Friday, May 18, 2018

St. Louis County Missouri – Historic Homes and Places (#1)

It’s time to take a break from food/restaurant reviews!  While we were visiting Laurie’s family in the St. Louis area, Laurie’s sister Bonnie and her husband Bill indulged this blogger…driving around to several historic homes and other sites.

The David Keith House, ca. 1855, is located at 116 North Woodlawn Street in Kirkwood Missouri.  This Italianate style home with some Greek revival elements was innovative for its time.  It is the oldest known home in the area to use the distinctive siding and quoin system which emulated stone work.

Note: I had to look up the definition of a quoin.  They are blocks at the corner of a wall that either provide actual strength for the wall or to provide a feature creating an impression of permanence and strength.  The latter is true in this case. 

The Egbert W. Halsey Cottage is located at 126 East Washington Street in Kirkwood.  This one-story frame cottage in the Folk Victorian style is now owned by the YMCA and it’s used for offices.  The cottage was built ca. 1864.  It sits on land purchased by Egbert Halsey in 1863.  He was a real estate developer who also built the first school in Kirkwood.  The cottage is significant in that it’s associated with the ‘working class’ in Kirkwood.  There are relatively few surviving homes in this area that served the working class.
In this posting I focused on Kirkwood Missouri, a western suburb of St. Louis.  Kirkwood was founded in 1853.  The city is named after James P. Kirkwood, builder of the Union Pacific Railroad through the town.  It was the first planned suburb located west of the Mississippi River.

This is the Olive Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 309 South Harrison.  Formerly known as the Evangelische Friedens Gemneinde Lutheran Congregation, the church was built in 1896.  The Evangelische Gemeinde Lutheran congregation had broken away from the Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, so they built their own church.  There was a reconciliation in the 1920s and their former church was put up for sale.

The Olive Chapel of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Kirkwood in 1853, making it the second oldest church for this denomination west of the Mississippi.  The Olive Chapel purchased this church in 1923.  Significantly, this site was the location of Kirkwood’s first public education class for black students. 

The two and a half story John P. and Dora Blake House at 549 North Taylor Street is a virtually unchanged example of a high-style Craftsman design.  This handsome home, which was built ca. 1922, is situated on its original 1.25 acre lot.

Plans for a new community close to St. Louis were initiated following the St. Louis Fire and cholera outbreak that occurred in 1849.  At that time, cholera killed 10% of the residents in downtown St. Louis.  Kirkwood, a planned railroad community, was the first suburban municipality built outside St. Louis City boundaries. 

This frame Italianate style home located at 549 East Argonne in Kirkwood is called the Lizzie McLagan House.  It was built ca. 1863 for Lizzie McLagan.  She owned 40 acres and by 1878, the land had been subdivided.  Note the distinctively tall floor to ceiling windows.  The house is sheathed with wide shiplap wood siding with appropriate quoins at the corners to provide the impression that the home was built with stone.

In 1879, the house was purchased by Charles Black, who published the Clayton Argus Newspaper.  From 1972 until 1992, the building was owned by the Kirkwood Historical Society.  They used it as a museum and it was called “The History House”.  In 1922, the house once again became a private residence.

The George W. and Virginia Fishbach House is located at 440 East Argonne Street.  This large Greek Revival Style home was built in 1867 and the exterior looks much as it did back in the 1860s.  At that time, it occupied the entire city block.

George Fishbach came to St. Louis to practice law.  Instead he became a newspaper reporter and editor.  By 1872 he owned the Missouri Democrat Newspaper.  He sold it in 1875 to the owners of the Globe who then merged the two papers into the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.  That paper continued in operation until 1986. 

This is the Romanzo N. Bayley House at 419 East Argonne Street.  This very early Italianate style home was constructed on a 20 acre lot back in 1858.  It now occupies about 1.25 acres.  A 2-story carriage house that dates back to at least the late 1890s is situated behind the house.  Most of the homes during this era were clad in beveled wood siding but this home was built using clapboard.

Here’s a bit of Kirkwood Missouri’s history to close out this posting.  In 1850, H. W. Leffingwell and R. S. Elliot bought land 14 miles from downtown St. Louis.  At the same time, James P. Kirkwood was laying out a route for the Pacific Railroad.  Coincidence…I think not!  In any case, when the railroad reached the community in 1853, the developers sold lots for the Kirkwood Association.  The original town plat included quarter section blocks and industrial development was prohibited. 

A Richardson Romanesque style railway station was built in Kirkwood in 1893.  That station, which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places has become a symbol of the town and it’s currently an active Amtrak stop.   For a number of photos and to learn more about this active railroad depot, you can check out my previous posting at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I love these old and beauty homes David, like always I really enjoy yours shots! hugs!