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A Scary Sight

December 12, 2010

While searching for an interesting route home from the Union Seventy Business Park, I turned South onto Clara from Natural Bridge and ended up on at a dead end. Clara becomes one way at Hebert (a one way street), and when I tried to continue down it, I hit a problem.

Hebert, Blackstone and Ashland when most of the homes were still standing

The street did not actually end, it just became impossible to drive down.

Blackwell Ave Blocked off by Trash

In addition to the trash in the street, all of the manholes on the block were missing their covers.

Uncovered Manhole on Blackwell Ave

I haven’t been able to dig up any information on whatever is going on over here but I am guessing it has to do with the train tracks that lie just to the North-West.  Or it is simply about removing blight.  If the later is the case they haven’t done a great job yet.  This has to be something that happened pretty recently, but it has been in about the same condition since at least late summer.

Blackwell Street in October

This is not what we want our city to look like, but we have to remember that parts of it do look like this.

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17 comments

  1. I think it is an example of a street that has fallen so far that illegal dumping and the stealing of manhole covers became too easy for people to pass up. One must wonder why and how it got so bad that criminals knew they wouldn’t be caught if they did this here.


    • I have to agree. When I stumbled upon this location I pictured it as a criminal’s paradise, a place in the city that anything could go unnoticed. It seems like that may have actually been what happened, but I was hoping for another explanation to be honest.


  2. Do people still live here? Or has this particular block(s) been abandoned?


    • None of the homes on Hebert or Ashland West of Clara are inhabitable. Most are open to the elements with no evidence of even attempts to board up doors and windows


  3. This is the Harlem-Baden Retention area–an ARRA-funded flood control project that will take down all of the homes shown in the aerial.

    FYI, this area is called the Horseshoe by nearby residents.


    • Thank you for the information Matt! Good to know what the project is for because speculating can be dangerous. Still pretty sad though, I really like the apartment buildings still standing on Hebert.


  4. A little more about the horseshoe is warranted. You were in the heart of HSP turf — the HSP (Horseshoe Posse) were one of the two major gangs of the city in the early/mid 1990s. The HSP was associated early on with the Bloods, then dropped the association but kept the colors. Since the 1990s, HSP and the BOD have begun assisting one another in dealing, but retaliatory or drug-related killings still happen. (FYI: Boys of Destruction tend to wear blue or St. Louis Blues gear, while HSP tend to wear red or Indianapolis Colts gear.) In the last six years, four murders have happened on that loop alone. I would assume the garbage bags and lack of manhole covers are related to efforts to block the street for HSP or other drug-related activities. Be careful out there.


    • Wow. Pretty crazy. I knew there was a story here and really appreciate the information being shared.


      • Yes, please be careful up near that street; while it is wrong to say the entire northside is dangerous, I know a policeman who grew up on that street when the aforementioned gang operated on that street, and he warned me to not go up there. I love the northside and go up there often, but this block is different.


  5. People dont understand about the hood .. it was a close net family in sorts. the gang aspect is still there just a new breed of players.. i once grew up on thatt block & did all there was on it as well as the block in the 5500 block… things happen so fast. but reality sets in & u grow up… i still love the hood but moving on


  6. Check out the TV show Gangland–on episode 6 of season 4, they talk about this horseshoe shaped street.


    • I just saw it! Thanks for the tip! That really helps explain the area’s current state.


  7. I just drove by there on my way back to work and all of the houses are gone. I would be interested in talking with anyone who grew up there.


  8. [...] had the opportunity to get a ride up to the infamous Horseshoe, a section of one way street that loops around a desolate corner of Wells-Goodfellow. I asked one [...]


  9. Can ordinary people drive through this area during the day without risking their safety? We drove down through the area a while back but got too nervous to get off the 4lane. we were even nervous on that!


  10. i really wanted to c if people still remember our spot. wow , so long ago. gangland really dont know the truth . so sad to c people give history lessons on something they were so young to remember. d.j rebel , fella g , kool the m.c , kort(ney) sidner . yeah we came up with the name the horseshoe posse h.s.p , rap group turn hustlers / gang bangers , think it jumped off n 86 or 87 and lasted til 93 or 4 then thats when the kids who were able to get off the porch jumped in . man plenty of good and bad times, death , destruction, mayhem the crack game. i with many others loved that place. it was ours.


    • Shawn,
      Thanks for your message-by the time I saw the gangland episode and went to see the Horseshoe (June 2012) there were no houses left. I am very interested in the history of the area as well as hearing what Gangland got right and got wrong. Please let me know if you are interested in talking about it.
      R/S,
      Justin



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