Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5: Happy Things

St. Louis architecture, when you are talking about its city houses, is not something stunning and world-renowned, but it is...right. It feels right. St. Louis, you may recall, is a mess, a dirty "whore of a city" as my sister Colleen called it. But it's built on clay mines and most of its homes are red brick "masonry foundation" homes. And they feel right.

They vary from impressive stout foursquares like the one I used to live in to the tiny Tudor Revival I live in now. There are ancient flounder houses and two story and three story Second Empire dwellings. There are flat-roofed bungalows and a plethora of intact two- and four-family flat buildings of varying designs. All brick (some are stone fronted but the sides and back walls will be always be red brick), built onsite by master masons (including some in my ancestry), with decorative brick details added throughout.

The block I moved from, in Tower Grove, had 33 houses--7 two-families and 2 single family dwellings. All the single families were foursquares, built from plans, all identical (or mirror images) of each other. Tract housing of 1904...and yet each has its own bits and pieces that made it unique. Imposing three storied structure framed by sycamores and oaks.

The block I moved onto is on the edge of Holly Hills, a mix of Tudor Revivals like mine (think Hansel and Gretel houses) along with some Colonial Revivals and bungalows. Our alley backs onto Holly Hills Boulevard with fancier puffed up versions of the poor cousins we live in. But I love these. The outer walls are 3 feet thick and the doorways are arched. They are cute as flipping buttons and this one is mine.


  1. Fascinating. I would love to dwell in a Second Empire dwelling.

  2. Thank you so much for this. I am interested in architecture, and love to see the different designs and styles of houses. And yes, having a house that is yours makes it special.

  3. Tudor Revivals are cute as a button. My brother used to live in a house that looks like those.

  4. This is wonderful. Thanks for all the visual links!