The Beauty of Dutchtown, 79: The Leona

Update: This building was possibly named after the daughter of one of the developers. Further research is in progress. As of the fall of 2023, the apartments are back open after being rehabilitated.

Randomly, some of the apartment buildings in this area, like this one from 1929, have names. This one’s known as the Leona, as the terracotta states very clearly.

It’s boarded up and vacant right now, and judging from the seafoam great terracotta trim, I suspect the windows once possessed the same color, or perhaps the corn yellow of the wood gables.

The dragons emblazoning the lunette above the windows are a great detail. Interestingly, the Leona is several blocks north of the eponymous street.

The place was condemned at least once back in 2013, and there are a ton of complaints, ranging from loss of water and other maintenance or code violations. Who knows what the future holds.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy Rice says:

    Chris, I’m so glad I found your sight. I can’t make your lecture, but hope to someday in the future. Thank you for what you do. I have lived most of my life, except for 2 years out of state, in South St Louis. I live near Tower Grove Park in the only home I’ve ever owned, for 33 years.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Thank you!

  2. Megan Cytron says:

    I think my grandfather may have been the builder of this apartment building. He was an immigrant to the US and had a construction business with his cousin during the 20s. We know he named a building after his daughter named “Leona.” I wonder if there are any property or building records available that might allow me to verify the story. The timing seems right. His business was thriving until the crash.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      You know, I might be able to get a hold of the building permit for that building. What would you grandfather’s name or company’s name be?

      1. Megan Cytron says:

        Oh, I would so love to see that! His name was Julius Cytron. His partner’s name was Joe Lerner. I was told their business was a combo of the two names “Lercy.” It all fell apart when the depression hit, but they built several apartment buildings named after kids and relatives and I know there was one called the “Leona,” named after my aunt.

        1. cnaffziger says:

          I suspect you may be right. Stay tuned.

        2. cnaffziger says:

          We found the building permit and it listed the Roosevelt Construction Co. as the contractor. Does that name ring a bell as a partner with your family’s business?

          1. Megan says:

            Apologies, I’m just seeing this now! Roosevelt Construction Co, doesn’t ring a bell, but I will ask others in the family if they know more. It could be that they were working with a larger developer…

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