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Forgotten Neighborhoods?
November 17, 2010 2:11 PM   Subscribe

What are some famous (or infamous) neighborhoods that no longer exist?

I recently learned that the Pentagon was build on top of a notorious slum called Hell's Bottom. What are some other famous neighborhoods that have been torn down or built over and mostly forgotten about around the world?
posted by empath to Society & Culture (74 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
Poletown in Detroit is mostly famous because of its destruction; I don't know if that qualifies.
posted by enn at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2010


Cabrini-Green
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:15 PM on November 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


The West End in Boston. Leonard Nimoy grew up there.

Central Park in New York City was a slum prior to the park. It was known for having a large population of free blacks, I believe.
posted by Melismata at 2:15 PM on November 17, 2010


Kentucky Courts.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:16 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Five points, Manhattan.
posted by tjenks at 2:16 PM on November 17, 2010


How could I forget Mefi's own Pruitt-Igoe!
posted by enn at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2010


Scollay Square in Boston.
posted by catlet at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was going to say Boston's West End, as well. Geographically, it still exists (and the local businesses try to keep the name around), but most of the neighborhood was razed to make way for government buildings and the Big Dig.

You might also look what Robert Moses did, and read the Power Broker.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:18 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


First thing I thought of was Kowloon Walled City.
posted by AugieAugustus at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Cabbage Patch in Louisville, but there aren't really a lot of links for that one.
posted by dilettante at 2:20 PM on November 17, 2010


In the mid-twentieth century, the University of Pennsylvania and other big institutions in West Philadelphia "redeveloped" a neighborhood known as "Black Bottom". See the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1999 and 34th Street in 2002. There's apparently a "Black Bottom Association" of people who used to live in the neighborhood who get together annually.

(There also apparently was a neighborhood of the same name in Detroit.)
posted by madcaptenor at 2:21 PM on November 17, 2010


Storyville in New Orleans.
posted by CheeseLouise at 2:22 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Gorbals in Glasgow.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:22 PM on November 17, 2010


Hastings Street/Black Bottom also in Detroit, demolished for I-75.
posted by philokalia at 2:23 PM on November 17, 2010


The neighborhood is still there, but a section of Philadelphia was violently destroyed by the city in the 1985 MOVE bombing.
posted by cl at 2:30 PM on November 17, 2010


Rondo, an african-american neighborhood in Saint Paul Minnesota that was essentially destroyed by the construction of I-94
posted by Think_Long at 2:31 PM on November 17, 2010


Dynamite Hill is, thankfully, now back to being called Fountain Heights.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2010


McAnally Flats was a Knoxville neighborhood made famous by Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. It's now mostly highway interchange and a chemical and a chemical manufacturer; there's only one street left of it with a short row of shotgun houses on it.
posted by frobozz at 2:34 PM on November 17, 2010


Sydney's inner city slums, "cleared" in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, are now either office high-rise or very very expensive real estate. What's left in the Rocks is sordid-chic frozen for tourism.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 2:34 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


A little more information about the Cabbage Patch neighborhood:

"This section of town was home to many immigrants who were truck gardeners raising cabbages. Families living in this neighborhood inspired Alice Hegan Rice’s book Mrs. Wiggs of The Cabbage Patch, which was published in 1901 and later produced as plays and films."

My dad is the director of the organization I linked to, so if you need more information about the neighborhood, I could probably have him dig up some history.
posted by lholladay at 2:34 PM on November 17, 2010


Central Park in New York City was a slum prior to the park. It was known for having a large population of free blacks, I believe. (Melismata)

Seneca Village wasn't a slum. It was, as its name implies, a village. Take a look at this map of the village. It had about 264 residents (two thirds of them of African descent), three churches, five cemeteries and a school. The land was seized by eminent domain to create Central Park, but unlike the creation of Lincoln Center (which destroyed another predominantly Black neighborhood, San Juan Hill), it wasn't a "slum clearance" project. Seneca Village was just in the way.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:39 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


enn,

Poletown is still there. Its now Hamtramck, an awesome city surrounded by Detroit. While I saw the entry you posted there from wiki, I've always grown up with Poletown being a reference for Hamtramck which makes sense as it I guess use to border it before becoming the American Axle Plant if I'm not mistaken.
posted by handbanana at 2:39 PM on November 17, 2010


Here's a list.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:44 PM on November 17, 2010


Neither of these neighborhoods have been razed or built over, but Baltimore's The Block is a sad shadow of its former self, and many years ago we had a Chinatown on Park Avenue, but now it's only recognizable as such from a few remaining architectural details.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:51 PM on November 17, 2010


With Columbia taking over most of Harlem, Harlem will soon suffer this fate.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:52 PM on November 17, 2010


Also in Boston the Combat Zone (wikipedia)

Was basically the red light district after Scollay Square was razed. Not really a neighborhood per se but pretty interesting.
posted by WickedPissah at 2:52 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oak Street in New Haven.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 2:53 PM on November 17, 2010


The Seven Dials in London

Also, pretty much all of the East Village has been devoured by the insatiably ravenous shoggoth known as NYU. I'm reasonably sure it will cease to exist within my lifetime.
posted by elizardbits at 2:57 PM on November 17, 2010


Lots of rural communities have been razed for dams and other projects. The hamlet of Indian Fields, NY, was where Albany County's Alcove Reservoir is now. The Gilboa dam is another site of a former farm hamlet.

A little history behind that good New York City tap water...
posted by jgirl at 2:59 PM on November 17, 2010


Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles
posted by simbiotic at 3:00 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not really a neighbourhood, but the Union Stockyards in Chicago are now a boring-looking office park. The original gate still stands.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:02 PM on November 17, 2010


Chavez Ravine in LA, current location of Dodgers Stadium.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:02 PM on November 17, 2010


Also, Soutwest Washington, DC, was razed to make way for government buildings.
posted by jgirl at 3:02 PM on November 17, 2010


Pittsburgh's Lower Hill District was the city's main black neighborhood,a nationally known center for Jazz, negro league baseball and the setting for most of August Wilson's plays. It was demolished in the fifties for a hockey rink, a highway and lots of parking lots.
posted by octothorpe at 3:07 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Love Canal (now called Black Creek Village)
Times Beach
Wineville (now called Mira Loma)
posted by mattdidthat at 3:11 PM on November 17, 2010


Hardscrabble & Snow Town in Providence, RI
posted by FlamingBore at 3:12 PM on November 17, 2010


Monticello, California (now Lake Berryessa)
Centralia, Pennsylvania
posted by mattdidthat at 3:18 PM on November 17, 2010


many hutongs in China were razed for the olympics and other purposes.
posted by acidic at 3:24 PM on November 17, 2010


You might also check out this list of ghost towns.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:25 PM on November 17, 2010


Also Techwood here in Atlanta, razed for the 1996 Olympics.
posted by catlet at 3:26 PM on November 17, 2010


The Hull House neighborhood.
posted by Hop123 at 3:27 PM on November 17, 2010


Guadalupe-Auzerais is now the site of the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:29 PM on November 17, 2010


Not a residential neighborhood, but NYC's Radio Row was razed to make way for the World Trade Center.
posted by Opposite George at 3:32 PM on November 17, 2010


Not that it'll be forgotten about for the next several hundred thousand years, but definitely abandoned: the Chernobyl/Pripyat Zone of Alienation.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:32 PM on November 17, 2010


20 Abandoned Cities from Around the World
Sunken Cities
Lost Villages
Underwater Ruins
posted by mattdidthat at 3:36 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hickstown, later the Crest Street neighborhood in Durham, NC was (like many of the above neighborhoods) an African American neighborhood razed to build a freeway. But unlike some of the others the neighborhood was able to organize and pursue legal remedies, and although they couldn't change the path of the highway, they were able to have the neighborhood relocated and new housing built and graves from a cemetery relocated. The neighborhood survived, although in a different form and location, although it might still be considered "forgotten" because not everyone knows that it exists, wedged in between the Durham Freeway and Duke Hospital.
posted by bbq_ribs at 3:57 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vanport City, Portland OR.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:58 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hak Nam, Kowloon
posted by the cuban at 4:12 PM on November 17, 2010


With Columbia taking over most a few square blocks on the fringes of Harlem, Harlem will soon most likely not suffer this fate.

A few more in NYC:

Irish Town, (near the Navy Yard) Brooklyn (mostly buried under projects)
Italian Harlem (same)
Radio Row/Little Syria (destroyed for the WTC)
Cherry Hill (portions became Chinatown, but mostly destroyed to build Brooklyn Bridge)

in Boston, the Combat Zone has almost faded into memory (as recently as the 90s, the term seemed to be commonplace) with most of the neighborhood being built over piecemeal.
posted by zvs at 4:31 PM on November 17, 2010


Ooh, and how can I forget Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles, now the home of Dodger Stadium and immortalized by a great album.

Weeksville in Brooklyn is another black community (like Seneca Village and Africville in Manhattan) that was pretty much subsumed by the city around it and forgotten (until it was recently rediscovered and un-forgotten). A very interesting story.
posted by zvs at 4:32 PM on November 17, 2010


Nampa, Idaho had "Oriental Alley", the smallest Chinatown I've ever heard of, now bulldozed and forgotten.
posted by zvs at 4:33 PM on November 17, 2010


District Six, Cape Town.
posted by tallus at 4:39 PM on November 17, 2010


Africville in Halifax, Nova Scotia (citizens were evicted and relocated by the city in the 1960s). The area is now a small memorial park and highway interchange.
posted by betafilter at 5:19 PM on November 17, 2010


Montreal razed the area called Goose Village or Victoriatown in 1964 in the lead-up to Expo 67 because Jean Drapeau thought it was a bad thing for people to see on first coming over Victoria Bridge into the city. Nothing's there now but the Black Rock and the approach to the bridge. A few years later, the Faubourg à m'lasse was razed too, and that's where the Maison Radio-Canada stands today, aloof in the middle of a parking lot wasteland.
posted by zadcat at 5:36 PM on November 17, 2010


Moroccan Quarter: "The Moroccan Quarter or Mughrabi Quarter was an 800-year old neighborhood in the southeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem... The fifth and smallest of the old Jerusalem neighborhoods, it was largely demolished in 1967 by the Israeli government in order to make public access to the Western Wall easier."
posted by andoatnp at 6:05 PM on November 17, 2010


Whiskey Island in Cleveland.
posted by ubersturm at 6:49 PM on November 17, 2010


(And more broadly, the Angle and the other poor Irish settlements in and around the Flats.)
posted by ubersturm at 6:57 PM on November 17, 2010


There was the 1923 Population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
posted by aniola at 7:26 PM on November 17, 2010


The November issue of the city magazine in St. Louis has a big feature on forgotten/vanished neighborhoods like this, with oral histories of each place from people who once lived there. Off the top of my head, I remember it talking about Graybridge commune, Little Athens, Mill Creek Valley, and Gaslight Square.
posted by limeonaire at 7:27 PM on November 17, 2010


The International Settlement in Shanghai, and San Francisco's Barbary Coast.
posted by Rash at 7:33 PM on November 17, 2010


Central Park in New York City was a slum prior to the park. It was known for having a large population of free blacks, I believe.

What ocherdraco said.

There was also Bloomingdale, around where Columbia University is today.

My current neighborhood, Crown Heights, at one point subsumed another neighborhood which more specifically describes where I live - Crow Hill. It's yet another Seneca Heights/Weeksville situation. According to the wikipedia article Crown Heights came into use when Crown Street was added in 1916, though A) Crown Street isn't within the Crow Hill area, and B) is AFAIK not a major thoroughfare. It just sounds classy.

Little Syria needs a mention here, as well. It's the neighborhood that was cleared to build the World Trade Center. Making the drama surrounding Park 51 especially hilarious.

Also interesting in this sense is the shrinkage of Little Italy and the birth of NoLiTa.
posted by Sara C. at 9:55 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Irish Town, (near the Navy Yard) Brooklyn (mostly buried under projects)

Interesting... I used to live right there, in a high rise building a couple blocks from the Navy Yard. Is that the neighborhood Frank McCourt claimed to have been born in in Angela's Ashes, demolished to make way for the BQE? There's still a neighborhood near there called Vinegar Hill, which was apparently named after a famous Irish battle, not because of any actual vinegar or hills in the vicinity.
posted by Sara C. at 10:00 PM on November 17, 2010


Also, pretty much all of the East Village has been devoured by the insatiably ravenous shoggoth known as NYU. I'm reasonably sure it will cease to exist within my lifetime.

This is funny because there are still people bitching about the fact that the East Village devoured the Lower East Side. Seriously, I know people who will not use that term and call anything bounded by 14th St, 3rd Ave, Ave D, and Grand St, The Lower East Side, thankyouverymuch.
posted by Sara C. at 10:04 PM on November 17, 2010


Much of the Nieuwmarkt/Jodenbreestraat neighbourhood of Amsterdam was demolished in the late 1960s during construction of the metro, resulting in riots.
posted by neushoorn at 11:40 PM on November 17, 2010


Struggletown was a slum town of Randwick, Sydney, Australia, that appeared during the great depression.

It lives on as the name of a veterinary practise, and in the opinions of right-wing radio broadcasters who it's inhabitants best interest at heart.
posted by spongeboy at 2:07 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


St. Louis used to have a Chinatown until Busch Stadium was built.
posted by gc at 3:20 AM on November 18, 2010


Toronto's City Hall, Eaton's Centre and more are built on top of the The Ward.
posted by samhyland at 10:46 AM on November 18, 2010


Err I mean. The Ward
posted by samhyland at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2010


I believe Vinegar Hill is the neighborhood Frank McCourt was talking about, although I'm not sure. The area I'm referring to is actually a little further east than what is now referred to as Vinegar Hill... closer almost to Bed-Stuy.
posted by zvs at 10:51 AM on November 18, 2010


Robert Taylor Homes, Chicago
The Levee, Chicago
posted by SisterHavana at 10:53 AM on November 18, 2010


Yeah, ZVS, that sounds about right - the area around the Navy Yard that is now either industrial or part of the BQE, sort of feeding off into southern Williamsburg/Wallabout (Wallabout is another lost neighborhood, actually) and Bed Stuy.
posted by Sara C. at 11:00 AM on November 18, 2010


Bronzeville in Milwaukee was razed to make way for Interstate 43. (They're trying to redevelop it.)
posted by desjardins at 1:16 PM on November 18, 2010


Also, Soutwest Washington, DC, was razed to make way for government buildings.

Not all of it...well, it was all razed, but not just for government buildings. Here's a really, really awesome set of photos of SW before and after. Click "The Bulldozer and the Rose." Amazing story.
posted by zap rowsdower at 1:49 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maxwell Street, Chicago. Largely annihilated by the expansion of the University of Illinois.
posted by Iridic at 7:57 PM on November 18, 2010


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