Weird and Wonderful Tower Grove South: South Spring Avenue Between Potomac Street and Gravois Avenue, West Side

I noticed something strange about the west side of South Spring Avenue when I started looking at the houses.

There are a striking number of older houses, sitting far back on their lots, constructed of wood, which I suspect could easily date back to the 1870s when this was far out in the countryside.

This house below in particular is extremely old, and drew the most attention in my examination of this block.

Looking at Compton and Dry’s Pictorial St. Louis from 1876, we can see that there were already many houses on the west side of the street, even if it hadn’t been paved yet, and I think I even spot the last house, as well as some of its neighbors.

Detail of Plate 63. Compton, Richard J, and Camille N Dry. Pictorial St. Louis, the great metropolis of the Mississippi valley; a topographical survey drawn in perspective A.D. St. Louis, Compton & co, 1876. Map. Library of Congress.

What brought them out here so early? Well, besides Bamberger’s Grove, there was also a dairy which may have provided employment for these early settlers. You can see the dairy and the wood frame houses below (north is to the left).

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, St. Louis, Missouri, 1903 July, sheet 092

As then happens, the rest of the lots then filled in with typical early Twentieth Century houses in what is the Hunt Addition.

I don’t know what happened to the house below.

At the corner is a typical storefront that creates an urban space, with apartments above the commercial space. Shop owners often lived above their businesses. This is the Grey Fox today.

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