What Makes a Neighborhood?

Some goals of the Museum’s Neigh­bor­hood Les­son Plan:


Camp­bell House’s “Lucas Place” neigh­bor­hood, ca. 1875

I. Encour­age men­tal map mak­ing
Develop crit­i­cal think­ing skills
Rec­og­nize street names and their asso­ci­a­tion with each other
Obtain a basic under­stand­ing of how a neigh­bor­hood relates to greater St. Louis.

II. Develop a sense of place
- Rec­og­nize a sense of own­er­ship for famil­iar places (i.e. this is my neighborhood’s store; this is our library, etc.)
- Develop a sense that indi­vid­ual action can make a difference.

III. Teach local his­tory
After com­plet­ing the pro­gram, stu­dents should be able to answer the fol­low­ing ques­tions:
What makes up a neigh­bor­hood? What do you need to have a neigh­bor­hood?
What typ­i­cally defined a neigh­bor­hood like Lucas Place? What defines a neigh­bor­hood now?Why was Lucas Place built?
Who moved into Lucas Place?
Where did peo­ple live before neigh­bor­hoods like Lucas Place were built?
Where did other peo­ple live since they could not afford to live in Lucas Place? Did they still live in a neigh­bor­hood?
What do you see hap­pen­ing around the Camp­bell House neigh­bor­hood today?
Has the func­tion of a neigh­bor­hood changed? Is it still chang­ing?
What is hap­pen­ing in your neigh­bor­hood today? How is it chang­ing? (Open)

Com­mon Core stan­dards for this les­son: RH.6–8.1, RH.6–8.7, RH.6–8.8, RI.6.3, RI.6.7, speak­ing ele­ments: SL.6.2 to SL.8.2, SL.6.4 to SL.8.4, col­lab­o­ra­tions: SL.6.1a-d to SL.8.1a-d.

Please con­tact the Museum for more information.

Neigh­bor­hoods: What Makes a Neighborhood?

Neigh­bor­hoods are an inte­gral part of St. Louis. We develop a sense of who we are by the bound­aries of our neigh­bor­hood (i.e. where we shop, where we work, etc.). For the Camp­bells, their neigh­bor­hood defined their stand­ing in soci­ety. Lucas Place was the first pri­vate neigh­bor­hood in St. Louis. Its bound­aries were clearly marked by street names and house num­bers. Today, the neigh­bor­hood bound­aries are more blurred. It is not uncom­mon for next-door neigh­bors to define their neigh­bor­hood very dif­fer­ently. By study­ing the bound­aries (phys­i­cal, intel­lec­tual and social) of neigh­bor­hoods like Lucas Place, stu­dents gain a greater under­stand of their own, which will aid in later stud­ies of city growth and neigh­bor­hood evolution‹helping stu­dents find their place in St. Louis.

Pro­ce­dure to be com­pleted BEFORE vis­it­ing the Museum: 

I. The school must pro­vide a pic­ture of the school, either a pho­to­graph or draw­ing (approx­i­mately 3.5 inch by 5 inch).

II. Before vis­it­ing the Camp­bell House, the stu­dents need to indi­vid­u­ally answer (or be think­ing about) the fol­low­ing ques­tions:
Who lives in your neigh­bor­hood? How far away do these indi­vid­u­als live from you (i.e. two blocks, two houses, across the hall­way [apart­ments], etc.)?
What are the bound­aries of your neigh­bor­hood (i.e. build­ings, Mr. Jones’ house, street names, etc.)?
What is needed to make up a neigh­bor­hood? Do you need stores, houses, play­grounds or a mix­ture? Do you need a lot of peo­ple?
What street do you live on (NOT the house number)?

It is not nec­es­sary for the stu­dents to actu­ally write their responses before vis­it­ing the Camp­bell House. How­ever, it is impor­tant that they review the ques­tions prior to their visit. The stu­dents will be asked to write their responses at the Camp­bell House. We strongly encour­age stu­dents to express their ideas with words, art and/or poetry.

Pro­ce­dure to be com­pleted at the Museum: 

The class­room works with the Camp­bell House to cre­ate a book­let defin­ing the stu­dents’ neigh­bor­hood. The Camp­bell House will pro­vide the frame­work of the book­let and the materials.

Step One 
Each stu­dent is give one page (front and back) that they may use to inde­pen­dently describe their neigh­bor­hood. Before ask­ing the fol­low­ing ques­tions, remem­ber to ask the stu­dents to leave a small por­tion of their page empty. It does not mat­ter which por­tion they leave empty. How­ever, they need suf­fi­cient space to answer the final ques­tion (see ques­tion in bold below). The stu­dents are asked the same ques­tions they dis­cussed in their Pre-Visit activ­ity:
Who lives in your neigh­bor­hood? How far away do these indi­vid­u­als live from you (i.e. two blocks, two houses, across the hall­way [apart­ments], etc.)?
What are the bound­aries of your neigh­bor­hood (i.e. build­ings, Mr. Jones’ house, street names, etc.)?
What is needed to make up a neigh­bor­hood? Do you need stores, houses, play­grounds or a mix­ture? Do you need a lot of people?

After ample time has passed (approx­i­mately 25 min­utes), stu­dents are asked to answer the fol­low­ing ques­tion for the book­let: “How can you tell you are no longer in your neigh­bor­hood?” As a group, the stu­dents are encour­aged to share their responses.

Step Two 
After we dis­cuss the stu­dents’ responses, the Instruc­tor begins to answer the same ques­tions for the Camp­bell House neigh­bor­hood, Lucas Place:
Why was Lucas Place built? What were the bound­aries of Lucas Place?
Who moved into Lucas Place?
Why, do you think, peo­ple moved into Lucas Place?
What type of build­ings made up Lucas Place (i.e. houses, churches, etc.)?

(The dis­cus­sion of the Camp­bell House neigh­bor­hood [What makes up Lucas Place?] takes place AFTER the stu­dents give their responses because we do not want to influ­ence these responses.) The Instruc­tor will use illus­tra­tions and maps to describe Lucas Place in 1875. In addi­tion to build­ings, the Instruc­tor will point out the var­i­ous peo­ple that lived in Lucas Place, such as Robert Campbell.

Step Three 
Lucas Place was one of the first neigh­bor­hoods of its kind built in St. Louis. The Instruc­tor should begin a dis­cus­sion of other neigh­bor­hoods. The dis­cus­sion should answer the fol­low­ing ques­tions:
Where do other peo­ple live, if they were unable to afford a home in Lucas Place?
Did they still live in neigh­bor­hoods? Why or why not?
How is Lucas Place dif­fer­ent from other neigh­bor­hoods? How is it the same?
Where did peo­ple live before places like Lucas Place were built?

Step Four 
After the dis­cus­sion of Lucas Place, the Instruc­tor will draw the dis­cus­sion back to “What makes up a neigh­bor­hood?” The Instruc­tor should com­pare and con­trast the indi­vid­ual answers and fol­low with the state­ment such as, “Every­one views their neigh­bor­hood as pro­vid­ing for their indi­vid­ual needs. For exam­ple, Mary may need to buy gro­ceries more often than Bobby. So, Mary might define her neigh­bor­hood with gro­cery stores. Yet, Bobby does not need gro­ceries as often, since he eats out so much. So, he might define his neigh­bor­hood with restau­rants instead of gro­cery stores.” This dis­cus­sion should then lead into the purpose/function of Lucas Place. And, the stu­dents are invited to share what is spe­cial about their neighborhood.

Next, the stu­dents are shown an offi­cial map of their school dis­trict, pro­vided by the St. Louis Pub­lic School sys­tem. The stu­dents should rec­og­nize right away that the “offi­cial” bound­aries of their neigh­bor­hood dif­fer dras­ti­cally from their own descrip­tions. How­ever, to visu­ally aid the stu­dents, the Instruc­tor will use push­pins to mark the loca­tion of the school and the indi­vid­u­als’ homes. Note: The indi­vid­u­als should only pro­vide their street name NOT their house num­ber. Each loca­tion is rep­re­sented by a dif­fer­ent color. For exam­ple, the houses’ loca­tions are marked with red push­pins, while the school’s loca­tion is marked with a yel­low push­pin. Be sure to indi­cate which color rep­re­sents which location.

(For this exer­cise, the map is adhered to foam core. Also the exact loca­tion of the student’s home is not impor­tant. The idea is to show the rela­tion­ship between the res­i­den­tial and the business/commercial aspects of a neigh­bor­hood. Another pur­pose of locat­ing the homes is to show how neigh­bor­hoods change over time. For exam­ple, the Camp­bell House once set in the mid­dle of an elab­o­rate, res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood. It now rests in the midst of Down­town St. Louis, sur­rounded by both res­i­dents and businesses.)

Next, the Instruc­tor will begin the dis­cus­sion by stat­ing: “The St. Louis Pub­lic School sys­tem had a map that dif­fered from your descriptions/boundaries. Why is that, or why would the bound­aries dif­fer? What func­tion do these bound­aries per­form? What func­tion do the bound­aries of your neigh­bor­hood per­form?” (Open)

Finally, the Instruc­tor uses a dif­fer­ent color push­pin (i.e. green) to mark the var­i­ous his­toric buildings/monuments/parks within the school’s neigh­bor­hood (the “offi­cial” bound­aries are used for this exer­cise). Note: The his­toric land­marks are deter­mined before the pro­gram takes place. How­ever, if the teach­ers know of a land­mark that is spe­cial to the school, they are wel­comed to share this infor­ma­tion before vis­it­ing the Camp­bell House. This exer­cise leads into the next step’s dis­cus­sion on neigh­bor­hood change (what is now con­sid­ered “his­toric” was once a brand new building).

Step Five 
While the Instruc­tor begins the dis­cus­sion on neigh­bor­hood change, the indi­vid­ual book­let pages are col­lected and bounded with a brief descrip­tion of Lucas Place in 1875. At this point, it is impor­tant for the Instruc­tor to show the stu­dents pic­tures of Lucas Place in 1875 and cur­rent images. This way, stu­dents can com­pare and con­trast the two “neigh­bor­hoods.” They can see for them­selves the changes that took place over time.

The Instruc­tor will begin the dis­cus­sion by ask­ing:
What do you see hap­pen­ing around the Camp­bell House today? Has the func­tion of Lucas Place changed? Is it still chang­ing?
How do these changes affect the func­tion of the Camp­bell House (i.e. it was once a res­i­dence, and is now an his­toric house)?
What is hap­pen­ing in your neigh­bor­hood today? How is it chang­ing? (Open)
Do you see the same type of changes for build­ings like the Camp­bell House (or insert an his­toric building/park)?

The Instruc­tor will then end the dis­cus­sion by sug­gest­ing that when the stu­dents go home today, they talk with their parents/guardians, neigh­bors and teach­ers about the changes in their neigh­bor­hood. Then, com­pare those changes with ones you see in Lucas Place. Finally, do you see other neigh­bor­hoods chang­ing? How are they changing?

Step Six 
Before the stu­dents leave, a pho­to­graph is taken of them in front of the Camp­bell House. This pho­to­graph is then inserted into a photo jacket on the inside of the rear book­let cover. The book­let is then given to the teacher to take back to the class­room. (The book­let is bounded in a fash­ion that allows the teacher to redis­trib­ute indi­vid­ual pages.)

This pro­gram has been cre­ated with a grant from the Whitaker Foun­da­tion.