Groth Guide to Kosciusko

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Kosciusko is bound by I-55 on the north, Cherokee on the south, 7th and 8th on the west and the Mississippi River to the east. There is no 2000 census data reported on the city site, so I have nothing to report in the ways of demographics or housing units available. Why is this? Largely because it’s been cleared for rail roads, ABI, former industry (Nooter Corporation), now service, distribution and wholesale operations. It’s also home to a major facility for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Anyhow, Kosciusko is one of the easternmost neighborhoods in south St. Louis. Many of it is easily recognized from Broadway near the brewery, Soulard, LaSalle and the I-55/I-44 convergence right before the Poplar Street bridge exit to Illinois. Sauget, Illinois is right across the river from Kosciusko.

Joe Holleman recently did a piece in the St. Louis Post Dispatch about correct and local pronunciation of various streets and places in the city. He mentioned Kosciuszko (notice the “z” that doesn’t exist in the city spelling). Anyhow, it’s a Polish word and the formal pronunciation is kuh-SHOO-sco whereas the locals say kozz-ee-OSS-co.

Lyon Park has a couple baseball/softball fields in the shadow of the brewery and sits right next to the NGIA facility.

Kosciusko is almost completely an industrial area. But it wasn’t always that way. The area was once one of the more dense residential neighborhoods in the city, an extension of Soulard toward the river:

With the exception of the retail businesses that operate along Broadway and 3rd street, it’s really hard to get photos of this neighborhood. I first got stopped by the NGIA security. I played the “I’m on public property card” even though (admittedly) it was a weak hand, and I was basically asked to get lost in the most polite manner possible. But, the security guard then notified Anheuser Busch InBev security of my presence who proceeded to stop/question me near the flood gates. They indicated that the road I was on was private rail road property, and I should stay on the public roads.

This warning meant I was pretty much blocked from getting more pictures of the graffiti on the flood walls. The security guards were actually nice though, and I realize they are just doing their jobs. They were very interested in what I was doing. I mentioned that I had heard there were several residential properties still existing, and they mentioned one was recently torn down. We went our separate ways, and they once again stopped me in another section of the neighborhood. This time, to fill me in on the presence of a couple people that run a catering business and live here:

They also recommended this bar, I think it’s call Al’s that has a really good breakfast:

I had a heck of a time finding these still-standing residential properties. Maybe these are a few, not completely sure:

There are signs of people living here though and I know there are some Kosciusko-ians lurking about in strange places:

Frankly, most of the buildings are modern warehouse sheds and surface parking for trucks and not worth photographing. But, the Chouteau’s Landing area on the north side of Kosciusko is pretty cool. Because of its location, this area’s been the focus of big development ideas. Those ideas aren’t dead, but they haven’t gone anywhere either. The current Arch grounds revitalization may improve access, but some of the early plans for a beer garden, ice rink, parking and and urban sports park next to Chouteau’s Landing at the far south end of the grounds have been scraped. The area may also one day be the eastern terminus for the ambitious Chouteau’s Greenway, linking Forest Park with the river.

Renderings of possible Chouteau’s Landing development:

The early plan for connecting the Arch grounds with Chouteau’s Landing is sadly no longer on the table:

Chouteau’s Landing as it appears today:

This building is how most people know Chouteau’s Landing and the north end of the Kosciusko neighborhood as it’s easy to see from the Poplar Street Bridge and I-64:

There are many, many paint wholesalers and retailers in this neighborhood. Porter, Sherman Williams and many others can be found. This could be the “paint district” of St. Louis.

Coincidentally, the entire stretch of the Mississippi River flood gates are spray painted with some of the most elaborate graffiti I’ve seen.

If you’re into railroad operations, trestles and bridges, this is one of the best spots in town to check out; many of the roads are shared with train tracks:

The double-deck MacArthur Bridge is a hoped-for bike and pedestrian path across the Mississippi as the top deck is no longer in service. Unfortunately, there seems to be very little chance of that happening. Trestles and bridges near the river:

I wish I had a photo of the old Nooter Boilermaker neon sign that graced Kosciusko years ago. If anyone has a photo, please forward to me, I’d be most appreciative. There are other industrial signs in this neck of the woods:

Kosciusko is home to Lift for Life Academy, the first charter school in St. Louis. It’s housed in a pretty sweet building that resembles a bank:

It’s also home to St. Mary of Victories, the first Hungarian Catholic church west of the Mississippi and the second oldest (1843) Catholic church in the city (the old cathedral DT is older). It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1980:

There are some really cool businesses and signs along Broadway (remember Hullaballoo?). My favorite guitar/string shop in town J. Gravity and others:

Globe Drugs is always a fun visit, it’s kind of like a lo-fi Walgreens if you haven’t been:

Grass seed? Check. 5 pound block of caramel? Check. Diabetic socks? Check:

Old, meet new, satisfying souls for a couple thousand years and since 1971:

Yes, that’s a Starbucks.

The greatest potential of this neighborhood is clearly the Chouteau’s Landing development of Powell Square and the other warehouses/factories near the river just south of Downtown. This could be a great link from DT to LaSalle and Soulard.

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