March 8, 2024

Rex Whitton Expressway/The Foot Documentary

Location:
Jefferson City, Missouri
Client:
Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)
Service Line:
Cultural Resources
Perry Douglas, Storyteller

The Rex Whitton Expressway Project for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) was located in Jefferson City, Missouri, with the purpose of providing cultural mitigation for the construction of the Lafayette Street interchange connecting to the Rex Whitton Expressway (US 50). The new interchange construction resulted in an Adverse Effect under Section 106 due to the demolition of the last remnants of the historic Foot neighborhood, an African-American community that thrived from 1900 until its demise in the 1960s resulting from the construction and local urban renewal efforts.

Lochmueller was tasked with preparing a written historic context of the Craftsman/Monastery Historic District (demolished as part of the interchange construction) and developing a video documentary of the Foot neighborhood (no longer extant). The documentary features oral histories of former residents as well as historic and present-day imagery of the area along with an appropriate narrative voice to seamlessly tell the important story of this historic African-American community, which now exists only in memories and photographs.

During the editing of the documentary in 2023, three of the six “Storytellers” who shared their memories on camera about life in the Foot neighborhood passed away, underscoring the importance of capturing such oral histories for posterity before it is too late. The documentary has recently premiered at the Pawley Theater at Lincoln University, a historically black educational institution founded in 1866, in Jefferson City. It is now available on the Lincoln University YouTube channel (and below) for worldwide, free public access.

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