Company Houses, Marshall Road, Valley Park

Those are company houses, if I’ve ever seen any, I said to my companions, as we drove down Marshall Road in between 4th and 5th streets in Valley Park.

The houses seen in my photographs are just above the giant blue rectangle, which is the St. Louis Plate Glass Co. The two Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps below show the factory, with the first one the main bulk of the plant, and the second the portion to the west.

The factory is long gone, but there are still industrial uses in between Marshall Road and the Meramec River. There is a levee that protects the town now.

I like how each of these houses, which I would imagine are probably “two up, two down,” meaning there are two rooms on the first floor, and then two bedrooms on the second floor, have been personalized over the decades.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Slevin Kelevra says:

    It would be interesting to know how long these “company houses” were designed to last. Surely not more 100 years…

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      That is a great question, Sarah. I discussed this general topic recently with a highly respected preservationist, and she argued that all of these wood frame houses were intended to be permanent. I don’t believe these super simple “vernacular” houses were necessarily expected to be long term 100 year buildings, and that there was the expectation they would eventually be replaced by brick as the neighborhood became more established. An example would be this street in the Ville I documented years ago:
      I seriously doubt the original builders of these “placeholder” houses in the early 1870s ever expected them to last this long.

      1. Kaye says:

        Builders today should go back to the drawing board. Not only are these houses 100+ years old, they have withstood numerous high water floods.

        1. cnaffziger says:

          Agreed, they have certainly received a fair amount of abuse over the last century and have withstood all of it.

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