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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Old home on Virginia in Tower Grove East

Looking through the property database in the City, I found this very old house at 2347 Virginia in Tower Grove East. Anyone know more about it?

Its setback and rural cottage look and feel seem to corroborate the city's reported construction date of 1848. That was probably a good time to live that "far" outside the city. In 1849, much of the developed city would be destroyed in the Great Fire; to make matters worse, a cholera epidemic would kill thousands (10 percent of the city's population).

I have never seen this property before, and I know I've been down the street. I'll have to check it out next time I'm in town and get some photographs.

If you'd like a slightly better view than that City of St. Louis pic above, then click here, for now.

UPDATE [1/31/09 at 9:29 p.m.]: Oops! This property was featured on Landmarks Association's Most Endangered List in 2007. There is a much better photograph there, as well as a brief history. Thanks go to the ever helpful and knowledgeable Michael Allen of Ecology of Absence for this information.

Also, the much more clear photograph indicates an Italianate style--though the rural form is not in dispute. Landmarks notes an 1870 construction date. Again, I am going off of the city's database, which is known to be flawed.


Michael R. Allen said...

From Landmarks Association's 2007 Most Endangered Places list:

The *Andrew and Laura Scott Einstmann House at 2347 Virginia is a fine and rare example of an Italianate country house now enveloped in a dense city neighborhood. Built circa 1870 (the porch is more recent) for a wealthy commission merchant and his young wife of Southern descent, the house was designed as a semi-rural summer retreat from the city's heat and congestion-a fairly common practice by the elite. (Historical footnote: This particular family chose to winter in the great Southern Hotel on Washington Avenue. Andrew perished in the conflagration of 1877; Laura survived to claim that she and her mother were the only guests to escape.)

The now-deteriorating Einstmann House is clearly eligible for single site listing in the National Register. But since it falls outside the boundaries of the Tower Grove Heights National Register District, there is currently no protection from demolition or alteration. Vacant since 2001 and considered a problem property for some time, the house remains in the hands of a limited liability corporation that has so far resisted neighborhood efforts to either maintain it or sell it. LANDMARKS Researcher Andrew Weil (who did the primary research for the building) is in touch with the Tower Grove East neighborhood association and potential developers.

More here:

Matt M. said...

Thanks! I was looking for a better view of the building. But now, looking at Live Maps, it seems unmistakably Italianate (and therefore unlikely to be from the 1840s!).

I should have googled the address, at a minimum.

Thanks for the information. It looks to be a lovely house.

I just cannot believe though, looking at the map of historic districts, that there's a whole wedge of TGE that is completely historically undesignated, local or National Register.

Do you know why this might be so? Is a district expansion inthe works for an adjacent district (either Compton Hill or Tower Grove Heights)?

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