Archive for May, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Recent Media Reports about Old North St. Louis

During our break from blogging after 45 consecutive days, we never got around to posting some of the links for recent media reports about ONSL:

KWMU (90.7 FM) report on Mullanphy and Missouri Preservation’s Most Endangered Historic Places in Missouri (May 16);

An in-depth, 12+ minutes video interview on PubDef (May 10) about Mullanphy, as posted on YouTube;

KMOV-TV (Channel 4) report on Mullanphy & Missouri Preservation’s Most Endangered List (May 15);

Click HERE for a commentary posted by a visitor to the house tour on The people behind describe it as “a public photoblog where people with a love for the urban form, modern world, or a general appreciation of their environment gather to post stories, narratives, and photos of their favourite cities, hometowns, travels, or current locations.”

The post about ONSL includes a lot of good photos from the house tour and starts off with the following testimonial:

“Old North St. Louis is one of my favorite neighborhoods in St. Louis (or
anywhere) mainly because of the commitment that its community has to constantly making it a better place. ONSL suffered greatly to abandonment and decay. In the last few decades, people have been coming back to restore its buildings and its community. I went on the Old North St. Louis House and Community Tour on Saturday and got several pictures of the neighborhood.”

To read more and to see the photos, visit the post about ONSL.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Culmination of an Amazing 45 Days in Old North

Day 45 of “45 Days in Old North”

Today marks the last day in our 45 consecutive days of posts about the various happenings related to the Old North St. Louis revitalization in progress. As we expected, the past 45 days have been incredibly eventful. Among the highlights:

Another highly successful house & community tour (ONSLRG’s single largest day in terms of showing off the progress being achieved in the neighborhood and raising funds to sustain the work of the organization throughout the rest of the year).

A lot of positive media attention from:

  • Channel 4 (KMOV) News, on two separate occasions;
  • Channel 5 (KSDK) News;
  • KWMU (90.7 FM), at least twice;
  • Associated Press;
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch;
  • Arch City Chronicle;
  • St. Louis Magazine (which called ONSL “one of St. Louis’ most exciting up-and-coming neighborhoods”);
  • a lot of discussion on numerous blogs, in-town and as far away as Washington, D.C.;
  • St. Louis Commerce Magazine (which referred to ONSL as a “hot-bed of renovation”).

Successful fundraising events for the Mullanphy preservation:

  • the emergency beer & cheese reception at the Schlafly Bottleworks;
  • “Mullanphy Saloon” happy hour at The Royale;
  • the benefit concert tonight at Christ Church Cathedral (see below).

We received several awards, honors & recognitions from outside organizations:

  • “What’s Right with the Region” Award from Focus St. Louis;
  • “Most Enhanced Award” for the North Market Place Apartments from Landmarks Association;
  • Recognition of the Mullanphy building as one of the “10 Most Endangered Historic Places in the State of Missouri” by Missouri Preservation.

Efforts to preserve the Mullanphy Emigrant Home progressed on numerous fronts, some of which have been touched upon above, but also included:

  • the launching of the website;
  • ongoing recruitment of outside organizations to join the Historic Mullanphy Alliance;
  • additional construction stabilization work by crews from E.M. Harris Construction Co., and commitment of additional resources for labor, equipment, supplies, and material from contractors affiliated with the Masonry Institute of St. Louis.

And we continued to coordinate various community-based neighborhod improvement efforts:

  • Quality of Life meeting for neighborhood residents with police and city agency representatives;
  • the annual Operation Brightside neighborhood-wide clean-up.

All of the above reflect the broad-based and long-term approach to community development that relies on the coordinated and respectful efforts of board members, staff, community residents, and outside partners and supporters. We thank all who are helping to make Old North St. Louis a model for successful urban neighborhood revitalization! Watch this space for updates on this ambitious community initiative, although these posts may be on a slightly less frequent basis after today.

Now, one last plug for tonight’s benefit concert for the Mullanphy building at Christ Church Cathedral. Come on out at 7:30 p.m. and celebrate the achievements of the past 45 days and help ONSLRG launch the next phase of taking the Mullanphy building off the “Most Endangered” list. Tickets will be available at the door for $25 each (or whatever contribution amount you can afford).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mullanphy Once Again on Missouri Preservation’s "Most Endangered" List

Day 44 of “45 Days in Old North”

We went straight from celebrating the Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced Award” for the North Market Place Apartments back to working on the Mullanphy Emigrant Home, which will no doubt receive a “Most Enhanced Award” in a couple years. The first step, though, is preserving the building so that it can survive for a later redevelopment. To help us spread the word about the significance of the building and the urgency of receiving support for our efforts, Missouri Preservation has officially designated the Mullanphy building one of its 10 “Most Endangered Historic Places” in the State of Missouri for the second year in a row.

To further emphasize their support for our efforts, Missouri Preservation announced their 2007 list of endangered places at a press conference today in front of the Mullanphy building and included an invitation to tomorrow night’s benefit concert in their formal remarks. For the full list of “Most Endangered” historic places in Missouri, visit Missouri Preservation’s website.

Above: Dr. Cole Woodcox, Board Chairperson of Missouri Preservation, granting an interview prior to the start of the press conference.

Above: Donna Savarese from KMOV-Channel 4, interviewing Missouri Preservation Board member, Jeff Brambila.

Above: Maria Hickey of KWMU-90.7 FM waits for an interview on the 3rd floor of the Mullanphy building.

And speaking of plugs for tomorrow night’s benefit concert at Christ Church Cathedral, click on the link at the top of the column to the right for details.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Landmarks "Most Enhanced" Celebration for North Market Apts.

Day 43 of “45 Days in Old North”The dramatic visual effect of the transformation of 1436-1440 Monroe earned the North Market Place Apartments a spot on the cover of the program at the Landmarks Association “11 Most Enhanced Awards” ceremony earlier this evening. The redevelopment of the 9 historic buildings in Old North St. Louis was recognized by Landmarks with one of this year’s 11 awards, and many of our partners and community residents were present to celebrate the occasion.Above: The development team was represented by Kevin Scronce (E.M. Harris Construction Co.), SeanThomas (ONSLRG Executive Director), John Burse (ONSLRG Board President), Phil Krull (E.M.Harris Construction), and Mike Harris (CEO of E.M. Harris Construction). Also present but eluding the camera were RHCDA President Stephen Acree, Deputy Director David Dodson, and Project Manager Aaron Burnett, and ONSLRG Office Manager Jane Smith, and KAI architect Frank Loberbaum.Above: ONSL residents John Burse, Phil Valko, Susan Tschetter, Gloria Bratkowski, Tom Bratkowski, Dave Eisenbraun, Zoila Rendon, and Tino Ochoa. Above: ONSL residents Phil Valko, Bruce Smith, Tom Tschetter, and Dave Eisenbraun.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Scenes from the House Tour After-Party

Day 42 of “45 Days in Old North”

After a long day of hard work, members of ONSLRG got together last night at the home of Nate & Kathy Sprehe to celebrate another successful ONSL House & Community Tour .

And, while we’re at it, Happy Mother’s Day to all ONSL moms — many of whom came out to enjoy an evening with friends and neighbors after spending the day volunteering at the tour.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Scenes from the ONSL House & Community Tour

Day 41 of “45 Days in Old North”

This is what community building is all about: friendly people from diverse backgrounds and from all walks of life, in a cool and attractive place, welcoming visitors to their community - including some who may be future neighbors. Enjoy some scenes from the Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour.
Thank you again to all of the dedicated volunteers, homeowners who opened their houses to the visitors, the staff and Board of ONSLRG, partners from RHCDA, Joe Lonero for the trolley bus, Crown Candy for the free ice cream cones for the tourgoers, and our 25+ sponsors, especially tour presenter, Bank of America.
Friday, May 11, 2007

Scene from "What’s Right with the Region" Award

Day 40 of “45 Days in Old North”
Our office camera wasn’t functioning, so we owe a thanks to Zoila Rendon for taking this shot of the awardees in the “Fostering Regional Cooperation” category at the Focus St. Louis “What’s Right with the Region” Awards ceremony last night. ONSLRG was represented on the stage by Board Vice President Tino Ochoa (second from right) and Executive Director Sean Thomas (far right). In the crowd enjoying the festivities were the rest of the ONSLRG staff, a few other Board members, several community residents, and other friends and partners. Congratulations to all associated with ONSLRG whose hard work over many years earned this honor, and thank you to our partners at RHCDA for nominating us.

Now, don’t forget about the House Tour tomorrow! See for details.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sneak Preview of ONSL House & Community Tour

Day 39 of “45 Days in Old North”

One of the houses on this year’s Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour exemplifies what has been the bedrock of the neighborhood’s gradual transformation over the 26 years since ONSLRG was established - a lot of different individuals and families, sometimes with a little help from ONSLRG, putting in a lot of their own sweat, tears, and equity into homes that had suffered from years of neglect. The photo below shows 1416 Hebert, the vacant building at the far right, when work was underway to stabilize 1412 Hebert next door. Just a few years ago, the three buildings to the east of 1416 Hebert were vacant and deteriorating eyesores. ONSLRG was able to acquire 1408, 1410, and 1412 Hebert, and after investing some funds in urgent repair and stabilization work (including rebuilding the front wall at 1412), the organization was able to find buyers who had the resources and commitment to make the properties habitable and attractive again.

1408, 1410, and 1412 are now occupied by young families raising their children in the neighborhood, and 1416 is nearing completion of its rehab by James Cox. On Saturday, visitors to the ONSL House & Community Tour will get to see the inside of 1416. For now, though, we’ll offer a sneak preview:

Above: The original pine flooring on the first floor was meticulously restored and great care was taken to ensure that the new trim matched the original.

Above: Among the house’s environmentally-friendly features, bamboo flooring was installed on the second and third floors, where the original floors had to be replaced.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Very Busy Next Seven Days

Day 38 of “45 Days in Old North”

The next week will be one of the best and busiest in the history of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s existence. The following is the calendar of events that will be keeping us on our toes:

Thursday, May 10, 5:30 – 8 p.m.: ONSLRG will be receiving one of the “What’s Right with the Region” awards from Focus St. Louis. For details, check out the Focus St. Louis website.

Friday, May 11 – Historic Preservation Week starts. Visit the Landmarks Association of St. Louis website for the full calendar of events.

Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour. For more details, visit

Monday, May 14, 5:30 p.m.: ONSLRG & RHCDA will receive one of Landmarks Association’s “Eleven Most Enhanced” Awards for the preservation and redevelopment of the nine historic buildings that are now the North Market Place Apartments. The reception and awards ceremony will take place at Lucas School House, 1220 Allen in Soulard. For ticket information and details, contact Landmarks at 314-421-6474.

Tuesday, May 15, 11 a.m.: Missouri Preservation will hold a press conference at the Mullanphy Emigrant Home to announce their 2007 list of “Most Endangered Historic Places” in the State of Missouri. Michael Allen has posted the Media Advisory on the Ecology of Absence blog.

Wednesday, May 16, 7:30 p.m. – Benefit concert for the Mullanphy building at Christ Church Cathedral. For advance tickets at $20 each, call 314-421-6474 or 314-241-5031. Tickets will be available at the concert for $25 each.

We invite one and all to join us at any or all of these occasions.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The People of ONSL: the Most Essential Component for Redevelopment

Day 37 of “45 Days in Old North” When you visit Old North St. Louis for the ONSL House & Community Tour this coming Saturday, you’ll get a chance to see beautifully restored homes, walk through attractive community gardens, and get a sense of the most important ingredient in the revitalization of Old North St. Louis: the people of the community. The Community Affairs department of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently published an article (The Evolution of Two Neighborhoods) with the following sub-heading: “Having the Right Mix of People Essential to Redevelopment.” With that in mind, Old North St. Louis is in pretty darn good shape.

Johnnie Owens shows up in a lot of pictures because she shows up at almost every community event, meeting, and activity in the neighborhood. As an officer on the Board of ONSLRG, Johnnie helps to set the direction of the neighborhood’s rebirth.

John Burse, ONSLRG’s Board President, opened his home to house tour visitors year after year while he was in the midst of a long-term rehab. As an award-winning architect, John continues to bring vision and outside connections to the organization, although his home will not be on the tour this year.

Tino Ochoa (in the white t-shirt) has initiated or helped out with countless neighborhood improvement projects and recently passed the torch as chair of ONSLRG’s Social Outreach Committee to take on the job of Vice President of ONSLRG’s Board.

Phil Valko joined ONSLRG’s Board last year and was elected Treasurer of the Board in March of this year. Over the past few years, Phil has co-founded the Urban Studio and brought numerous cultural and arts-related activities to the neighborhood.

We invite all who are interested in community development to come visit ONSL this Saturday to meet these dynamic individuals and their fellow community members who are actively engaged in redeveloping the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. For more information on the tour, visit


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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