by Michael R. Allen
One of the most unique buildings in Old North St. Louis is the house at the northeast corner of Florissant Avenue and Dodier Street (numbered 1917 Dodier). Florissant runs diagonally across Dodier, which conforms to the street grid laid out in the 1850 East Union Addition. Of course, the house shows us that Florissant is diagonal with its chamfered corner parallel to that street.
So many details make this house unlike any other. Obviously, the corner and its treatment — a stepped parapet against a side-gabled roof — is singular. There is the concealed side entrance. Then there is the pleasant fact that the dentillated cornice continues across the chamfered corner, a move that provides wide, commercial Florissant with the same decorum as quite, residential Dodier. The formal elevations of the house are faced with a firm pressed brick that was not available until the 1880s, but the windows are topped with flat limestone lintels in a much earlier fashion. This house is strange in the coolest way!