Dutchtown Historic Preservation Housing LRA South St. Louis

The Corner Anchor at Osceola and Grand

by Michael R. Allen

This amazing four-family building in Dutchtown is located at 4400 South Grand Boulevard just south of the large Cleveland High School athletic field. Whether or not this fits in the Tudor Revival or the Craftsman styles does not matter — this is one cool building. The building dates to 1923, when row housing had long faded from the residential vernacular of local architecture. Yet, as a double two-flat, this building acts like the old row housing found in older neighborhoods. The double front porches reinforce the distinction between the two sections, while the roof overhang with its might brackets and the central half-timbered gable pull the sections together.

This is an outstanding example of the 1920’s south city multi-family architectural vernacular, and an impressive anchor for the corner that frames the view of Cleveland High School from Grand. I’ll note the bad news last: this building has been vacant for years, and it’s owned by the city’s Land Reutilization Authority. The Citizens’ Service Bureau records for the property number 107. Despite the woes, the building has solid architectural integrity.

What a great rehabilitation project this could be! Matthew Sisul, Housing Development Analyst with the Community Development Administration, reports that:

LRA purchased this property in April 2008 using CDA’s federal development funds from the 25th Ward. CDA is actively seeking proposals for the rehabilitation of this building (see RFP). The selected developer will be required to adhere towards Section 106 Design Review Guidelines. Assistance towards acquisition and construction costs may be available through CDA. Interested parties should contact me for additional information or to schedule a viewing of the property.

Matthew Sisul can be reached at (314) 622-3400 ext. 322 or

Dutchtown Historic Preservation Schools SLPS South St. Louis

Aldermen Support Re-Opening Cleveland High School

by Michael R. Allen

Postcard from the collection of Landmarks Association of St. Louis.

At the Monday meeting of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, three aldermen spoke strongly in favor of reopening the shuttered Cleveland High School at 4352 Louisiana Avenue in Dutchtown. The Special Administrative Board (SAB) appeared at the committee to present the proposed facilities management plan and take comments and questions from committee members.

Alderwoman Dorothy Kirner (D-25th), whose ward includes the magnificent school, was direct. During her inquiry, Kirner reminded the Board of the earlier plan to reopen Cleveland, and stated that “I want to know that still holds.”

In response, SAB Member Richard Gaines stated only that the cost of reopening Cleveland would be at least $40 million. Gaines made no further comment.

The Board of Education authorized closure of Cleveland High School in 2006 with the stipulation that it be renovated and reopened. In 2007, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education placed the St. Louis Public Schools under the control of a three-person appointed Special Administrative Board. That Board has made no move to find funding for making good on the District’s earlier pledge to Dutchtown that the school would open again.

Cleveland housed a successful Naval JROTC program that is now temporarily housed at Pruitt School. The in the proposed District facilities plan drafted by consultants MGT of America, the Naval JROTC program would move to Vashon High School. Teachers and students in the JROTC program oppose the move.

Cleveland alum Alderman Craig Schmid (D-20th) also spoke in favor of reopening the school. According to Schmid, the school’s last principal disliked the building and sought its closure despite support for the building from students and faculty. Schmid reminded the SAB that the District has worked closely with Dutchtown organizations, including the Alliance to Save Cleveland High School, to create plans for rehabilitation.

Schmid wondered why the SAB was not taking action against the state of Missouri, which owes the St. Louis Public School millions of dollars as part of the desegregation settlement.

“We are not united together marching on our state capital” to get the money, said Schmid. Schmid wondered if those funds would allow the District to reduce the number of schools that it plans to close, or fund projects like rehabilitation of Cleveland High School.

Alderwoman Marlene Davis (D-19th), whose ward includes Vashon High School, joined with Kirner and Schmid to voice support for reopening Cleveland as the home of the JROTC program. Davis stated that federal funds might help the District get Cleveland reopened.

Churches Dutchtown Mid-Century Modern Preservation Board South St. Louis Uncategorized

Changes at Resurrection of Our Lord Church

by Michael R. Allen

On March 24, the Preservation Board of the City of St. Louis considered an application by the congregation of Resurrection of Our Lord Church to remove an original wall and construct a grotto. Designed by Murphy & Mackey and completed in 1954, Resurrection of Our Lord Church became a City Landmark in 1976. The City Landmark status allowed the Preservation Board to review the proposal to remove the wall; otherwise there would be no legal protection. The Board voted to defer the matter pending consultation with a registered architect. I submitted the following testimony in my capacity as Assistant Director of Landmarks Association of St. Louis:

In Murphy & Mackey’s design for Resurrection of Our Lord Church, both building and site plan are integrated elements. The architects undertook a total design of the lot so that each element is an intentional part of the church, and cannot be removed and altered without causing alteration to the total composition. The wall running along the courtyard demarks the courtyard entrance space from the private and less formal realm on the other side. The presence of the wall heightens the religious experience of entering the church with a mind cleared of worldly concerns.

The City Landmark protection extends to the entire design. While placement of the grotto on the site is an intrusion on the original design, it is both reversible and a reasonable concession to the current congregation’s right to use the property.

However, removal of the wall would be a permanent disfiguring of the landmark design. The Preservation Board should not allow removal of the wall. The staff recommendation is a fair compromise.

Dutchtown Events People South St. Louis

Feasting Fox Hosted SAH Chapter Gathering

by Michael R. Allen

Marty Luepker recounts the rehabilitation of the Feasting Fox.

On Sunday February 10, our local Missouri Valley Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians convened their annual gathering at the Feasting Fox restaurant in south St. Louis. Many people attended the gathering — and joined the chapter — for the first time. NiNi Harris opened the gathering with an account of the long battle to preserve the Feasting Fox, a historic tavern and restaurant built in 1913 and designed by Klipstein and Rathmann for Anheuser-Busch. Owners Marty and Sue Luepker then led a tour of the restaurant before attendees returned to the Gretchen’s Inn building next door for dinner and the annual slide show.

Attendees enjoyed fine food and drink, including scrumptious chocolate cake, before the customary slide show by chapter members. The slide show always features a wide variety of architectural topics and locations. This year’s was no exception, including presentations on endangered buildings in Gary, Indiana, a Greek Revival farm house in Missouri, Theodore Link’s Monticello Female Seminary campus in Godfrey, Illinois, frame homes in Tower Grove South, the Cathedral of Trash in Austin, Texas and others. In fact, the show went longer than allotted time and will be continued next year!

The chapter is a very welcoming group and publishes a splendid newsletter filled with members’ research and timely event listings; for membership details, contact Esley Hamilton at