by Michael R. Allen
One year can make or break the life of a historic building. Fortunately, for the mid-19th century house at 2817 N. 14th Street in Old North St. Louis, the last year has made the house — or remade it, to be more exact. One year ago, the building was a mess — the roof structure was sinking, so much of the building had collapsed inside of itself that access was impossible and wooden bracing was erected against the front wall.
Today, the building has been rehabilitated as part of the Crown Square redevelopment project and is receiving finishing touches to prepare for its new residents. Of course, along the way there were the complications one would expect with such a decrepit building. During masonry repair, the house suffered a large collapse that caused many neighbors to worry if rehabilitation would continue. The collapse turned out to be all in a day’s work for general contractor E.M. Harris Construction Company and the development partnership of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and the Regional Housing and Community Development Alliance. The house was rebuilt to original exterior appearance, using all of the original brick that survived the collapse and years of decay. What was one of the worst-looking buildings on 14th Street is now one of the best!