Early Survivors, Indiana Avenue, Benton Park

Detail of Plate 36, Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis, 1876, Library of Congress.

I noticed recently there are some great old survivors, and also some ghosts of the past along the west side of Indiana Avenue in Benton Park. I’ve circled three sites on Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis, and we’ll go left to right, south to north up Indiana Avenue. First up is this horribly crooked house that sits right on top of a poorly filled sinkhole, and it had been sitting on the market for years, but then, due to the overheated real estate market in St. Louis, it has recently sold at least twice in the last couple months. To each his own, and as my realtor told me, real estate is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. I’ve looked at before in 2015 (second photo).

Next up is this wood frame house, which shows just how much Indiana Avenue was cut down from its original height. Remember, homeowners were expected to pay for street improvements, and many people held out, built their houses, and then much later they discovered their houses sat high above the final street grade. This one below has deteriorated substantially since I first saw it; I can see light shining through the back. I still hope it can be saved, as I think there is value in wood frame houses for their historic character; this house, also in Benton Park, was restored successfully, for example (second photo).

Update: The house above underwent complete renovation and expansion in 2022.

This house is another survivor, occupied and while covered in asphalt siding, I suspect it dates back to the 1870s or earlier. There is a small brick addition out the back that is not visible in this photo.

Then there is this amazing Greek Revival country home, which I have seen in Dutchtown. It also sits high up on the original grade of the land, and is the second circle in the Compton and Dry image at the top.

There is also this hipped roof alley house, which is perfect for a rental unit, studio or other auxiliary building. It looks like it’s in good shape.

Update: See some of the east side of the street here.

Finally, this wide three bay half flounder with dormer is clearly visible in the Compton and Dry image, just to the south of the ginormous lake to the southeast of the intersection of Jefferson and Gravois avenues.

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