by Michael R. Allen
Continuing to explore storefront additions to houses in St. Louis, I came across these three buildings at 1349-53 Garrison Avenue in JeffVanderLou. While the storefront additions add character, I’m not sure that’s good character. Then again, these old houses have been remuddled past the point of recognition, and far beyond being able to contribute to any historic district. We have original dormers and cornices removed, mansard roofs clad in weatherboard (although apparently over the slate tiles!), window openings altered and a whole front stone elevation relaid in concrete block.
What a mess! No doubt the buildings are still sturdy and salvageable, but historic restoration would be challenging. Not impossible, but challenging. Who is up to that challenge? And what other ways of rehabilitating the buildings beyond a historic-tax-credit rehab exist?