I've heard it said before by many a St. Louis urbanist: southwest St. Louis, with its tidy rows of gingerbread Tudors and neo-Georgian colonials, is "quaint" at best. It's boring at worst.
Those that desire the red brick ambiance of the city's older innards will not be disappointed by Southwest Garden--a neighborhood that stretches to Hampton Avenue on the west, which is surely an urban-suburban demarcation in the minds of some. (For many, that boundary is anything west of Kingshighway, or even Grand).
Southwest Garden is an incredibly architecturally diverse neighborhood. The eastern section of the neighborhood, east of Kingshighway and south of Vandeventer, is mostly brown brick multi-families with Craftsman or even Spanish Colonial detailing. The subdivisions just west of Kingshighway have some larger homes in the American Foursquare, Romanesque, and Classical Revival styles. There are even two International style houses on Kingshighway itself within the neighborhood. The rest of Southwest Garden is home to frame shotguns that clearly belong to the Hill neighborhood's housing stock; tract houses built in the 1950s; "bungaloids" of the 1920s; and the aforementioned Tudors and Georgians that changed the landscape of St. Louis post-World War I but pre-modernist fever.
I like neighborhoods with a diverse housing stock, and St. Louis has some of the most variation within and between neighborhoods that I've ever witnessed in an American city.
Just a short three blocks from Hampton Avenue--the encroaching suburban ethos is palpable--sits the 5600 block of Reber Place. No, this isn't the part of Reber with the tree-lined median that you'll find just west of Kingshighway. We're talking really close to Hampton, here, folks!
It's my favorite block in the neighborhood. This block rests, humble and demure, allowing "cooler" South Side neighborhoods their unfounded disdain. It's no matter, though; 5600 Reber's quiet confidence is there for those that appreciate it.
Southwest City is not boring. If it is, it certainly doesn't look the part. If you need more than architectural evidence, I'll now point you to the Luminary Arts Center and the TreeHugger installation in Southwest Garden. Oh, and Sandrina's.
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