Years of neglect and vandalism had taken it's tole. With all of the metal flashing stripped from the roof, it rained inside the building as much as it rained outside. With no electric, it was dangerous to walk the basement halls with damaged conduit and signs pried loose and hanging at head height. Holes were knocked in plaster walls to look for metal pipe. Other damage seemed to have no other purpose except to wreak some sort of vengeance on the building. Mold of all kinds grew throughout. Due to the constant leakage from the roof, moss and mushrooms grew in the rug in the library. (left) It was obvious that this once glorious building, the pride of the city's south side, is doomed to the wrecking ball. It is sad to see such a noble building, a landmark of the city, abandoned and in such disrepair. I hate to think that such an institution, with it's one hundred year history of educational service, is being allowed to die of neglect.
GROVER CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL
I graduated from Cleveland High School in 1964. My parents graduated in the 1920's. The school was a fixture in south Saint Louis since it was built in 1915. Due to the loss of funds and enrollment, the school board of Saint Louis closed the school in 2006, moving the current students to another building. Since that time the building has remained closed.
In 2009/2010 I was allowed to photograph the interior of the building with the help of then Alderwoman Dorothy Kerner, John Chen, from The Alliance to Save Cleveland High, and building engineer Robert Jackson. For 14 months I made day long excursions to photograph what remains of this once beautiful building. Mr. Jackson was my constant companion on these day long excursions, and I routinely ate my brown bag lunch with him in the custodian office that now was his alone. Except when I visited, he was the sole person in the building for years.
Sadly, Mr. Jackson passed away in 2010. To my knowledge the Saint Louis public school system did not replace him, and left the building unattended.
In the fall of 2015 I returned to the building. The Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS) had decided to offer tours of their abandoned school buildings to encourage potential buyers. Mr Walker Gaffney, the director of real estate for the SLPS invited the public in as well to generate interest in the project. Due to the dangerous levels of mold and hanging debris, each of us had to sign waivers acknowledging the dangers of touring the building.