Over the past 30 years, Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill, The Pageant and Pin-Up Bowl, has been the driving force behind the remarkable revitalization of The Loop, a once-desolate stretch of Delmar Boulevard connecting St. Louis City and University City. Edwards received an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2004.
In 1972, he opened Blueberry Hill, 6504 Delmar Blvd., with his future wife, Linda, a 1976 School of Architecture graduate.
Named for a favorite Fats Domino song, the 2,000-square-foot restaurant/pub just a few blocks north of the University featured a 140-year-old bar and displays from the “Edwards Collection” of toys, lunch boxes, jukeboxes, album covers and other pop-culture memorabilia.
Realizing that Blueberry Hill’s long-term fate was tied to that of The Loop itself, Edwards co-founded The Loop Special Business District in 1980 to raise money for improved lighting, trash receptacles, parking, holiday decorations and other enhancements.
In 1988, he established the nonprofit St. Louis Walk of Fame, which today is a succession of more than 100 brass stars and informative plaques embedded in the sidewalk along Delmar, honoring great St. Louisans who have contributed to America’s cultural life. Inductees include Josephine Baker, Chuck Berry, Charles Lindbergh and Tennessee Williams.
The Loop has thrived and now is home to more than 120 boutiques, restaurants, galleries and entertainment venues.
Edwards has received numerous awards for community leadership, including the 1993 Elijah P. Lovejoy Award; the 2000 Sold On St. Louis Award; and a 2002 “Show Me Award” from Missouri Gov. Bob Holden.