Archive for September, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Save the Mullanphy Emigrant Home

Above: the Mullanphy Emigrant Home, at 1609 N. 14th Street, after it opened in 1867.

Below: the Mullanphy building after severe wind gusts hit the south wall on April 2 of this year.

After five months of negotiations and countless conversations with supporters in the public and private sectors, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group now has a contract to acquire the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building so that the wall could be re-built and the building preserved for a future redevelopment.
The Mullanphy building is the anchor for the Mullanphy National Historic District at the southern end of Old North St. Louis, just north of downtown. Designed by prominent architects George Barnett, who also designed the Missouri Governor’s mansion, and Alfred Piquenard, who helped design the Illinois and Iowa State Capitol buildings, the Mullanphy building is one of only two Italianate civic buildings left in the City of St. Louis. Built during a decade in which the city’s population was nearly doubling, the Mullanphy building provided transitional housing to waves of new Americans until they could get settled and start their new lives in St. Louis.

After the city initially issued a demolition order in April, ONSLRG mobilized support to reverse that order and pursue stabilization of the building. Since April, ONSLRG has received help from the Mayor’s office, the Aldermanic President, Alderwoman April Ford Griffin, the Cultural Resources Office, the Land Reutilization Authority, Landmarks Association, Missouri Preservation and many individuals.

But, now that ONSLRG has the building under contract, the non-profit community-based organization needs to raise $100-150,000 to pay for urgent stabilization before another dangerous storm comes through or winter weather arrives. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP:

1) send a tax-deductible contribution (of any amount from $10 to $100,000) made payable to “ONSLRG” (with “Mullanphy” in the subject line of the check) to:
Old North St. Louis Restoration Group
2800 N. 14th Street
St. Louis, MO 63107
2) tell everyone you know about the building and why it’s important to save it;
3) send information about foundation or corporate charitable funds that may be appropriate to the address above or by calling or emailing the ONSLRG staff at 314-241-5031 or;
4) help ONSLRG spread the word, plan fundraising events, or research the building’s history and role in the development of the city by contacting the office at the addresses or phone numbers above;
5) stay tuned to this blog and/or the ONSLRG website ( for updates.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Summer Full of Activities
Although some of these photographs are of events that happened at various points in the summer, they haven’t been posted here yet. As they show, ONSL was alive with activity throughout the summer.

Above: A crowd gathers around Professor Tim Baumann of Missouri Valley College in front of Sts. Cyril & Methodius Polish National Catholic Church at 11th and Chambers. The Missouri Historical Society-sponsored tour of ONSL on Sept. 9 visited Sts. Cyril & Methodius, the home of John & Janie Burse, the North Market Place display house, and the Community History Museum in the ONSLRG office.

Above: On Sept. 8, the last Outdoor Movie Night of the season featured Akeelah & the Bee, with a pre-movie cartoon courtesy of Michael Allen & Claire Nowak-Boyd.

Above: On August 13 a diverse gathering of poetry fans and ONSL residents came out to the back yard of the North Market Place display home to celebrate poetry and to enjoy the flavors of ice cream sundaes from Crown Candy. The event featured poems by ONSL resident Bruce Smith and Jane Ellen Ibur and K. Curtis Lyle.

Above: The climactic scene of the film Flute Master IV: Spirit of Doom was shot on-location along the 14th Street Mall the weekend of June 10. The film was an entry in the 48 Hour Film Project and won an award for best costume design.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Revitalization in Progress
Photo of the Week

Just a couple blocks south of the 14th Street Mall is a prime example of what we can expect to see happening on the mall in 2007. The historic rehab of the vacant and burned out building at 2315 N. 14th (at North Market) is nearing completion and is yet another product of the same development team that will be taking on the 25 or so buildings along and adjacent to the 14th Street Mall: co-developers Old North St. Louis Restoration Group & RHCDA, and general contractor E.M. Harris Construction Co.

2315 N. 14th BEFORE Rehab2315 N. 14th nearing completion of rehab, as of this morning.

-posted by Sean Thomas

Friday, September 1, 2006

Coming Soon:
A Miracle on 14th Street

This past Tuesday evening a good mix of ONSL’s diverse population filled the seats at the fellowship hall of True Gospel Temple to hear about plans for transforming the 14th Street Mall into the type of “town center” that every neighborhood is going to wish it had. It’s been a long time coming, but the new plans represent a fulfillment of a community vision that has been taking shape over many years.

On March 26, 1977, the 14th Street Mall was formally dedicated as a pedestrian mall with great fanfare and high ambitions of reviving the declining commercial district. Unfortunately, the plan failed miserably. What once was a thriving and well-loved commercial corridor became a ghost town of vacant, deteriorating buildings. Over the past twenty-plus years, residents of Old North St. Louis have contributed huge amounts of time and thought to numerous meetings and visioning sessions to create a redevelopment plan for the failed mall.

All of these plans got nowhere, however, due to a lack of site control. Too much of the mall has been owned by too many separate owners to get anything accomplished — and nobody had the funds to acquire the properties.

Now, all of that has changed. After more than a year-and-a-half’s worth of negotiations and property acquisitions, we finally can talk about this major development that will shape the direction of Old North St. Louis for generations to come. Because we’ve been inundated by predatory property speculators, we didn’t want to draw any more attention to this neighborhood while we were in the midst of delicate discussions with property owners along and adjacent to the 14th Street pedestrian mall. But on Tuesday, August 29th, we announced to the community that their hopes and dreams for the 14th Street Mall are really going to come true.
Sitting side-by-side were long-time residents and some of the 25 families who have moved into new homes and apartments along North Market and Monroe over the past 9 months. The main message of the meeting was that the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has established a partnership with the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance (RHCDA) to bring a mixed-use development to the mall. The street will be re-opened and more than 20 historic buildings along and adjacent to the mall will be rehabbed for a mix of residential, commercial, and retail uses. We’re still early in the process and expect to close on the financing in the spring of 2007 and construction to start shortly afterward. More details will be announced as the planning progresses.

–posted by Sean Thomas


Welcome to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group's blog. What's New in Old North chronicles the dramatic transformation under way in the neighborhood of Old North St. Louis. As a neighborhood just north of Downtown St. Louis, Old North is becoming a dynamic urban village of new and historic homes, a landmark eating establishment, beautiful community gardens, and a diverse, friendly, and engaged community.

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