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The Beauty of Dutchtown, Part 31: Louisiana Avenue Between Meramec and Gasconade Streets, West Side

We’re picking up the “The Beauty of Dutchtown” series which was left off at Number 30.

Louisiana Avenue between Meramec and Gasconade streets is an interesting street in that it seems to have largely been built by 1908, which is relatively early for this part of Dutchtown. Just north of the old streetcar route on Meramec are a row of nice two-family houses, each careful mirror images of each other in dark red and tan brick. There is a vacant lot separating the house above from the three below; I suspect there was a fifth house with tan brick identical to the middle house below that has sadly been demolished.

Then there’s a latecomer, which is an Arts and Crafts/Gingerbread style house, just north of the one-block Klocke Street, which runs between South Grand Boulevard and Louisiana Avenue.

Then we get to two, very exciting houses, and one mystery. The first of the two exciting houses is the one with the mystery. It is wood frame, and stylistically is clearly from the mid Nineteenth Century.

When we consult the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from October of 1908, we see no sign of the house sitting right next to the alley. So what gives? Well, look around the corner on Klocke, and there is a wood frame house (in yellow, to denote wood), that has a suspiciously similar groundplan of the house that now sits next to the big sqaure red brick house on Louisiana. I suspect they might have moved the house.

That red brick house is right where it should be, and this house is old, perhaps 1860s. Unfortunately, Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis does not go this far south, so we cannot consult that resource. The house is a center hall Greek Revival country home, and it is very rare. I don’t think the dormers were in that original configuration, though. This is not the only house of this type in Dutchtown.

Then there are these amazing little guys, wit a lot of style and are great examples of a style of living that many people might find strange today. I bet the kitchens and dining rooms are in the basement, and the living room and some bedrooms are on the first floor. They have a lot of panache, even for someone of lesser means. It is also interesting how the three have all lived different lives since they were built together, the one on the left partially cropped out of the photo the one having lived the most “interesting.”

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