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Whittemore Place

Along the west side of Lafayette Square, in between Missouri Avenue and South Jefferson are Whittemore and Albion places. We’ll look at Whittemore Place today. Nothing of the street had been developed by 1876, when Compton and Dry published Pictorial St. Louis, as can be seen above, even though Lafayette Avenue had already been built up with substantial Second Empire residences with prominent enough owners who bought their numbers on their houses.

As can be seen, the elevated land of the neighborhood caused Union Army engineers to construct Fort No. 5, part of the Civil War defenses of St. Louis, on the western portion of the park and private land. The westernmost bastion of the the fort and a portion of the moat was still visible in 1876. Perhaps it was even holding up develop of residential properties into the 1870s.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, St. Louis, Missouri, 1908 December, sheet 110

But by 1908, the street had been completely developed with a wide variety of housing styles, and not just the typical Italianate and Second Empire styles we expect in the neighborhood.

2357 Whittemore Place, Photograph by William Swekosky, 1940-1959, Missouri History Museum, N04378

Starting in the west, at Jefferson Avenue, we discover above that the first house was demolished for the parking lot of a convenience store that served the heavily trafficked north-south artery. But moving east, the street wall is remarkably intact.

Due to the later development, there are houses that perhaps could be described as Queen Anne, if that is a bit inadequate.

We get some amazing, lavish Second Empire, but we begin to see that German Renaissance Revival influence coming in, as the house below shows.

But there are more traditional Second Empire houses as well.

I strongly suspect these were all built at the same time as a real estate speculation.

And then we get towards Missouri Avenue, and we begin to see the lateral sides of the large Romanesque Revival mansions on large plats that face the park.

The house is huge, compared to the other houses on Whittemore Place.

On the south side of the street are houses like ones I photographed in Shaw last year, showing that Lafayette Square is a much more dynamic neighborhood than one flash frozen in the 1870s.

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