Update: This house is being carefully restored by a great family. Read my story at St. Louis Magazine here. See progress on the house in the fall of 2019. See Dr. Arzt’s grave in Bellefontaine Cemetery here.
The Franz Arzt House from 1876 is one of the most beautiful and pure examples of the Second Empire style in St. Louis, and one of only a couple of “free standing” or non-row house style houses in the Soulard. By the way, for German speakers, I was surprised by the spelling of the German-American physician’s last name as well; “Artz” in German is doctor.
But what is the deal with this place? It’s seems like it’s been in limbo for better part of a decade.
This strange addition below looks like it might date to when the houses was cut up into a boarding house.
But then why hasn’t it been removed? It wouldn’t be considered historically contributing.
Compton and Dry reveals that the garage/back house was built first. It looks like it might be occupied.
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Second Empire for sure — but cool Nouveau touches throughout as well. Door and gable motifs in particular.
This house truly is an amazing survivor in that the exterior is surprisingly intact. Most towered Italianate houses have the tower either centered in a symmetrical facade or placed within the corner of an “L” shaped plan; the location of this tower – projecting from an outside corner – is fairly rare and very appealing.
It appears that scaffolding is sticking up from within the brick addition; I would guess that the addition will be
removed when the repairs are (hopefully) completed. In the meanwhile, it serves to protect the construction site. The pair of arched entry doors are classic Italianate. The tower has lost its original roof cresting which no doubt matched that on the main house. Everything about this house is incredible – what a gem!