Archive for October, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Comeback Cards and Old North Have a Lot in Common

Wow!  Unbelievable!

Those one word exclamations have been flying all over the blogosphere, facebook postings, tweets, and even on the pages of good, old-fashioned print publications. Yes, that represents a good summary of the Cardinals phenomenal resilience and determination to avoid elimination in the roller coaster ride of Game 6 – and throughout the latter part of the 2011 season and each round of the playoffs.  But those words also have been used recently to describe the incredible, skeptic-defying rebirth of Old North St. Louis, or as some have called it, “the little neighborhood that could.”

As dramatic and thrilling as Game 6 was, there still is some work to be done.  The Cardinals fought against setbacks and long odds to turn things around, but the World Championship trophy has yet to be won.  And Old North isn’t quite there yet, either.  Many outsiders doubted that Old North’s transformation was possible - and many others counted the neighborhood out long ago.  But over the past few years, we’ve turned a lot of skeptics into believers.  Whether it’s the stabilization and preservation of the severely damaged Mullanphy Emigrant Home building; the phenomenal redevelopment of historic buildings that had been crumbling into the street along Monroe, North Market, Hebert, Blair, or N. 14th Street; the establishment of a community-owned grocery store; or the extraordinary 28% increase in population over the past decade, the evidence is there to demonstrate Old North’s capacity to overcome long odds and achieve results that previously had been deemed absurd or impossible.

Despite the great progress achieved in recent years, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group still has a lot of challenges to tackle.  In fact, because the bar of what is possible has been raised, we’re busier than ever with a range of initiatives focused on revitalizing Old North, from operating the Old North Grocery Co-op to assisting others in finding apartments to live in, properties to rehab, or homes to purchase in Old North.

Ironically, just as we have more and more evidence of the amazing returns on previous investments, the funding to carry out this work has been getting harder to secure.  Due to economic hardships among some of our regular funders (including both individual and corporate contributors), reductions in funding from some previously committed sources (such as a 14.5% cut in our grant from the Community Development Administration as a result of federal block grant cuts), and the lag time between approval of some grants and delivery of funds (including a $25,000 grant which has been approved but won’t arrive until December at the earliest), ONSLRG’s operating funds are incredibly tight at the moment.

As the Cardinals have demonstrated, success requires team effort - and sometimes it means getting help from unlikely sources.  If you’d like to help Old North St. Louis Restoration Group continue Old North’s dramatic comeback story, we have a few ways for you to pitch in:

1) Make a tax-deductible contribution to ONSLRG right now by clicking HERE.

2) Refer us to any contacts you might have with any corporate charitable funds or foundations with an interest in community development, historic preservation, healthy food access, community gardens, social outreach, and almost anything else related to neighborhood sustainability.

3) Spread the word about Old North’s revitalization to people who haven’t heard about it yet, by sending a link to this blog, our website, ONSLRG’s facebook page, our Twitter account - or by bringing them into Old North for lunch at one of our fine eating establishments or to shop at the Old North Grocery Co-op, or to purchase something at one of Crown Square’s retailers, such as Therapy Boutique, Closet Repeats, or Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique.

4) Volunteer to assist with our fundraising committee or to help plan a future fundraising event.


5 Fill in the blank with your own ideas _____________________________.

For more information about any of the above options, feel free to give us a call at 314-241-5031 or send a message to

In the meantime, on behalf of St. Louis City’s comeback neighborhood, we tip our caps to baseball’s comeback team of the year.  GO CARDS!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Praise for Old North, Crown Candy, Crown Square, & Old North Grocery Co-op on St. Louis on the Air

Thursday’s episode of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” featured an interview with Amanda Doyle, author of “Finally, a Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis by and for St. Louisans.”  While you’ll have to read the book to see what it says about Old North (click HERE for a list of places where the book can be purchased), Amdanda’s comments on the air provide a few clues that the book will serve up generous praise for the neighborhood.

You can hear the whole interview by clicking HERE to be taken to the St. Louis Public Radio archive page for the broadcast.

Almost 13 minutes into the program, a caller mentions Crown Candy Kitchen (which also is included among the landmarks on the cover of the book).  Amanda responds to that comment with her agreement that Crown Candy is not just a great restaurant but is an institution in St. Louis. Later Don Marsh, the host of the program, adds his observations about how often dignitaries and celebrities can be found eating at or waiting in line at Crown.  But that’s not all.  Amanda goes on to point out that Crown Candy “is not all that’s going on in Old North now… There’s an entire development around it called Crown Square… There’s a lot happening in Old North St. Louis, and it’s spreading out in the surrounding neighborhoods… That is entirely worth a half-day visit, as well.”

Just past 19 minutes or so into the program, you’ll hear even more positive remarks about Old North from a caller who mentions that the Old North Grocery Co-op is a great place for local and farm-fresh foods, especially during the winter months when most of the farmers’ markets are closed down for the season.  Amanda concurs once again with her observation that the co-op is “a real amenity for the neighborhood… The store there is beautiful.”

The comments about Old North Grocery Co-op came just as Rusty Lee was delivering a fresh batch of pumpkins to the store, along with an assortment of other vegetables straight from his farm in Truxton, MO.

Hurry on over to the Old North Grocery Co-op to get your pumpkins while they're still in stock.  These may be the last of the season -- and just in time for Halloween.

Hurry on over to the Old North Grocery Co-op to get your pumpkins while they're still in stock. This may be the last delivery of the season -- and just in time for Halloween.

Stay tuned for a future post here with more thorough review of the book and details about an upcoming “meet the author” event and book-signing with Amanda Doyle in Old North.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique Set to Open Saturday, Oct. 22

Shopping in Old North is about to get even better this Saturday with the opening of Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique, the latest new business at Crown Square.

The store at 2611 N. 14th Street will open for business at 10 a.m.  Come on out to show your support for Maria and thank her for bringing another shopping option to Old North.  In the meantime, check out Maria’s online site at for more information about the fun, funky, and functional items available from Rambles.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Cool Scenes from Open Streets in Old North

Yesterday’s post had a few photos of the fun on the streets of Old North while the City’s Open Streets day and North City Farmers’ Market were still in progress.  Now, we can share more of the cool scenes from throughout the day.

Much of the work on the neighborhood end was done by Molly Johnson, a practicum student from St. Louis University who’s working with ONSLRG this semester.  Thanks Molly! And thanks also go out to Patrick Brown from the Mayor’s office and Ann Chance, Special Events Coordinator for the City of St. Louis, and all of the people they pulled together for the planning committee.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Phenomenally Cool & Fun Day at Old North Open Streets

Words can’t describe the amount of energy and excitement along N. 14th Street right now, so the following pictures of Open Streets in Old North will have to do…

The fun continues until 1 p.m., so come on down now!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Join us Saturday for Open Streets in Old North

Our previous post provided some basic information about Open Streets in Old North, scheduled for tomorrow (Sat., Oct. 8) from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Now, we’re happy to share some sneak preview images and more details about the activities that will be happening up and down N. 14th Street.

In addition to the second-to-last North City Farmers’ Market day of the season, featuring a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (including okra, collards, herbs, squash, lettuce, and corn), visitors will enjoy…

- live music provided by Bill Forness & the Tennessee Two

- an appearance by the ever-popular Bubble Bus, courtesy of Tekno Bubbles

Check out for more images of the "totally awesome and amazingly cool" Bubble Bus

Check out for more images of the "totally awesome and amazingly cool" Bubble Bus

- bike alley, including bike tune-ups/repairs and helmet fittings and giveaways, along with the smoothie-producing bike-blender, courtesy of Trailnet

- basketball in the street, with free-throw contests and 3-on-3, 2-on-2, or maybe even 1-on-1 pick-up games…

- yoga and other physical fitness-oriented activities, such as a soccer activity area and obstacle course (thanks to the YMCA of Greater St. Louis) along with another activity area hosted by Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (with soccer balls and equipment that ONSLRG is borrowing from America Scores), in addition to some other equipment ONSLRG has purchased through a mini-grant from Washington University)…

- Tai chi demonstrations by the St. Louis Taoist Association…

Photo courtesy of Bob Crowe of St. Louis Daily Photo Blog (

Photo courtesy of Bob Crowe of St. Louis Daily Photo Blog (

- “(en)Visioning Hyde Park” exhibit at the Old North Gallery (made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council), featuring photography by young students who worked with ReBuild Foundation this past summer…

- Frisbee activities and good, old-fashioned 4-square games (thanks to playground balls on loan from Confluence Academy’s school in Old North) in the street in front of La Mancha Coffeehouse, where you can find Veronica Holden, “best barrista in St. Louis” (as designated by the most recent Best of St. Louis issue of Riverfront Times) …

…a bounce house of some sort

- and, a chance to take in the sights of award-winning, historically-rehabbed and architecturally-significant buildings at Crown Square while shopping at some of the neighborhood’s cool, new retail establishments, such as Therapy Boutique, Closet Repeats, the Racq Salon & Spa, along with a sneak preview of the coming soon Rambles Gift Gallery & Boutique, and other establishments, such as Head Hunters Barber Shop, Poor Souls Society Art Gallery, and Crown Candy Kitchen.

… and much, much more!

For more information - and to register your plans to ATTEND - visit the facebook page for Open Streets in Old North by clicking HERE.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Open Streets Day Returns to Old North Sat., Oct. 8

Cyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, parents with strollers, individuals in wheelchairs, pedestrians, and all sorts of others will converge on N. 14th Street in the heart of Old North this coming Saturday (Oct. 8) for the first of two Open Streets Days in the City of St. Louis.

Please plan to join us for this family-friendly, community-enriching event — and help us spread the word to all others who might want to join in on the fun.  For more information or to make your plans to attend known, visit the facebook page for the event in Old North.  If you’d like to help with any of the activities planned for the “activity hub” along the 2600-2800 blocks of N. 14th, call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 and ask for Molly.


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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