The city of East St. Louis, Illinois, hasn”t had it easy for a very long time now. Since the 1950″s, this once-bustling metropolis has been in heavy decline. The result is that, nowadays, huge swaths of the city are abandoned and decaying.
Using Google Maps to explore East St. Louis, it looks more like the setting for a post-apocalyptic thriller movie than a still functioning city.
East St. Louis had its prime years in the late 1800″s and early 1900″s an industrial hub of the midwest.
The railroad industry was a big driver of the city”s growth.
Sadly the city suffered during the second half of the 1900″s as the railroad industry restructered.
This led to massive layoffs, and general economic decline.
The result was the flight of residents who could afford to leave the city.
The exodus of middle class residents out of East St. Louis started in the 1950″s but continued on through the 60″s, 70″s, and 80″s.
To put that in perspective, in 1950 East St. Louis was the fourth largest city in Illinois with a population of 82,366.
The 2010 Census put the population of East St. Louis at just 27,006.
As you might imagine, this population deflation has been disastrous for the city.
And if all of that wasn”t bad enough, East St. Louis has the highest crime rate in the country.