Brecht Butcher Buildings North St. Louis Old North

Eulogy for the Brecht

by Barbara Manzara

Friends of the City, northsiders, lend me your ears;
I come to query Blairmont, not to blame them.
The buildings that men burn live after them;
The truth is oft interred with their rubble;
So has it been with Blairmont. The noble City
Has told us it works not with Blairmont:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
For grievously has Blairmont let us burn.

Here, under the gaze of Francis and the rest–
For Francis is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable aldermen–
Come I to speak for the near northside.
It is my home, beautiful and dear to me:
But Paul McKee says he is not Blairmont;
And Paul McKee is an honourable man.

He hath built many homes in West County
Whose taxes did the general coffers fill.
Which subdivision funded malicious speculation?
When that the poor have shivered, Blairmont hath burned:
Ambition should be made of less flammable stuff:
But Harvey Noble says he is not Blairmont;
And Harvey Noble is an honourable man.

You all did see that when the Brecht did burn
And neighbors feared for loss of life and homes,
The City issues handy demolition permits.
Yet the City swears it knows not Blairmont;
And, sure, the mayor is an honourable man.

I speak not to disprove what the City spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love the northside once, not without cause;
What cause witholds you then from simple honesty?
Blairmont has bought square miles of the 5th ward
And not without a politician’s ear; Bear with me —
My trust is in the coffin there with Blairmont’s burnouts,
And I’m not waiting til it comes back to me.

Barbara Manzara is a resident of Old North St. Louis. Contact her at