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 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 I photographed the interior of the building with the help of then Alderwoman Dorothy Kerner, John Chen from The Alliance to Save Cleveland High and the building engineer Robert Jackson. From January to May I made day long excursions to photograph what remains of this once beautiful building. Time and broken water pipes have taken their toll, but some rooms seem as if the students and faculty have just left, and are planning to return tomorrow. In other rooms, items abandoned in the move created surreal tableaus.
In the fall of 2009 I returned to the building. There was much more vandalism and graffiti than I saw in the spring. A thick layer of dust coats the floor and mold & standing water is pervasive in many classrooms in the basement and in some on the first floor. Someone has broken into a trophy case and has scattered broken trophies across the floor. Toilet paper now decorates the gym. I've included pictures from the fall trips here as well, and I've noted them with a small asterisk * on the corner of the page.
It is sad to see such a noble building, a landmark on the south side of the city, abandoned and in such disrepair. I hate to think that such an institution, with it's 90 year history of educational service, is being allowed to die of neglect. However, I've seen buildings in much worse condition brought back to use. All it takes is a will to search for workable solutions.
I wonder if the citizens of the city, and the school board have such a will.
DAN YOUNGER is a professor of photography in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A photographer, illustrator, and graphic designer, he earned an M.F.A. and M.A. in art photography from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa and B.F.A. in printmaking from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. His extensive work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and appears in numerous permanent public collections including The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.; The St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; The Minnesota Art Institute, Minneapolis, MN and U.S. Embassies in Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; and Santiago, Chile You can see the interior pages of each book at artstuffpix.com
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What I've Seen Published July 09, 2012
Things I've Seen Published July 08, 2012
Space Pix Published September 24, 2010
Travel Places Published July 27, 2010
Three Collections Published July 20, 2010
New Pictures Published February 18, 2010