End of Summer Odds and Ends

I first would like to invite readers out to my free lecture on the history of the Lemp Brewery tomorrow, at 11:00 AM, September 20, 2022 at the Missouri History Museum. Its architecture was born out of the designs of highly influential architects Edmund Jungenfeld; Theodore Krausch; Widman, Walsh and Boisselier; and Guy Tyler Norton. I will be discussing how these architects shaped the development of brewing architecture in buildings that still stand in South St. Louis over one hundred years or more since their conception. I will also be sharing exclusive historic photographs published in trade journals in the early Twentieth Century, many of which have not been seen for generations, as well as featuring the photography of Jason Gray, who photographed the brewery in 2017. More details can be found here.

As I occasionally do, I unload photos that are not worthy of an entire post, and here it is being the end of the summer, it seems like the perfect time. The photo above is of a peculiar building on South Taylor Avenue just south of Chouteau Avenue in the Grove. I immediately knew there was something funny going on as the side walls are cut stone but the front façade is brick. Later serving as a grocery owned by the O’Keefe Brothers in 1919 (explaining the later brick front), the building originally seems to have been an auxiliary structure of some sort of outdoor entertainment facility, dancehall or a beer garden. There was a stone office building facing Chouteau, and then an open-air pavilion in the middle of the large lot. The surviving building on South Taylor perhaps served as a refreshment stand.

Detail showing the west side of South Taylor Avenue in between Chouteau and Gibson avenues, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, September 1909, Sheet 88.

Next up, while I was busy trying to find something else off North Broadway, I found this dandy of a vacant lot surrounded by “Lego” concrete blocks. It is now used to store fence panels. But I figured out that it’s contaminated with dioxin! I wonder what other surprises await on the Near North Riverfront. The location will remain anonymous.

I recently stumbled across the deeds for the Western Lutheran Cemetery. It turns out that people who had committed suicide or had been excommunicated from the Lutheran Church were forbidden from being buried in the cemetery. There were no racial restrictions, though, which I have seen in other cemeteries in the St. Louis area. The cemetery’s condition this summer seems stable.

As I suspected, the Bissell Mansion Dinner Theater has closed permanently, and the owners have put it on the market. Randall Place is actually a very nice street, and I hope that someone will purchase it soon. Perhaps it will no longer function as a restaurant, but rather as a private residence again. Having the interstate crash right through and make the original elevation unviewable is a detriment to its desirability, but I think it is still a nice house. By the way, I found the deed when Lewis Bissell bought the property, and it was after the 1823 construction date that the current owners claim for the house.

Here’s a cool map of the City of St. Louis from 1852 that I never got around to using.

J.H. Fischer, Map of St. Louis City and County and City of Carondelet, 1852, Missouri History Museum, Lib75

And just look at the amazing lobby of the police headquarters before it became all rundown at the end.

Police Headquarters Lobby ca. 1927, Missouri History Museum, N46394

Finally, here is the infamous “Skeeter’s Branch,” which was on North Jefferson Avenue, near Franklin Avenue, now MLK Dr. It is perhaps most well known for all the photos of newsies smoking cigarettes outsides, such as you can see here and here.

Lewis Wickes Hines, Skeeter’s Branch, May 5, 1910, Library of Congress, LOT 7483, v. 1, no. 1358

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