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3463 Longfellow, Compton Heights

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The first owners of this stately 1895 house seem to be William Becker, and then presumably his son and daughter-in-law John and Adele Dittmann Becker. Like many prominent St. Louisans, they participated in the masked ball celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city. They attended church in the Central West End at the Church of the Unity on Watermann. It also looks like the house stayed in the family for at least two generations, before passing into the Hilliker family, whose descendants still own it.

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It’s Romanesque Revival, but not slavishly so in the Richardsonian manner so popular in St. Louis after the Civil War.

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But the hallmarks, heavy stone Roman arches with foliated ornamentation, are still there.

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The cantilevered porte-cochere is a nice touch.

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4 Comments

  1. The house was built for Mr. and Mrs. Dittmann, at a cost of $25,000. The architect was Ernst Janssen. It’s the only design of his I know of that was in the Romanesque Revival Style. The house then went to the Beckers. Marion Rombauer Becker was the daughter of Irma Rombauer. Those are they names on your “The Joy of Cooking” cookbooks. It’s said that the original book was largely written in this house.

  2. Also, before Hellen and Harry Hilliker bought the house in 1944 (for $6400 I believe), the house was painted white all over. You can still see some of the remnants of the paint under the eaves. I have a photo of the house when it was white, and you can see the huge carriage house behind it as well.

  3. Here is the entry for the house is the Compton Heights book:
    1892, 3464 Longfellow
    William Henry Dittmann purchased the lot for $7225in june and construction of the $25,000 house designed by Ernst C. Janssen began immediately. Born in St. Louis in 1852, Dittmann worked for (then inherited) his father’s shoe company. His sister, Mrs. Philip Burg, and her husband built a house at 3251 Hawthorne in 1894. Dittmann’s daughter Adele married German-born Philip August Becker in 1900; their son John William married Marion Rombauer, grand-daughter of Dr. Hugo Maximillion von Starkloff from 3153 Longfellow. (Marrion Rombauer Becker co-authored the popular Joy of Cooking.) Adele Dittman Becker and her brother Robert W. sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. Alfred T Moore in 1930.

    So the Hillikers are the third owners of the house. I think it was the Moores who painted the house white.

  4. The three arched windows on the second floor were original part of an open loggia. They were closed in, and the space is now another full bathroom.

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