by Michael R. Allen
Yesterday Missouri Preservation unveiled its 2008 Most Endangered Historic Places list (follow link for full list with information). President Jeff Brambila, pictured above, announced that the Mullanphy Emigrant Home in St. Louis was being held over from last year due to continued financial needs of the stabilization project. A new foundation and new block inside walls for the south and east sides of the building are complete, but the block work on the north wall, a new roof and brick exterior facing all remain to be started. The Mullanphy is not safe yet.
Also on this year’s list due to financial needs of repair is Fairfax, where the list was announced. Located on Manchester Road in Rock Hill, Fairfax is a minimally-detailed Greek Revival home built by James Collier Marshall in 1841. Out of tune with its auto-centric surroundings, the home was already moved twice to escape demolition. The owner is the City of Rock Hill, which lacks funds to repair the building. Those in attendance at the press conference saw the high level of disrepair on the interior, where holes abound in the plaster walls and ceilings and the original wooden floors are covered with decaying vinyl flooring.
A third St. Louis are building on this year’s list is the DeVille Motor Hotel at 4483 Lindell Boulevard in the city’s Central West End. The modernist motor lodge is an elegant relic of urban renewal era, showing a sensitivity to site and neighborhood context rare for its period. Seems to this writer that the stark modernism of the DeVille shares at least a stylistic tendency with the much-earlier Greek Revival lines of Fairfax. Currently, the St. Louis Archdiocese continues to plan demolition of the hotel for a surface parking lot.
Missouri Preservation went beyond the endangered list and also announced a “watch list” of buildings from previous year’s lists still facing an uncertain future.