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Throwback Thursday: 25 Crestwood | The Home of Barry Commoner

Barry Commoner, a Washington University professor and scientist was the pioneer of the environmental movement that raised early concerns about the effects of radioactive fallout. While in St. Louis Barry Commoner lived in Claverach park at my listing 25 Crestwood.

An outspoken advocate for environmental issues, Mr. Commoner helped found a well-known survey of baby teeth in St. Louis that began in the late 1950s. The survey assessed the levels of strontium-90 in the teeth and showed how children were absorbing radioactive fallout from nuclear bombs that were being tested.

Mr. Commoner aggressively took on the role of educating the public, writing books on environmental issues. Among his works were “TheClosing Circle” and “The Poverty of Power.” In early 1970, he was on the cover of Time magazine, which referred to him as the Paul Revere of Ecology. He even ran for president as a third-party candidate in 1980.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Commoner was trained in biology at Columbia University and Harvard. But he wasn’t afraid to take on environmental, economic or social problems even though it meant straying from his academic training.

Mr. Commoner arrived in St. Louis in the late 1940s and served for a time as chairman of Washington University’s botany department. In 1965, he founded the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, which occupied most of the basement of Rebstock Hall. The center addressed an array of issues that ranged from lead poisoning to rabies control to the cancer-causing properties of fried hamburger.

But his legacy endures in St. Louis today through the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, a group he helped found in the late 1960s with other of the state’s well-known environmentalists and conservationists including Lewis C. Green and Leo and Kay Drey.

Information from STLToday