Historic Preservation Housing Preservation Board South St. Louis

NLEC Seeks Demolition of Frame Center Hall House on Tennessee

by Michael R. Allen

The New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) has appealed the Cultural Resources Office’s denial of a demolition permit for the 19th centuery center-hall house at 4722 Tennessee Avenue. The house in Dutchtown went through the same ordeal last year when developers sought its demolition. On appeal, the Preservation Board denied the permit. The developers then sold the property to the NLEC for a controversial homeless facility.

To its credit, NLEC secured the house after purchase. While there is some deterioration of concern, the house is sound and in its present state secure against water and trespass. The Cultural Resources Office is wisely recommending that the Board uphold its denial, and Alderwoman Dorothy Kirner (D-25th) also supports preservation of the unique house.

There are a small number of center-hall homes remaining in the city, and less than ten frame examples. These homes mostly date to 19th century pre-subdivision settlement of neighborhoods, and some were part of farms. The house on Tennessee is probably the most intact example of a frame center-hall house in the city, and located in a stable neighborhood where rehabilitation is not only desirable but completely feasible.

The Preservation Board meets at 4:00 p.m. Monday, November 24, in the 12th floor conference room at 1015 Locust Street downtown. The meeting agenda is online. Correspondence to the board may be sent to