The northeastern end of Vail Place originally held a large building labeled as “Car Stables” in Compton and Dry’s 1876 Pictorial St. Louis. I assume it was where residents either parked their carriages, or perhaps where early horse-drawn streetcars were stored. I do not know. But by the early Twentieth Century, it was a bed factory, as Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps attest. The building above became what looks to be either a used car lot or junkyard in the mid 1900s.
There was always industry in Lafayette Square, though certainly more moved in over the decades, such as the bed factory and the shoe company. There were at least two breweries by the 1870s that had already been active for many years.
Vail Place is interesting in that it comes to an abrupt end, backing up to the houses on the north side of Kennett Place, and the houses on the west side of the street face the old factory, which has been converted to apartments.
The alley is open, and can be used to access the street.