by Michael R. Allen
The house at 2314 University Street in St. Louis Place is one of the strangest 19th century houses on the near north side. Built in 1878, the house’s central feature is a wide round turret rising the full height from the foundation to the pointed round roof.
The builder could not be trifled with convention on any point of the design — form, style, floor plan and ornamental detail. I love how the windows on the turret are dwarfed by its sheer volume and their exaggerated wide lug-sills, emphasizing the castle-like quality of the turret. The stepped up brick cornice and projecting window surrounds give the building a heavy feeling. However, the heaviness is at odds with the delicate wooden parts — the little trapezoidal bay window over the front door and the ornate side porch.
The later flat-roofed rear addition adds another interesting element with its slate siding, including multi-color lozenge patterns on each side of the lone second story window. All in all, this quirky home is gorgeous and another unique part of the unique St. Louis Place built environment. It is occupied and owned by an individual, so hopefully its future is secure. The house is located on the same block where we just lost a home owned by a McKee-related holding company, and lacks any landmark designation or demolition review protection, so nothing can be certain.