city.

"I take a lot of the same tracks," he says. "I'm like a deer."

An I-44 off ramp.
  • An I-44 off ramp.

See more photos of St. Louis then and now on the next page.

11Lemp.jpg

Not all the photos show rebirth or ruin. Six years later, this property stays stagnant, but a sign on the brick promises new condos coming soon.

The gas station is gone at Oleatha and Morgan Ford.
  • The gas station is gone at Oleatha and Morgan Ford.
At Lafayette Avenue and Nebraska.
  • At Lafayette Avenue and Nebraska.
At Magnolia and Tower Grove Avenue.
  • At Magnolia and Tower Grove Avenue.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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