Arsenal Street Between Oregon and Nebraska Avenues, Benton Park West, Fall 2020

Update: I revisited the block in May of 2022, going east to west.

Arsenal Street in between Oregon and Nebraska avenues is an interesting mix of houses and businesses, some of which have a long history in South St. Louis.

First up is an old florist’s shop, which once had coolers in the basement. It is now the studio of renowned sign painter Phil Jarvis.

Sanborn Fire Insurance maps reveal that there had long been a florist on the site, just as there had been others out in the greater Dutchtown area, as we saw in this post for Pennsylvania Avenue back in December of 2019.

I wanted to focus on this building, which is one of the most wonderful in the City. It has received more than a few? additions over the years, and I love how it has its own distinct character.

It is now Five Star Senior Center, which is a great organization.

The north side of Arsenal has an interesting history. While today it is the large parking lot for Kutis Funeral Home, as early as at least the 1870s, and possibly the 1860s, there was a row of brick and wood frame row houses lining the street. Curiously, the houses go right past Nebraska Avenue; surely they knew it would be cut through at some point in the future? This is also a very interesting row of houses; they are set far back on their lots, leaving basically no backyard, which was apparently typical of German immigrants, who had large vegetable gardens in the front of their houses.

By 1909, the houses were still standing, but Nebraska had been cut through. Note the construction: wood frame but with brick fronts and backs (though the party wall was not exposed on the northernmost survivor due to its neighbor being demolished. You can even see the oddball full brick house sticking out just as it was in Compton and Dry in 1876. They are all gone now, of course.

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