Nebraska Avenue Between Cherokee and Utah Streets, West Side

Heading north up Nebraska Avenue from Cherokee Street, there is a row of four-family flats on the west side of the street. They are technically identical in form, but they are individualized in their front facade ornamentation.

One of things I like about photography is that it makes me look at buildings more closely. I had never noticed the building below; the left half is abandoned, and the right half is completely gutted! What happened? But I want to stress, that due to the strength of St. Louis brick structures, this is easily corrected and salvageable.

Moving along, this four-family is hiding a secret; its pediment has been altered; if you look closely, you can see that it once had a more gentle, rounded top. Brick can never lie, as I say.

This two-family below shows how residents reacted to the mid-Twentieth Century, as their houses aged and people moved to new houses in St. Louis County. Formstone was added to windows, which were made smaller, and the front porch was removed, and also altered.

Then we get to this four-family, which has a secret hiding behind it.

I almost missed it, but there was originally a “free-standing” country house on the plot of land before this part of the city became more dense with the arrival of streetcar lines. Instead of demolishing the house, the landowner simply built a four-family in front of the house, installed a long hallway down the middle of the apartment building, and incorporated the older structure into the new one.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows what it looks like on the inside. The building is at the upper left hand corner of the map. It is interesting, in 1903, the year of this map, that the Benton Park West neighborhood was still largely rural as the World’s Fair was being built in Forest Park.

And finally, at the southwest corner of intersection with Utah Street, there is a sturdy brick house, and a Modernist in-fill house, with a front porch that is desperately crying out for additional support in the middle.

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