Another McKee Property Burns

Another one of Paul McKee’s buildings went up in flames on Tyler Street. I realized I had photographed the building way back in February of 2016 (last photo) as well as June of 2019 (second photo), and now it is completely ruined. It doesn’t matter if it was arson or accidental, the end result is the same.

This block has suffered badly over the years, but there is still one occupied house, just to the right of the houses above. I didn’t photograph it because they have been through enough already.

The building above, right by the interstate, is doing even worse than I remember, as I can now see light shining through windows, revealing a completely missing roof. At least at the west end of the street there are still some well preserved buildings, part of the Murphy-Blair housing project.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Tim Long says:

    Look’s like the last of the honeymoon apartment building on the 1100 block of Tyler is gone.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Which one is that? I can check it out.

      1. Patrick Kleaver says:

        Chris: I think Tim is referring to the top photo. It was one of three apartment buildings on the south side of the 1100 block of Tyler. Two blocks east of it (technically not in Old North but in the “Near North Riverfront” neighborhood) on the south side of the 900 block stand (at least as of a year ago) two very similar buildings – one abandoned and one still occupied – with a vacant lot between them. Whether they were built at the same time as the “honeymoon” buildings (in 1901) I don’t know.

        The second photo shows (to the left) what was the Stockamp home when I lived on Tyler from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s (I lived to the left of it in a house that was demolished in 1996). The house on the right was the Sanchez home which I think is still owned by a member of that family living in New Mexico.

        The third photo is of the former Aro Sheet Metal and Blow Pipe Company. I don’t know if you peeked behind it, but around 1950 they built a cinder block building that served as a loading dock that ran from the original building all the way to the alley. A couple of years ago a new owner did some work on that addition (replacing the loading dock door and replacing some bricked-in windows facing the alley with glass blocks, as well as painting the bricks).

  2. ME says:

    Was the building in the third photo originally built for residential? It looks like it my have been a four-family.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      I have always assumed so, but I will defer to the people who actually grew up on the block to answer that question.

      1. Patrick Kleaver says:

        Yes, the old Sheet Metal and Blow Pipe building was originally residential (way before when I lived on Tyler). In addition to being housing, I think it also had a doctor’s office in it at one time.

  3. Patrick Kleaver says:

    ME’s question about the building in the third photo (and my short reply) caused myself to do a little digging into its history.

    It was constructed in 1891 for $8,000 and originally served as the residence and office of a Dr. William Barker. He moved out in 1911 and new owners converted it to a four-family apartment building (as ME suspected). Later it became a factory for Tyler Metai Products and then for the Aro Sheet Metal and Blow Pipe Co.

    I got this information from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form completed in 1980 by the Landmarks Association of St. Louis for the “SS. Cyril and Methodius Historic Di strict .” This district was meant to preserve the church of the same name (one block north of Aro) and five nearby blocks (including the one Aro and my house were on). Regretfully, other than for the church itself and several houses (most of them falling apart), this district failed miserably.

    Anyone interested in more details about that district (or for that matter, any of the many such districts throughout St. Louis) should visit the Missouri State Parks website. On its homepage in the “About Us” section, click on “Historic Preservation Office”, which will bring you to that office’s webpage. The 5th paragraph contains a link that brings you to National Register nominations from throughout Missouri. Click on the “St. Louis City” link (4th column, 5th row down). It will bring you to a HUGE list (in alpha order) of districts you can click on and bring up fascinating information about each one. It’s all free!!

    1. cnaffziger says:

      So interesting, thank you for sharing! And yes, everyone should know that National Register nominations and historic district docs are easily found on-line as PDFs for free. I use them all the time.

  4. ME says:

    Thanks! It’s hard to imagine how dense the neighborhood must have been from what’s left standing.

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