Friday, March 8, 2013

A Mixed Day of Sadness & Hope in Old North

Earlier today a massive fire destroyed the vacant building at 1415 Benton within a period of no more than 45 minutes.  The building has been vacant and owned by Northside Regeneration LLC for about six years.

By the time firefighters arrived, it was too late to save the building.  The east wall (on the right side) completely collapsed moments after the photo above was taken, and the whole building was a pile of rubble within a matter of minutes.  The photo below shows a small portion of the front wall, all that remains of 1415 Benton, and significant damage to the building at 1417-19 Benton.

Old North Saint Louis is home to three separate National Register Historic Districts; the largest, the Murphy-Blair district, covers most of Old North, including the 1400 block of Benton.  Although we’re glad that no one was injured in today’s fire, the loss of any “contributing” historic property jeopardizes the viability of the whole district.

A Different Mood in the Afternoon

In contrast to the sadness over the loss of yet another historic property in Old North, we were very pleased to welcome a delegation of Fulbright Scholars this afternoon who came to the neighborhood to learn about the community’s revitalization and to contribute some of their time.  The volunteers helped with some interior work in the building which houses the Old North Grocery Co-op at 2718 N. 13th Street.

The students are in St. Louis for a conference of Fulbright Scholars attending colleges and universities in the U.S.  The students visiting Old North today were from Norway, Indonesia, Finland, Trinidad And Tobago, Togo, Chile, Ireland, Ecuador, United Kingdom, Montenegro, Latvia, Spain, St. Lucia, India, Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia, Denmark, and India.  The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 with a mission to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

In addition to their assistance at the Old North Grocery Co-op and other manual labor, the volunteers contributed to the economy of Old North by visiting Crown Candy Kitchen and other neighborhood establishments.

We thoroughly enjoyed the visit, the assistance, and the refreshing conversation.  Thank you to the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Institute of International Education for bringing the students to Old North.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 9:09 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


"A Mixed Day of Sadness & Hope in Old North"


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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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