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St. Louis Rehabber History

St. Louis Rehabber

            Many St. Louisans remember the St. Louis Rehabber, the precursor of St. Louis Home, which ultimately was bought out by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and became an insert in a limited number of its zones.

            The Rehabber had a heart. It was socially responsible. It was concerned with the underlying ills of urban living.

            Commercially, it had great difficulties. However, when in 1984 the publishers renamed the publication St. Louis Home, it turned the corner. Apparently it became acceptable to the building and business community. “Our stylish new magazine format and affluent readers gave us the advertising that fueled our growth westward,” writes editor Barbara Clark in the July [1991] issue.

            The transformation was obviously advisable, and since survival is the first requirement of any periodical, it can also be applauded.

            But what we find regrettable if not pitiful is the self-flagellation evident in the introductory paragraph of the lead editorial in the July issue.

            “The St. Louis Rehabber’s first year was immature, charming and self-serving. Like a baby, we validated our existence by squalling at the top of our lungs. We cooed about city living. ‘Save our buildings’ were our first words. Our world did not exist beyond the neighborhoods we were trying to save. But like a child our world grew a little bigger every year.”

            If the early endeavors of the Rehabber were the antics of a child, many will regret that it ever grew up.

            (Originally published in the St. Louis Journalism Review 9/1991).