Oak Hill, The Old Russell-Parker Estate

William Swekosky, William Russell Residence, 3405 Oak Hill Avenue, Early 20th C., Missouri History Museum, N04115

The Russells and Parkers operated coal and clay mines in what is now the expansive Tower Grove South neighborhood in the Nineteenth Century. Their house, which was owned in turn by both families, but seems to have been built by William Russell, sat at 3405 Oak Hill Avenue and Fairview and Parker.

Henry Richard Fuhrmann, Old Parker Home, Oak Hill and Parker, Missouri History Museum, P0764-00854-4a

The house sat among a whole host of other country homes owned by the Russells and Parkers, so it makes it confusing (and may have confused Swekosky and Fuhrmann) about who owned which house and when. The mines were just to the south.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Plate 83, July 1903

As can be seen above, the house sat back away from Oak Hill Avenue, and was still standing in 1903. I suspect it was demolished sometime around World War II.

There is now a ranch house sitting on the southeast corner of the former estate property.

I suspect the Parker family built this Tudor Revival house, which is still on their former land, but in the place of what had been a wood frame home. However, by the 1950s most of the land had been subdivided into lots for small bungalows that you can see below.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. W. White says:

    What an interesting house and a great loss for a city not exactly short of architectural losses. The crenellated bow window on the side wing is a unique feature that I cannot recall seeing on any house, anywhere, at least in that arrangement. But, one of the house’s other striking features is the roof. It seems very steep for a house of its age and style, like a Gothic Revival roof that is sitting on an Italianate cornice above a simple, vaguely Federal or Greek Revival house. The house’s whole assemblage reminds me somewhat of Dutch Colonial houses in the Hudson River Valley near Albany. That effect is heightened by the fact that the second (main) photograph reminds me of Waldron Polgreen’s 1930s photographs of Dutch Colonial architecture in that region.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Yes, I agree that it was a very unique house and a tragic loss.

  2. Carrie says:

    Thank you Chris so much for your publication! I have been researching my Russell line and this was a gem to find!

    1. cnaffziger says:

      So glad I could help out! I didn’t know there were still descendants out there.

  3. Skip Pickering says:

    For more about that area and time, read “The Old Gravois Coal Diggings” by Mary Joan Boyer. Reprinted by Ramfire Press, Cape Girardeau, MO.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Oh wow, thank you so much! I’ve been really needing a book that delves in deeper into this subject.

  4. Jtw says:

    That old Gravois coal diggings book has a lot of information for a small book.

  5. Sarah Russell says:

    Chris, you have gained the attention of two of the local descendants, Carrie and I 😀.

    Thank you for this piece, it has brought out some nice comments from those familiar with the neighborhood and it’s history.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Sarah, I would love to hear more about your family! I think it’s so fascinating to know about the coal and clay mines in the area.

  6. Gamblin Annie says:

    Sarah and Carrie are a wealth of knowledge about our family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.