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Vine Grove Avenue #1, The Greater Ville

Update: I revisited the Greater Ville, including Vine Grove Avenue, in July of 2019. There was extensive demolition of abandoned and deteriorating houses on the street in September of 2019.

“Vine Grove Avenue? Wow, that’s a street I’ve never heard of before,” I said, as we walked up Labadie Avenue. For whatever reason, surveyors left an awkward amount of land in between Labadie and Ashland Avenues, making it too wide for only one more parallel street in between the two aforementioned secondary arteries (the same phenomenon can be seen north of Fairgrounds Park), so there are a series of one or two block north-south streets filling in this area. Vine Grove Avenue is one of them. It is such a fascinating street I’ve split it up into two days.

There are some beautiful houses, which would go for over $200,000 or more in Tower Grove South, but here, they are slowly falling down, brick by brick.

But then, on the left, we see an older house, which like I’ve mentioned before, is a remnant of the Greater Ville’s more exurban days back when the city had not fully reached out this far.

Update: The the house on the right in the photo above was gutted by fire on August 6, 2019.

Then there are these in-fill houses, from most likely the 1930s or 40s; one is occupied and happy, and the other one is a disaster.

The house below looks like it is about to be attacked and eaten by the menacing tree looming above it.

Then there is this beautiful four-family apartment building, boarded up and trashed.

4 Comments

  1. Excellent photos Chris. Regarding your statement on the surveyors, it would appear that both Greer and Sullivan could have been extended to the west; there is the same amount of width here as there is between Sarah and Warne. Could there have been annexation issues in this area during surveying? Maybe another natural reason for the platting? Or how about a desire for some diversity in the grid here? I suppose we will never know for certain.

    • You bring up a good point, Sara. One possibility is that there was “something in the way,” which could have prevented Greer and Sullivan from going straight through, but that “something” is now long gone, and we are left to speculate what it was (we have a similar phenomenon near our houses on the South Side with the slanted streets being a remnant of two slender French farm fields surviving in the Common Fields).

    • Perusing their website, it seems like the vast majority of the vacant houses and lots on Vine Grove Avenue are owned by the LRA. This is the 3000 and 3100 block of Vine Grove Avenue. By the way, in just the Greater Ville neighborhood, there are 1,119 LRA properties. It is a good sized neighborhood, square mileage-wise, but that is a huge number.

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