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Lafayette Avenue Between Dolman and Eighteenth Streets

We’ll first take a look at these nice houses on Dolman above, which would fit in well in Soulard, but then we turn right onto Lafayette Avenue, which has changed dramatically in the time when it was first settled before the Civil War. I’ve looked at the block to the east before, with its distinctive storefront, so we’ll head west.

Looking at Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis, we realize that there was once a very dramatically different view on the south side of Lafayette Avenue than the ugly onramps for Interstates 44 and 55. Making use of underground caves, Christian Staehlin’s Phoenix Brewery stood here in different forms until the mid Twentieth Century.

The houses on the north side of the street have not changed much in appearance or construction much since what I would suspect was before the Civil War. I imagine they were built for or by the employees of the Phoenix Brewery across the street.

This row of houses looks like the houses I was so accustomed to seeing in my time living in Washington, DC, which were built in the early years of the young capital.

This apartment building was probably built towards the end of the Nineteenth Century, as more worker housing was needed for the expanding brewery.

The Phoenix Brewery is not the best known establishment in St. Louis history, but it was an early presence in Lafayette Square, all the way back to the 1850s.

August Gast after John Gast, Christian Staehlin’s Phoenix Brewery, 2nd Carondelet and Lafayette Avenues, c. 1955, Missouri History Museum, N33419

Richard Henry Fuhrmann, Photo by Emil Boehl, Christian Staehlin’s Phoenix Brewery, 18th and Lafayette Avenue, 1870, Missouri History Museum, P0764-00328-4g

3 Comments

  1. Chris, how interesting. If not for your website, I would have never known about the brewery on Lafayette. What a cool complex that could have been today if it were still standing. Thanks for all you do!

    • Thank you! I know someone who once lived in the house that faces the onramp, and he remembers when the brewery’s later buildings were still standing, if you can believe that. It was still there into the mid-Twentieth Century.

  2. How fun this was to find. I lived in the yellow row house, 1721 Lafayette from 1950 – 1957. Directly across the street where the on ramps are, was a Quick Meal restaurant. My father owned it for a brief time about 1958 – 1959. I believe the bldg behind the restaurant might have been left over from the brewery. The bldg next to us that was on the corner of 18th street, was occupied at that time by Whaley & Whaley attorneys and the Janelle Beauty Salon. Across 18th from them was Cook’s Market, a tavern, and the Schulz Taxidermy Studio.

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