Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Attraction of Historic Neighborhoods

One of the benefits of preserving historic neighborhoods is that generations of former residents and their descendants can return to the old neighborhood for visits to reminisce or re-connect with the places, flavors, and scenes of important family events that don’t quite come alive in black and white pictures. That is especially true in Old North St. Louis where busloads of visitors and tourists line up outside the doors of Crown Candy Kitchen on a daily basis.On Saturday, ONSL welcomed back a number of graduates of the old St. Michael’s Catholic School which once occupied the building that is now home to Greater Leonard Missionary Baptist Church on 11th Street. St. Michaels was a grade school, and for a portion of its history a high school, for St. Michael’s parish. Established in 1849 as an Irish parish, the original church was demolished to make way for Interstate 70 in the 1950s; after the church was torn down, the school building was converted to the parish’s worship space before the parish was closed and consolidated with another parish in 1975. Although gone for more than 30 years now, St. Michael’s School lives on in the memories of its former students who had a chance to walk the halls of their alma mater, thanks to the hospitality of staff from Greater Leonard church, including Ella Owens.

Above: Sister Maura Therese made the trip from Omaha, Nebraska, to meet with St. Michael’s graduates Tony Michalak, Idalla Koch, Bernice Siros, Anne Greco Schwartz, and Floyd Walker, who took advantage of the opportunity to sit in the desks of one of their old classrooms.

Back in the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office, the St. Michael’s grads, who had been children in ONSL during the ’30s and ’40s, viewed exhibits at the Old North St. Louis Community History Museum and crossed paths with other former residents who had grown up in ONSL during the ’60s. The Horne sisters had lived at 1441 St. Louis Avenue and 3206 N. 19th Street and returned to the neighborhood from south city, Fredericktown, MO, and Albuquerque, when they discovered the Community History Museum. All of the visitors exchanged stories of the good old days of businesses and community activities along a vibrant 14th Street and shared the excitement about the redevelopment in progress that will bring life back to 14th Street.

Above: The “Horne Girls”: Mary Dodd, Ellen Malon, and Theresa Jumper.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2007 at 7:51 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


"The Attraction of Historic Neighborhoods"


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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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