Fairgrounds


North St. Louis in 1875

An interesting overview of North St. Louis and the Fairground area in 1875 is provided by Compton and Dry's pictorial atlas of St. Louis, drawn from an aerial perspective. At this period, twenty years after the establishment of the St. Louis Fair, the area was still largely rural with intermittent groups of houses in scattered developed sections. The most intensive buildup was in the section north of St. Louis Avenue to the Fairgrounds and west of Grand to Prairie Avenue. It had been subdivided in the 1850s as Page and McPherson's Suburban Lots and as Jesse Lindell's First Addition. Within it were such landmarks as Chris Von der Ahe's saloon and the St. Louis Baseball Park. West of Prairie Avenue are shown fenced farm lands and orchards with groups of houses at Clay and Ashland Avenues and along the northside of Natural Bridge Road west of the Fairgrounds. A settlement of small houses is shown on Lambdin Avenue between Ashland and Labadie. The Fair itself was in its prime period in the middle 70s and its grounds are shown as well occupied by two amphitheaters, numerous buildings and with a half mile track in its western portion. North of the Fairgrounds and on both sides of Grand Avenue, several lakes and sink holes are to be seen amid a scattered mixture of industrial and residential structures. Beyond this area, westward, are the large estates of Walker R. Carter and Benjamin O'Fallon, with large Victorian mansions set in wooded areas of farm lands and orchards. East of Grand Avenue at St. Louis and Glasgow is a landscaped area called Lindell Park, reaching several blocks northward. North of it, as far as Davis (now Palm) Street, are farm lands and a narrow lake. A well built up neighborhood of medium sized houses is shown between Davis and Natural Bridge Road. North of this is an area with streets along which are rows of trees, but no houses. Two or three blocks of houses are in a tract southwest of Glasgow and Kossuth Avenues. North of Kossuth is the large plant of the Union Press Brick Works and beyond it is another open area with a series of small lakes. In the western part of the Fairground area, along Natural Bridge Road, the best developed subdivisions in 1875 were White Place and North Cote Brilliante. Two of the largest estates in the latter area were those of James Patrick and John Hogan. On the east side of Papin (Marcus) Avenue, north of St. Louis was the Union Chapel and north of it, at Greer Avenue, was the large house of Captain William Blake. Southeast of Natural Bridge to Kingshighway, in North Cote Brilliante, is a well built-up section of stores and houses along Natural Bridge, near the horse car line terminus. North from there, along the east side of Kingshighway, were several farm estates and at Florence and White Avenues, now Newstead and San Francisco, is the Ashland public school. At the northwest corner of White and Margaretta, the large mansard roofed house of Rollin Richmond is shown set among a grove of trees. Between it and the Shreve homestead, about at the present intersection of Taylor and Penrose, is an area of cultivated fields. North of that, to Florissant, is shown a large and well wooded uncultivated area. A landmark at the southwest corner of Kingshighway and Natural bridge was a hotel called the Four Mile House. From this description it can be seen that the Fairground area of a century ago, at about the time it became a part of the City of St. Louis, was already on the verge of attaining its later state of development.