Joseph Lacroix House, ca. 1870 and 1888

The caption for the photograph suggests the house was the oldest in St. Louis at that time; the Joseph Lacroix house was the only home built during the 18th century at the corner of Olive and Third streets. According to the National Park Service, Lacroix built the home himself as a vertical log house sometime around 1797. The photograph itself was from Boehl and Koenig photographers (ca. 1870), and it is the original for the sketch seen below. The full resolution scan of the above image is located on Wikimedia:,_St._Louis,_Missouri,_by_Boehl_%26_Koenig.png

From Commercial and Architectural St. Louis by George Washington Orear (1888). This scene depicts an "old stockade house" in the oldest portion of St. Louis, at Third and Olive streets.

Eads Bridge and Riverfront, ca. 1870

From an eBay listing of a stereographic print originally from the photographers Boehl and Koenig (ca. 1870s). A lovely image of the riverfront with passerby.

St. Louis School Library, 1878

From Camille Dry's Pictorial Guide to St. Louis (1878). Here is a sketch of the St. Louis Public School Library (later, in 1884, the St. Louis Public Library) located in the Polytechnic Building of the St. Louis schools at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets.

The library had some 55,000 volumes and various works of art; the main library building was replaced in 1912 with Cass Gilbert's Central Library (now itself the target of a renovation and expansion plan).

St. Louis Morgue, 1878

From Camille Dry's Pictorial Guide to St. Louis (1878). Although it's unclear why a guide to St. Louis would include a trip to the local morgue, Dry dutifully shows the reader what sort of morgue the great city had. According to Dry, "The house of the dead stands just back of the Jail at the corner of Spruce and 12th streets. Here behind a glass partition are three marble slabs, on which are deposited the unknown dead, awaiting identification and burial." I'm sure the marble was quite lovely. The morgue is still located at 12th and Spruce, more than 130 years later.

Vandeventer Place in Google Earth

To help visualize Vandeventer Place as it was, I created a Google Earth overlay file for it.

Included are a plat map created using Sanborn Fire Maps (adjusted for color, spliced together, and cleaned up) and individual plat polygons with placemarks and images for individual houses. Included are:

7 Vandeventer Place (Charles H. Peck House)
27 Vandeventer Place (John R. Lionberger House)
40 Vandeventer Place (Henry C. Pierce House)
51 Vandeventer Place (John D. Davis House)
64 Vandeventer Place (Henry C. Scott House)
72 Vandeventer Place (Dexter P. Tiffany Sr. House)
Vandeventer Place Gates

Vandeventer Place Gates at Grand Avenue

87 Vandeventer Place, ca. 1900

This view of Vandeventer Place (and, at the foreground, 87 Vandeventer) comes from the St. Louis City Development Corporation history site online. The end of Vandeventer on the west often showcased much smaller homes than on the east; this also was the last portion of the private street to be demolished in the 1950s by the city. 87 Vandeventer Place, the house at the corner of Vandeventer Place and Vandeventer Avenue, was built for Irwin Z. Smith, a local investor and real estate tycoon. Smith fathered a veritable tribe of children who went on to do good things in their community; according to various sources, he liked raquetball, hunting, and fishing.

7 Vandeventer Place

This image of the Charles Henry Peck house is of unknown origin. It depicts 7 Vandeventer Place, a lovely Second Empire located on the north side of Vandeventer Place with its east boundary at Grand Avenue. 7 Vandeventer Place was built in 1872 for Charles Henry Peck, a capitalist in the sash, woodwork and door business. Peck was a charter trustee of Vandeventer Place, retired in 1875, and upon his death in 1899, he willed the home to his son Stephen, a real estate investor, who was not only a Presbyterian but also a Democrat (according to the Book of St. Louisans, 1906). More importantly, upon Charles Henry Peck's death, the trust governing Vandeventer Place dissolved.

By 1911, Stephen had passed away, and the only living son of Charles dwelled in Westminster Place, far away from the hustle, bustle, and hoopla of Vandeventer Place. The mansion passed to other hands (specifically, the hands of Max Mueller Bryant and his family, who were entangled legally in some ways). The mansion itself passed away sometime in the 1940s.

51 Vandeventer Place, 1899

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). Here is the first mansion of John D. Davis, patriarch of the St. Louis Davis family (and father of John T. Davis, builder of 17 Westmoreland Place). John D. Davis had the home at 51 Vandeventer designed by the renowned Henry Hobson Richardson (it being only one of three residences Richardson actually designed for St. Louis). Richardson's penchant for massing along the lower level is apparent in this design. This particular Richardson met its end in 1958 with the city's plan for the juvenile detention center now occupying the block.

For the Google Earth Vandeventer Place Pack:

64 Vandeventer Place, 1899

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architecture Club (1899). This two-and-a-half story Elizabethan-style mansion was designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge in 1898 for Henry C. Scott, a Confederate war veteran and St. Louis capitalist. The H.C. Scott mansion stood at 64 Vandeventer until the 1950s city acquisition.

For the Google Earth Vandeventer Place pack:

72 Vandeventer Place, 1899

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). This photograph is a record of the richly decorated home of Dexter Pardon Tiffany, Sr., a St. Louis lawyer. The home, a splendid mixture of Romanesque, Tudor, and other styles, was designed by Grable, Weber and Groves. Tiffany came from a wealthy St. Louis family; his father was a real estate investor who committed suicide in 1861 after complaining about the bad economy in St. Louis resulting from the Civil War (leaving a $1,000,000 estate to his widow, and subsequently Tiffany).

Tiffany graduated from Harvard in 1868 and Harvard Law in 1870, marrying that year and taking up residence in Vandeventer sometime after. His two sons were also quite successful - one serving in the Spanish-American War as a naval officer, the other becoming an executive for Anheuser-Busch and living at 14 Lenox Place in his later years. Tiffany held a government position during World War One, but died shortly afterward in 1921 in Boston.

72 Vandeventer was demolished some time in the late 1950s.

For the Google Earth Vandeventer Place Pack:

Crunden Branch Library on Cass Avenue, 1909

From the Washington University Eames and Young Architectural Photographs Collection. Several images of the then-newly opened Crunden Library of the Saint Louis Public Library at 1406 North 14th Street (or 1317 Cass Avenue). According to a variety of sources, the Crunden Branch was opened in 1909 using monies of the late Andrew Carnegie, steel magnate and proponent of the Gospel of Wealth, which suggested that the successful capitalists ought to provide for the success of the underprivileged via philanthropy. Carnegie endowed thousands of libraries, from St. Louis to small towns across the nation.

The Crunden branch was a gorgeous beaux-arts building with a reading room that uplifted patrons' minds with its chandeliers and intricate molding. Costing in excess of $51,000, the branch was the first of its kind on the north side of St. Louis. While the library was in residence at the building, the Draft Board for World War One held hearings there, and the local Red Cross had meetings. It was not simply a center for learning, not just a "third place" for north side residents, but was a valuable asset to community life.

The library moved in the early 1950s and the building was sold to the Pulaski Bank (then Pulaski Savings Assocation), which vacated in the 1990s. The ubiquitous LRA demolished the building, glorious even in its decay, in August 2005.

Mr. Carnegie's dreams denied, the north side now has neither a bank nor a library, but a vacant lot at 1317 Cass.

Frisco Building at 906 Olive Street, 1906

From the Washington University Eames and Young Architectural Photographs Collection. Two photographs of the Frisco Building; the exterior depicts the Frisco as it was in 1906, complete with Frisco System signage. The second depicts the well-appointed lobby of the Frisco, including what appear to be either flower pots or spittoons near the elevators.

Mermod-Jaccard Building at Fifth and Olive, 1880

From the Washington University Eames and Young Architectural Photographs Collection. Here is another view of the marvelous Mermod-Jaccard Building at Fifth and Olive streets. See post from October 2nd for more information about the structure.

Bee Hat Building at 1021 Washington Avenue, 1899

From Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). In this splendid photograph, we see the 11th Street Realty Company Building at 1021 Washington Avenue immediately after being finished out. The building, designed by Isaac Taylor, is now known as the Bee Hat Building from its use by a hat company from the 1940s through the late 1990s. It was renovated in the early 2000s to become part of the vibrant loft district on Washington Avenue. From the St. Louis Business Journal in 2005:

The sale of the Bee Hat building, which has been vacant for several years, took place at about the time the newspaper was going to press.

BHat Development, formed for the purpose of developing the building, plans to convert the second through seventh floors into 36 one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 900 to 1,300 square feet and renting from $990 to $1,430 a month, said real estate appraiser Matt Burghoff, one of two partners in BHat Development. Burghoff said his partner prefers to remain anonymous. There will be space for about 30 residents' cars in the basement.

A restaurant will occupy 7,500 square feet of the building's 9,000-square-foot first-floor commercial space, with a boutique retail store in 900 feet. The restaurant owner is a well-established and respected St. Louis restaurateur, Burghoff said, but he declined to name either of the tenants, who have signed letters of intent to occupy the space.

Eleven terra cotta lion heads on the outside of the building are a signature feature of the structure. The heads were attached to the gutters and drained water to the street. BHat wants to link them up to steam lines and have each lion roar every half-hour or so, Burghoff said.

The building now does sport steam roaring lions, by the way. A fitting addition to the lovely terra cotta on the building.

Christ Church Cathedral, ca. 1867

From an eBay listing comes this fine photograph of the Christ Church Cathedral at 1210 Locust Street, sometime in the late 1860s. Remarkably, it depicts the church while under construction; the building was designed by Leopold Eidlitz in the mid-1860s and is listed as a National Historic Landmark (as of October 1994). For more information, visit the St. Louis Historic Preservation article about the church:

1700s House at 4th and Poplar, 1899

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). The architectural club not only provided images of late 19th century architecture, but also an absolutely marvelous retrospective on St. Louis architecture of the previous century. In one photograph, the club shows the oldest extant structure in St. Louis in 1899 -- what they described as a frame house, built in the late 1700s, located on 4th Street north of Poplar. Imagine, for a moment, what St. Louis might look like with historic structures from the 1700s tucked within an awe-inspiring downtown of terracotta and steel and glass skyscrapers.

The location of the house is now the intersection of I-64 and the Poplar Street Bridge.

Eads Bridge and Riverfront, 1903

From an eBay listing, a photograph of the riverfront, lovely as it was. Here is the view from the levee looking toward the Eads Bridge, published by H.T. Coates in 1903.

Mullanphy Savings Bank, 1893

From the St. Louis County Directory (1893). This image is the first advertisement in the directory, depicting the Mullanphy Savings Bank, which operated at the corner of Broadway and Cass Avenue (near the Broadway exit on I-70 today). The bank failed on February 27, 1897, after only 24 years in operation. Having only $100,000 in capital and nearly $650,000 in deposits listed, the local banking association did not support the bank and depositors lost almost everything after a bank run ended the Mullanphy.

According to the New York Times, the bank was the first failure in St. Louis in a decade; some of the stories of depositors were quite tragic. One elderly woman who had lost $400 "wept bitterly as she hobbled down the front steps, railing against all bankers as robbers," while another man who had only $100 in deposits was the most angry. He had "recently turned over a new leaf and commenced to save money. He cursed like a pirate, and swore that he would never save another cent." The local postman lost his life savings of some $200. The Times suggested that the Mullanphy never fully recovered (as much of the nation also did not) from the Panic of1893, brought on by the failure of the Reading Railroad and the shaky currency value.

Clayton Road and Tamm Avenue, 1893

From the St. Louis County Directory (1893). Here is Fourney's Beer Depot, serving ice cold Anheuser-Busch and Culmbacher bottled beers. Fourney's was located at the corner of Tamm and Clayton Roads, far out in the reaches of the county at the time. Coincidentally, Tamm and Clayton still sports bars, likely still serving ice cold Anheuser-Busch bottled beers.

300 Washington Avenue, 1893

From the St. Louis County Directory (1893). The image is derived from an advertisement for a city business, the A.F. Shepleigh Hardware Company. The building was located at the northwest corner of Washington Avenue and 4th Street, which is now occupied by a Hampton Inn parking garage. Interestingly, Shepleigh Hardware carried not only the usual tools, but also guns, pistols, ammunition and sporting goods.

Mermod-Jaccard Building at Fifth and Olive, 1880

From an eBay listing comes a photograph of the earlier Mermod and Jaccard Building at Fifth and Olive Streets. Tragically, the building shown burned in December 1897, destroying $350,000 worth of merchandise, the store, and 40-some other tenants. Within three days, the jewelers had moved across the street to temporary quarters, and within two years they had a new, larger building at Broadway and Locust.

Broadway and Locust, 1899

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). The lovely Mermod and Jaccard Building at the northwest corner of Broadway and Locust, shown here in a photograph. Mermod-Jaccard was among the oldest jewelers in the city in the late 1890s; shown above is their building, after a destructive fire demolished their long-time home at Fifth and Olive Streets (see next post).

1711 Cole Street, ca. 1890

From the Catalogue of the Annual Exhibition of the Saint Louis Architectural Club (1899). This is the home of General D.M. Frost, built in 1859 at 1711 Wash Street (now Cole Street). The architect, per the listing in the Catalogue, was George I. Barnett. The story of Cole Street is quite interesting; it began as North J Street, then was renamed in 1826 as Hickory Street (per the city's naming conventions). In 1842, the street was changed to Wash Street for the local landowner Robert Wash, who served on the Missouri Supreme Court. A century later, Wash became Cole, so named for Richard Cole, local educator and long-time principal.

Nothing stands on the site of General Frost's manse.