by Michael R. Allen
On the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the St. Louis Preservation Board is the demolition of a unique house at 4485 Vista Avenue in “the Grove.” The city’s Land Reutilization Authority owns the house and is applying for demolition along with Alderman Joseph Roddy (D-17th).
Check out the last photograph on this page of a report that I wrote on the condition of Taylor Avenue, which runs to the west of the house. You’ll see that 4485 Vista is a wide, symmetrical side-gabled frame home with a center-hall plan. The centered doorway is flanked by pairs of windows, with one dormer centered above each pair. This simplicity is almost rustic — no surprise given that the center-hall house was a common choice for Midwestern farms in the nineteenth century. Very few homes of this type exist in the city of St. Louis, and no other can be found in the Grove. The date of construction is not definitive, but it’s possible this house dates to the period when the Adams Grove area was subdivided as the Laclede Race Course Addition to the city in 1875.
This house is a unique home and clearly eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Hopefully, the Preservation Board will block demolition so that a respectful owner will purchase the building from the city.
Earlier, the LRA applied for a demolition permit for the house in 2004 and was denied by the Cultural Resources Office and the Preservation Board.
If you’d like to comment on the demolition, there are several ways. You can attend Monday’s meeting of the Preservation Board at 4:00 p.m. in the 12th floor conference room of the Locust Building, 1015 Locust. You can call the staff of the Cultural Resources Office at 314-622-3400. Also, you can send written testimony to Kate Shea, Director of Cultural Resources, at SheaK(at)stlouiscity.com.