Update: As of the winter of 2022, the burned out shell was still standing.
Right on the heels of the disastrous fire that destroyed the John Loler House, the historic fabric of St. Louis Avenue and the greater St. Louis Place neighborhood suffered another terrible loss this last week.
I’ll be honest; I was not optimistic that help would come in time for this stunning building, which I had just photographed for the last time back in the morning of October 2020. But I had held out hope. It was a massive building, which paired with its neighbor, created a nice streetscape just west of North Florissant. The six-family was one of those beautiful transitional moments between the Second Empire and Romanesque Revival.
This stretch of St. Louis Avenue once had slightly less than a dozen houses just over a decade ago. I watched as each one of them, some more famous than others, fall one by one to either brick theft or arson. One of the first clear photographs of this building I took was back in February of 2011, where you can see it in the last photograph. Its neighbor to the west, hit by brick thieves, is in the photo above it. To the west, a man lived in another Second Empire house, but it was torn down as well, way back in 2008. On the south side of the street a decade ago, the Winkelmann Mansion was hit hard by brick theft, before it was torn down, and its neighbors to the east were destroyed in a massive fire in 2017.
I assume more buildings nearby will suffer the same fate in the coming months or years.