What we now call LaSalle Park, part of what I call the greater Frenchtown neighborhood, was originally just part of the greater urban fabric of what we now celebrate as historic Soulard. (Note that Rutger and Morrison were once named Autumn and Winter, respectively,)
I still don’t know what the heck to think about this neighborhood. It’s surrounded by interstates, public housing that is admittedly being renovated after being gutted by fire (and constantly in the news for bedbugs) and Tucker Boulevard. I don’t know many people who live here so I can’t get a feel about how well the neighborhood works. Today, we’ll walk about the Tenth Street Mall, which was originally a normal street as you can see above in Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis and Sanborn maps, and was originally named South Street.
One the left is a church that had many names: First German Lutheran Church, and then First German Presbyterian Church. But it is now the St. Louis Religious Society of Friends, or as most people know them, the Quakers.
This is an extremely historic building, and perhaps is one of the oldest churches in the City of St. Louis. It would be interesting to do some more investigation in the future to determine just how old the structure is.
It is a simple German Hallkirche, meaning that it is Gothic Revival but has no transepts (nor apse, it seems), and has only engaged buttresses. It is a simple structure, indeed.
The glass in the windows have probably been altered, having once contained stained glass.
Moving north are some more exceptionally old housing stock, which show the transition from the Greek Revival into the Italianate with hipped roofs, which admittedly are hard to see in this photograph.
The house below was actually once part of a row, I believe, judging from the scars on its side.
There is an entire intact row of Italianate row houses, which are amazing survivors from the past; there were once thousands more of these in existence in St. Louis, but the rest are gone. They were wiped away in the mid-Twentieth Century.
The house on the corner was converted into a Second Empire storefront, most likely in the 1870s or 1880s. All the houses are in great shape.
Then we spot the two houses that are proving to be problems. They face the parking lot of the public housing, and have no real street access from the rest of the neighborhood. I understand why they’re hard to redevelop.
I spoke with a homeless man who was staying at his father’s house for the time being. While I was a bit pessimistic about the future of the buildings, he was optimistic, saying that the deterioration was only minor, and that they could be fixed with some investment. I hope he’s right, because it would be a shame to lose any more of the amazing housing stock in this area.
I’ve looked at these two buildings before back in the summer of 2019.