Pennsylvania Avenue, Tower Grove East

Update: I visited Pennsylvania Avenue again in June of 2018 and in September of 2019, I visited two parallel streets to the west. I revisited the block in April of 2023.

I’ve been finding more mid 19th Century houses in the eastern portion of Tower Grove East (read my St. Louis Magazine article about other examples), remnants of what seemed almost like a small town at the crossroads of Arsenal and Gravois. Above, is 2824-28 Pennsylvania Avenue, a beautiful example of German houses with simple Neoclassical ornament. While the city database says a construction date of 1884, it must be wrong as the house appears in the Compton and Dry View from 1875, labeled “1” below. I suspect the houses could date back at the earliest to the 1860s.Interestingly, these houses all sit on larger, non-conforming lots; later on, as proper platting occurred, the lots are 25 feet wide, as is common in eastern Tower Grove East.

Likewise, the southern half of 2832 Pennsylvania, labeled “2” below, appears on the Compton and Dry View from 1875; but again the database says 1889–too late. I suspect it refers to the second half of the house. What is great is that this is an example of two half flounders combined together, which I have only seen in Carondelet before.


Finally, a real gem is 2835 Pennsylvania Avenue, an extremely rare wood frame house, dating back to the 1860s, if not earlier, labeled “3.” It is possible it was built before the city limits extended out to Grand Boulevard, allowing for wood construction. I suspect the city’s database date of 1884 refers to the southern extension on the left. It is a miracle it still survives.

2800 Pennsylvania

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Alan says:

    The city data base is in error. My gg grandfather came here in 1859 and bought a house in Carondelet at 8219 Reilly Ave. The city records state that it was built in the early 1900’s. I know better. He also (being a ship’s carpenter (worked at the Eads Shipyard down the street from where he lived) built a frame house next door when the family got too big for the first house and they lived in both. Interesting times, back then.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Like all sources, corroboration and common sense are always necessary to interpret information. Great story about living in Carondelet.

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