Historic Preservation Housing North St. Louis Old North

Step Away From the “Like” Button And Write A Check Already: Brickstarting a Rehab in Old North

by Emily Kozlowski

One of these things is not like the others. 1316 North Market Street, at left, needs help.

Here is a chance to actively participate in preserving a part of St. Louis. Old North Saint Louis
Restoration Group (ONSLRG) recently bought this three-story, brick structure at 1316 North Market from the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA). In 2005 there were vacant lots on either side of the building. Today, there are newly built homes surrounding it. Preserving this building would retain the urban past of the block and maintain the positive momentum that the community has been building in the area.

Abandonment Academy Neighborhood North St. Louis

Vacancy on Kensington Avenue

by Michael R. Allen

Currently we are working on preparing a historic tax credit application for a property on the 5200 block of Kensington Avenue. The block is located behind the mighty, proud building housing Soldan High School, and slopes downward into one of the city’s hidden gem neighborhoods, Academy. Most of the Academy neighborhood is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Mt. Cabanne-Raymond Place Historic District (nomination by Lynn Josse). The streets in the area are lined with a classic array of St. Louis brick (and a few stone) houses and two-flats, sporting the latest fashions in architecture at the turn of the twentieth century.

However, vacancy is a problem. Vacant lots dot a still very cohesive landscape, but vacant houses may start to dominate. On our first day of work, we spotted a hand-written for-sale sign in front of a vacant house across the street.

5207 Kensington Avenue in the Academy neighborhood.
North St. Louis Northside Regeneration Pruitt Igoe

Video: Winter at Pruitt-Igoe

This video documents a site visit on January 6, 2013. What a beautiful day for a walk in the forest!

James Clemens House North St. Louis St. Louis Place This Building Matters

This Building Matters #2: James Clemens, Jr. House

On Christmas Eve, we visited a hallowed site in our city’s architectural heritage: the James Clemens, Jr. House. The condition of the house and its still-evident beauty moved Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, who joined us for the visit. As the video shows, the condition of the Clemens House continues to worsen. Yet we cannot let this treasure be lost.

North St. Louis Old North This Building Matters

This Building Matters #1: 1914 & 1916 Palm Street, Old North

Preservation Research Office is pleased to present the first episode of a regular video series called This Building Matters. The premise is simple: Preservation is something lots of of people care about and practice in their daily lives. This series documents the everyday experiences of historic preservation in St. Louis, and the preservationists in our communities across the region. The format is simple and spontaneous — these episodes come from our field work, and may be unrehearsed. After all, we run into people doing good work every day.

For our first effort, we talked to Stefene Russell about two historic houses on her block in Old North St. Louis. Stefene lives across the street and is rehabbing a small house that, along with the two houses shown here, is one of the three remaining buildings on the south side of the 1900 block of Palm Street. Their loss would change the lives of Stefene and her neighbors forever. [Note: Turn up the volume; our audio skills are young.]

If you have an idea for the series, let us know by posting a comment or sending Michael Allen a note at Thanks for watching!

DALATC Eminent Domain North St. Louis Northside Regeneration Uncategorized

Eminent Domain, Northside Regeneration and the St. Louis American

by Michael R. Allen

The most recent edition of the St. Louis American‘s lively Political Eye editorial column deals with the Missouri Supreme Court consideration of the Northside Regeneration redevelopment agreement and tax increment financing bills, invalidated by Circuit Court ruling in July 2010. The Supreme Court took the case under advisement after a November 28 hearing and will issue a ruling early next year.

As a longtime observer of the Northside Regeneration project concerned with both its historic preservation and cultural impacts on north St. Louis, I was struk by one of the Political Eye’s statements:

The EYE is certain McKee would have taken the right to eminent domain had he been able to finagle it, but he was not. Both the Land Assemblage Tax Credit legislation that lavishly benefitted his project and the Northside redevelopment agreement with the city expressly forbid the use of eminent domain.

Actually the use of eminent domain has never been forbidden for Northside Regeneration by state or local statute — although Mayor Francis Slay has stated several times that he would not support the use of eminent domain on owner-occupied housing for the project.

Abandonment North St. Louis Northside Regeneration Pruitt Igoe

“The Viability of St. Louis as an Urban Place”: Karrie Jacobs on Pruitt-Igoe and Northside Regeneration

Sumac and the skyline: Downtown St. Louis viewed from inside of the Pruitt-Igoe forest.

In her Metropolis column this month, under the title of “Saint Louis Blues”, Karrie Jacobs reflects on her fall visit to St. Louis (she was keynote speaker at the FORM Contemporary Design Show). The column takes on both the Northside Regeneration project (“[n]o one could explain what he was doing, aside from getting compensated for his land purchases by a peculiar piece of Missouri legislation”) and the winners of the Pruitt Igoe Now design competition: “I’m sorry that most of the finalists have given up on the viability of St. Louis as an urban place. Residents here have nothing to feel inferior about. The component parts of a great city are still there.”

Historic Preservation North St. Louis Northside Regeneration St. Louis Place

The Winkelman House on St. Louis Avenue: A Popular Emblem, Fading Away

by Michael R. Allen

The Winkelman House in Septmeber 2005.

[Previous coverage: The Precarious Condition of Two Beautiful Houses on St. Louis Avenue, August 12, 2009]

The front elevation of the Bernhardt Winkelman House at 1936 St. Louis Avenue has become a quiet cultural icon for visitors to the near north side. No other front wall in that area may be as much-photographed, with a possible representational life without end. There is no doubt that the diminishing state of the built environment has enhanced the visibility of the three-story stone-faced house, but there also is a certain decorative quality possessed by the front elevation that is notable in its own right. To state that the façade is beloved would be an understatement, but also an assertion closer to the fact of the building’s status than any more formal descriptors. The Winkelman House, imperiled though it may be by current circumstance, may well be the popular emblem of the St. Louis Place neighborhood’s store of high-style residences.

The Winkelman House in January 2007.

Officially, the Winkelman House is a contributing resource in the Clemens House-Columbia Brewery Historic District (NR 7/22/1986). Built by German-born wholesale grocery merchant Bernhardt Winkelman c. 1873, the house contributes to two areas of significance identified in the 1986 amendment to the District nomination: Architecture and Ethnic Heritage. In 2009, owner Northside Regeneration LLC (which purchased the house in 2005) placed the property on its list of “Legacy Properties” identified for preservation — a list required as part of the city’s master redevelopment agreement with Northside Regeneration.

Abandonment North St. Louis Old North Planning

Sustainable Land Lab Competition First Phase Submission Due December 10

Led by Washington University in St. Louis, the Sustainable Land Lab kicked off with an event on Friday, November 2 at the Contemporary Art Museum. (By the way, Ron Sims’ moving talk from the kick-off is now available on the website as a podcast.) The Sustainable Land Lab picks up the intellectual threads of GOOD Ideas for Cities and Pruitt Igoe Now and attempts to weave a program in which innovative urban land use projects are implements on vacant parcels in Old North — a neighborhood where experimenting with the urban condition is welcome.

Sustainable Land Lab is focused on implementation: teams that win will get land and money, and the chance to make things actually happen. Preservation Research Office is delighted to advise the competition and help teams with our knowledge of Old North and urban abandonment.

The first round of submissions is due December 10, so there is not much time to create your concept. Get details here and join in an amazing and spirited experiment.

Abandonment Demolition LRA North St. Louis The Ville

Losing More Buildings on Martin Luther King Drive

by Michael R. Allen

4220, 4222 and 4224 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive during demolition in fall 2007.

In September and October 2007, the Land Reutilization Authority wrecked the three two-part commercial buildings at 4220, 4222 and 4224 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in the Ville. The demolitions hardly were startling. Alderman Sam Moore (D-4th), then in his first year of service, requested the demolition as part of his efforts to deal with abandoned properties. Then, the center building collapsed. The Preservation Board unanimously approved demolition at its September 2007 meeting, based on a report by then-Cultural Resources Office Director Kate Shea that recommended approval.

Next up: 4234 and 4236 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.