Former Calvin Christy Residence and Taft Avenue, Bevo

Thanks to a reader’s helpful book recommendation, I was able to learn much more about the area around Meramec, Gravois and Chippewa, and the rich history of an area that I was already exploring. I had recently learned about the Calvin Christy manor house, which is now a nursing home, having going through a period under Lutheran management.

William Swekosky, Calvin Christy Residence, Taft Avenue, 1944, Missouri History Museum, N03040

While the house sits on Alfred Avenue between Beethovan and Taft avenues today, its original address was Morgan Ford because the property stretched to that thoroughfare, and a long driveway stretches back to the manse.

The original house could best be described as a sort of Georgian Revival style, and was quite large and certainly unique in its location. But it was convenient to downtown. Calvin Christy founded the Christy Fire Clay Company, and upon his death his property was subdivided into the subdivisions that now make up this portion of Bevo.

Looking below, you can see the Christy Estate in 1884, with the few roads and parcels of property that made up their land holdings. North is to the right. You can see the long driveway over to Morgan Ford.

Detail of Hiram W. Leffingwell Map of the City of St. Louis and Vicinity, Panel 8, November 8, 1884, Missouri History Museum, Lib208-00008

Here are historic photos of the family business.

Christy Fire Clay Products Plant, South Kingshighway South of Chippewa, 1880-1920, Missouri History Museum, P0245-S03-00062-6g

Now, this is important; don’t get confused with Laclede-Christy, which is another clay and brick products company, which was to the west, and lies along Christy Boulevard and Kingshighway, which you can see below. There is that moribund shopping center on the site now.

H.H. Harris, Charles Trefts Photographs, Aerial View of Laclede-Christy Clay Products Company, c. 1955, Missouri State Historical Society, P0034-0358-1

Here is the office building of that company, below.

Laclede-Christy Clay Products Company. 5900 Manchester Avenue. Photograph by W.C. Persons, ca. 1925. Photographs and Prints Collections. Missouri History Museum. NS 37274. Scan © 2008, Missouri History Museum.

Back to the company at hand, below.

Christy Fire Clay Products Plant, South Kingshighway South of Chippewa, 1880-1920, Missouri History Museum, P0245-S03-00061-6g

Here are more maps that show the area of the Christy land holdings. It’s actually very cool below, as you can see the French fields coming in from the right, or east, from the Carondelet common fields.

Detail of J.H. Fischer, Map of St. Louis and County and City of Carondelet, 1856, Missouri History Museum, Lib75.
Ignatz P. Guxman, Block Map of the Coutny of St. Louis, Volume 1, Book 4, Page 1, 1876, Missouri History Museum, Lib212-00001-003

East of the old Calvin Christy house, here are the houses built in the subdivision of the former estate.

They are typical of the early Twentieth Century, right around the time the area was developed.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Joe says:

    Great article. I enjoy reading all of your work. I do research on the Bevo neighborhood. Mostly, past businesses on Gravois from Taft Ave to Bates Street.

  2. Sharon S McGuire says:

    I remember this place. What I’d like to know is if you have any info on a local tavern named the Ellenwood Cafe that was on the west side of Morganford between Taft and Ellenwood. That was the social spot of the neighborhood where I lived and my mom and dad frequented this establishment. Mom even helped in the kitchen under 2 different owners. One was McFarland and the other was Nikola. And they had many friends as a result of many social gatherings.

  3. Jackie Belmore says:

    Thanks for this article. My grandfather grew up in the carriage house on this property. His parents were the caretakers for the Kristy family.

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