Saving The Images Of St. Louis

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)— When William Swekosky learned that city photographs were being dumped he rescued as many as he could. He saved an incredible record of life in St. Louis in the early decades of the twentieth century.

"The city of St. Louis at one time had an official city photographer. The city photographer's position was eliminated sometime in the 1920's. Someone finally looked at these old photos that were taking up space in an office building that was getting crowded and cramped and said we need to throw this junk out." said Dr. Robert Archibald.

Thanks to the St. Louis dentist the images survive today. Not just of the places, some of which are still familiar today, but of everday people and the lives they led in the city he loved.

"I mean it is an interesting idea that the city would actually pay for somebody to document the city. Which is a wonderful idea I wish it would have gone on forever. I wish there had been more of them. It would be wonderful to have that but we do have this little bit because Mr. Swekosky found them after they had been thrown out." said Dr. Robert Archibald.

Along with the photos he saved Dr. Swekosky also took pictures on his own. He documented the buildings facing the wrecking ball. A practice he began in 1930 and continued until his death in 1964.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.