Lindbergh Links: Hazelwood Reminisces on the Boulevard’s Changing Face
As part of the Lindbergh Boulevard Patch Project, people in Hazelwood that have seen changes occur down the area's stretch of Lindbergh Boulevard say what they remember and what they see now.
The longest road in the St. Louis area, Lindbergh Boulevard runs roughly 30 miles through north, central and south county, touching nine of our Patch sites. On this anniversary of namesake Charles Lindbergh's death, we wanted to take a look at this road from our nine different perspectives. Each Patch editor has a different take on how Lindbergh touches that community. Drive along with us through our Lindbergh Links — and we hope you'll add your own observations along the way.
Lindbergh Boulevard is one of the longest stretches of road throughout the Greater St. Louis Area. Like any stretch of land, it's seen some changes—some for the better and others...
Anyone over the age of 10 remembers the large Ford assembly plant, Boeing and the smell of sweets from the Pillsbury factory that lingered down the road when you would drive down Lindbergh. But Hazelwood Patch wanted to find out what else people remember about Hazelwood's portion of Lindbergh.
So we sought out stories in person, through article submissions and on social media sites—including Facebook and Twitter—to find out what people remember about Lindbergh. And we wanted to know how the business world adapts to the road's ever-changing faces.
Dirt Roads and Pigs
Hazelwood Resident Carol Blansett is a 26-year employee of Missouri Baptist Childrem's Home. She said she remember's a well-told story at the home, of a time when Lindbergh at St. Charles Rock Road was once a dirt road where a pig farm was situated.
"It was the property of Missouri Baptist Children's Home at the time," she said. "A lady once asked to purchase a pig from the Children's Home as her grandchidren's Christmas present one year, requesting that it be bathed and wearing a red bow for her presentation.
"Other donations received many years ago consisted of sacks of flour, barrels of pickles and a side of beef and such, as logged in a journal found during remodeling."
Blansett said Missouri Baptist Children's Home has a framed black-and-white aerial view of Lindbergh. The area she recalls is now an out-of-business Feld Chevrolet dealership.
A Child-like View
"There used to be an old Kmart where the CargoBay storage is now," she said. "This was in the '80s and early '90s, and I would go with my parents there for stuff for school."
Gillooly also recalled places at which she worked and played.
"I used to work at the Hardee's on Lindbergh before they tore it down," she said. "I also worked at StarLite and Action Cafe & Billiards."
Adapting to Change
Bertha Morales is the owner of Pueblo Nuevo, a 27-year-old Hazelwood establishment that has survived two recessions. She said although her restaurant is still here, she's seen many small businesses come and go along Hazelwood's strip of Lindbergh Boulevard.
Morales said the key to her restaurant's longevity on Lindbergh has been diversifying and seeking patrons.
"We never did coupons before. Everything was word of mouth," she said. "And now we have coupons and run Internet.
"We have rewards and all kinds of things because it is difficult for people to get out and spend money."
Greg Smith, who owns Dale's Music, echos the same sentiment.
"(Lindbergh) has changed drastically with the loss of the Ford plant," he said. "We have seen quite a few other small businesses and suppliers go out of business (and) it's had a great effect on all businesses here in the North County, just due to the loss of the amount of (business from its) employees."
Smith said diversity has been key to his survival.
"(We have) diversified our business model to include more goods and services, and we are offering more things to people in a wider variety," he said. "One of the biggest expansions we've done over the last several years is the expansion of our lesson and education division."
Smith said Dale's Music has greatly expanded the amount of facility space, the type of instructors and number of lessons offered to musicians and those aspiring to become one.
He also said the facility now houses a media production studio for video and photography. For those not inclined to play an instrument, Jazzercise classes are offered, as well as an instructor from the Center for Creative Arts in St. Louis who comes and teaches Mexican and Latin dancing.
So what about those who may not see the small business perspective, but can see the view from living in the area? Smith said he's happy to still be thriving and can see an uptick on the horizon.
"Over the last couple years we've definitely seen a revitalization of major industry here," he said. "The Bommarito Automotive Group has moved in and built a brand new Honda store, brand new Volkswagen store and a brand new Nissan store right here in Hazelwood."
"We've got the brand new construction going on across the street from where Ford used to be and there's talks of a new manufacturing plant coming to Hazelwood," he said. "We've definitely seen an upswing in commercial building, and quite a few new businesses that are very large players coming into town."
SEE MORE LINDBERGH LINKS STORIES
- Drive south to Hazelwood Patch: Hazelwood Reminisces on the Boulevard’s Changing Face
- Link to all our Lindbergh stories and videos
- History: A Long Boulevard, a Lengthy History