by Michael R. Allen
Walking to Laclede’s Landing today on business, I wondered when exactly was the last time that I was there to do anything other than photograph a building or lead a tour group. I was drawing a blank until I remembered an art opening there recently and shows at the shuttered Missisippi Nights, the one venue that seemed to bring any locals not looking for straight-ahead drinking to the Landing.
I’m sure that others have similar difficulty remembering when they have been to Laclede’s Landing. The disconnect between the charming, historic and architecturally splendid district and the rest of downtown is huge, and not simply physical. The longer that disconnect perpetuates, the more missed opportunities for the city to celebrate its waterfront heritage and the related great architecture.
In many cities, this would be a premiere residential district. The proximity to the river and the iconic Gateway Arch create commanding views that — unlike most here — include the Mississippi River. How much more unique character could one find here? Laclede’s Landing is a cultural asset whose fortunes seem lost — for now.