Branch Street

Update: The building above was demolished in May 2016. Ironically, I was told this apartment building was rehabbed back as part of one of the first redevelopments in Old North. It’s been sad watching the building above waste away; the story goes is that it was actually renovated back in the 1980s. No revival is…

Alley Houses, Soulard

Somewhere along the line, probably after World War II, American cities declared war on alley houses. Seen as dirty, cramped and ugly, most of them around the United States have been torn down. I was pleased to rediscover Soulard a couple of weekends ago, and realized that the alley house is alive and well, some…

More Side Streets, Holly Hills

Holly Hills was suburbia when it was laid out, early automobile suburbia, but suburbia nonetheless. There are still some alleys, but for the most part, drive ways begin to intrude into the streetscape. There are fewer and fewer multi-family buildings. The architecture has moved away from strictly red brick, and the experimentation with more medieval…

This House Would Never Be Built Today

Update: The property taxes are also ridiculously low, as well. This house shows the density at which St. Louis was built. Taking into consideration the street and alley, the house is a wedged shaped pile of brick. No one would fit a house so elegantly into the street grid like this nowadays.

Alley House Collapse, Old North

I realize that by posting these pictures, I am giving the wrong impression about the overall state of rehabbing and development that is making Old North St. Louis one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the region. But that being said, there is a certain captivating aspect of how this humble, wood frame alley house…

Bohemian Hill, In Transition

Last week, I went to the grand opening of the new Fields Foods grocery store, which sits in the remnants of the Bohemian Hill neighborhood. Sliced, diced and demolished into a shadow of itself over the last seventy years, the neighborhood has lost much of any identity it once had. The first blow was the…

Town Square, Fairfield, Iowa

The vibrant, fully occupied town square in Fairfield raises an interesting quandary; many of its buildings no longer possess their historic fronts, but they still house operating businesses. Is architectural uniformity and beauty more important than a healthy city? Certainly not, and while the storefronts of Fairfield with their hodgepodge of often disparate styles are…

The Alley Behind the New Cathedral

I was alerted by friends and readers of this website of a fascinating lacuna from the history of the New Cathedral and its relationship to the Central West End. Several decades ago, the Archdiocese bought approximately twenty feet of the backyards of all of its neighbors on Maryland Avenue, and reimbursed the owners for the…