The Beauty of Dutchtown, Part 36: California Avenue Between Keokuk and Chippewa Streets

Skipping over the block of California Avenue between Osage and Keokuk since I felt it was already well-documented, we get to the block just to the south of Chippewa.

There are a lot of relatively small houses, with the typical side entrance for privacy, before we get closer to the commercial strip.

Then we get to the first storefront; Chippewa was so bustling that commercial interests began to spill over onto the side streets such as California Avenue.

The new Chippewa Park development, a collaboration between RISE and Lutheran Development Group, has restored the beautiful commercial building on the corner, along with other buildings around the neighborhood.

Turning around at Chippewa, a wonderful historic photograph from the Great Streetcar Strike shows what California looked like in 1900.

1900 Streetcar Strike, California and Chippewa, Photograph by Richard Henry Fuhrmann, Missouri History Museum, P0764-00018-8g

It looks largely the same, with just the sad lost of that Second Empire apartment building facing California Avenue.


The houses on the east side of the street look to be built at the same time.

The The Beauty of Dutchtown series continues withNumber 37.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Elsie says:

    I don’t see many trees along the streets or front of the properties in this area?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      There tend to not be on a lot of these streets. But then, out of the blue, there will be whole blocks with street trees. One major reason is that the City plants street trees at the request of residents, and much of the housing stock in Dutchtown in rental, with absentee landlords. When the first generation of trees died, they were never replaced.

  2. Dan Lewis says:

    That 1912 California Street storefront is nostalgic.I can almost hear the bell ring as you walk in the door.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Did you use to shop there back in the day, Dan?

      1. Dan Lewis says:

        No I didn’t but many like it. I grew up in the Southwest Garden neighborhood, not far from Sublette park on the edge of the Hill.

  3. Maureen Corley says:

    My great grandfather built the brick box at 4056 California in the late 1800s. He built his bakery on to the back of the house. My late mother was born in that house in 1925 (when it still had only an outhouse, no indoor bathroom) and lived there with her large family till 1929 when they moved to Gasconade Street. It pained her to see the homes in Dutchtown physically decline…in fact, I tried to drive her by the California St. house shortly before she passed but the streets were closed off by police because of a shooting that day. So much of my entire family history revolves around Dutchtown and Meramec St. I hope someday things turn around for the better.

    1. Maureen Corley says:

      Sorry bout thatI meant to post this on the earlier California post. Love your blog. And would love to see more Tower Grove South posts, too.

      1. Chris Naffziger says:

        When the leaves fall off the stately street tress of Tower Grove South, more of that neighborhood will be featured this fall and winter!

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