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‘Wailing Wall’ Bridging St. Louis' Delmar Divide To Begin Going Up This Week

photo of Damon Davis
Jo Vonda Winters

A project designed as a bridge across Delmar Boulevard begins construction this week and should be in place in early February. It's a contemporary concept with a low-tech twist: hand-delivered letters.

The “Wailing Wall,” envisioned by local musician and artist Damon Davis, was chosen last August from among other entries in a contest of ideas to address what’s known as the Delmar Divide. The term refers to income inequality north and south of Delmar Boulevard.

Davis will erect a 15-foot-high wall complete with built-in mailboxes in the courtyard of Brown-Kortkamp Realty, 4709 Delmar Blvd., between Euclid and Taylor Avenues. Visitors will be asked to write stories about the Delmar Divide, then deposit them into the boxes. Davis plans to pick up new letters once a week and publish them in a blog.

At some point -- perhaps after a year -- volunteers will destroy the wall in an event symbolizing the demise of the divide.

The $425 Davis won in the “Soup Across the Delmar Divide” event sponsored by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Missouri History Museum and the Anti-Defamation League paid for the wall itself. He’s looking to raise $2,000 more for upkeep and to fund events designed to promote dialogue.

The term “Delmar Divide” got attention in 2012 when used by a BBC documentary maker who explored the stark differences on either side of a small area along Delmar. The documentary led to a series of public gatherings aimed at alleviating the inequality.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.