Central West End


Housing and Architecture

Central West End is primarily a residential area with an intermittent mixture of commercial, industrial and institutional uses. With the exception of large single family homes in private streets and along the main boulevards, the residential buildings are principally apartments, flats and rooming houses. The flats and rooming houses are located in off-the-boulevard areas north and south of Lindell. Large apartment buildings are generally located on Lindell or West Pine Boulevards or at some other intersections such as Newstead and McPherson. A concentrated section of large and medium sized apartments is situated along Pershing Avenue from Union to DeBaliviere and on Waterman, west of Belt Avenue. Another area of multiple dwellings is along Delmar west of Union and on Clara south of Delmar. Some of the large apartment hotels such as the Gatesworth, Congress and Senate, have been converted into domicilliary homes for the aged.

The east side of Kingshighway, facing Forest Park, presents a distinguished skyline of fine apartment and hospital structures. Some of the large single family structures in the area between Newstead and Vandeventer have been converted into multiple occupancy uses such as rooming houses. A trend toward the replacement of large houses by high-rise apartments and nursing homes has been occurring on West Pine and to a lesser extent on Laclede Avenue.

None of the old houses that appear in this area in the 1875 pictorial atlas has survived until the present. The oldest houses still extant date from the early 1890's, and many from that period have been supplanted for many years. One of the first to go was the William K. Bixby mansion which occupied the present site of the Chase Hotel until about 1920. Typical of the demolition activity which has become prevalent since the 1920's was the wrecking of five large houses in the 4400 block of Lindell in 1960. These included #4499, built in the nineties for E. E. Stanard, head of a milling firm; #4487, a three story, rough cut, brown stone mansion, formerly the residence of the Goltra family; and #4475, once the home of James G. Cahill an organizer of the St. Louis Stock Exchange.

On the south side of the street, two mansions were razed to make way for the headquarters of the Optimist Club International. These were #4490, for many years the home of the founder of the Lammert Furniture Company; and #4498, which was the old August Gehner home. Houses such as these contained as many as sixteen rooms with grand staircases and oversized halls. Paneled living rooms, bedrooms with fireplaces, marble bathrooms and servants' quarters in these houses were symbolic of an opulent by-gone era. Another factor influencing demolition of the large houses was economic, that is razing to save taxes and maintenance costs. An excellent surviving example of the large houses of this period is the official residence of the Catholic archbishops of St. Louis at 4510 Lindell Boulevard. It was completed in 1894, as the home of William F. Nolker, a prominent banker and brewer.

After his death in 1906, the house was sold to Julius S. Walsh who resided there until 1923. In the following year the large gray stone mansion was purchased by the Archdiocese of St. Louis for the home of the then Archbishop John J. Glennon. Several older apartment buildings in this area have been converted into condominiums, including the A.B.C.D. apartments at Kingshighway and Laclede and the Pierre Chouteau at 4440 Lindell. A new condominium project is underway in the 4500 block of West Pine. The 4400 block of Laclede Avenue has been rehabilitated into a block of restored single family residences, Laclede Place.

West of Kingshighway, Lindell Boulevard faces Forest Park with a row of distinguished mansions, most of which were built prior to 1920. Typical of these is the one at #5115 which was designed for a daughter of James B. Eads, by architect James P. Jamieson, and #5145 to which an art gallery was added by Breckenridge Long in 1917, after the design by Guy Study. To the north of Lindell, extending from Kingshighway to Union Boulevard, are Portland and Westmoreland Places. These private streets contain some of the City's finest examples of residential architecture, most of which were built between 1890 and 1930. Some typical examples include #1 Westmoreland Place, which was designed for J. D. Van Blarcom in 1895 by architect W. Albert Swasey.

Later it was the home of J. C. Moon, a pioneer auto manufacturer. At #16 is a house in the French Gothic style designed in 1914, by James P. Jamieson, and #23 was designed in the Federal style by architect Gale E. Henderson in 1952, one of the most recent built in the Place. The Italian Renaissance style mansion at #1 Portland Place was designed in 1909, by Tom P. Barnett for Edward A. Faust. It is notable for its entrance hall with twin curving stairways inspired by those in the palace of Lorenzo de Medici. At #40 Portland Place is a large home built for George Warren Brown, the shoe manufacturer, in 1897, after designs by St. Louis architect Theodore C. Link. Entrance gates on Kingshighway for Portland Place were designed by Link, while those at Westmoreland were the work of Eames and Young.

West of Union Boulevard, said to have been so-named by adjacent property owners who were Northern sympathizers during the Civil War, are the private streets of Kingsbury Place and Washington Terrace. They were platted in the early 1890's for the Bell Place Realty Company by Julius Pitzman and are also notable for their entrance gates on Union. The Washington Terrace entrance was designed in 1894 by George R. Mann and Harvey Ellis. White stone classic style gates and a fountain at Kingsbury Place were completed in 1908 from the design of Barnett, Haynes and Barnett. A nude bronze statue of 'Awakening Spring' which graces the center of the ensemble is the work of sculptress, Clara Pfeiffer. Pitzman, the well-known surveyor built his home at #6 Kingsbury Place in 1901 and was the innovator of the center parkway design used on many of these private streets.

At the southwest corner of Lindell and Union in Forest Park, is the former park commissioner's residence. This Victorian style house, with fourteen foot ceilings, was built about 1877.

Elsewhere in the Central West End are several beautiful streets which feature large architecturally distinguished houses. Among these are: Westminster, from Boyle to Taylor; Maryland Avenue, from Newstead to Euclid; Waterman, from Union to Belt and Pershing, Hortense and Lenox Places. Of special interest here is #4446 Westminster Place, the boyhood home of author T. S. Eliot and the house at #2 Hortense Place, which was the home of Major Albert Bond Lambert, for whom the municipal airport is named.

Fullerton's Westminster Place Addition, which was developed in the 4300 and 4400 blocks of that street in 1891, is especially rich in fine residential architecture. Most of these mansions were designed by such well-known St. Louis architects as W. Albert Swasey, Barnett, Haynes and Barnett and Weber and Groves. These houses are examples of the finest abodes of the affluent at the turn of the century and many have been restored to their former high standard.