Archive for August, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Praise for Crown Square Rehabs on KWMU

Our local NPR-affiliate station, KWMU (90.7 FM), aired a commentary today by Old North St. Louis resident Michael Allen on the positive changes he is witnessing in ONSL. Specifically, Michael offers his perspective on the view out his window of the buildings along the east side of the 2800 block of N. 14th Street at Wright:

Just this past weekend, major rehabilitation was finished. New residents moved in, carting boxes and furniture. The three buildings in this row are among 27 historic buildings in Old North that are being rehabilitated as part of the $35 million Crown Square Project that includes 78 new residential units.
The view out of a lot of windows here is changing for the better.

To listen to or read the text of the full commentary, click on over to KWMU’s website: Changes, commentary by Michael Allen. And, to offer an idea of what inspired Michael’s reflections, below are the views of these buildings September of 2007 and just a few weeks ago. And, for a different angle on these same buildings…

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Old North reaches out at The Lot

Residents of Old North St. Louis manned the ONSLRG booth at Metropolis St. Louis’ event called The Lot at the Schlafly Taproom on Saturday, August 23rd. Our theme was “Welcome home to Old North” and featured a living-room type atmosphere where guests could come talk to their neighbors.
Representing Old North in the photo above are Kathy Sprehe, Nate Sprehe, Leon Ochoa, Nico Leone, and friend Cliff Temple.
Thanks to all who made this a successful evening! We look forward to spreading the word about the great happenings and people in Old North at future events.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

North City Farmers’ Market garners media attention!

The day a carrot came to call
By Judith Evans
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Lucas Hudson, project coordinator for the North City Farmers Market, called to ask if he could bring me some information. He wanted to talk about the market, which is open from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Oct. 25 at 2800 North 14th Street (near Crown Candy Kitchen).

The market is bringing fresh, affordable produce and baked goods to local residents, who otherwise must shop at gas stations and convenience stores or travel long distances to supermarkets. In addition to paying with cash, customers can use Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and market vouchers distributed by local food pantries.

A chef is on hand to demonstrate healthy cooking, and market visitors can take advantage of free health screenings and enjoy music and children’s activities.

As Hudson talked about the market, I listened intently… despite the fact that he visited our offices dressed like a carrot!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

ONSL’s Show of Support for Mullanphy at Moonlight Ramble

A good crowd of Old North St. Louis residents and friends came out in the wee hours of the morning to participate in this year’s Moonlight Ramble in support of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home preservation efforts. With a booth downtown at the Ramble’s registration area, volunteers staffing several intersections as crossing guards, and a large cheering section in front of the Mullanphy building, ONSL was out in force as the thousands of Moonlight Ramble cyclists rode along the 17-mile route from Downtown, past the Mullanphy building, and through the streets of the city. Above: Leon Ochoa, Zoila Rendon, and Tino Ochoa helped watch the ONSLRG booth at the Moonlight Ramble registration area in front of Soldiers’ Memorial downtown.
Above: wearing matching “Save Mullanphy” t-shirts, Tino, Zoila, Johnnie Owens, and Dave Eisenbraun were ready to answer questions about the Mullanphy building.
Above: the crowd of cheering supporters, a spotlight on the front of the building, and the slide show projected onto the new side wall, ensured that the thousands of bike riders passing by would take note of the Mullanphy building.

Above: Tom & Gloria Bratkowski and Johnnie Owens prepare for the wave after wave of cyclists.
Above: new banners have been placed on the chain link fence along south side of the building to highlight the prospect of a new future of the Mullanphy building as a world-class hostel while the slide show paid tribute to the many generous contributors who have made the stabilization work possible.
Above: Kathryn Bentley provided her daughter, Essence, and cousin, Cameron, with a great excuse for staying up late. As head cheerleader, Essence made sure that everybody knew they were passing through Old North St. Louis and past the Mullanphy building.
Above: although 12:30 a.m. may not be the ideal time for taking outdoor photos, the above shot provides a glimpse of the throngs of cyclists riding along Mullanphy Street from 13th to 14th Streets, with downtown in the background.
Above: Mark Cockson (in the orange shirt), executive director of Hostelling International-Gateway Council, paid a visit on his bike to thank our volunteers and supporters for being a part of this year’s Moonlight Ramble.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moonlight Ramble this Saturday to benefit the development of a world-class hostel in ONSL

As you may have heard, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has been in discussion with Hostelling International – Gateway Council (HI-GC) about possible plans to redevelop the Mullanphy Emigrant Home into a world-class hostel.

We feel this is a perfect re-purposing of the building - from a welcome center to immigrants of all nationalities and creeds in the 1860s & 1870s to a home-away-from-home to international travelers visiting St. Louis.

Plans are in the very tender beginning stages, but HI-GC has already scheduled their first fund-raising effort which happens this Saturday, August 16th at midnight. The Moonlight Ramble, an annual bike ride through the streets of St. Louis, attracts around 10,000 riders and will take riders through the historic neighborhoods of the city.

To help HI-GC with their fund-raising, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has committed to rounding up Route Marshalls to help with the Moonlight Ramble.

Route Marshalls are responsible for traffic control at intersections (like crossing guards), making sure riders turn at the right places along the route, and helping riders who need assistance. The shift time is from 10pm Saturday until 2am Sunday, and Route Marshalls can ride once their intersection has been given the all-clear. Route Marshalls also receive a free t-shirt!

If you are interested in helping out, please sign up at and under the question “Are you a member of a group of volunteers who wish to work together at the Moonlight Ramble®? If yes, please describe:” please write “ONSLRG”. Once registered as a volunteer, you will receive the Volunteer Handbook and instructions for check-in.

All proceeds from the Moonlight Ramble go towards the development of a world-class hostel in Old North St. Louis.

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Another Great National Night Out in ONSL

Last night the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group hosted the neighborhood’s annual National Night Out party along Wright Street and in Wingmann Park. Despite the traditional extreme heat and the threat of strong storms on the horizon, we still attracted a good crowd of new & long-term neighbors, police, fire personnel, and even a contingent from Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office.

Thanks again to the hard work of the ONSLRG Social Outreach Committee, griller extraordinaire Leon Ochoa, neighbors and friends for making the evening possible.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Transforming Vacant LRA Buildings into Rehabbed Homes

Coming soon: another transformation of a long-vacant property. Last week the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) commission approved extending an option for the sale of 3240 N. 19th Street to a couple of young rehabbers. This project will be just the latest in a long series of LRA properties that have been taken on by individuals and community-minded developers throughout Old North St. Louis.

Three years ago, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group approached LRA with an offer to work with them on marketing and promoting the sale of LRA properties in Old North St. Louis. LRA agreed to post on their website the listing of available LRA properties north of St. Louis Avenue, along with guidelines for how to make an offer. Although some of the information is out of date, the Request for Proposals information page is still up on LRA’s website. In return, ONSLRG hosted a “Developers’ Fair” to bring the buildings to the attention of individuals and smaller developers and offered ONSLRG’s staff to assist prospective buyers. As the information online states, the first step in the process is to call the ONSLRG office to see what’s still available and to have a conversation about possible redevelopment plans.

Over the past 3½ years, approximately 60 households have moved into new or rehabbed housing units in Old North St. Louis at formerly vacant LRA properties. Many of these properties were purchased and developed by one of ONSLRG’s partnerships with RHCDA (including the North Market Place Homes, North Market Place Apartments, and Crown Square Apartments), but LRA has also sold buildings to individual rehabbers, especially in the northern part of the neighborhood. Among the former LRA properties currently in the midst of rehabs are:

1517-19 Palm (which obviously is still very early in its process).

3243 N. 19th - where two buildings are being rehabbed (right across the street from 3240 N. 19th), including one at the rear of the parcel (as shown in the first photo below) and one at the front of the parcel (seen in the second photo).

1303 North Market, where a former garage is being rehabbed for residential & artist’s studio space.2824 N. 14th Street (part of the Crown Square redevelopment)

2718 N. 14th (another Crown Square rehab).

And 2601-03 N. 14th (yet another Crown Square property).

If you’d like to learn more about LRA or other properties available for purchase and rehab in ONSL, contact Karen Heet via email at or call Karen at the ONSLRG office, 314-241-5031.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Engineers without Borders help Clean Up Old North

Four students from Washington University’s Engineers Without Borders came out on a blazing hot Saturday to help clean up a private residence in Old North. The residence is slated for renovation work through Beyond Housing and Catholic Charities and required the removal of items stored in the basement before work can begin. We greatly appreciate the help of these students and look forward to future collaborations with Engineers Without Borders.
If you or your group would like to volunteer in Old North, please contact us at


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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