Businesses of Shaw's Past

By Stephanie Herbers | 4 Comments

Are you curious about what businesses used to be in buildings throughout the neighborhood? Cara Jensen, Shaw resident and owner of Sherlock Homes, has started compiling this information in a Google map. To date she has added businesses that were present in 1956, their status in 2015, and is now starting to add in information from a directory printed in 1915.

The map covers the area currently considered the Shaw Neighborhood, as well as buildings north of I-44 to Park Ave, which was often considered Shaw before the highway was built. Places on the map are color coded to indicate their status in 2015: green = current business, yellow = building standing, but vacant, red = building demolished, and brown = private residence.

In 1950 the population in the City of St. Louis was 856,796. According to a post by Jensen on her website, in 1956 Shaw had 7 taverns, 23 markets/delicatessens, 7 service stations, 18 barbers/beauty shops, 13 laundrettes, 7 restaurants, 4 bakeries, 4 shoe repair, 5 dentists, and 2 movie theaters. Can you imagine having that many businesses now?

Some of the businesses from Shaw’s past include:

Flotkin's 39th St Super Market

Painting of Flotkin’s 39th Street Super Market. Source: Remember Flotken’s Website

Vacant or Demolished

  • 39th Street Lunch | 1716 S. 39th (demolished)
  • Flotkin’s 39th Street Super Market | 1801 S. 39th (demolished)
  • Liederkranz Club | 2163 S. Grand (demolished)
  • Link Drugs | 4068 Shenandoah (demolished, now Dorothy Park)
  • Permenter Tavern | 3901 Castleman (demolished)
  • Shaw Theater | 3901 Shaw (vacant, ready for new business)
  • Wheeler and Robinson Cleaners | 4001 Shenandoah (demolished)
  • Woolworth’s Department Store | 1717-25 S. 39th (demolished)
Ice's Plain and Fancy

Current Shaw business, Ice’s Plain and Fancy. Source: Ice’s Plain and Fancy website

Current Shaw Business or Private Residence

Jensen often posts about Shaw-related history. Check out her website

We would love to hear any memories you have of these businesses, see photos, or receive suggestions for the map. Send them our way via the Comments section or email us at


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katie says

My grandpa was on a committee to prevent 44 from being built; it's a shame it didn't work. This is a great and interesting project.

Mary Brake says

One must remember that a lot of people had 1 car or none. One walked to the stores.

Brenda Malone says

Do you have information on Howard's Beauty Salon on 39th Street (I think)? My Grandma used to get her hair cut there. Can you verify it was on 39th.

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