Archive for January, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tonight’s Meeting POSTPONED 1 Week

Due to the current icy conditions - and widespread concern that we’re about to get hit with a “crippling winter storm” (as the National Weather Service calls it) - Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has canceled this evening’s planned Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper.  The gathering has been re-scheduled for NEXT MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7 at 6 p.m.

Please help us to spread the word to anyone who may have been planning to attend tonight.

Please plan to join us next Monday, Feb. 7, and in the meantime, stay safe.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reminder: Join us Monday, Jan. 31, for Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck

As you make your rounds over the weekend, please feel free to help us spread the word that the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper will take place this coming Monday, Jan. 31 at 6:00 p.m. See below for a flyer with details and gentle suggestions for the food items to bring.

Please take a look at our earlier post about this for information about a cool new project called Team Cookbook, which will be introduced at the meeting.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

After 6 Months, Still A Lot of Buzz About the Old North Grocery Co-op

The Old North Grocery Co-op has been in business now for more than six months, but it’s still getting a lot of attention as an innovative and creative way of bringing healthy and affordable foods to an area classified as a “food desert.”  The co-op and several other initiatives in Old North or affiliated with ONSLRG recently got added to the list of community wealth building models posted on, which is billed as “the web’s most comprehensive and up-to-date information resource on state-of-the-art strategies for democratic, community-based economic development.”  The website also profiled the City of St. Louis as a Community Wealth City, with many initiatives in Old North credited as contributing to the city’s revival.

To read the whole article, click here.

Another article that put the spotlight on the Old North Grocery Co-op was published online this week by, “the premiere digital marketplace that connects the healthy lifestyle industry from supply to shelf.”  This feature connects the Old North approach to new interest from the federal government in the challenges of access to healthy foods in urban areas: “The Obama administration has introduced legislation to help solve the problem of ‘food deserts’.  In such communities as the Old North St. Louis neighborhood and Philadelphia, they are coming up with initiatives of their own.”

To read the full article, click here.

Meanwhile, Specialty Food Magazine’s January/February issue includes a story about the “Boom in Food Co-ops” with several references to the Old North Grocery Co-op as an example of the do-it-yourself ethic at the heart of many co-ops.

To learn more about the Old North Grocery Co-op, stop in to check it out at 2718 N. 13th Street, just south of St. Louis Avenue.  Over the past six months, the store has become a great resource for the community, but there’s still room for improvement.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for - be sure to put in your request with the staff or send a note to Sarah Kate Buckles, the manager, (email: and they’ll see what they can do for you.  And if you’d really like to show your support, there’s always room for more member-owners - just click here for details.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper: Mon., Jan. 31

All members, friends, and supporters of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group are invited to join us on Monday, January 31st at 6 p.m. for ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting and Pot-Luck Supper.  One of the great community events of the year, the gathering provides an opportunity for residents and friends to come together on a cold winter evening to celebrate the warmth of the community and publicly recognize all of those who helped make the previous year so successful.

Over the past few years we’ve moved this event around to different locations in the neighborhood.  This year, we’ll be gathering at the old Sobel’s Dept. Store building at 2624 N. 14th Street, at the center of what had been the 14th Street Mall, but now at the intersection of the re-opened N. 14th Street and Montgomery.  If you haven’t taken a look at Crown Square since the redevelopment finished and the street opened, this is a great chance to get inside one of the historically rehabbed buildings at this award-winning development.

As noted on the flyer, we invite all guests to bring a dish to share and have provided some suggested guidelines for the type of dish to bring (to avoid 100 pots of spaghetti), but we encourage you to bring whatever you’d like to share or to join us even if you won’t be able to bring something.

And, speaking of food, this year’s event will feature something new.  In the late ’90s ONSLRG produced a cookbook, “Out of Old North Saint Louis Kitchens,” to collect and put the spotlight on the many great recipes created or lovingly used by Old North residents, including many reflecting the diverse cultures of the community’s population.  The cookbook has been out of print now for several years, but we were approached recently about an opportunity to use that old cookbook as a jumping off point for a new initiative that celebrates both food and community…


This creative team consists of an Artist/Cultural Activist, a Museum Educator, an MSW and an Art Administrator. They love to cook, they love to eat, love to talk about food… food history, celebrations… the way food can bring people together (or drive them apart).

TEAM COOKBOOK will be collecting recipes, stories and photos from residents and providing workshops and activities inspired by food in Old North St. Louis.

You can meet the TEAM and learn more about how to get involved in the project at the Annual Meeting and Potluck on Monday, January 31.

Bring your favorite recipe, your camera and most importantly your appetite!

Give us a call at 314-241-5031 if you have any questions.  As always, we invite you to help  us spread the word and invite all of your neighbors to come on out for this wonderful community event.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Huge Year for Old North in 2010 - Part 2

Our year-end inventory of the major events and developments in Old North during 2010 started on Friday with Part 1.  We now continue the review of what made 2010 such an eventful year with an even longer list in Part 2…


Although the North City Farmers’ Market had to move around a bit due to the street work along 14th Street and at the St. Louis Avenue plaza area, the 4th season of the market was still a great success.  In fact, this year friends of the North City Farmers’ Market showed the intensity of their support by logging enough votes in American Farmland Trust’s annual competition to get the North City Farmers’ Market into the top 20 list of ”America’s Favorite Farmers’ Markets” (among other markets of similar size)!  In addition to that national exposure, the market got some major air-time on July 31 when the KMOX Radio program “Mike Miller’s Garden Hotline” broadcast live from the market (as seen in the final photo below).

Special thanks go out to all of the volunteers who came out week after week to help with setting up tables and tents, staffing some of the food and information stands, taking down everything at the end of the market, and countless other chores; and to Sarah Pritchard, market master; Lucas Hudson, project coordinator at the beginning of the season until leaving to pursue a career in law enforcement; Veronica Holden, who took over as project coordinator for the rest of the season; and Ivy Tominack (seen in the 3rd photo below), who joined the team this year as nutrition education coordinator; and, of course, Missouri Foundation for Health for providing the financial support that has made it possible for us to host the past four seasons of the North City Farmers’ Market.


The Old North Gallery (sometimes referred to here as the “Crown Village Gallery”) in the space adjacent to ONSLRG’s office at 2700 N. 14th Street buzzed with arts events all year long.  ONSLRG partnered with Cinema St. Louis to bring monthly film screenings to the community, often with Q & A sessions with the films’ producers or directors (shown in the 1st photo below), and special screenings for students from Ames School and Confluence Academy (in the 2nd photo below); and Metro Theater Company to bring live performances of Delilah’s Wish.  In July, the monthly story-telling gathering called “Moth-Up” took place at our gallery.

At other times throughout the year, visitors from throughout the St. Louis area came to view exhibits at the gallery, including the professionally-curated Visionary Arts of Haiti exhibit brought to us by Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates; and a display of works by local artists Chris Ruess and Nick Riggio at the rehabbed Crown Square commercial space that once housed Sobel’s Dept. Store; events hosted by the Mayor’s Vanguard Cabinet Subcommittee on Arts and Entertainment, or the Metropolis Wine Club; the graduation celebration for the Pulitzer Foundation’s Hyde Park youth arts program (the Pulitzer is also responsible for bringing the “waving hand” images that are posted at various locations throughout the neighborhood); and for Juan Chavez’s snow cone project during the Crown Square completion street party.  Watch for more art projects from Juan in the coming year.


In 2010, the Old North gallery space became the most popular spot in the neighborhood for meetings, parties, educational workshops, and other community gatherings.  Among the many events in the gallery this year were ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper; a finance & budgeting workshop with presenters from Bank of America; Quality of Life meetings, including presentations about neighborhood safety and MODOT’s plans for the Mississippi River Bridge and re-building the St. Louis Avenue and Madison Street overpasses; a workshop on weatherization techniques and resources; several training sessions for the Minority Contractors Initiative; a meeting of the Covidien Community Advisory Panel; the annual breakfast meeting for the Workers Rights Board; planning meetings for the Old North Grocery Co-op; an 80th birthday party; and the October of the St. Louis Beacon’s monthly “Beacon & Eggs” gatherings.


Depending on how you define a community garden and who you ask, Old North is home to anywhere from 9 to 11 community gardens.  In any case, the gardens throughout Old North benefited from countless hours of volunteer labor from neighborhood residents and various outside groups, including service clubs from several colleges and other volunteers brought in by Operation Brightside to help with significant improvements to Wingmann Park.  The annual Brightside Blitz clean-up day in the spring brought even more help for these gardens, as well as for clean-ups at vacant lots, alleys, and streets throughout the neighborhood.  This year’s effort included extra help from Maryville University students with the planting of trees from Forest ReLeaf.


The community garden that saw the most activity throughout the year was the 13th Street Garden, which grows fruits and vegetables for the North City Farmers’ Market and the Old North Grocery Co-op.  Under the watchful eye of garden coordinator Veronica Holden, the garden also became home to some of Old North’s most popular new residents, the inhabitants of the 13th Street Garden Chicken Coop.  Another highlight of the year was the selection of the 13th Street Garden by Gateway Greening for designation as one of their Hub Gardens, which means additional support and investments from Gateway Greening and expanded use as a demonstration and learning space for gardeners throughout St. Louis.


If attracting and retaining residents is important for a neighborhood on the way to becoming sustainable, it’s also key to attract and support businesses that make the community more walkable and economically viable. New businesses opening up on N. 14th Street included Therapy Boutique at 2717 (shown in the first two photos below), Norah Ryan’s law office (with Norah shown below, getting interviewed by Matt Sepic of St. Louis Public Radio - and the story still can be found on St. Louis Public Radio’s website by clicking HERE ), which moved from Clayton to 2708 N. 14th, and Poor Souls Society Art Gallery, which opened in December.


The Annual Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour in May is traditionally the biggest event of the year for ONSLRG.  This year’s tour on May 8 featured two current Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced Award”-winning projects and two Most Enhanced Award-winning homes from previous years, although the work in progress in the street along 14th Street caused a few challenges.

(Be sure to check back later for details about plans for a bigger and better tour this year, scheduled for Saturday, May 14, including the addition of a HomeGrown Street Festival on 14th Street to put the spotlight on all of the great locally produced foods and other goods from around St. Louis.)

Other groups paying a visit to the ONSLRG office for presentations and tours this year included another delegation of community development professionals from Russia (in the first photo below), members of the Retail Design Institute, attendees from a national conference for Metropolitan Planning Organizations, representatives from Federal Reserve Bank branches around the country, UM-Extension’s Community Development Academy, and classes from various programs at SLU, Washington University, UM-St. Louis, Mizzou, and Webster University.  We also welcomed several visits from former residents who came back to the progress in their old neighborhood.


In 2010 we hosted several steering committee and community planning meetings for the Bikeable/Walkable Old North Master Plan, spear-headed by Trailnet and their planning consultants, and in October, the last of the year’s Open Streets came through Old North, with Crown Square serving as one of the major activity hubs.


Andrew Hurley, chair of the UM-St. Louis History Dept., has put Old North in the spotlight with his new book, Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities, which was published in May by Temple University Press.  The book is available for purchase through a major online retailer, but you might want to start by checking with one of our local, independent booksellers, such as Left Bank Books, just a mile south of Old North in Downtown St. Louis.


A lot of outsiders take note of the highly visible physical transformation that has taken place with many of the neighborhood’s historically rehabbed properties, but the real evidence of the Old North’s revitalization is in the incredibly active people who call Old North home.  Among the events initiated and coordinated by Old North residents this year included a lively and well-attended National Night Out celebration on N. 19th Street in August and a great Halloween party and trick-or-treating event in October.

One of the year’s best demonstrations of neighbors supporting each other was the successful campaign to mobilize enough votes to help Graham & Viveca Lane win the KSHE-95 Great Green Yard Giveaway contest. The Lanes may have won the contest, but the whole community benefits from the investments that have brought major improvements to the corner of 13th and North Market.

Thanks again to all who helped make all of the above happen.  Stay tuned for much more to come, and plan to join us on Monday, January 31st for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting and Pot-Luck Supper where we’ll provide a preview of some of our plans for 2011.

Happy New Year!


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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