Dutchtown

Copyright St. Louis Patina -1580

Update: I went back and revisited this block in October of 2019†and July of 2020.

I explored the Dutchtown neighborhood a bit today in order to check out an old Roman Catholic parsonage at Iowa and Osage Streets. The house is a great example of architecture in the inner ring of St. Louis.†Like a good, dense neighborhood, the houses are built right up to the alley right of way, to maximize density.

Likewise, in the back, the garage is tucked in the rear of the house, in order to leave the street front open for windows and socializing, unlike the suburbs, where many subdivisions’ streets take on the appearance of early 20th Century alleys–all garage doors and no communal public frontage.

Update: This was the old St. Thomas of Aquin Roman Catholic Church.

The church at the corner is a perfect example of your normal city church, elegant but unobtrusive and designed to be easily accessible by foot. The steeple looks like a classic example of a steeple that was never built because of cost or one that was felled by Mother Nature. Does anyone know the former name of this church?

Below are two well restored examples of the vernacular architecture of Dutchtown; the door is on the side of the house for privacy but windows beckon from the facade.

Below is a great example of what looks to be 1950’s Modernist in-fill; providing a convenient lawyer’s office in the heart of the community. The brick is a totally different color than the surrounding red brick, but yet it somehow fits into the streetscape.

Below is an example of how multi-unit buildings and single family houses coexist next to each other in the neighborhood; there is no segregation of incomes that has become the hallmark of suburbia.

And finally, down Iowa Ave is the unique Laclede Park, seemingly almost an after thought in the planning of Dutchtown. On the west side of the park is a row of garages, serving the houses on California Ave. Only later, on the east side of the park, do later houses embrace the wonderful park space that spreads out before them. It almost seems like California Ave’s houses were built before the park was laid out. Ooops. Check out a bird’s eye view of the park to see what I’m referring to. The house below is a great example of a house in the neighborhood facing the park.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Brent says:

    I’m wishing I could remember the original name of this church. It was a mostly Vietnamese Catholic church at one point. I took the pipe organ out of it in Feb. 2006 not long after the diocese closed it. The organ went to St. Clare’s convent in Oakville.

  2. Ben says:

    The church was St. Thomas of Aquin. More detail here: http://stlouis.missouri.org/neighborhoods/history/marquette/churches17.htmAnd here: http://www.archstl.org/archives/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=183&Itemid=1This is a phenomenal house. Whoever picks it up is going to be pretty happy, I think.

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks for the info, everyone. I just realized I saw the name “St. Thomas of Aquinas” on the nearby parish school building–which is also a phenomenal piece of architecture.

    1. Jim Devous says:

      It is not Aquinas its Aquin. Donít know how many times I had to tell people that. St Thomas Of Aquinas was North side. Went there from 1958-1966. Left parish in 1976 after marriage.

  4. hutterwoman says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. hutterwoman says:

    hello! my dad and the first 3 of 8 kids in my family attended st thomas of aquin school and church..my dad was also the janitor at the school and church and raised 8 kids in his small salary..we use to go to laclede park for recess…lots of great memories! cindy

  6. hutterwoman says:

    hello again…about the law office on iowa street…it used to be the credit union for the st thomas of aquin parish…i bought my first car,73 chevy nova with three-on-the-tree clutch, with a loan from that credit union! thanks again, cindy

  7. Chris says:

    I always welcome people’s memories of the neighborhoods that I photograph. Thanks!

  8. Talia Long says:

    St . thomas of Aquin is the former church. Closed 2005

  9. andree geldbach says:

    my grandfather was the one who started that credit union before i was born my mom uncle and all of my sibilings and i went to st thomas of squin grade school, in fact my youngest brother was the last graduating class.

  10. Dominic Ricciotti says:

    My family was in the parish, and I went to the school between 1948 and 1953 (4th-8th grades). I attended St. Mary’s High and after that Washington U. I left StL in 1961 but on regular visits back I always drove through the old neighborhood, most recently last fall, Sept. 2017. The school building and former convent across from the school are becoming ruins–broken windows etc. What a shame.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Dominic, I have also witnessed the convent and school building deteriorate, which is a shame. I remember the convent still being occupied up until the last decade. Thankfully the church still seems occupied.

  11. Angela Pancella says:

    Hi Chris–I wanted to recommend an update to your update–I know it’s an unusual name, but the church and school really were “St. Thomas of Aquin” rather than “Aquinas.” Thomas’s Italian birthplace was Aquino, which was Latinized to “Aquinas,” and the church Anglicized it to “of Aquin.” In the days when parishes served particular ethnic groups, Irish immigrants petitioned for an English-speaking church in the neighborhood of the German-speaking St. Anthony of Padua. And yes, the original steeple of the church was of the more usual sort–the story I heard was that it fell in a cyclone, and was replaced by the far more pragmatic “cap” steeple there today.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Darn, I missed one of the “Aquinases!” I thought I had gotten all of them. For a picture of the original steeple, see this post:
      http://stlouispatina.com/the-beauty-of-dutchtown-part-6-iowa-avenue-between-osage-and-keokuk-streets/

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