Always remember, they wanted to completely demolish Soulard, and put in a totally forgettable suburban style neighborhood that probably would have been torn down by now, too. But just because buildings are abandoned, or missing a pillar, doesn’t mean they can’t be saved. Houses in Soulard now typically go for over a half million dollars, and the little ones can go for $300,00.
The Greek Revival house above and below, according to city records, was built in 1859. That sounds believable, based off the style of architecture. It is unique, and there are very few houses left of this type.
The simple post and lintel door with the transom window typical, and they’ve since replaced the missing pillar on the left.
The basement windows are now down in a pit. I suspect this house was built so early that street grading had not occurred yet, and when the street level was established, the windows were left where they are now.
There’s a half flounder next door. I was told that often property owners would build rental half flounders first, and then after generating enough income, would build the “front house” for themselves. Perhaps the owner of this property never got around to doing that. A “mousehole” through the front house would have allowed tenants to access the alley house or back house.
Half flounders are now recognized as a valuable and unique architectural style in the City of St. Louis; they originally were a simple construction style that could be built right on the property line. Their roof style is known as a shed roof, the simplest and easiest method to construct.
Next up we have the Dr. Franz Arzt House, which is one of the most unique residences in the entire city, let alone Soulard. I’ve featured it in 2019 and in 2015, and also written about it at St. Louis Magazine (see his grave here).
The conservatory, which housed Dr. Arzt’s botanical collection, had been horribly butchered, and another terrible porch had been built out the front elevation. It’s so wonderful to see the house being restored back to its original appearance.
Heading further south down 12th Street, we get to 2612, which was looking fine, but like most houses, had been slathered with white pain on all of its trim.
Today, it’s been restored back to its original bright colors, which would have been common in a Second Empire house/
Asphalt shingles have been removed, the fleur-de-lis elements have been painted and the proper slate roof tiles have been restored.
Below, one of the few remaining intact ensemble of “true rowhouses” were worse for wear by 1960. There were once thousands more rowhouses in St. Louis, which is when two properties share a party wall (and not when there’s three to six feet separating them), and most of them were demolished during mid-Twentieth Century urban renewal.
Today, extensive renovation, including relaying and tuckpointing of brick has restored these houses back to their former beauty.
The three story bay windows with Mansard roofs are the outstanding features of the row.