The row of houses in between Athlone and Red Bud on West Florissant Avenue facing O’Fallon Park is perhaps one of the most perfect and serendipitous streetscapes in the City of St. Louis. It is a shame that many of the houses are now falling vacant, and that the street in front of them is so anarchic. We met an older man who told us his family lived at one point in the small house in the picture below on the far right, and that he still lived in a house around the corner.
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Wouldn’t it make more sense for the city to invest in new roofs, tuckpointing, proper boarding of windows & doors, etc. of these one-of-a-kind grand homes now, rather than ulimately investing in their demolition in about 5 – 10 years from now ? Then a developer will try & replace a fraction of the grand home that was once there or replace it with a suburban style home that no one will appreciate in 100 years (as you show by this website), if they last. Now is the time for the city to put a plan in place, not when they are beyond saving. STL -WAKE UP, and realize your cityscape is slowly being reinvented with junk! -I’m not against all new architecture, but the builders & craftsmen of the homes of old STL would be rolling in there graves if they saw what became of their creativity & hard work. The city acts like their hands are tied & there’s nothing they can do about it. Why do they think these homes are being abandoned one-by-one? Fight crime, gang activity, drug addiction, with a zero tolerance policy, invest in education, community youth programs & incentives to rebuild neighborhoods. Attract businesses, create jobs, etc. Reverse red-lining north of Delmar to allow for more investment from homeowners themselves. This may all sound like easier said than done solutions, but we have to start somewhere. There’s no reason for this.
Seems like some sensible ideas. Better yet, teaching these construction skills through high schools and continuing education classes for adults. Hopefully this will spur a grassroots effort of inhabitants of the community to salvage and rebuilt these structures. I believe part of the problems is that residents perceive rehabber as outside interlopers. Not an entirely incorrect perception . Adding the racial element exacerbates the problem as the majority of the rehabbers are Caucasian while the community are African American. The city I currently reside Portland , Oregon once had a thriving though small African American community that is now non-existent due to gentrification . Furthermore , many people do not share our love of these old buildings. I remember as a child growing up in a relative gritty city environment and wanting to escape to the shiny new suburbs. I didn’t realize how magnificent even the most humble of these old homes were until perhaps my mid twenties. I’m 63 years old. My hope is the enthusiasm if my fellow lovers of historic st Louis architecture will catch fire with the local communities. I want to thank Chris for this blog as part of my heart will always be in old St Lou.Happy New Year!
Proposition NS, which I publicly supported, passed successfully a year or two ago, is supposed to do just this: stabilize amazing buildings such as this owned by the Land Reutilization Authority. I need to check out and see how the program has been going. You can read my original article here:
Thanks for the info Chris. Nice to hear of some positive ideas coming from a variety of people coming together for a common purpose.