Exploring Bevo

Beyond the windmill there’s a huge neighborhood out there in Bevo, and I feel like I’ve been horribly neglecting it in the 5,000+ posts I’ve made in this website.

Perhaps I’ve had trouble understanding the area; it’s not a bunch of red brick houses, but a lot of Dutch Colonial style houses with their gambrel roofs, and the streets are narrow, and often one-way.

But the neighborhood is huge, stretching all the way from the Oak Hill train tracks on the east to Kingshighway on the west. It was built by Germans who worked in the clay mines and works, which are now long gone, filled in and demolished.

So maybe it is ironic that so little of the housing stock is brick, like these apartment buildings close to Christy Boulevard, with its beautiful parkland.

The Christys were one of the big clay families, and I always laugh when I think about Christy Boulevard, because it is the last of several locations around the city where that street name has been located. Lucas Avenue was once Christy Avenue at one point, and it’s floated around St. Louis due the family’s land holdings and development.

I finally began to appreciate the area after reading about it in The Names of John Gergen, which I reviewed at St. Louis Magazine; the family made a stop in Bevo in their journey to the suburbs.

Bevo is known for its long rows of houses that are identical; I love the rhythm of red brick Dutch Colonials below.

Perhaps Gravois Avenue, the historic road that stretches through South St. Louis is what still dominates my perception of the area; you drive through the awful viaduct and then pop up in Bevo.

Gravois Business District Looking Towards Bevo Mill, c. 1970, Missouri History Museum, P0197-S02-00022

There is some life on the strip but there is increasing abandonment. I featured this building in the center of the photo below before because it used to have a theater behind it.

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