Tiffany Neighborhood

Update: The area is now seeing new investment as of 2020. I went back and looked at the area in February of 2021 and the fall of 2022. I revisited the former Loretto Hall above in June of 2023.

What is there to say about the Tiffany neighborhood, the area south of Chouteau, west of Compton, north of I-44 and east of 39th (originally Tiffany) Street? Most of it has been demolished by SLU, but in between the vacant lots, there’s a lot of history. Above, for example, the Dominicans have renovated what I believe was originally the Sisters of Loretto. It was also the location of James Eads’s mansion where Terry Park is now.


I was completely surprised to see how much settlement had occurred in the Tiffany area by 1876, when the Compton and Dry view was published. Consequently, the housing stock must have been very old when it was demolished. One of the unique aspects of the street grid in this area, which the view represents accurately, is that several of the east-west streets became wider after Virginia Avenue. Perhaps the streets were laid out quickly and narrow, for what I presume were workers’ houses. I suspect that there were clay mines in the area, but I’m not sure.

Tiffany Sanborn

The Sanborn map, from a couple of decades later show just how dense of a neighborhood it had become. What happened? Well, as I have suggested before, the building of 40 and I-44 turned this area into a veritable no-man’s land: neither North nor South St. Louis. I have also been told by a long-term resident of the area that the buildings had deteriorated very badly due to neglect.


Update: I went back and revisited Park Avenue in 2016 here and here.

But nonetheless, along Park Avenue are these stately four-family flats, no less beautiful than houses in nearby Shaw or Tower Grove East.

And there appears to have been major neighborhood institutions, such as this well-restored building below on Park.


I found this short section of Vista Avenue which is just spectacular; the trees are mature and they hide a row of well-preserved and maintained houses. You could mistake this for any number of South Side neighborhoods with high land values.

This nice little Gothic Revival church still stands, though it’s begun to be swallowed up by SLU’s medical campus. In fact, there are many old churches left in this area, which I suspect served the African-American residents that were probably relocated with the waves of demolition.


Below is an awkward illustration of how the streets widen at Virginia Avenue, no doubt because it was part of a new subdivision that was platted out later.

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