by Dennis Martinez
Throughout St. Louis, Missouri, and also in Belleville, Illinois, we see the remnants of what was a booming economic community. We are only left with the ghostly empty brick buildings that for the most part are being demolished. De-industrialization followed by de-urbanization seems to be the cause of most of the empty buildings. Having grown up near Belleville, I didn’t think twice about the history of all the beautiful brick buildings on Main Street. All I knew was that there was a Bread Co. in there now and now I am hungry! I think Main Street in Belleville is a good example of how the new era of businesses can take the older historical buildings and remodel them to work as a place of business today. With the help of Michael Allen‘s organization, and the Labor and Industry Museum, we as a class are able to see the significance of what was here before us, and the importance of keeping these historical buildings in our community.
If it wasn’t for organizations like these that step in to save the historic buildings, then most of our neighborhoods now would be very plain and would have nothing to spark the imagination to think what was here before me? The significance of having these non-profit organizations coming in and wanting to save these buildings and have business booming back in them is wonderful to see. Obviously these older buildings are not as energy efficient as the newer buildings, but with some interior remodeling that can be changed and you are left with a beautiful historical building as a business center. I want to get the opinion of the class to see whether you agree or disagree that Michael Allen is part of a great organization? Also, do you think the Belleville Labor and Industry Museum has an impact in the community in terms of celebrating the city’s history of industry and how it affects the community as a whole?