National Register North St. Louis Preservation Board The Ville

Trick Question Regarding the Ville Demolitions

by Michael R. Allen

What kind of careful decisions about historic preservation can the city’s Preservation Board make when faced with an application to demolish 39 different buildings in one neighborhood?

That’s the case tomorrow, when the Board will consider Alderman Sam Moore’s (D-4th) aggressive push to wreck 39 buildings scattered throughout the Ville neighborhood. The city’s Cultural Resources Office staff has approved some permits for demolition on buildings that barely exist. That’s fine. But the remaining 39 buildings deserve more than even one hour’s hearing by the Board.

Much of the Ville lies within a city historic district, but very little is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The staff of CRO have worked on several successful National Register nomination in the last two years, but more are possible. Not enough is know yet about future nominations to know what buildings on Alderman Moore’s list are potentially contributing resources to future districts. Caution is needed, but unfortunately the Preservation Board is bound to decide the fate of these buildings in a rather uncautious manner.