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Archive for May, 2011

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RFT Features Old North as one of “five awesome walkable neighborhoods”

This week’s issue of the Riverfront Times includes a special section on “Summertime in St. Louis” - and within that section is an article that profiles “5 Downtowns that aren’t Downtown” with the subtitle, “Beyond the Arch: surprisingly cool destinations within a 30-minute drive.”   Old North made the list of the “five awesome walkable neighborhoods perfect for daytrippers.”

Noting that “nice folks do go north of Delmar,” the author of the section on Old North, Diana Benanti, describes the neighborhood as “home to an inspiring community of urban pioneers fomenting the renaissance of their historic neighborhood.”  In addition to the obligatory tribute to Crown Candy Kitchen, the article also has kind words about Crown Square, La Mancha Coffeehouse, the Poor Souls Society Art Gallery, the Old North Grocery Co-op, Wingmann Park, the 13th Street Community Garden (and its resident chickens), and Old North’s architecturally significant historic buildings.  To read the full piece, pick up a copy of this week’s Riverfront Times or click HERE for the online version (and be sure to click on through to page 4 for the part about Old North).

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thanks to Ernst & Young for Help with Old North Grocery Co-op

On Friday the Old North Grocery Co-op benefited from some much-needed sprucing up in the form of a new paint job inside the store, courtesy of several volunteers from the St. Louis office of Ernst and Young.  Thank you to all of the volunteers and to Ernst & Young for making them available to help us with this project.

The job still needs a bit of trim work, but the results of the hard work invested by the good volunteers from Ernst & Young have greatly improved the look and feel of the store (see below).

Also, on the topic of fresh food resources in Old North, we’re just a couple of weeks away from the start of the 5th season of the North City Farmers’ Market. Mark your calendar now:  Opening Day celebration is Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m.-noon.  Once again, the North City Farmers’ Market is made possible by generous support from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The market, however, still needs other funding.  You can help us cover the myriad of costs associated with putting on one of the Top 20 boutique-sized farmers’ markets in the nation by attending a trivia night fundraiser next Saturday night, May 28 at 7 p.m.

This multi-media pop culture trivia contest is sure to delight and entertain! For a mere $15 per person or $100 for a team of eight, you can help us support local farmers and provide fresh, healthy food to the elderly, disabled, and impoverished. BYOB, snacks, and pop culture knowledge. Beer and sodas will be available for a donation. Live auction, 50/50 raffle, and prizes for the winners. To register, contact Veronica Holden: 314-422-2382, or Ivy Tominack: 636-288-2099.

To learn more about North City Farmers’ Market, visit the market’s website.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Old North on the Cover of Nation’s Cities Weekly

Today’s issue of Nation’s Cities Weekly features a front page story about the revitalization of Old North St. Louis and how some of this has been made possible by investment of Community Development Block Grant funds.

Although a few of the details were slightly off, the article accurately points to Old North as a community where the federal government is getting a return on its investment of CDBG dollars.  The public funds invested in Old North have been more than matched by private investment and have succeeded in attracting new residents, businesses, and jobs to a neighborhood that previously had a several decade-long pattern of losing people and jobs.  By all accounts, Old North is a more vibrant, sustainable, and attractive community today than it was just a few years ago, and is one of the few areas in the City of St. Louis where the population increased over the past decade.  Actually, Old North didn’t just grow over the past 10 years, it boomed with a 28% increase, a rate more robust than experienced in St. Charles County over the same period.

Among the reasons Old North is being looked to as a success story is that CDBG funds were part of a broad range of funding sources that fueled a comprehensive revitalization strategy that was rooted in a community vision, facilitated by a community-based neighborhood development organization.  None of this would have happened without a passionate and determined community willing to put in a lot of hard work, and strong support from local officials, such as Alderwoman April Ford Griffin and Mayor Francis Slay.  The work is far from over, but the results from the investments to date are quite evident.

To read the whole article, click HERE to visit the online version of this week’s issue of Nation’s Cities Weekly.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scenes from Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour -Part 2

The wet and chilly weather may have kept some people away, but the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour still was a great success in many other ways that can’t be measured by attendance figures alone.

Some of the community’s strong supporters who haven’t been back to the neighborhood in a while enjoyed the opportunity to see all of the changes, including some that have taken place just within the past couple weeks, including a bright, new look for the Old North Grocery Co-op.

Although we don't normally recommend painting on brick, the building that houses the Old North Grocery Co-op was classified as "non-contributing" at the time the neighborhood was approved as a National Register Historic District, in part because of the newer, non-historic brick on the exterior of the later addition as well as the historic portions of the former horseradish factory.

Although we don't normally recommend painting on brick, the building that houses the Old North Grocery Co-op was classified as "non-contributing" at the time the neighborhood was approved as a National Register Historic District, in part because of the newer, non-historic brick on the exterior of the later addition as well as the historic portions of the former horseradish factory.

The event was successful in serving as a platform for establishing new connections, including with one individual who was so impressed that he made plans to hold a wedding reception at Crown Square, and in demonstrating the vibrancy of the community.  A few prospective commercial tenants came out to get a feel for the area and to look at look at commercial spaces that are available for lease.

The Home Grown Festival represented an opportunity to shine the spotlight on artistic talent within and nearby Old North.

Juan William Chavez had an exhibit that shared the story of Team Cookbook, inspired by the Old North Cookbook.

Juan William Chavez had an exhibit that shared the story of Team Cookbook, inspired by the Old North Cookbook.

The space at 2607 N. 14th was the site of an installation created by Chinyere E. Oteh, Dail Chambers, and Simiya Sudduth representing the Ye Yo Arts Collective.

The space at 2607 N. 14th was the site of an installation created by Chinyere E. Oteh, Dail Chambers, and Simiya Sudduth representing the Ye Yo Arts Collective.

Visitors got a chance to try out new neighborhood businesses, such as La Mancha Coffeehouse.

Visitors got a chance to try out new neighborhood businesses, such as La Mancha Coffeehouse.

The gallery at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office hosted a range of spoken word performances and the re-dedication of Wingmann Park (more about that in a later post), while the Parks Building was the site for a variety of craft vendors.

As always, the house tour showed off the beauty and unique character of homes in Old North…

… on the inside:

…and outside:

Although redevelopment of this cottage house on Palm isn't visible yet, the property still drew a lot of interest. The owners posted a display of architectural plans for the rehab, along with interesting bits about the building's history and its former occupants.

Although redevelopment of this cottage house on Palm isn't visible yet, the property still drew a lot of interest. The owners posted a display of architectural plans for the rehab, along with interesting bits about the building's history and its former occupants.

As the photo of the cottage on Palm demonstrates, Old North’s house tour is unlike many other house tours in other neighborhoods.  We don’t limit our tour to the homes that are in pristine condition or likely to show up on the cover of glossy home magazines.  Old North’s tour shows off the diversity of the community, including the range of housing styles and conditions.  There are many homes that have been beautifully restored to reflect their original, Victorian design.  There also are many homes that are at early stages of rehab work, and many that put more contemporary interiors into the shells of their historic homes.

The rain forced many of the street festival activities indoors, including the performances that had been scheduled for the main stage at Crown Square.

Students from Grand Center Arts Academy's Front & Center Show Choir were among the performers.

Students from Grand Center Arts Academy's Front & Center Show Choir were among the performers.

Young performers from Club CHIPS shared songs with positive messages about healthy living.

Young performers from Club CHIPS shared songs with positive messages about healthy living.

David Foote invited audience members to participate in a Zumba dance demonstration.

David Foote invited audience members to participate in a Zumba dance demonstration.

Meanwhile, out on the street, many of our sponsors and other neighborhood service providers braved the weather to staff information tables.

Kohner Properties staff shared information about apartments available in the neighborhood, including at Crown Square Apartments.

Kohner Properties staff shared information about apartments available in the neighborhood, including at Crown Square Apartments.

Grace Hill representatives distributed information about the upcoming Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing event scheduled for next weekend.

Grace Hill representatives distributed information about the upcoming Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing event scheduled for next weekend.

Trailnet representatives and friends gathered at the corner plaza while waiting for start of the environmental justice bike ride.

Trailnet representatives and friends gathered at the corner plaza while waiting for start of the environmental justice bike ride.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, one of our sponsors, was on hand to recruit more gardens for their 10,000 Garden Challenge.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture, one of our sponsors, was on hand to recruit more gardens for their 10,000 Garden Challenge.

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group thanks all sponsors, volunteers, homeowners, and visitors for making the day such a wonderful experience!

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rain Can’t Dampen Spirits at Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour

Despite misty, cool, and sometimes rainy conditions, the crowds that came out to the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour enjoyed their visit to Crown Square and seeing the revitalization throughout the neighborhood. See below for some scenes from today’s fun.

Watch for more photos from the big day tomorrow.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

2 Days Away: Old North Home Grown Fest & House Tour Will Feature Music, Dance, Arts, Crafts, & Food

We’re just two days away from the Old North Saint Louis Home Grown Festival & House Tour, scheduled for this Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Our last post provided a preview of the really cool range of housing, businesses and architectural styles that will be part of this year’s house & community tour.  Now, we’d like to highlight the Home Grown Festival side of the big day in Old North.

Since Old North is a community that embraces the arts and the creative talents of artisans and crafters, our Home Grown Festival will put the spotlight on some of the great talent right here in Old North and the broader St. Louis community.  Among the artists who will have installations in commercial spaces at Crown Square are:

Juan William Chavez, who not only was selected by Missouri Arts Council as their Individual Artist winner of the 2011 Missouri Arts Award, will be establishing a new arts center in Old North at 1306 St. Louis Avenue.

Dail Chambers of YeYo Arts Collective - Just this past week, the St. Louis Beacon published a profile of Dail and her work.

and an exhibit of work from students representing Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School and Holy Trinity Catholic School as curated by Old North resident Claire Wolff.

The craft area of the Home Grown Fest will include booths for:

Gail Havens (decorative gourds); Allison L. Norfleet Bruenger (mixed media jewelry); Gloria Bratkowski (Art from the Attic); Susan Tschetter (rug hooking); Katherin Accettura; Alicia Christopher (decorative containers); Janet Sanders of Perpetua Iron (metal sculptor); Julie Longyear (candles and skin care); Connie Cole (caricature artist); Caryn Patterson of Pattercraft; Sun Ministries (wood furniture); Rae Calliach (fortune telling); Rebecca Wilson (photography); Andrea Berry (weaving).

Music and other entertainment, coordinated by Kathryn Bentley, will include (exact schedule subject to change):

10:15- presentation by Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office, in the Old North Gallery;

10:30 – 11:00-Zumba with David Foote, on the main stage;

11:00 – 12:00 - Grand Center Arts Academy; FRONT AND CENTER Show Choir, on the main stage;

12:00 – 12:20 - Wingmann Park Rededication Event (at Wingmann Park);

12:30 – 1:15 - Onion in a Pot, bluegrass band, on the main stage; Spoken Word, in the Old North Gallery;

1:30 – 2:15 - CLUB CHIPS with “Madame Wright”, on the main stage;

2:15- 2:45 - Barry Moton, on the main stage;

2:45 – 3:00 - Hassie Davis, on the main stage;

3:00 - presentation by Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office, in the Old North Gallery.

In addition to a complimentary ice cream cup, thanks to the generosity of Crown Candy Kitchen (for the first 250 or so House Tour ticket-holders), we’ll have other food vendors at this year’s event:

Mangia Mobile has made plans to bring their food truck to 14th Street.

The Sweet Divine will have their Sweet Shop Truck at Crown Square.

As always, food and beverages can be be purchased at Old North’s restaurants at or near the intersection of St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Streets:  Crown Candy Kitchen, La Mancha Coffeehouse, and Mandina’s Sports Bar.

Trailnet will be bringing even more activity, in the form of another Environmental Justice Bike Ride, co-sponsored by Forks and Feet Forward (ONSLRG’s healthy and active lifestyle partnership with Trailnet and the community), Grace Hill, and the EPA.  The ride will begin and end at the Crown Square plaza area across from Crown Candy.  Registration for the ride begins at 11:00am and the ride departs at 11:30am.  The ride will last approximately 2 hours.

For more information about the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour, give the Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group a call at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org.  Additional information and a link to purchase tickets online can be found at the ONSL.org page for the house tour: Click HERE to visit the House Tour page of the ONSL website.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour Just 1 Week Away!

We’re down to 7 days now.  Since next weekend will be here before you know it, be sure to firm up your plans to attend the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour on Saturday, May 14.  This weekend also marks the last weekend to spread the word while you’re out and around taking care of other errands and / or visiting your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment venues, or church.  So, be sure to invite your friends to join us next Saturday.

And now, a few more previews of what can be seen and enjoyed at the Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour on Saturday, May 14:

As part of the Home Grown Festival, some of the storefronts along this stretch of N. 14th Street at Crown Square will be filled with art exhibits featuring local artists, such as Juan William Chavez, Dail Chambers, and young artists from St. Louis ArtWorks.

As part of the Home Grown Festival, some of the storefronts along this stretch of N. 14th Street at Crown Square will be filled with art exhibits featuring local artists, such as Juan William Chavez, Dail Chambers, and young artists from Ames Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School and Holy Trinity School. La Mancha Coffeehouse will have continue its showing of photos by St. Louis ArtWorks participants.

The registration tent for ticket sales, tour booklets, and other information will be at this plaza area at N. 14th and St. Louis Avenue. The Parks building, in the background, will house a variety of local crafters.

The Old North Grocery Co-op will be one of the new neighborhood businesses on the tour.  Many of last year's visitors who saw the building had good reason to be skeptical that the space would be ready for opening by mid-summer.  But the store DID open last July, and return visitors will be pleased to see the co-op in business.

The Old North Grocery Co-op will be one of the new neighborhood businesses on the tour. Many of last year's visitors who saw the building had good reason to be skeptical that the space would be ready for opening by mid-summer. But the store DID open last July, and return visitors will be pleased to see the co-op in business.

Another new business that will be on the tour is La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2815 N. 14th Street.

Another new business that will be on the tour is La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2815 N. 14th Street.

The Hebert Street Community Garden has been on the tour in the past, but this will be the first time since it was dedicated to Johnnie Owens..

The Hebert Street Community Garden has been on the tour in the past, but this will be the first time since it was dedicated to Johnnie Owens..

A stroll down the 1300 block of North Market will provide glimpses of the mix of old and new, as well as the variety of housing options from apartment buildings to owner-occupied houses. The North Market Apts. community space, in the background, will be open and will feature a display of plans for another round of Habitat for Humanity houses in Old North.

A stroll down the 1300 block of North Market will provide glimpses of the mix of old and new, as well as the variety of housing options from apartment buildings to owner-occupied houses. The North Market Apts. community space, in the background, will be open and will feature a display of plans for another round of Habitat for Humanity houses in Old North.

Since Old North continues to be a work in progress, the tour also features homes that are still in the midst of rehab, such as this home on the 1200 block of North Market.

Since Old North continues to be a work in progress, the tour also features homes that are still in the midst of rehab, such as this home on the 1200 block of North Market.

This house on Monroe, in its final stages of rehab, provides evidence that not everything in Old North has red brick facade.

This house on Monroe, in its final stages of rehab, provides evidence that not everything in Old North has red brick facade.

This house on Sullivan has great interior space as well as a wonderful patio and garden in back.

This house on Sullivan has great interior space as well as a wonderful patio and garden in back.

Although the tour can only feature a limited number of buildings, the architectural and historic character of the streetscape can still be appredcia not officially on the tour can be appreciated on the way to and from the different stops on the tour.

Although the tour can only feature a limited number of buildings, the architectural and historic character of the streetscape can still be appreciated on the way to and from the different stops on the tour.

As noted in previous posts, more information and a link to purchase tickets online can be found at the ONSL.org page for the house tour: Click HERE to visit the House Tour page of the ONSL website.  Volunteers still have time to sign up to help with this year’s tour.  Just call the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to info@onsl.org and let us know when you’re available and how to reach you.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Old North House Tour & Home Grown Festival: 12 Days Away!

This beautifully restored home on N. 19th Street once was a crumbling, abandoned shell.  Come see how it has been brought back to life on Sat., May 14.

This beautifully restored home on N. 19th Street once was a crumbling, abandoned shell. Come see how it has been brought back to life on Sat., May 14.

We’re just 12 days away from the Old North Home Grown Street Festival & House Tour on Saturday, May 14. Now would be a good time to call, email, or send Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn notices to all of your contacts to give them a heads-up and to invite them to join you on Saturday, May 14.  We have postcards in the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office that you can come in and address to those you want to mail them to, and then we’ll put a stamp on them and mail them for you.

One of the homes on this block of Sullivan will be on the tour.

One of the homes on this block of Sullivan will be on the tour.

In addition to many houses dating from the mid-to-late 1800s that have benefited from historic rehabilitation, Old North also is home to 21st Century houses built within the past year.  As part of the dynamic mix of old and new housing found in Old North, the tour will feature a couple of LEED-certified homes built by Habitat for Humanity that were designed to fit the lot sizes and setbacks of the blocks where they were built.

A one-story and a two-story flounder house built by Habitat will be on this year's tour.

A one-story and a two-story flounder house built by Habitat will be on this year's tour.

Among the many neighborhood amenities that will be celebrated are several community gardens.

This triangular greenspace bounded by Wright, Dodier, and Branch Streets has received a lot of attention lately, including significant support from Operation Brightside. Wingmann Park will be re-dedicated at noon on the day of the tour.

This triangular greenspace bounded by Wright, Dodier, and Branch Streets has received a lot of attention lately, including significant support from Operation Brightside. Wingmann Park will be re-dedicated at noon on the day of the tour.

More information and a link to purchase tickets online can be found at the ONSL.org page for the house tour:  Click HERE to visit the House Tour page of the ONSL website.

If you have a Facebook account, type “Old North Saint Louis House Tour” in the search box and you’ll find our event page.  Once there, be sure to click on “Attending” and then click on the option to share this with all of your friends.

The 2011 Old North Home Grown Festival & House Tour is made possible due to the generous sponsorship support from PNC Bank (lead sponsor), Missouri Dept. of Agriculture, Bank of America, Commerce Bank, Duffe Nuernberger Realty, E. M. Harris Construction Co., Kohner Properties, Mackey Mitchell Architects, and USBank.

For other information or if you want to volunteer on the day of the tour, please give us a call at 314-241-5031.

WHAT'S NEW IN OLD NORTH

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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