Sunday Poll: Should the St. Louis Workhouse Remain Open or be Closed?

 

 For a while some have been pushing the City of St. Louis to close its Medium Security Institution, commonly known as the workhouse. Others have argued it can’t be closed because the downtown facility doesn’t have capacity to handle all inmates. From September 2018: In a report released Thursday morning …

New Book — St. Louis State Hospital: A 150-Year Journey Toward Hope by Amanda Hunyar

 

 In my 28+ years in St. Louis I’ve been in many buildings that interest me. One I haven’t seen inside of is the St. Louis State Hospital on Arsenal. It and the grounds have changed considerably in my decades here. A few hardcover book from local publisher Reedy Press gives …

Readers Opposed To Missouri National Guard Patroling St. Louis’ Worst Neighborhoods

 

 Following a recent daytime shooting Ald. Brandon Bosley started a long-overdue conversation about taking back neighborhoods from criminal elements. The boldness of the crime, on a sunny spring day as sports fans flocked downtown, just three miles south, led the neighborhood’s alderman to call for deployment of the Missouri National …

Board of Aldermen End 2018-19 Session Today, Begin 2019-20 Session Tomorrow

 

 When the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are in session they typically meet at 10am on Friday mornings. Their last meeting was February 1st, breaking for Spring elections. This week they’ll meet today & tomorrow, but not Friday. Today is the last day of the 2018-2019 session, known as Sine …

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My Neighborhood’s Street Lights Are Always On

April 12, 2019 Featured Comments Off on My Neighborhood’s Street Lights Are Always On
 

I often see street lights on during the daytime. It usually turns out the city’s street lighting department is checking to see which lights are burned out.

After weeks of observation at different times I’ve confirmed most of the street lights in my neighborhood, Columbus Square, are always on. Always.

At home we try to conserve electricity as much as possible, we’ve switched our lighting to LED. Many dimmable so we use even less electricity. To reduce our carbon footprint we also switched to 50% wind-generated credits.

The city, however, has thousands of streetlights of different types. Only some are LED.

I have no idea how street lights are controlled, I assume each area is controlled manually at boxes (buried or above ground), not a centralized computer. It’s possible they’re unaware if lights are always on — unless someone lets them know. I’ll be sending this post to the Citizens’ Service Bureau via Twitter.

Every photo in this post, except the last, was taken on Tuesday April 9th. This first group in a 10-minute window between 10:08am and 10:18am.

Old fashioned cobra head lights on Cole & 7th
Looking up at the two lights on 7th at Cole
Looking west on Cole from 7th, the lights all the way down at least to 9th are on
These lights are supposed to be pedestrian-scaled are also used frequently throughout the neighborhood. Many have the globe canted like this one. Carr at 8th
A cobra head on the same block of Carr, now closer to 9th
At 9th & the former street known as Biddle the cobra head on the right is burned out, but the LED across 9th is on. The back of Patrick Henry school is in the background.
Another type of light, also on, at 9th & O’Fallon
Here a nest stays warm with the light always being on. O’Fallon at 8th.
8th at O’Fallon, all the lights on this block are on
A cobra head at the corner of Dickson & 8th is on along with every light on the short street.

This next group were also taken on Tuesday April 9th, between 2:11pm and 2:40pm.

10th near O’Fallon
O’Fallon near 10th
Tucker at Biddle
Tucker at the curve between O’Fallon and Cass.

I didn’t go down 11th or Hadley to check lights on those streets, I’d seen enough to know this wasn’t an isolated block or two.

Ironically, I can’t figure out how to turn on the new looking lights on the tennis courts.

Four courts on two levels have what looks like new LED lighting, but no idea how anyone is supposed to turn them on to play tennis at night. The south facade of Patrick Henry is in the background, 10th Street is to the left. February 26th

Lighting is important, but 24/7 street lighting is just highly wasteful. Hopefully the city will get this addressed so we have streetlights only at night.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Split On Supporting McKee-Related Businesses

April 11, 2019 Featured, North City, NorthSide Project Comments Off on Readers Split On Supporting McKee-Related Businesses
 

After years of waiting, two businesses are open within Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration redevelopment area —- part of a carefully crafted area to get millions in state & local tax credits. ZOOM Gas opened last Fall, GreenLeaf Market opened earlier this month. Both will hold a grand opening this Saturday (4/13) 10am-3pm.

On day two of business, April 2nd

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll readers were split on supporting these new businesses. This confirms my conversations with others.

Q: Agree or disagree: To protest Paul McKee I won’t spend money at ZOOM Gas or GreenLeaf grocery store.

  • Strongly agree: 6 [26.09%]
  • Agree: 1 [4.35%]
  • Somewhat agree: 3 [13.04%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 5 [21.74%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 4 [17.39%]
  • Strongly disagree: 3 [13.04%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [4.35%]

I’m torn on this subject, though we’ve been buying gas at ZOOM since moving nearby. We’ve bought a few items at GreenLeaf.

Though I have a strong dislike for how McKee conducts business, I want these to succeed. The people need the work, neighbors need nice places to shop, and the last thing we need is more vacant suburban-style buildings. Both are at the intersection of Tucker/13th/O’Fallon.

— Steve Patterson

Four Historic Properties in Columbus Square Neighborhood

April 8, 2019 Featured, History/Preservation, Neighborhoods Comments Off on Four Historic Properties in Columbus Square Neighborhood
 

As previously posted, we moved to the Columbus Square neighborhood at the end of December. Since I’ve been looking into the history of the neighborhood, a challenge since much of the pre-WWII structures have been razed and replaced.

Today’s post is an introduction to the four properties within the neighborhood boundaries that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These are listed below in the order they were added to the register, the date is shown at the end. The text for each is from their nomination to the register, click heading for each to view PDF (files are very large).

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 1220 N 11th St. (5/19/78)

St. Joseph’s last month, the antique car was out front due to a wedding taking place inside

The Shrine of St. Joseph is important to St. Louis as a building of great aesthetic value and as a monument to the Jesuits and their powerful role in the history of the Archdiocese· and the City of St. Louis.

Of the churches built in Baroque revival style, St. Joseph’s is one of two remaining in St. Louis. Neo-Baroque, popular with the Jesuits throughout the nation during the nineteenth century, had origins in the Tridentine Catholicism of the Counter Reformation.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the Church introduced a series of reforms that stressed the parish, regular Sunday attendance at Mass, an increased number of devotional activities, the creation of lay confraternities, and so on. Revived in the mid-1800’s this style of worship sunk deep roots in the urban neighborhoods of German and Irish Immigrants. It was the religion of three generations of American Catholics.

The parish of St. Joseph’s, established in 1845 for the German-speaking Catholics of the near north side, grew out of a small immigrant community who settled near St. Louis University and worshipped at St. Aloysius Chapel, the College Hall of the Jesuit University. These newcomers were among the first arrivals of massive waves of European immigrants who would transform a steamboat town of around 16,000 in 1840 into a cosmopolitan commercial center with a population of 160,000 by the outbreak of the Civil War.

The cornerstone of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph’s was set by Bishop Kenrick of St. Louis on April 14, 1844 on land donated by Anne Mullanphy Biddle, daughter of John Mullanphy and widow of Major Thomas Biddle. “…a great concourse of people, including the Hibernians, came for the cornerstone laying…” The church was completed by a volunteer labor force made up of parishioners. On the fourth of August of 1846, Father James van de Velde, S.J., later Bishop of Chicago, dedicated the building.

Immediately, the parish became the center of the community. Schools and an orphanage were established for the young and the Jesuits turned their attention to intense missionary work. In 1846 the Bureau for German Immigration was organized by Father Hafbauer, S.J. in order to attract immigrating Germans to Missouri’s Jesuit settlements. Father Seisel, S.J. served as editor of ”Herald des Glaubens”, St. Louis’ first German Catholic paper. Three parishioners organized the parent organization of the nationally important German Roman Catholic Central Society (Katholische Central Verein) in 18540 Another school, the first St. Louis installation of the Sisters of Notre Dame, was sponsored that same year.

Neighborhood Gardens Apartments, 1205 N 7th St. (all of CB 558) (1/31/86)

The south side of Neighborhood Gardens earlier this month

The Neighborhood Gardens Apartments located on City Block 558 (bounded by O’Fallon, North 7th, Biddle and North 8th Streets) near downtown St. Louis qualifies for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and C and is eligible under the following areas of significance: ARCHITECTURE: Completed in 1935 from plans drawn by the St. Louis firm of Hoener, Baum & Froese, Neighborhood Gardens is an excellent example of Modernistic domestic architecture. Although knowledgeable in the latest developments of International Style European housing projects, the designers and client chose materials associated with the fine local brick vernacular traditions. It is the imaginative handling of this brickwork combined with a thoughtful site plan and skillful layout of the apartments which give the project a durable distinction even more evident today than when it was constructed. COMMUNITY PLANNING: Neighborhood Gardens is a testimony to the dedica tion of a Settlement House’s efforts to demonstrate that low-rent housing could be well- designed and financially sound. The Association’s commitment to excellence is reflected in the Board’s support for a study of exemplars in Europe as well as financial contributions to assure that the project would be built. Dedicated to the premise that physical environment influences behavior, the Association was a pioneer in the attempts to rebuild American inner cities.

Sligo Iron Store Co. Buildings, 1301 N. Sixth St. (4/21/10)

Lately known as McGuire Moving & Storage

The  Sligo Iron Store Co. complex is located just north of downtown St. Louis, Missouri on a triangular shaped parcel of land bordered on the south by O’Fallon Street, on the west by N. 7th Street, and on the north and east by Interstate 70 (formerly N 6th Street). Constructed primarily between 1902 to c. 1940, the Sligo Iron Store Co. complex is comprised of five buildings, four of which are contributing. The contributing buildings include all buildings historically associated with Sligo: five-story Main Office and Warehouse (1906), two-story Garage (1903 with 1923 alterations) and its one-story addition (c. 1940), two-story Machine Shop (1902 with c. 1917 alterations), and the five-story 7th Street Warehouse (1911). While constructed over a 40-year period, the contributing buildings share a common vocabulary of building materials and represent the prototypical construction techniques common in the early 20′ century. In 1959, a 2-story functionally unrelated Sporting Goods Factory was constructed to the north and that building was subsequently incorporated into the Sligo parcel. The Sporting Goods Factory is non-contributing due to its date and its construction for a functionally unrelated use.

Cass Bank and Trust Co., 1450 N. 13th St. (2/14/11)

July 2012

Constructed in 1927, the Cass Bank and Trust Building at 1450 N. 13th Street, St. Louis (Independent City), is a two-story Neo-Classical Revival style building sheathed in smooth limestone with a granite veneer base. On the primary (west) façade, monumentality is clearly emphasized by a dominating colonnade of eight squared Tuscan columns supporting a minimally embellished entablature. Recessed between the columns are large metal nine-light windows. Centered in the colonnade is a slightly projecting entrance topped by a cornice and elaborate crown featuring stylized stone eagles. The entablature consists of a plain architrave, frieze with bas relief medallions and a cornice lined with cylindrical guttae. The colonnade is flanked by two slightly projecting end blocks with tripartite division. The base contains three centrally grouped metal windows with a large twelve-light metal window in the shaft. The entablature is similar to that in the colonnade but with a more decorative frieze. In 1964, the bank constructed a raised concrete and brick addition for offices and drive-thru lanes. The upper two stories have inset bands of tall, narrow windows set in limestone surrounds. Though the addition is a modern design, the building’s two primary decorative elevations and the interior banking hall with its elaborately chamfered ceiling, classical plaster relief work and its colossal Corinthian columns are essentially unaltered since its date of construction.

Future posts will expand on each of these four.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Will You Patronize McKee’s Gas Station or Grocery Store?

April 7, 2019 Featured, North City, Retail Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will You Patronize McKee’s Gas Station or Grocery Store?
 
Please vote below

It was three years ago (March 2016) Paul McKee announced plans for a gas station and a grocery store:

At a news conference under a white tent, he announced his latest plans Wednesday afternoon, this time for a grocery store and gas station. The GreenLeaf Market will be located at 1408 N. 13th St., not far from the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. Right across the street, McKee said, there will be the ZOOM Store — a gas station, store and car wash. (St. Louis Public Radio)

The ZOOM Gas opened last October, though not the cafe & car wash. The GreenLeaf Market opened last Monday, April 1st.

On Saturday the 13th both will hold a grand opening, 10am – 3pm. Both are the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Goodbye Mullanphy Park

April 5, 2019 Featured, History/Preservation, North City, Parks Comments Off on Goodbye Mullanphy Park
 

Friday’s are usually political post, often new bills being introduced at the Board of Aldermen that day. Those will resume when the 2019-20 session begins next week. Today’s post is a look at a wealthy St. Louis family, what’s left of the street & park named after them.

Mullanphy Street was named either for John Mullanphy or his only son, Bryan Mullanphy.

John Mullanphy (1758-August 29, 1833):

Mullanphy was the first millionaire in St. Louis. Born in Ireland, he enlisted the famous Irish Brigade during the French Revoltion. After emigrating to the United States, he opened a trading store in Frankfort, Kentucky. Here he met Charles Gratiot, brother-in-law of Auguste Chouteau (the founder of St. Louis.) Gratiot persuaded Mullanphy to come to St. Louis & he opened another trading store in that city. During the War of 1812, Mullanphy bought a large supply of cotton at low prices. After the war, he shipped cotton to England where it was sold at record high prices. He profited a million dollars which he invested in St. Louis real estate. This became the foundation of the Mullanphy fortune, which was later inherited by his 7 daughters. Much of his later life was spent in philanthropic work. (Find A Grave)

Bryan Mullanphy (September 16, 1809-June 15, 1851)

Philanthropist. He was the only son of John Mullanphy, St. Louis’ earliest millionaire. Educated in Europe, he was disinherited by his father because his expressions of generosity were considered to be “reckless habits,” and the great Mullanphy fortune was divided among his seven sisters. They later re-divided their interitance to include him. In 1840, he was appointed a Judge of the Circuit Court and in 1847 was elected Mayor of St. Louis. Never married, Mullanphy’s will was in litigation for 9 years before being declared void because it was written while he was under the influence of alcohol. Rather than allowing such evidence to be admitted to the court and spoil his public image, his sisters relinquished their claims to his estate. Mullanphy founded the Travelers Aid Society, St. Vincent De Paul Society, Mullanphy Hospital, Mullanphy Park and Playground, Mullanphy School, Mullanphy Immigrant Home and countless other bequests to the poor and unfortunate who came to St. Louis in his era. (Find A Grave)

My guess is the street was named after the father as it was platted prior to 1841. At the southwest corner of Mullanphy Street & 10th Street was Mullanphy Playground, later Mullanphy Park. This, I think, was named after the son who had served as mayor and died at only 41.

In the 1907 Civic League’s Plan for St. Louis they talk about the Mullanphy Playground after the Carr Square District, from page 45:

An opportunity exists for the establishment of a civic center, adequate for the present needs of this district, in conjunction with the municipal playground at Tenth and Mullanphy Streets. The property extending along the Mullanphy Street front of the playground from Tenth to Eleventh Streets, and now under lease by the municipality, should be purchased by the city. It should also purchase the small lot on Tenth Street, now under lease, and the houses on Eleventh Street, now owned by the Mullanphy Board. In these houses there should be established a gymnasium and public bathhouse, a branch reading room of the Public Library and a hall for public meetings. The playground could then be enlarged by dirt tilling and by the removal of the present temporary library and bath buildings to the permanent quarters.  

The October 1909 Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows the playground hadn’t yet been expanded.

Sanborn Fire Insurance map, October 1909. Sheet 015, Volume Three.

The houses on 11th remain, block 602 is divided into multiple parcels. Looking at historic aerials going back to 1955 it appears a large building replaced the residential buildings. The gymnasium? Whatever it was, by 1968 the building was gone. The old aerials showed the steps up to the elevated level field of the park.

I recall walking, biking, driving past this park in the early 90s when I lived nearby in Old North St. Louis. As 10th was a one-way street to exit I-70 to reach downtown, many people drove past this park for decades. People still drive past it, but on the other side.

Apple Maps still shows Mullanphy Park, though it never extended to Cass Ave.
Looking west on Mullanphy Street from 10th, it’s blocked by the on/off ramps for the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge that opened 5 years ago.
Looking south toward Cass Ave. you can see the corner steps up to the field that’s higher than the sidewalk.
Closer we see steps off 10th Street and an old stone retaining wall.
A sign next to a tree asks that it not be cut down, that someone is caring for the old tree.

This once-important neighborhood park is now owned by one of Paul McKee’s Northside entities. The surrounding neighborhood hasn’t existed for decades and the west side if now a massive on/off ramp.

Goodbye Mullanphy Park.

— Steve Patterson

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