The Eighth Street Yard - Little Jersualem

My focus is on the residents of Little Jerusalem in 1900. Newspaper stories mentioning The Eighth Street Yard appear frequently between 1890-1895. But the story of The Eighth Street Yard may be connected to the story of Little Jerusalem.

What was the Eighth Street Yard? 

St. Louis Globe Democrat, November 14, 1892

The Turbulent Eighth Street Yard.

The police of the Third District are constantly annoyed by rows between whites and blacks in what is known as the Eighth Street Yard. This yard, which covers nearly a half block, is situate on Eighth street, between Carr and Biddle. Officers McCrea and Kavanaugh, who patrol the vicinity, are constantly suppressing outbreaks between women and their consorts, and not a week passes unmarked by a cutting or shooting in that neighborhood. Arrests are a daily occurrence.

St Louis Post Dispatch, January 6, 1895

People who imagine that policemen have nothing to do but stay up twelve hours should spend a night with a blue-coat on a lively down-town beat. To a Sunday Post-Dispatch representative was assigned the task of accompanying one of them on his rounds. He selected the beat in the Third District bounded by Sixth, Eighth, Wash and Biddle Streets. There are only four blocks in this territory, but within its sacred precincts are located Castle Thunder and the Eighth Street Yard, both of which have done more than their share toward making local history. From 11 o'clock at night until 11 o'clock the following morning this territory is walked by two patrolmen, Officers Simcox and Knollhoff. It is one of the hardest beats in the city, and for one man to walk it alone at night would be an extremely hazardous undertaking.

Where exactly was the Eighth Street Yard? The first clipping above says it covered half a block on Eighth Street between Carr and Biddle. The clipping below provides an address.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 6, 1893


1122 North Eighth. This is the tenement I have begun my research in. My second great grandfather lived there, and owned the building in 1900. In 1900 the adult residents of 1122 North Eighth were 100% of Russian origin. That does not appear to be the case from 1890-1895. What changed?

I am not sure what year my ancestor purchased the property. Once he owned the property, did he just kick out the rowdy residents and recruit new tenants? I hoped to get to the library this weekend to research deeds on microfilm, to pinpoint the exact year he purchased the property, and whether he purchased any other property in the area. There is some family lore that he may have.  Due to weather and other factors it appears I may need to postpone my library research until next weekend. 

These articles do suggest that though I picked an address to start based entirely on my family history, the four block police beat in which it falls has some other stories to tell. 

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