Archive for November, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crown Square on Channel 4 News

KMOV-TV (News 4) has posted video from their story about Crown Square that they broadcast on Friday, November 28. The full version of the report can be found a little more than 4 minutes into their overall coverage of Black Friday shopping experiences around town. Click HERE for that version, which includes some good footage of many of the buildings undergoing historic rehabs, along with selections of Lisa Manzo’s interviews with RHCDA President Stephen Acree, ONSLRG Executive Director Sean Thomas, and Ebony Wilson, who has plans to open a boutique at 2717 N. 14th Street.

A much shorter version, which unfortunately cut out Stephen and Ebony, is also posted on their website with the title “Crown Square seeing $35 million redevelopment.” That version is currently listed as one of the “most popular” videos on their site. Click HERE to see that version.
Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Shopping Season Begins in Old North

Next year you’ll be able to spend your traditional start of the Christmas shopping season at the retail establishments that will be opening at Crown Square in the beautifully restored historic buildings along N. 14th Street. In the meantime, if you watch Channel 4 news this evening, you’ll get a sneak preview of the person first in line, Ebony Wilson, who hopes to open her fashion boutique in the spring. We’ll post a link to that story if posts it on their website.Above: Ebony Wilson (right, in the red beret) discusses her plans with KMOV-TV reporter Lisa Manzo.

And while you’re in a shopping mood, you can show your support for Old North St. Louis in a couple of other ways. First, Amy Fontinelle will be donating to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group the profits from the sales of her new book, Disappearing St. Louis: A Photographic Story of the City’s Neglected Historic Buildings. Details about the book and information on how you can buy the book online can be found by clicking HERE to be taken to Amy’s website.

Although the focus on the deterioration of historic neighborhoods in St. Louis could be depressing, Amy notes that the neglect and abandonment can be reversed. One of the cool aspects of the book is that it provides some good “before” views of buildings in Old North that have indeed been rescued from decades of neglect. In fact, Amy notes that since the photographs were taken, some of the buildings have been restored. Because of ONSLRG’s commitment to preserving and developing these type of buildings, Amy decided to donate her profits to ONSLRG, which she describes as “a nonprofit organization that is successfully rebuilding a historic north side neighborhood one building at a time.”

Among the building’s featured in the book is the former Headhunter’s Hair Salon at 2712-14 N. 14th Street. Below is the way it looked when Amy photographed it in the summer of 2007:

And below is that same building nearing completion of its historic rehabilitation just last week:In addition to the online option, the book will be available for purchase at the 5th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Craft Show this weekend (November 28-30) at Third Degree Glass Factory on Delmar between Union and Kingshighway.

Meanwhile, this evening, Art Co-op will host another one of their art exhibits & silent auction this evening at 7 p.m. in the old Parks Drug Store building at 2718 N. 14th Street (right on the corner of St. Louis Avenue). Purchases there don’t directly benefit Old North St. Louis, although it certainly will help send the message to artists and future businesses that ONSL is a good place to do business.Above: A view of Art Co-op’s last art exhibit and sale at the Parks Building last month.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heidi & Ben: Another Old North Success Story in Progress

Above: Heidi & Ben Sever along with Nate & Kathy Sprehe at the Sept. 30 Crown Square meeting.

If you ever start losing faith in the prospects of revitalization in places like Old North St. Louis, just strike up a conversation with some of the people who are in the midst of establishing a new home in Old North. The passion, energy, and vision of these folks will remind you why Old North continues to attract creative people who are willing to roll up their sleeves to make something really cool and restore the beauty to long-neglected properties.

Case in point: Heidi & Ben Sever, who will be moving into Old North from Webster Groves when they finish rehabbing a historic building in the northwest corner of ONSL. Ben is an attorney, and Heidi is a stockbroker-turned glass beadmaker and jewelry designer (check out her handmade glass beads and jewelry by clicking HERE). Just over a month ago, the Severs closed on their purchase of a vacant shell that had been a problem property for at least a dozen years and sitting in the city’s inventory of Land Reutilization Agency (LRA)-owned properties for the past seven years.

If you don’t get a chance to meet them or see the building they’re rehabbing in person, you can visit the Severs’ website, to gain some insights into who they are and some images of their phenomenal rehab project on N. 19th Street. In addition to sharing their experiences and lessons learned in the process of bringing a forsaken piece of real estate back to life, Heidi puts in some nice plugs for the neighborhood (”You have got to check out this community!”) and their new neighbors:
On that work day alone, 12, yes TWELVE! (I counted each one) different neighbors came over to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. Seven of them, yes, 7!!!, stayed an hour to several hours working right along with us doing demolition and trash removal. Yucky, tiring, dirty work. What a way to say ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’!

Long before their home is ready for occupancy, Heidi and Ben have established themselves as good neighbors, as well. They come out to neighborhood meetings and help out at neighborhood clean-ups (see Ben below helping clear a vacant lot this past May).The Severs are now part of a growing list of people who are redeveloping LRA properties in Old North and demonstrating how revitalization happens. We still have a good number of LRA buildings in Old North ready for new owners and ONSLRG has staff ready to help. Give Karen Heet a call at 314-241-5031 or send her an email ( to learn what’s available and how to get in on the excitement.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Celebrating Another Successful Season of the North City Farmers’ Market

We’ve had a lot going on over the past few weeks, so it’ll take a few days’ worth of posts to get everything up to date. So, today we’ll focus on the North City Farmers’ Market, which held the last market day of the 2008 season on October 25.

The following link will take you to a short, minute-and-a-half long video from the closing celebration, including live music from Rum Drum Ramblers:
Among the highlights of this year’s market…
Great leadership from Market Master Julia Weese-Young and Project Coordinator Lucas Hudson…

Cooking demonstrations - and delicious samples! - courtesy of our favorite chef, Euylan Welch… Fresh produce from the Burning Kumquat farm at Washington University… Ray Ray from City Seeds Urban Farm… Stephen Inman at the New Roots Urban Farm table… Bruce Smith, with the last loaf of bread from Black Bear Bakery… Watermelons and greens from Clarence Rudolph’s farm in Wayne City, Illinois…
Gail Havens’ gourds…
the return of the Holden Family’s Alien Coffee and baked goods…

Story-telling for children with Mama Hudson…and the ever-popular bicycle raffle…

Now that the 2008 season is behind us, we’re thrilled to announce that the Missouri Foundation for Health has approved a new grant to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group to help us bring the North City Farmers’ Market back for the next three seasons! All of us at ONSLRG and the satisfied customers of the market extend a huge “thank you” to the Missouri Foundation for Health for making the past two years of the market possible and for guaranteeing the return of the market through the 2011 season!


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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