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The Mysterious Wall, Russell Boulevard, Compton Heights

Copyright St. Louis Patina -8370

Apparently, before there was Compton Heights, there was an earlier Compton Heights. Laid out along what was then Pontiac, there were several huge lots facing the Compton Hill Reservoir. And I discovered this all because that wall along Russell Boulevard is clearly older than the Modernist apartment building behind it, and knew it was out of place.

Compton Hill Detail

It makes sense, and as we see in the Sanborn below compared to Compton and Dry above, there were a series of mansions that were built in what looks to be the Second Empire style. The one in the middle in both images was demolished for the two apartment buildings that are there now. And the wood frame house, with a brick veneer to the right in the Sanborn, came and went after Compton and Dry, and the church standing there today. To the left, that mansion was demolished for none other than the Magic Chef Mansion. I sometimes drive along Russell and wonder what happened to some developer’s grand scheme for a row of august houses, sitting way out in the countryside on the hills west of St. Louis.Compton Heights Sanborn Detail

There is also a Tudor Revival apartment building, constructed in the early Twentieth Century, on the former middle mansion’s property. Clearly, there was a need for more housing, and the old mansions came down to be replaced by new buildings.

Copyright St. Louis Patina -8372

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