by Michael R. Allen
Two pairs of houses had stood on the east side of Bacon Street just south of North Market Street since before the turn of the last century. Now, three of the four are reduced to ruins by brick thieves in St. Louis’ ongoing brick theft crisis, removing more of the JeffVanderLou neighborhood’s unique architectural character and housing units that were occupied until just three years ago. Some count three buildings lost, and shrug, while others count these among over 100 lost to brick theft across north St. Louis in the last decade, and wonder when it will end.
1920 and 1924 Bacon Street
These unusual houses were both built in 1897 by the same builder. Unusual for the surrounding area of JeffvanderLou, the houses share a party wall. However their front elevations show differences in execution of essentially two identical (but flipped) same floorplans. The northern house, at 1924 Bacon Street, uses flat limestone lintels and a triangular pediment that put it in the Greek Revival. The other house employs rounded arches with ornamental label courses as well as a cornice of ornamental brick,traits that put it in the Romanesque Revival that was very popular in St. Louis during the 1890s.
1910 and 1912 Bacon Street
These two houses in the Second Empire style had identical layouts, fenestration and bracketed wooden cornices. Built in 1884, they may have originally both had false slate-clad mansard roofs like the one at 1910 Bacon retained until the day it collapsed into the rubble pile of collective memory. The neighboring house remained, fire-damaged, until this spring.