Built St. Louis > > Midtown > > Grandell Square

The first of the two houses is the Lionberger house, constructed in 1886 and designed by the firm of Boston's reknown H.H. Richardson. The extent of Richardson's personal involvement with the project appears somewhat uncertain; the the same year the plans were drawn.

In 1894, the house was expanded by his successor firm; the addition is clearly distinguished by the darker brick used. The alterations changed what had been an asymetrical composition into a somewhat unanimated symetrical design. The house was sold in 1907 to a law college, then to a cooks' union, and finally in 1999 to redevelopers who at last were were seeking a new use for the building.

Further west is a stronger indication of the history of the rest of the block. The Meriweather House, a solitary town house, now stands surrounded by vacant lots; it long faced an uncertain future. In 2006, renovation work began.

This house stood next door in the 1990s, but was demolished by the early 2000s.

Steps leading to nowhere tell the tale of the house's former neighbors.

The final surviving house stands here, at 3740 Grandel. It is occupied, with the exterior in good condition. It is cloaked and hidden by trees for much of the year. The curving porch wall is curiosity seen on a number of St. Louis houses.

Image courtesy of Kevin Kieffer.

The decimation of the streetscape is par for the course in this area. The surviving stretches along Grand and Lindell stand out all the more because they are surrounded by sights like this one, streets that are now more field than city.

Looking across disused parking lots and vacant sites, the Veterans' Administration hospital complex looms in the distance. The buildings replaced the Vandeventer Place, the most posh and famed of St. Louis's many private gated streets. Vandeventer Place was obliterated in two portions -- the first in 1948 to clear land for the VA, then the remainder to the west ten years later.

Further up the street, this sad house represents the fate of much of Midtown's infrastructure. Tempting though it may be to simply bulldoze it and be done, the area will never truly regain its soul till small buildings and residences like this are once again common on its streets.

Image courtesy of Kevin Kieffer.

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Image courtesy of Kevin Kieffer.

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