City Planner Harland Bartholomew developed a detailed, comprehensive plan for St. Louis which documents the existing conditions at the time and projected future development based upon increasing population density and totals. In actuality, the city’s population peaked shortly thereafter and then following a steady decline as St. Louis County became increasingly suburbanized.
This chart presents four primary demographics. The top line represents the population of the United States (dashed lines at right indicate projected figures). The second pair of lines represent the populations of the states of Illinois and Missouri. The third line represents the City of St. Louis. The shorter line at the bottom represents St. Louis County.
|Population growth (historical and projected)|
This pair of maps compares the population density within the boundaries of the City of St. Louis as of 1940 (top) and the projected/desired density as of 1970 (bottom):
|Population density (historical and projected)|
The multicolored plan below represents Bartholomew’s ideal Land Use Plan. The reality is much more complex and heterogeneous. Achieving such clarity in function and use was a dream for planners of the modern American city was an ideal never to be attained in practice.
|Desirable Ultimate Land Use Plan|
|Lafayette Neighborhood District (present land use and present zoning)|
|Macklind Neighborhood District (present and proposed uses)|
|Obsolete and Blighted Districts|
|Percentage of Dwelling Units with Outside Toilets|
|Soulard Neighborhood District|
|Neighborhood and Industrial Districts|
Other significant improvements included the following new structures in the downtown area: Civil Courts Building, Municipal Opera House, Municipal Power Plant and the Soldiers Memorial. Other amenities included a series of public hospitals, fire houses, parks, playgrounds, sewer upgrades and a major street lighting program. Public spaces to be improved included Union Station Plaza and Memorial Plaza. The total cost of the 1923 Bond Issue exceeded $67,000,000).
|1923 Bond Issue|
|Post War Bond Issue of 1944|
If Bartholomew had considered the evidence of population shift away from the city center toward the perifery, he might have been able to more accurately visualize and create a realistic city plan that could possibly have been implemented in a more coordinated way. Clearly, such a plan would have to deal with (at a minimum, St. Louis City and St. Louis County). My suspicion is that he was only authorized to prepare a plan for the city itself.
|Population Change (1930–1940)|