The Lewis Bissell Mansion is supposedly the oldest standing house in the city of St. Louis, built between 1823 and 1828. Rather interestingly, they’ve recently painted the house red, after being white for years. Not even any of the on-line photographs reflect this change yet. Honestly, I thought the mystery theater had gone out of business several years ago when I drove by and the grass was about two feet tall. But they’re still in business, in perhaps one of the more random locations in St. Louis. Bissell apparently owned 1,500 acres in the area, and much of his former land makes up the Bissell’s Point water treatment facility. The interstate cutting by below the house certainly ruins the feeling of being back in the early Nineteenth Century.
But this stretch of Randall Place, before 1934 known as 14th Street, has some other interesting surprises. Supposedly it was once a wealthy area, and the housing at least partially shows that. Its high elevation (the nearby standpipes point to this) surely made the area desirable.
I like the inventive solution above to reclad a wooden Second Empire house: just keep going with the siding. Below is one of the most beautiful Italianate wood frame houses in the city.
Below, this imaginative mansion point to the continued affluence of the neighborhood around Hyde Park and College Hill.
But demolition has come to the area, even though most houses are still standing. The almost rugged, hilly terrain is still preserved, though.
I love these little wood houses, sitting far back on their lot to provide for a large garden in the front.
Large houses sit around the corner on Blair, in the shadow of the Bissell Water Tower.