Rowhouses, St. Louis Place

McReeTown and Elsewhere 009

Update: See how they looked four years later in September of 2018 and then in the winter of 2022. By November of 2018, the wall facing N. Florissant had suffered a collapse.

I love these rowhouses; since most people live west of Jefferson nowadays, we forget that the vast majority of St. Louis’s population lived in dense housing such as these houses.? It’s interesting though, I can’t figure out the configuration of the doors; presumably there were upstairs apartments, but the fenestration doesn’t make sense.

McReeTown and Elsewhere 016

9 Comments Add yours

  1. margie says:

    I was raised in a row house on N. Market St. Sometimes there was no front entrance to an upstairs apt., you had to go around to the back of bldg

  2. john s says:

    Maybe it’s a four-bayed 4-family connected to three-bayed duplex, and the duplex has a separate front door for the upstairs? Although the middle firewall kind of challenges that, and that was uncommon for the period… Or maybe it’s a two-bayed duplex on the east connected to a five-bayed 4-family, and the 4-family has a separate front door in the middle to access upper flats?

    It’s funny, I had to look at the picture twice to understand your quandary, Chris! I saw two 4-families side by side the first time I looked at it…

  3. Laurie Dore says:

    These are exactly like the one I lived in during the early 50s at Dodier & 19th Street. The building was demolished probably over 20 years ago. Surprised these are still standing.

  4. Laurie Dore says:

    And as Margie commented, the upstairs apartments had their entrances in the back. Each unit was one floor with 3 rooms – in ours there were 3 kids plus my parents. The lay out was a living room behind the entrance, a middle room for a bed and the back room was the kitchen. Originally they didn’t even have bathrooms. We bathed in big metal tubs that we kept hung out on the porch. Also kept an old fashioned washing machine (with roller) on wheels on the porch. Very simple life back then.

    1. Tom Bartholow says:

      Was there an outhouse or privy of some kind?

      1. Laurie Dore says:

        Yes, before I was born there were outhouses in the back – no communal yard other than a brick court yard. By time I was born in ’49 they had put toilets outside of the actual unit. We lived upstairs so it was a small enclosed area – building two walls in the corner against the two walls of the unit. It flushed but it was cold in there. We moved out in mid 50s so I’m not sure what was ever done as far as having actual bathrooms with tubs or showers.

        1. Tom Bartholow says:

          Thanks, Laurie. Ive always wondered about the plumbing arrangements in the dwellings of this vintage. This is good confirmation about how recently — within living memory — our houses and our expectations about them have changed. Those changes happened so quickly!

          1. Chris Naffziger says:

            Thanks for all of the fascinating insight! And I’m sure there are still plenty of people alive who remember shoveling coal into the furnace in the winter.

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