STL Villains

A catch-all forum for urban discussion. If it doesn't fit elsewhere, post here.
In the McKee topic there's some discussion of who was the worse St. Louis villain; Mckee or Kroenke?

I know that Carl Icahn, dismantling and scrapping TWA, is another villain of Saint Louis' past. I was hoping we could compile a list Saint Louis' worst civic actors.

During the railroads v steamboats debate back in the 19th century, who were the major players that delayed bridge construction? Maybe some villainous characters there.

Any other suggestions for individuals that diminished this world class city, especially for personal greed?
The companies involved in the General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy.
The General Motors streetcar conspiracy refers to convictions of General Motors (GM) and other companies for monopolizing the sale of buses and supplies to National City Lines (NCL) and its subsidiaries, and to allegations that this was part of a deliberate plot to purchase and dismantle streetcar systems in many cities in the United States as an attempt to monopolize surface transportation.

Between 1938 and 1950, National City Lines and its subsidiaries, American City Lines and Pacific City Lines—with investment from GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California through a subsidiary, Federal Engineering, Phillips Petroleum, and Mack Trucks—gained control of additional transit systems in about 25 cities.[3] Systems included St. Louis, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Oakland. NCL often converted streetcars to bus operations in that period, although electric traction was preserved or expanded in some locations. Other systems, such as San Diego's, were converted by outgrowths of the City Lines. Most companies involved were convicted in 1949 of conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce in the sale of buses, fuel, and supplies to NCL subsidiaries, but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the transit industry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_M ... conspiracy
Ferry operators and IL legislature played a role in delaying a bridge over the river in STL, IIRC. Check out The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War

Didn't Mayor Tucker play a role in getting rid of the streetcars?
The engineer responsible for the Gasconade Bridge disaster.


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Harland Bartholomew earned a spot, despite his efforts being generally thought of as what was needed at the time.
Whoever f'ed up the Centene to Ballpark village deal.....
Luther Ely Smith
In the modern era, it has to be StanK Kroenke & the NFL. He is the worst of the worst. Even if you could care less about the Rams, he lied to the people, screwed the fans, trashed St. Louis unnecessarily, knocked Shad Kahn out of contention for buying the Rams, keeping them here and likely investing in STL as he has in JAX. StanK is greed defined. He is a liar and a dishonorable man. ALL he had to do was say he has nothing against STL, but he feels it is best for his business to move to LA. Instead, the NFL and StanK put on a dog and pony show, putting our fine city through the ringer. He is the worst villain in modern STL history. Bidwell was a villain for some, but I do not believe he was, especially after getting a dose of StanK.

Other recent villains:
Fair or not, Carlos Brito was a villain here for a while.
Other villains; companies, Federated, American Airlines and of course Inbev to a lesser extent.

Some other villains in STL history are the short-sighted idiots that allowed the City-County divide to happen. The Great divorce.
Edward Earl Whitacre, Jr

Andrew Puzder
I was the one who brought up the Kroenke vs. McKee debate. I love this thread.

Having said that. Steve Stenger? Fire Emoji.
Andrew Craig.
That STLRainbow fellow... :D
I'd place the architects of the great divorce, removing the city form the county at the top of the list.

The fact a metro of STL's size has a secondary downtown/CBD (downtown Clayton) that is now outperforming the original downtown/CBD (downtown STL) undermines much positive growth the region sees. In my fantasyland, imagine downtown STL and downtown Clayton combined. more density, more people, more big city feel, more economies of scale, less redundancy, etc. It's just a "cooler" STL that would have facilitated, in all likelihood, more positive population/economic growth that would have prevented many negatives things: losing an airline hub, the rams, etc.

yep, fantasy...

Alternatively, the biggest St. Louis villain is the weather. I truly believe that majority of the region's slow growth issues are weather related. Americans do not like the cold. The fact that the south and the west continue to see the largest population gains proves it without a doubt.
Army Corps of Engineers

The lightning bolt that brought down this glider -

https://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/08/01 ... ne-others/
One thought i had what could be the areas greatest villains is not a person but the mindset. That is as much as anything and is the root of most of the problems around here. I've seen in many since 2014 either a harder push to defeat the local mindsets noting how much of a problem it is in many aspects, but sadly see many double down on the mindset and become more insular.

Also thinking of weather, is that climate change and its effects would likely be a net benefit to the region. Mainly that the issues that would result from it is absent here in terms of fresh water availability would not be any issue in the future and sea level rise is a non issue here due to being higher than the sea level would be if all ice in the world melted.

I think in terms of people. The two biggest ones of recent decades has to be Ichan and Kroneke because of how it negatively impacted how people locally and outside the area view the area and its prospects. The perceptions of both still cloud judgement of things here because its a way to absolve those two of their actions. What is happening is their use of the region as excuse for actions seems to not hold up based on how Southwest filled in here showing the local market was not the issue with TWA and what is starting to come out the Rams and the NFL is that its not the local markets fault and possibly the real life version of the movie Major League. The latter might be a blessing in disguise due to possible long term viability of the NFL which could create albatross stadiums.

Would be interesting to see if at some point have a heros page to see what people, organizations, and companies make the list and how it breaks down if its local people or outside people stepping in.
Grumpy St. Louisans who know nothing but negativity, spewing vitriol and bitching about how horrible things are, wading in a morass of doldrums, convincing themselves that there's no hope for our city, and pulling as many folks as they can down into the mire with themselves.
beer city wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:08 pm
The lightning bolt that brought down this glider -

https://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/08/01 ... ne-others/
Wow, had never heard this story.
The story says a bolt failed not a lightning bolt.
Bernard Dickmann.
Larry Rice


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I think posts in this thread should be restrained to individuals, and I think they should include the reasoning. Obviously Stan K needs no explanations but then again maybe he does.

Not organizations, companies, and especially no vaguely associated hypothetical groups.

Just my opinion of course.
soulardx wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:43 pm
Alternatively, the biggest St. Louis villain is the weather. I truly believe that majority of the region's slow growth issues are weather related. Americans do not like the cold. The fact that the south and the west continue to see the largest population gains proves it without a doubt.
NYC, Phila, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Denver...warm weather is nice but let's be real.
STLEnginerd wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:05 pm
I think posts in this thread should be restrained to individuals, and I think they should include the reasoning. Obviously Stan K needs no explanations but then again maybe he does.

Not organizations, companies, and especially no vaguely associated hypothetical groups.

Just my opinion of course.
2nded. Kroenke, Mckee, Icahn, all three actors clearly acted to purely extract value from Saint Louis/their companies for their own personal wealth, in all three it's clear that they only cared about #1 and not true businessmen- adding value to their customers/community.

All 3 could be caricatured as a local Monty Burns. Those are the kinds of examples I was looking for.
bwcrow1s wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:16 pm
Bernard Dickmann.
Reasoning? For destroying the riverfront?
beer city wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:08 pm
The lightning bolt that brought down this glider -

https://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/08/01 ... ne-others/
quincunx wrote: Wow, had never heard this story.
The story says a bolt failed not a lightning bolt.
I've always heard that it was a casting manufactured by a subcontractor, more or less as it appears in the Wiki article on Robertson.

Ironically, I think the sub may still be in business. And of course McDonnell bought the Robertson factory.

I don't want to call Robertson a villain. He was, after all, aboard the glider at the time of the accident. Along with half the other big wigs in town. (Mayor. County Presiding Judge. Deputy Comptroller. Chamber of Commerce President. A whole bunch of USAAF procurement and Robertson Aircraft brass.) Don't even necessarily want to call Gardner a villain. But man . . . that one was a nasty crash. Worse even than the Gemini program crash into the wall at McD.
He may be on a different plane than some already mentioned, but Larry Salci. He caused particularly major distrust of Metro. The lawsuit he brought on the Cross County Collaborative ushered in the era of bus stop signs with bags placed over them because the organization ran out of money. If this was for some greater outcome, it might be forgivable, but he wasn't even good at what he was supposedly there to do.