East Saint Louis is a city of about 50,000 people, 98% African-American. Once a bustling industrial town and rail center, its industries dried up in the 1960's as cheaper labor and better living were found elsewhere, especially for the meat-packing and chemical industries. At one time it had the highest number (per capita) of millionaires living in an American city. Today it is busted, with many abandoned homes and overgrown lots some still looking as grand works (especially the gothic style).

Located in St. Claire County, Illinois, directly across the Mississippi river from St. Louis, Missouri.

The birth place of Miles Davis, Jackie Joyner Kersee, and Katherine Dunham. Location of the Casino Queen "riverboat" casino. Site once proposed for a Fuller Dome. Not in MO.

The current population of 38,595 (1997), is less than half of that in its better years, (1950's and 60's). The population is 98% African American and unemployment runs to 30%. The desperate condition of the city is due to industrial collapse, and the annexing of portions of the city by what industry remained. This destroyed the tax base, and left the poor residents that remained with the highest property tax rates in the state of Illinois.

Between 1987 and 1992 the municipal government was so beleaguered that there where no garbage collections, and in 1993 the police department had no operating vehicles. Neighborhood groups and local churches are attempting to promote revitalization, but predatory lending and a high degree of corruption make it an uphill fight.

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