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Assorted Houses, Meramec Valley in Sunset Hills

Meramec Valley Estates and Auditorium Building, Chicago 006

These first two houses are off of Balmagoun Lane, laid out in the early Twentieth Century as the Sunset Hills area flourished as one of the first automobile suburbs out Gravois.

Meramec Valley Estates and Auditorium Building, Chicago 007

I think this house below is along Alswel Lane, just down the street from the William Lemp Junior mansion. Most houses on the street are from the 1970s onward; am I being confused in thinking this house is older?

Meramec Valley Estates and Auditorium Building, Chicago 015

This house below looks old, but County records say it’s from the 1950s. I wonder if that is when major renovation occurred? Sometimes that messes up the date of construction in government records.

Meramec Valley Estates and Auditorium Building, Chicago 016

5 Comments

  1. Before 270 Went through, our favorite destination was a 3-storey tower (which we called , “the tower”) at the end of Bird Haven, off Kennerly Road. It was across Bird Haven Lane from the Lake that you can see if you go to Satellite – but seems to be gone now.

    It was likely a bird-watching platform, and was constructed on a giant tipi frame of telephone pole poles, with three successively smaller platforms, one of which had a porch swing, & there were carefully cut paths in the surrounding scrub.

    We would often see an aristocratic old man who wore a French-style officer’s hat a la World War I. Of course he had a little white moustache.

    My most exotic memory of that time was at the house, a bit further east on Kennerly with the exotic pebble-built bridge (surely you noticed it?) & several other pebble-built monuments, was a middle-aged lady who had a the house full of exotic tchotchkes and actually kept white peacocks!

    Later, my little brother’s best friend lived in the house that is still on the east side of the corner of Bird Haven & Kennerly, which was for sale last July…

    It’s bittersweet to me that Kennerly road is pretty much as it was 50 years ago, while Hilltop Drive is unrecognizable.

    • James – I recall that tower, but just barely! I always wondered its purpose. I never did see the old fellow you mentioned, however.

      When I was old enough to explore on bicycle – early to mid-’50s – I dreamed of having a house on Balmagoun Lane. I just fell in love with the name – and of course the homes were pretty fancy compared to the modest ones on my street off Ballas, just North of (Old) Big Bend (where I still live!).

      • I think 270 – then known as 244 – went through 69, and for us the big years at the Bird Haven Tower were thus probably 65 to 69.

        My surmise that it was for bird watching really just comes from the name of the lane.

  2. I think the last house is on Mentz Hill Road, right? If that’s the one I’m thinking of, I went to an estate sale there a couple of months ago. I’m sure the original house is much older that the 1950’s. There is an addition (right side of the picture) which appeared to be from around the 50’s period. The addition was apparently built to house a couple of large pipe organs; one of which had belonged to Stan Kann. It was an interesting place to poke around in.

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