Park Avenue east of Missisippi Avenue has always had a mix of commercial activity since the 1870s, as Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis shows. Manufacturing was always a fact of life, as well, with industrial uses south of Park.
The buildings lining the north side of Park Avenue in Lafayette Square are in excellent condition, and host the commercial corridor for the neighborhood, providing coffee, dining and dry cleaners. It looks like it’s gotten a new paint scheme since the first time I photographed it back in 2007. The photograph below is the corner building above and its front door.
Richard W. Lemen, 1937 Park Avenue, November 29, 1926, Lemen Streets and Sewers Collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, St. Louis Public Library
Moving east, we see from another historic photograph that the street wall on the north side of Park Avenue looking west from Vail Place is well preserved, though the two Italianate storefronts have lost their more elaborate cornices. Looking closely, it is obvious that their entablatures are simpler reconstructions of what was captured below in 1931.
Richard W. Lemen, Park Avenue Near Mississippi Avenue, July 10, 1931, Lemen Streets and Sewers Collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, St. Louis Public Library
The stunning Second Empire storefronts are still here, with a beautiful restoration work done to them, and below, the former shoe store and the last building on the block are occupied and healthy. It’s perhaps one of the best preserved commercial strips from the late Nineteenth Century in St. Louis.