Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

St Louis Blackie 

(St. Louis, February 1933)

"To you he is just a bum, a bit of human flotsam drifting down the current of existence. But to a strange, derelict world of tremendous freedom, he is St. Louis Blackie, the division skipper, an aristocrat of the hobo jungles from Jersey to Frisco."

— St. Louis Globe-Democrat, February 12, 1933

John L. Craft was a professional upholster and an amateur painter. But in the hobo jungle of Edwardsville, a metamorphosis occurred: Craft became St. Louis Blackie, Hobo — spending summers hopping freights and eating Mulligan stew with Circus Red, Broken Nose Brooks, Patty the Pig and Nosey Jim.

Some were there for the adventure, some to find work. And some because they were on the lam. "Fifty percent of men on the bum have hit the road because of woman trouble," Craft estimated.

You've got to see the guy's face, though, cutting right through all the years.

"Carpe Diem," St. Louis Blackie whispers: Seize the day.

"A bearable existence to one," he opined, "may be living death to another."

He deserves a star on Delmar. Or his own railroad tie.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation