Walking Tours - Guided

EXPLORE ST. LOUIS beyond the Arch!

Take a personal tour with an urban enthusiast and dedicated City resident.

Urban revitalization, history, and architecture will be highlighted.

Itineraries of one to three hours can be adapted to your needs and interests, and expanded by public transit (Metro).

Rates: $10 per person 2-hour tour, 5-person minimum. Discounts for larger groups.
Phone:  314-367-3098

Here is the musing of one of the Walkers:

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Benton Park - "The Tour"
Saturday, May 07, 2005
og around the neighborhood.

OK, so I took a walking tour of Benton Park today and I must admit it was heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time. Hopefully the Mayor's pledge to improve City parks will include Benton Park. It's a nice bit of green space, but SO much more could be done with it. I have a feeling it probably has more color once the planting season gets into full swing, so I may give the park another visit in the summer.

I was amazed at the amount of rehab work happening north of the park. The sounds of construction filled the air and many homes showed the signs of proud homeownership. I loved Sidney and Congress Streets as well as Illinois Street, which is lined with gorgeous and highly details homes. I'm sure I would have enjoyed many other streets, but I think the tour kept us pretty much on the periphery of the neighborhood, so I don't really think I got to see all that the northern section of Benton Park is. From what I saw, BP is definitely a neighborhood on the better side of transition. There are some properties that need some fixing up and there are some vinyl additions to beautiful brick homes that left me shaking my head, but for the most part I got the feeling that this section of the neighborhood was clearly headed for better days.

My heart sunk a bit as we traveled south on Lemp past Arsenal. Abandonment had taken its toll on this part of the neighborhood around Cherokee Park. There were a few buildings that seemed to be in the initial stages of rehab, but it was probably only one or two at the most.

Once we reached Cherokee Street my spirits perked up a bit. The Lemp Brewery is a beautiful building and it appears that it's been cleaned up and turned into office space, although I'm not quite sure, I didn't read the sign too carefully. Cherokee Street itself is a fantastic, tree lined street full of antique stores and shop owners busy planting flowers and sweeping up outside their storefronts. Heading north on Missouri back to the park their is some rehab happening...so much potential.

I read through the Benton Park newsletter that was distributed at the end of the tour and it sounds like they have a strong neighborhood group that is getting ready to implement some plans to make sure the historic nature of the neighborhood isn't compromised by the new developments, as well as to maintain the character of the old buildings with strict codes.

The impression I got from Benton Park is that it's a neighborhood very much on the way up. It has some blemishes, but for the most part this neighborhood seems to be fighting its way back after years of neglect. I'm anxious for the rehab bug to bite the southern half of the neighborhood, but I have no doubt that it's no longer a matter of "if" but "when". I guess I see all the potential and don't have the patience it takes wait to see these beautiful buildings restored. I wish I had a couple million dollars, I'd love to help out.