Delmar Boulevard begins in downtown St. Louis at Convention Plaza and continues almost 10 miles to the western University City limits. Just west of Skinker Boulevard, Delmar crosses the St. Louis City boundary and enters the six block-long University City portion of what is commonly known as “the Delmar Loop.” The Delmar Loop acquired its name around the turn of the twentieth century from the streetcar line which ran west on Delmar and looped around the corner of the Delmar Garden Amusement Park to return to downtown St. Louis. Even before the St. Louis World’s Fair dominated the area in 1904, the Delmar streetcar came west bringing visitors to Delmar Garden to enjoy an afternoon or evening of theatre, dining and amusement park entertainment.
Following University City’s 1906 incorporation, the Delmar Loop began to change, and some of the less desirable establishments closed. By the 1920s, Delmar Boulevard was a bustling commercial district with new multi-family housing attracting new residents. Streetcars provided the primary transportation for shoppers and residents alike. As automobiles became more prevalent, parking lots and filling stations appeared. In the 1950s, shopping districts like the Delmar Loop, Wellston Loop and Maplewood Loop that had once served streetcar riders began to suffer. In the late 1950s University City’s City Council began to study ways to revitalize the Loop. By the 1960s, a redevelopment plan had been adopted and work began – removal of old buildings to make way for new development and rehabilitation of viable structures. A few long-time business owners stayed, and new businesses began to open. In 1984, the Delmar Loop-Parkview Gardens District was listed on the National Register, making building owners eligible for historic tax credits. Today, the Delmar Loop, designated as one of the Ten Great Streets in America by the American Planning Association, is the vital shopping, dining, cultural, and entertainment destination in St. Louis.
The collection includes photographs of Delmar Loop events, buildings, and street scenes from throughout the Twentieth Century. The majority of the photographs in the collection belong to the University City Public Library Archival Collection and some are from a group of uncataloged Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority photographs in storage at the Library. Some belong to the Historical Society of University City. Recent digital images were provided by the former public relations officer of the City. Residents and business owners were asked to loan personal photographs of business and activities in the Delmar Loop to become part of a photographic history. Joe Edwards provided early photos of Blueberry Hill. Etta Taylor loaned the earliest photographs, from 1902, which belonged to her grandfather, a founder of Parkview Subdivision.
Rights and Reproductions
All digital images in the Delmar Loop Photograph Collection copyright 2009 by The University City Public Library. All rights reserved. To request permission to use a photograph or document image, request a print of a photograph or document, request fees for use, or if you have a question about one of the photographs or documents, please contact: University City Public Library, 6701 Delmar Boulevard, University City, Missouri 63130. Phone: (314) 727-3150. FAX: (314) 727-6005. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Historical Society Contact: Sue Rehkopf email@example.com.
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