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Archive for April, 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

14th Street: A Great Street in the Making

Day 29 of “45 Days in Old North” As we get closer to a start-up of redevelopment work along the 14th Street Mall, it’s worth considering some helpful guidelines from East West Gateway Council of Government’s St. Louis Great Streets Initiative:

Why Great Streets?


Great Streets can potentially exist anywhere – downtowns, residential neighborhoods, employment centers and so forth. What are Great Streets? The key characteristics to look for include:


1) Great Streets are representative of their places. A Great Street reflects the neighborhood through which it passes and has a scale and design appropriate to the character of the abutting properties and land uses.
2) Great Streets allow people to walk comfortably and safely. The pedestrian environment on, along and near the street is well-designed and well-furnished. The relationship between the street and its adjacent buildings is organic, conducive to walking, and inviting to people.
3) Great Streets contribute to the economic vitality of the city. Great Streets facilitate the interaction of people and the promotion of commerce. They serve as destinations, not just transportation channels. They are good commercial addresses and provide location value to businesses that power the local economy.
4) Great Streets are functionally complete. Great Streets support balanced mobility with appropriate provision for safe and convenient travel by all of the ground transportation modes: transit, walking, bicycling, personal motor vehicles and freight movement.
5) Great Streets provide mobility. Great Streets strike an appropriate balance among the three elements of modern mobility: through travel, local circulation and access. The right balance varies with the function of the street and the character of its neighborhoods and abutting properties.
6) Great Streets facilitate placemaking. Great Streets incorporate within them places that are memorable and interesting. These may include plazas, pocket parks, attractive intersections and corners, or simply wide sidewalks fostering an active street life.
7) Great Streets are green. Great Streets provide an attractive and refreshing environment by working with natural systems. They incorporate environmentally sensitive design standards and green development techniques, including generous provision of street trees and other plantings and application of modern storm water management practices.

Many of these ideas have been incorporated into the plan for the ONSL’s “town center” along the former 14th Street Mall. Watch this space for updates on how these concepts are coming to life in Old North St. Louis.
Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mullanphy Benefit Concert Flyer

Day 28 of “45 Days in Old North”

As promised on Friday, here is the flyer for the Mullanphy preservation benefit concert, scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 at Christ Church Cathedral:
Lydia Ruffin has been called “one of St. Louis’ best folk musicians,” and the Flying Mules have been known to play everything from bluegrass to jazz, and from music with rock overtones to the gospel blues.
The cost is $20 in advance (call 241-5031 or 421-6474) or $25 at the door. If you’d like your own pile of flyers to mail or distribute to your fellow music-loving and/or historic preservation-minded friends, give a call to the ONSLRG office at 241-5031.
[UPDATE: Click HERE if you'd like to download and print your own copy of this flyer.]
Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pitching In & Cleaning Up in Old North St. Louis

Day 27 of “45 Days in Old North”

One distinguishing characteristic of a healthy and sustainable neighborhood is that the residents don’t just sit around and wait for other people to come in and fix things for them; residents of these neighborhoods pitch in and work with their neighbors to make their communities what they want it to be. In a demonstration of how this is happening in Old North St. Louis, residents from throughout the neighborhood took to the streets, alleys, parks and vacant lots today as part of the annual Operation Brightside clean-up.
The following photos show many of these ONSL residents taking action to beautify their neighborhood, with a bit of help from more than 100 St. Louis University students from the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

Above: Tom Tschetter, John Burse, John Bratkowski, Matt Fernandez, Barbara Manzara, and Courtney McDermott get ready to take work teams to different parts of the neighborhood.

Above: Gloria Bratkowski describing the various projects and dividing the the SLU students and other volunteers into different work teams.

Above: North Market Place homeowner Chris Blackwell leads a group of volunteers in cleaning up Jackson Park.

Above: ONSLRG intern Matt Fernandez leads a work team in cleaning up the soon-to-be redeveloped 14th Street Mall.
Above: Gloria Bratkowski and her work team get the Hebert Community Garden in shape for the Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour, two weeks from today (May 12). Just one more reminder to get your tickets at www.ONSL.org.

Friday, April 27, 2007

14th Street in the Business Journal; Updates on House Tour & Mullanphy Concert

Day 26 of “45 Days in Old North”

This week’s St. Louis Business Journal has two different articles that deal with our plans for the 14th Street Mall. The report by freelance writer Frank Fuerst (Rundown 14th Street Mall plans contingent on funds) focuses on the 14th Street development and how it fits into the larger context of ONSLRG’s mission and the work going on throughout the neighborhood. Barbara Geisman, Mayor Slay’s executive director for development, is quoted once again comparing ONSL with another historic neighborhood near downtown that has been revitalized in recent years: “We view Old North St. Louis as the Soulard of the 21st century.”

The other article (Early applicants get priority on housing bond allocations) addresses some of the financing challenges for projects, such as the 14th Street Mall redevelopment and others that had counted on tax-exempt bonds from the state. Despite a rather unpredictable decision-making process used by the Missouri Housing Development Commission, RHCDA president Stephen Acree is quoted as being optimistic that the mall development would receive the necessary private activity bond allocation this year.

House Tour Update

The Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour is just two weeks from Saturday! (That would be Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) It’s not too late to buy your advance tickets - for yourself and all of your friends, colleagues, family members, and anybody else who appreciates historic, urban neighborhoods undergoing community-wide transformation. For online ticket purchases, more information, or to volunteer to help, visit www.ONSL.org.


Mullanphy Update
And while you’re marking your calendar, your next opportunity to contribute to the preservation of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home will be a benefit concert on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will take place at Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust, in Downtown St. Louis, just east of the Central Library. The benefit concert will feature traditional and bluegrass music by Lydia Ruffin and The Flying Mules. The cost is $20 in advance (call 241-5031) or $25 at the door. We’ll post a flyer for the event within the next few days.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Farewell to a Neighborhood Institution

Day 25 of “45 Days in Old North”

Last night the St. Louis Board of Education voted to approve closing Webster Middle School at 2127 N. 11th Street. For more than a century and a half, the plot of land at 11th and Clinton has been dedicated to public education, and the school buildings that have occupied the site have served as architectural landmarks in the community. Now, the future of the building and the use of that space are unknown. The school system intends to sell the building.

The following description was prepared by the Old North St. Louis History Committee for the Old North St. Louis History Trail:

Clinton Place and Webster School
Clinton Place was established as one of the three circular spaces laid out by the founding fathers of Old North St. Louis–Major William Chambers, Thomas Wright and William Christy. This southernmost circle was set aside for a “seminary of learning,” a goal that was achieved with the construction of Webster School in 1852. Daniel Webster, the school’s namesake, was a famous statesman and orator, as well as a former visitor to the neighborhood. Fifteen years earlier, a reception in his honor had been held at William Christy’s mansion on Monroe Street.

Webster School, at 2127 N. 11 th Street, was among the first schools in the city to introduce German language instruction in the 1860s as part of an effort to increase attendance among immigrant children. The experiment in bilingual education was controversial, but it succeeded in boosting public school enrollment. Webster School, which hired two German language teachers in 1867, boasted attendance rates that were among the highest in the city. By the turn-of-the-century, enrollment figures had reached the point where a larger building was needed. In 1908, the School Board oversaw the construction of the present structure, which was designed by William Ittner, a nationally renowned architect. Standing four stories in height, the school building was enhanced by the use of textured brick in various shades of red.

When the St. Louis Board of Aldermen decided to abandon the plot’s unique design in 1932, Clinton Place became the first of neighborhood’s three circles to disappear. Now smoothed over by the modern necessity of a school parking lot, the original circular lot afforded to Clinton Place by the Old North St. Louis founders remains only in historical memory.

We’ll post the details of how and when Webster School will be sold when they become available.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Administrative Professional’s Day to Jane Smith

Day 24 of “45 Days in Old North” We’ve been told that one of the positive amenities of Old North St. Louis is the fact that we have an office that is open during regular hours and staffed by professionals who can provide helpful and timely information. A big part of that positive first impression is ONSLRG’s office manager, Jane Smith, who juggles most of the phone calls and greets visitors as they enter our front door , while also preparing financial reports for the Board, tracking property transactions, handling Citizen Service Bureau type of inquiries, processing thank you letters to contributors, and coordinating various other community projects, including volunteer deployment for our house tour, and so much more.

In addition to her calm and pleasant demeanor, it helps that Jane has lived in the neighborhood for about 30 years, thus giving her the perspective of somebody who knows a lot of the behind-the-scenes stories about the community. So, the next time you stop by or call in to the ONSLRG office, be sure to thank Jane for holding it all together.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Other Private Investment in the ONSL Rehab Market

Day 23 of “45 Days in Old North”

Above: 2831 N. 14th Street is being rehabbed for an owner-occupant and a for-sale unit.
Above: 2825-29 N. 14th Street is being renovated for three for-sale units.

Above: the vacant buildings at 1204 and 1208 Hebert Street are being rehabbed by Character Homes of St. Louis.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Discover Some Good Books in ONSL

Day 22 of “45 Days in Old North”

Thanks to the initiative of Old North St. Louis resident Peter Swietlicki, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office is now a BookCrossing crossing zone. If you’re confused about the concept, the BookCrossing.com website offers the following definition:

bookcrossing
n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. (added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)

So, if you enjoy books, stop by the ONSLRG office at 2800 N. 14th Street to see what’s in the bin - and if you find something you like, take it home and read it, then set it free for someone else to discover. And if you have a book that you’d like to share, register it at BookCrossing.com, and then drop it off at our crossing zone. As of this writing, the ONSLRG crossing zone has more books “recently released into the wild” than any of the other 70+ registered crossing zones in the St. Louis area.
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day from Environmentally-Friendly ONSL

Day 21 of “45 Days in Old North”

In honor of Earth Day, it’s worth noting how environmentally-friendly life in Old North St. Louis is. Recently the U.S. Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council announced a rating system for neighborhood development projects to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) designation. The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system is in the pilot phase, but the published guidelines read like a description of Old North St. Louis.

Among the principles and characteristics of a neighborhood with good environmental design included in the LEED guidelines are: diversity of housing types, affordable rental housing, affordable for-sale housing, diversity of uses, compact development, bicycle network, school proximity, housing & jobs proximity, reduced automobile dependence, walkable streets, access to public spaces, access to active spaces, and reuse of historic buildings.

ONSL possesses all of these, but for today, consider the reduced automobile dependence criterion. ONSL is a neighborhood where it actually is convenient to use alternative transportation methods to access the region’s primary employment center and a multitude of shops, restaurants, & entertainment venues. Residents of ONSL enjoy walkable streets and many commute to work and other destinations by bike and public transit. The neighborhood is served by two bus routes (#30 - Soulard, and #74 - Florissant) that pass through the neighborhood and another (#40 - Broadway) just a quarter-mile east of the neighborhood.

Watch for more details later on plans for Bike St. Louis bike lanes through ONSL, which will make it even easier for residents and visitors to get to the Riverfront Trail and other sites throughout the region served by existing bike lanes.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Check out SaveMullanphy.org

Day 20 of “45 Days in Old North”

The very cool and user-friendly website for the campaign to preserve the Mullanphy Emigrant Home is up and running with full content, including details on the history and significance of the building, a lot of pictures, background on who Bryan Mullanphy was, the growing list of groups that have signed on as members of the Historic Mullanphy Alliance, and information on how to support the cause and get involved. Check it out at www.SaveMullanphy.org.
Friday, April 20, 2007

A Dynamic & Engaged Community - with Support from Far & Wide

Day 19 of “45 Days in Old North”

Oh what a difference a year can make! Less than a year ago, the southwest corner of N. 14th and North Market was a construction zone. Not long before that, the building there was just another indicator of abandonment and decay - a bricked-up and boarded, fire-damaged vacant building, as the photo from a couple years ago shows: But last night, the space at 1400 North Market served as a demonstration of what can happen with targeted investments that build upon a community’s assets. The former eyesore not only had been transformed into a symbol of ONSL’s attractive and historic architecture, the space within the building was alive with the type of activity that sustains a community for the long haul.

Last night the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group hosted one of its periodic Old North St. Louis Quality of Life Meetings at 1400 N. Market. Residents from throughout the neighborhood came together to discuss concerns and share ideas for continuing the neighborhood’s path toward full revitalization. The crowd reflected the diversity of the community, with neighbors who were young & old; African American, white, & Hispanic; renters & homeowners; newcomers & longtimers - all working together toward a common goal. The meeting was facilitated by ONSLRG board member Natasha Smith Ramey, with assistance from fellow board members Johnnie Owens and Tino Ochoa. Also in attendance were Capt. Gwen Spicer, commander of the 5th District police, Lt. Oldani of the 4th District, Kathryn Woodard of the Neighborhood Stabilization Office, and representative of the Stray Rescue organization.

Meanwhile, across town at Steven Fitzptrick Smith’s The Royale on South Kingshighway, ONSL residents and friends from outside the neighborhood gathered to raise funds for the preservation of ONSL’s Mullanphy Emigrant Home building. The following photo is just a sampling of those in the crowd and a glimpse of the enjoyment had by all

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Almost Too Much to Report in Old North St. Louis

Day 18 of “45 Days in Old North”

Check back tomorrow for pictures of this evening’s Old North St. Louis Quality of Life meeting at the rehabbed community space at 1400 North Market and the fund raising gathering at the Royale on Kingshighway for the Mullanphy fund. In the meantime, enjoy some more photos of the redevelopment and positive momentum within eyesight of 1300 Monroe.


Above: The building in the background, 1300 Monroe, was featured in Tuesday’s New York Times as symbolic of the city’s de-population. In the foreground is one of the historic buildings that have been rehabbed by a partnership of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and RHCDA, symbolizing the re-population of Old North and the City.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ONSL in New York Times and More Opportunities to Help Mullanphy

Day 17 of “45 Days in Old North”

Yesterday’s edition of the New York Times has an article about the most recent Census Bureau population estimates for the City of St. Louis: Hopes for a Renaissance After Exodus in St. Louis. The picture accompanying the online version of the story shows a view toward the Arch with a vacant building at 1300 Monroe in the foreground (I haven’t seen a print copy, so I’m not sure if it’s also in there). While it’s nice to capture the attention of an esteemed publication, such as the New York Times, it’s unfortunate that ONSL’s very real transformation didn’t fit their storyline.

Out of the picture, but right on the same block as that vacant house, visitors to the neighborhood can find three new homes that have been built and sold, and another house under construction. Just one block to the north are four occupied apartments that were recently rehabbed, just down the street from six completed new houses and three others under construction. Within 2-3 blocks of that same vacant house are eight other historic buildings that were converted from vacant, crumbling shells into award-winning, beautifully restored apartments for 28 other families, AND six more completed, sold and occupied new homes and two more under construction. So, if NYT reporter Susan Saulner would be up for a return visit, we hereby invite her and her photographer back to capture the whole picture of this neighborhood’s revitalization - and the contributions ONSL is making toward the repopulation of the City.
Above: a new home nears completion at 1201 North Market, with construction in progress for another new home at 1209, next door to the recently rehabbed apartments at 1211-15 at the left.

In other news If you missed the Mullanphy fundraiser this past Saturday night, you will have at least two other opportunities, including one tomorrow evening. Courtesy of our friends at Ecology of Absence:

Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, Claire Nowak-Boyd and Michael Allen and the Historic Mullanphy Alliance invite you to the MULLANPHY SALOON to benefit the effort to rebuild the historic Mullanphy Emigrant Home and for informal conversation on urban issues featuring music by DJ Akita San Thursday, April 19, 7:00 - 9:00 PM, at The Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway.

What? The Historic Mullanphy Alliance will be collecting donations toward stabilization of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home, and the Royale is graciously donating $1 from every purchase of a Schlafly product to the effort. Come together with fellow citizens to help an important effort and for informal discussion on architecture, history, politics and anything else on your mind.

And, another event will take place four weeks from today. The following description comes to us courtesy of Landmarks Association:

Mullanphy Benefit Concert
Wednesday May 16 - 7:30 p.m.
Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust

Put your hands together (in applause) and help rebuild the fragile walls of the irreplaceable Mullanphy Emigrant Home (1609 N. 14th Street). The benefit concert features traditional and bluegrass music by Lydia Ruffin, The Flying Mules and other generous guest performers. The cost is $20 in advance (call 241-5031) or $25 at the door.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mullanphy Funds Being Put to Good Use

Day 16 of “45 Days in Old North”

As the following photos show, construction crews from E. M. Harris Construction Co. were on the job today at the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building. Thanks to the generosity of about 120 individuals, businesses, and organizations, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has collected over $20,000 in the two weeks since the most recent damage to the Mullanphy building. The fundraiser at the Bottleworks on Saturday evening generated approximately $13,500 from everybody who joined us there or sent in a check with their regrets, and we were thrilled to receive a $5,000 loan from Landmarks Association last week.

We still have a long way to go toward raising the funds necessary to cover all of the shoring and re-building costs, but the outpouring of community support has lifted our spirits, strengthened our resolve, and given us the means to pay for the material and labor associated with the immediate stabilization.



Thank you to all who’ve contributed to the cause so far. There are too many of you to name in this space, but watch for a more thorough acknowledgement of our supporters coming soon at www.SaveMullanphy.org.
Monday, April 16, 2007

ONSLRG is "What’s Right with the Region!"

Day 15 of “45 Days in Old North”

Mark your calendar now for an opportunity to celebrate all of the positive news coming out of ONSL - and to share it with the rest of the world. On Thursday, May 10, Focus St. Louis will present the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group with one of its annual “What’s Right with the Region” Awards at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Here’s how Focus St. Louis describes the event on their website:

Are you ready for a healthy dose of good news about St. Louis? The tenth annual “What’s Right With The Region!” awards celebration returns tothe Sheldon Concert Hall on May 10, 2007 … Each year this event showcases the successes of individuals and organizations who are making the bi-state region a better place to live, work, and learn.

You can register and join us for the event through the Focus St. Louis website or by phone: 314-622-1250, ext. 101. Tickets are $35 each.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Always More History to Discover in ONSL

Day 14 of “45 Days in Old North”

One of the fascinating aspects of a neighborhood that has been around as long as Old North St. Louis is that there is always something new to discover about its past. Plans for an ONSL History Trail grew out of a 3-year partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis and will some day include actual markers at the sites of interest throughout the neighborhod. In the meantime, we have history trail brochures that can be picked up at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office (2800 N. 14th Street at St. Louis Avenue) - and you can click on the link above and in the right column of this page to view the trail and details of each site.

Another tool for documenting ONSL’s rich history is the History Happened Here project of the Missouri Historical Society. Another discovery on the MHS website is a photograph from 1908 of a long-gone public pool, curiously enough called the Mullanphy pool because of its location on Mullanphy Street between 10th & 11th. Enjoy this peak into the vibrant life of the neighborhood, about a century ago: Mullanphy Pool.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mullanphy Fundraiser a Great Success

Day 13 of “45 Days in Old North”

Tonight’s fundraiser for the Mullanphy Emigrant Home was a great success, with over $10,000 contributed by the more than 150 people who came out to support the endangered landmark’s preservation. The party’s over, but it’s not too late to send in your contribution t o “Mullanphy Emigrant Home” c/o Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, 2800 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63107; or online by clicking the button in the right column.

A few scenes from the party at the Schlafly Bottleworks:



Friday, April 13, 2007

Reminder: Your Chance to Help Save Mullanphy Tomorrow Evening

Day 12 of “45 Days in Old North”

The photo above shows the Mullanphy building in 1890 when used as a public school. This photo is courtesy of St. Louis Public Schools and is not to be reproduced or used without their approval.

Five and a half months ago Old North St. Louis Restoration Group took a leap of faith and purchased the endangered Mullanphy Emigrant Home so that the landmark could be preserved for a future redevelopment. Many advocates of historic preservation offered moral support and words of encouragement - but now we need more than words and pats on the back.

In the year since the original damage, ONSLRG has benefited greatly from contributed legal and architectural services from the Bryan Cave law firm and Rosemann & Associates architectural firm. E.M. Harris Construction Co. has donated project management and professional services, but we still have had to pay for acquisition costs, structural engineering reports, and for costs associated with the late January stabilization and shoring, specifically for supplies, equipment, and labor from subcontractors.

To help us raise the funds needed to pay for these costs and for repairing the additional damage from the March 31, 2007, storm, we invite you to bring a contribution to our fundraiser tomorrow (Saturday) evening from 5 to 7:30 at the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood. See the flyer for details at www.SaveMullanphy.org.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

NEW North St. Louis in St. Louis Commerce Magazine

Day 11 of “45 Days in Old North”

The April issue of St. Louis Commerce Magazine offers a glowing profile of ONSL with the title “The NEW North St. Louis.” The article notes that over the past 26 years, ONSLRG “evolved from an all-volunteer organization to a highly effective community development corporation with a professional staff and wide range of building activities.”
The article highlights the positive developments throughout the neighborhood, including those being implemented by ONSLRG and the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance at North Market Place and the 14th Street Mall, as well as home rehabs undertaken by individual homeowners: “Old North St. Louis…has turned into a hot bed of renovation and restoration. Scaffolding dots the landscape as craftsmen turn shells into showcases, temporary accommodations into homes. The feel of an urban village is palpable as residents mingle with workmen and future residents explore their alternatives.”

The full text of the article can be viewed online: The NEW North St. Louis.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Scenes from around Old North

Day 10 of “45 Days in Old North”

With all of the Mullanphy news recently, visitors to this site may be getting the impression that the only thing happening in Old North St. Louis is the effort to preserve the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building. While that is taking up a good portion of our energy and attention, there still is a neighborhood-wide revitalization going on. Enjoy a few glimpses of what that looked like today:

Above: Construction of the new home at 1201 N. Market is nearing completion, and the foundation is in place for the start of another North Market Place home a couple lots over.

Above: Confluence Academy’s expansion along N. 13th & Hebert is progressing rather rapidly.

Above: the homes at 1412 and 1416 Hebert are examples of the charming historic homes that are attracting young families to the Old North St. Louis community. Work at 1416 will be finished in time to be one of the homes that will be featured at this year’s Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour on Saturday, May 12. For more details on the tour, including how to buy tickets online, visit www.ONSL.org.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mullanphy on KMOV and Post Dispatch Commentary Page

Day 9 of “45 Days in Old North”

News about the Mullanphy building is popping up all over the place. For the second day in a row the Post-Dispatch has covered the Mullanphy preservation efforts, this time with a guest commentary: Mullanphy Emigrant Home welcomed and helped our ancestors.

Ray Preston of KMOV Channel 4 reported on the story on that station’s 6 p.m. newscast with some nice video footage from inside the building. The KMOV website also features some “raw video” of the building: Group hopes to restore historic building, revive declining neighborhood.

Meanwhile, we continue to make progress on the fund raising front. The Society of Architectural Historians have let us know that they will be making a $1,000 contribution to the cause, and we received a $5,000 no-interest loan from Landmarks Association of St. Louis to cover some of the immediate stabilization work necessitated by last week’s storm damage.

Just in case you’re curious what the inside of the building looks like, we’re happy to offer a few recent photos of our own:


Monday, April 9, 2007

House Tour Plans & Post-Dispatch Coverage of Mullanphy

Day 8 of “45 Days in Old North”

Mullanphy Update: We really are working on more than the Mullanphy preservation, but we keep getting good news, so we just have to pass it on. Today’s Post-Dispatch carried an article on the recent storm damage and the efforts to mobilize support for the preservation. The print version was on page 1 of the Metro section; the story can also be viewed online here: Efforts to save 1867 building are dealt extra blow by recent storm.

House Tour Update: We’re 33 days away from the annual Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour and still could use some volunteers to help at the registration area and to greet visitors at the dozen or so tour sites. Contact Jane at the ONSLRG office by phone at 314-241-5031 or by email: jane@onslrg.org if you’d like to help make the organization’s biggest event of the year a great success once again.

Advance tickets are still available for the low price of $10 at the ONSLRG office, at Crown Candy, or online via www.ONSL.org. Tickets will be available on the day of the tour, Saturday, May 12, for $12 at the registration area, St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street. The tour is made possible by generous support from several corporate sponsors, including lead sponsor Bank of America. And did we mention that a free ice cream cone from Crown Candy comes with each paid ticket on the day of the tour?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Other Blogs Talking about Mullanphy

Day 7 of “45 Days in Old North”

The efforts to preserve the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building have caught the attention of other bloggers around town. The following blogs are helping to spread the word about the significance of the building and how to help:

StLEvolution
http://www.stlevolution.blogspot.com/

Urban St. Louis Forum
http://www.urbanstl.com/viewtopic.php?t=2351

Ecology of Absence
http://ecoabsence.blogspot.com/

STL Rising
http://stlrising.blogspot.com/

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Mullanphy Preservation Update

Day 6 of “45 Days in Old North”

The community-based campaign to save the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building is picking up steam with support for the cause coming from throughout St. Louis and all over the country, including one contribution from Wisconsin received via PayPal today. The SaveMullanphy.org website is up and running (click on the link in the sidebar to the right) and will have details on the history and signicance of the building coming soon. The site currently has a copy of a flyer for a fund raiser scheduled for April 14 at the Schlafly Bottleworks on Southwest in Maplewood. The flyer was produced by the best graphic designer in the City of St. Louis, Nate Sprehe, who also happens to be an ONSL resident and chair of the ONSLRG Marketing Committee.
Plans for the event on the 14th came about rather quickly after a few of the members of the host committee decided that further stabilization work needs to get started as quickly as possible - and that the only way to do that is to raise a large sum of money very soon. Attendees at the April 14 event will be asked to contribute generously to the cause.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Crown Candy - the surest sign of Spring

Day 5 of “45 Days in Old North”
For the past few weeks, the crowds have been lining up out the door and into the street (across from the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office), waiting for their turn to get into Crown Candy Kitchen for their chocolate bunnies and Crown’s own specialty, the “Easter Monkey.” Many will stick around for a sandwich and a malt while they’re in the neighborhood. Crown Candy has been an Old North St. Louis landmark since 1913, and many of its customers are the children and grandchildren of customers who lived in or around ONSL long ago.

Next week the crowds will be a little smaller and parking a little easier, but with warmer weather and the approach of summer, this corner should be active again until next fall. And then, before long, business will start picking up for the Christmas season. Apparently candy, banana-chocolate shakes, and BLTs never go out of season or out of style.

For more on the Easter Monkey legend, click on the link for Crown Candy along the right column.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Mullanphy Story on KWMU

Day 4 of “45 Days in Old North”

Our local National Public Radio affliliate station, KWMU Radio (90.7 FM), has a story on their website about the precarious condition of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home and the campaign to raise funds for its preservation. Visit the KWMU site to view the story:
North St. Louis Landmark Suffers Second Wall Collapse in Saturday Storm

We continue to gather support and contributions for the cause from a range of sources and plans are in the works for an emergency fundraiser on Saturday, April 14, in addition to the May 16 benefit concert sponsored by Landmarks Association. In the meantime, if you’d like to send in a contribution via PayPal, click on the “Make a Donation” button at the top of the right column. For information on where to mail your check or to learn more about the building, click here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Building a Healthy Neighborhood

Day 3 of “45 Days in Old North”

One of the comments we often hear from skeptics is that ONSL won’t be able to thrive until we can attract a grocery store. While getting a full-service grocery store with affordable necessities, including healthy food, is a worthy goal, many desirable neighborhoods are doing quite well without a grocery store within their boundaries. Although most suburban subdivisions lack a grocery store within their boundaries or within walking distance, I wonder if developers of those subdivisions get told that homebuyers wouldn’t think of living there without a supermarket within a couple blocks.

Oddly enough, the south end of ONSL is less than a mile-and-a-half from City Grocers on Olive Street and all of the neighborhood is within a few miles of several other major supermarkets. Since most Americans get in their cars to go pick up their food and household products, a drive that only takes 5-7 minutes shouldn’t be much of a deterrent for prospective residents.

Nevertheless, ONSL is moving in the direction of becoming a walkable, mixed-use community where residents can find a variety of goods and services down the street or around the corner. The redevelopment of the 14th Street Mall will provide a number of new opportunities for retail and commercial tenants. Starting this summer, though, neighborhood residents will be able to find good, high quality, farm-grown produce right in the heart of ONSL, at 14th and St. Louis Avenue, across from Crown Candy Kitchen. Thanks to a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health and the initiative of the folks at New Roots Urban Farm, in collaboration with ONSLRG and several other community groups, the North City Farmers’ Market will run on Saturdays from June through October. So, mark your calendars and get ready to develop a habit of picking up your groceries on N. 14th Street. Watch for more details within the next month.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

ONSL Declared One of STL’s "Most Exciting Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods"

Day 2 of “45 Days in Old North”

The April 2007 issue of St. Louis Magazine takes note of how vibrant Old North St. Louis is becoming: “In the past five years, ONSL has come to be seen as one of St. Louis’ most exciting up-and-coming neighborhoods.” The section on Old North St. Louis is part of the magazine’s feature on “Where to Buy” in the St. Louis area. The authors present a very positive assessment of the real estate market in Old North St. Louis, although the accompanying photograph is of a house in Hyde Park, not ONSL, and the discussion of the neighborhood’s home sales ends with a reference to the price of a home near the DeMenil Mansion, which also is not in ONSL.

Since photos of actual ONSL scenes were not included, we’ll help out with a few from our files, including an impressive rehab, a scene from last summer’s Rehab Academy, and a glimpse of one the neighborhood’s beautiful private gardens. Take a look at what makes ONSL an “exciting” and “up-and-coming” neighborhood:



Monday, April 2, 2007

45 Days in Old North: Revitalization in Progress

The next 45 days will be pivotal in the ongoing revitalization of the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. In the course of the next 45 days we will:

  • secure sufficient funds or loan commitments for the preservation of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building (see the April 1 post);
  • welcome hundreds of volunteers from within and outside the neighborhood for the annual Operation Brightside Blitz neighborhood-wide clean-up on April 28;
  • receive a “What’s Right with the Region” Award from Focus St. Louis on May 10;
  • put the dynamic transformation of the neighborhood on display for several hundred visitors to our annual Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour on Saturday, May 12 (see flyer below - and we still have sponsorship opportunities available!);
  • enjoy a benefit concert coordinated by Landmarks Association for the Mullanphy preservation fund as part of Preservation Week, on May 16 at Christ Church Cathedral;
  • and all sorts of other exciting developments to be announced later.

So, stay tuned and check back for daily updates over the next 45 days on the comprehensive revitalization that is making Old North St. Louis a national model for sustainable urban neighborhood redevelopment.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

An Irreplaceable Landmark Needs YOU: Time’s Running Out for the Ellis Island of the Heartland

Old North St. Louis is a community that welcomes newcomers and celebrates diversity. That attitude is alive and well today, but it’s nothing new for the neighborhood that is home to the Mullanphy Emigrant Home, one of the oldest surviving buildings established to serve immigrants regardless of religion or nation of origin. Unfortunately, the irreplaceable historic and cultural landmark may not survive for much longer unless we can secure a significant amount of new contributions or a loan commitment by the end of this week. After further and more extensive storm damage yesterday, the “Ellis Island of the Heartland” is now in even greater danger of collapse. Twenty-five years before Ellis Island opened its doors as a port of entry for immigrants arriving in New York, the Mullanphy Emigrant Home welcomed New Americans to the growing nation’s heartland as they continued their search for a chance to start over. Driven from the homelands of their parents by disease, persecution or economic hardship, many of these individuals settled permanently in the rapidly expanding city of St. Louis. One-hundred-and-forty years later, the specific details of their stories have been lost, but the spirit of perseverance and hope for the future endures in Old North St. Louis.

It’s not too late to save this one-of-a-kind building, barring another demolition order from the city or another gust of wind. All it will take is money – or a commitment of money through personal, corporate or foundation contributions and/or a sizable loan commitment. So, now is the time – once again! – to send what you can and ask your employer, your wealthy relatives, and your favorite charitable foundation to support this worthy cause.

Please click on the “donate” button to the right or give us a call (314-241-5031) to find out more about this urgent effort.

Tax-deductible contributions - of any amount - can be sent to:
“Mullanphy Emigrant Home”

c/o Old North St. Louis Restoration Group
2800 N. 14th Street
St. Louis, MO 63107

WHAT'S NEW IN OLD NORTH

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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