In 1988, the Dow Jones Industrials were under 2,000, Ronald Reagan was president, the Iran Contra affair was in the news, and a 25 year time capsule was set at the northeast corner of the Metropolitan Square building in downtown St. Louis.
In our household, we were in the middle of a three year relocation from California to St. Louis. We lived in an apartment in West County, spent weekends exploring St. Louis neighborhoods, and had no kids. We weren't involved in city affairs much at all. We paid little attention to the new high rise being completed downtown and didn't think much about long term efforts to revitalize the city. We were already though, captivated by its neighborhoods, its history, and lifestyle.
Back in 1988, people more involved in St. Louis were keenly aware that its future was in question. Maybe that's why the builders of Met Square only set a 25 year time horizon for their time capsule? The time capsule is set to be opened in just a few years, and many of the same people on hand for the sealing of the capsule are still working in important roles to guide St. Louis forward.
We moved away from St. Louis in 1989. But in 1993, we returned, moving into the city proper. A month later, our son Matt was born. Now he's a junior in high school and we're still city residents. He's seen first hand a lot of the positive changes of the past two decades.
In 2013, when they open the time capsule at Met Square, son Matt will be 20 years old, and St. Louis should be on track for celebrating further progress. Many had written off the city's chances for renewal, but enough people stuck around to see things through for better days today and a brighter future tomorrow.
If you were in St. Louis in the late 80s, what sorts of things were you and your friends and associates thinking about St. Louis and its future? Maybe you were on hand for the placing of the time capsule or topping out of Met Square. Was there a sense of optimism or doubt?
When we moved away in 1989, it was a tough decision for us. We weighed the pros and cons and decided on returning to California, even though St. Louis rated higher on a side by side comparison we did at the time.
For a place like St. Louis city, twenty five years is a good timeframe for planning and implementing community progress. If we look ahead over the next twenty five years, what should be the top things we prioritize for action?