The Mystery House, Benton Park West

This house, at 3022 Wyoming, has always fascinated me. Now, after doing some research, it intrigues me even more. City records state that the Mansard roofed house, which sits all the way on the alley line, allowing for a huge front yard, was built in 1858. It appears on Compton and Dry, so it is at least from 1875 or earlier. But what is even more interesting is that it has a flounder addition to the east, which city records state was built in 1868.

Compton and Dry frustratingly shows the house from the back, but the addition is clearly visible, and there is the slightest intimation of a Mansard roof on the front. I suspect, if the house really is from 1858, that the roof, which did not really become popular in St. Louis until after the war, was added in the 1870s. Therefore, the central hall house was a much older farmhouse.

Updated on January 21, 2016 with better Compton and Dry image.

Additionally, the original house and addition have been separated into two parcels, with two different owners! And while this Sanborn map shows the property in 1903, city records show in that year that a house was built on the front of the property with the flounder addition. So interesting!

Minnesota

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Yojimbo says:

    Really interesting. Does the dotted line on the main building on the Sanborn map indicate the mansard roof? Or the original footprint of the “central hall” you refer to? I’m a little confused about why you call this a “mystery house.”

    Quick suggestion — might be a good idea to include a compass-style “this-direction-is-North” arrow when you use blown-up small sections of Compton and/or Dry and Sanborn. Maybe place the compass arrow either on or next to the map images. (And perhaps rotate the images such that they are oriented similarly.) That way, when you use an expression like “to the east,” the viewer can see exactly what you mean.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Dashed line represents a Mansard roof. And yes, point taken about directions, the Sanborn has east on the top. It’s a mystery because I want to know why it was built so far out in the countryside at such an early date.

  2. Pete says:

    I almost commented about this house on yesterday’s post; I’ve always been fascinated by this house but couldn’t for the life of me remember what street it was on…

  3. ben says:

    Doesn’t C+D show a 3 story building? The mansard building is only two stories.

    1. john s says:

      it shows 3 levels of windows on the atlas, and 2B on the sanborn map, which means 2 stories on a raised basement. i imagine the ground level was lower then, than it is now, before buildup of paved roads and sidewalks. it probably presented like a 3 story bldg…

      1. Yojimbo says:

        Thanks John. I was wondering about the “2B” too.
        Love the way Chris presents the current house along with its known history as represented by available maps. Urban geography/sociology.

      2. ben says:

        You think road/sidewalk/sewer added 5-6 ft of soil around the building? Wouldn’t the brick go down lower if that were the case? And why would the basement be called a basement if it’s above ground?

        1. Chris Naffziger says:

          Oh, oh, I have an easy explanation for the appearance of the three stories: that house sits right on the border of two plates of the Compton and Dry, and therefore it doesn’t match up perfectly.

  4. Chris Naffziger says:

    I have a post with the key for Sanborns; I wish there was a way I could permanently post it over on the right menu for you all to easily access:

    http://stlouispatina.com/handy-sanborn-maps-key/

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