A Preservation Plan for St. Louis
Part II:  Property Types

Period 1 - The Walking City (1820-1869)
Urban House Forms

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Vernacular Town Houses

Federal Vernacular Town Houses

Vernacular town houses displayed the same architectural styles as high style houses of the time, except the use of stylistic detail is muted, and floor plans are altered to accommodate more than one unit in the building. Few Federal vernacular town houses are left. Those that still exist are likely to be found in Old North St. Louis, Soulard and Carondelet neighborhoods. Most were demolished by commercial and industrial expansion in the earlier part of this century.

The row of town houses in the 1600 block of North 14th Street is representative of Federal vernacular town house design. The two and a half story brick row has the typical Federal elements: the windows are four-over-four, or six-over-six, with rectangular lintels above. The low hipped roof once had small, regularly spaced dormers; some have been removed. The simple corbelled brick cornice is characteristic of these early buildings. Each house in the row is two bays wide, with a door flanked by a single window, and contains two living units. The first floor apartment is entered from the front: the second floor by way of a porch on the rear. Tenants of the upper floor could reach the rear yard through a narrow, arched passage, called a mousehole. One can be seen at the left of the photo.

Italianate Vernacular Town Houses

Italianate vernacular town houses displaying the influence of the Italianate style were numerous in St. Louis during the Walking City period. Like the Federal vernacular, these houses were multi-family, and the expression of exterior decoration was restrained.

The Scott Joplin House, at 2658-60 Delmar Boulevard, is a four-family house, constructed about 1865. The Italianate vernacular building has six bays, with two sets of paired entrances, deeply recessed under round arches. Italianate influence is seen in the wood cornice with modest brackets, and the tall, narrow two-over-two windows under round arches on the first story and under segmental arches on the second. Urban House Forms

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