Archive for the ‘Awards and honors’ Category

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Saturday Will Soon Be Here…Have You Rounded Up All Your Friends to Attend the Southeast by Old North Benefit Concert Yet?

We’re counting down the hours to the big Southeast by Old North North Benefit Concert featuring 4 separate musical acts THIS SATURDAY, Sept. 27 at Plush, 3224 Locust. If you haven’t reserved your tickets yet - don’t worry! - you still can get tickets online by clicking HERE to buy your tickets via TicketFly for just $15… or, you’ll still be able to purchase your tickets at the door Saturday night, for just $15.

Whether you’re a resident of Old North, a friend of the community, an advocate of historic preservation, a promoter of healthy communities, a fan of one of the bands, or just someone who wants to spend the evening listening to great music at a cool venue with a crowd of friendly, community-minded characters, the Southeast by Old North Benefit Concert for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group will be the place to be on Saturday evening.  The doors open at 7 p.m.

Earlier this week we provided a bit of background on one of the bands, Five Eight (click HERE to see that), and we’ll provide more detail about all of the bands and musicians below.  BUT, please note that this event is more than a rocking night of good music.  Since the whole event was pulled together by ONSLRG Board member Doug Rasmussen to be a fundraiser for ONSLRG, the ticket revenue will support ONSLRG’s neighborhood-wide revitalization work - AND there will be other ways of providing support that night.  One of the highlights will be a raffle for many fantastic prizes, including a gift basket (shown below) from Bissinger’s, which recently moved into space on North Broadway.

Other raffle prizes include a variety of items from Crown Candy Kitchen, CDs and other products from Euclid Records and tickets to a concert at the Pageant, tickets to the St. Louis Rams’ Oct. 13th Monday Night Football game, a growler and gift certificate from Morgan Street Brewery, a night’s stay at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, a gift certificate for the Fountain on Locust… and more.

If the music and the company of friends and other cool people isn’t enough reason to attend, come on out to support ONSLRG’s work AND get a chance to get some great stuff.

PLUS, hanging out with some great people is a good way to spend a Saturday night!

But, if you like music, that should be a compelling enough reason to attend.  To get a feel for the sounds of these musicians, click on the links below to listen to a selection from each.

Hannah Aldridge…

Corvus & Canis…

The Pauses…

and, Five Eight…

Saturday night you’ll have a rare opportunity to see and hear all of them live on stage at Plush!  With that much talent all performing on the same stage in the same night, the $15 ticket price is one of the best entertainment deals in town.  You might as well get several tickets and treat all of your friends to a great night out for a great cause!  Click HERE to buy the tickets online - or come on out Saturday night and pay at the door.

And, as noted in the previous posts, if you just can’t make it to the concert Saturday but you still want to support Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, just click on the image below to make a secure, tax-deductible contribution right now.  Thank you!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Old North House & Community Tour: More Reasons to Attend than a Top 10 List Can Contain

If you haven’t started yet, time is running out to start spreading the news that TOMORROW, Saturday, May 17th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. is our annual celebration of all that is enriching, inspirational, sustainable and just plain cool about living in walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly, diverse, historic neighborhoods; or, in simpler terms: the Old North House & Community Tour.

For a limited time only - the rest of today, to be precise - you can get your tickets for the advance ticket price of just $10.  Click HERE to get your tickets now.

We’ve posted numerous reasons for attending this tour already, but we now offer the following highlights, in no particular order:

AWARDS, AWARDS, and more AWARDS in this Award-Winning Neighborhood

Come see what all of the buzz is about and why so many unbiased, outside observers have deemed Old North and various components of the community here to be worthy of special recognition and awards.

Old North has more Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation” per acre, per capita, or per total number of buildings than just about any other neighborhood in St. Louis.  As reported here a couple days ago, the most recent Landmarks award in Old North has yet to be presented but has been announced.  Come on out Saturday to see the incredible work done on the insides of 1303 North Market, one of the projects that will be recognized with a “Most Enhanced” Award by Landmarks on May 22.

Other properties that have won Landmarks awards will also be on this year’s tour, including 1408 Wright Street and spaces at Crown Square, which received a “Most Enhanced” Award in 2010 for the project as a whole.

Crown Square also won a National Trust for Historic Preservation / HUD Secretary’s Award for Overall Excellence in Historic Preservation in 2010, a Missouri Preservation “McReynolds Award” for historic preservation in 2011, and a J. Timothy Anderson Award from the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association.

The biggest award, however, came from U.S. EPA, which presented Old North with their National 2011 Overall Excellence Award for Smart Growth Achievement.  Old North is the only neighborhood to receive this distinction in the entire Midwest. The only only other overall award-winner in the Midwest was the whole greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area in 2006.

Other awards for the comprehensive revitalization in progress around here have come from East-West Gateway Council of Governments (just last year for public-nonprofit collaboration), U.S. Green Building Council -Missouri Gateway Chapter (also in 2013), American Society of Landscape Architects, St. Louis Chapter (their Civic Stewardship Award in 2011), and Focus St. Louis (with a What’s Right with the Region Award in 2007).

And, did we mention the FREE ICE CREAM?  All ticket-holding tour-goers will receive a free cup of ice cream, courtesy of Crown Candy Kitchen - but being distributed at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery.

And a FREE CUP OF COFFEE for all ticket-holding tour-goers from La Mancha Coffeehouse.


In addition to an incredible variety of relatively new and historically-rehabbed homes, apartments, and gardens throughout Old North, the tour also will feature businesses in Old North, including Blackmun Footcare and Firecracker Press.


As reported here on May 14, this Saturday will mark the official opening of our new Old North Little Free Library in Wingmann Park (along the 1400 block of Wright Street), which also will be one of the stops on the tour.

Environmentally-Friendly SHUTTLES to Transport you between tour stops

This year our shuttle options will include pedi-cabs from St. Louis 3-Wheel Taxi (as shown in our post from Wednesday the 12th) and electric-powered golf carts from St. Louis Golf Cars.


Our post from earlier today introduced Charlotte Harris (click HERE if you missed that).  But, just a reminder now that Saturday will be a great chance to stop by to meet Charlotte and welcome her to ONSLRG.

We’ve got everything set and ready to go - all we need is YOU.  Get your tickets now at the advance-ticket prices by clicking HERE (or on the image below) or by stopping by the ONSLRG office before 5 p.m. today.

And, as noted above, you can always pick up tickets on the day of the tour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at St. Louis Avenue and North 14th Street.  We look forward to seeing you here!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Landmarks Award Will Celebrate Phenomenal Transformation of 1303 North Market - Yet Another Cool Site to See at Old North House & Community Tour

We are happy to share the great news that Landmarks Association of St. Louis has selected 1303 North Market as a winner of one of their 2014 Most Enhanced Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation!  Congratulations to the Lane Family for the many years of hard work, creativity, and determination to make that transformation possible.  As Landmarks Association’s Executive Director, Andrew Weil, put it: “It is an awesome project.”

As cool as the garden space along the eastern side of the building is, the interior of the former abandoned warehouse building demonstrates what can happen when creative people have the freedom to take something others considered unusable and re-shape it to suit their style and needs. The before and after shots below are just a sample of what the Lanes have been able to accomplish at 1303 North Market.

The award from Landmarks will be presented to the Lanes on May 22, but YOU can get first-hand views of this home THIS SATURDAY, May 17 when 1303 North Market will be one of the 17 sites on this year’s Old North House & Community Tour.

For tickets to the Landmarks reception and award ceremony at the Sun Theater on Thursday, May 22, click HERE to purchase them online.  The reception includes food and drinks and lasts from 6:00 until 7:00 with the Award ceremony to follow.

On the topic of Landmarks “Most Enhanced Award”-winning properties, another home that received this award a couple years ago will also be open for this year’s tour.  The two-family residential building at 1408 Wright Street has been on the tour before, but this year the home features a completely different style that represents the building’s new occupants who moved into Old North last year.

Across the street from 1408 Wright is another product of Graham Lane’s creative hands that will also be on display at the Old North House & Community Tour this Saturday: the neighborhood’s first Little Free Library, which was installed today in Wingmann Park.  Graham converted an old safe into the box which will hold the books that will be free to take and return on an honor system.  Old North’s resident metal-smith, Janet Sanders, will soon complete fabrication of a new door for the box so that the library can be fully stocked by Old North’s resident librarian, Gina Sheridan, in time for its grand opening on Saturday.

Old North’s Little Free Library is part of an international movement to bring books and other reading materials to communities that don’t have full-fledged libraries.  As described on the website, a little free library is “a ‘take a book, return a book’ gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”

But wait, there’s more…

In addition to getting a chance to visit the Little Free Library and all of the award-winning homes, gardens, businesses on the tour, visitors with tickets to the tour will be able to stop by La Mancha Coffeehouse at 2800 N. 14th Street for a free cup of coffee before heading down to the ONSLRG Gallery for a free cup of Crown Candy ice cream.

To take advantage of the advance ticket price of only $10 for a home & community tour unlike any other in St. Louis, get your tickets now by clicking HERE.  Tickets will also be available at the ONSLRG office between now and Saturday.  Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the tour for $12.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What Distinguishes the Old North House & Community Tour from Other House Tours?

Diversity. Old North is a community that welcomes in people from all walks of life - different ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, household formats and sizes, income levels, occupancy status and professions, religions, worldviews… and the list could go on and on.  That diversity is also reflected in the selection of what we will feature on Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group hosts our annual Old North House & Community Tour.  Some neighborhood house tours only show off the “nicest” and most elegantly furnished and decorated homes.  In Old North, we have our share of meticulously and lovingly restored historic houses (including a large and growing collection of Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced” Award-winning buildings), but we’re also not afraid to admit that the neighborhood is a work in progress - and we embrace the fact that there isn’t just one house style that works for everybody.

With the aid of a tour booklet, Old North’s House & Community Tour is a go-at-your-own-pace, self-guided tour, which provides an opportunity for visitors, friends of the community, and residents of Old North to get up-close and inside views of the award-winning revitalization in progress.

The tour will feature about a dozen & a half stops, including beautifully-restored, historic homes; a recently built home with universal design components; houses in the midst of multi-year rehabs; adaptive re-uses of formerly obsolete structures (including one which now has state-of-the art energy-efficiency and sustainability technology); and apartments in buildings that once had been severely dilapidated, crumbling into the street, and abandoned (such as the one in the photo above).

Because the architecture and building stock represent only part of what makes Old North an attractive and desirable community, several non-residential spaces will also be stops on the tour: community gardens, including one with a soon-to-be-unveiled, “little free library”; neighborhood businesses, and much more.

To see more of Old North - and to get inside views of some of these buildings, please plan to join us on Saturday, May 17.  And get your tickets now!

Advance tickets are available at the ONSLRG office, 2700 N. 14th Street, or online by clicking HERE or on the image above.  Tickets on the day of the tour will be sold at $12 each at the registration tent.

Check back often between now and May 17 for updates and more info about other stops and activities at the 2014 Old North House & Community Tour.

P.S. - if you’d like to help out with the tour, we still could use more volunteers - and we still have sponsorship opportunities.  Call the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to to request more information or click HERE for the tour information page on this website.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

THANK YOU to All Who Are Making the Revitalization of Old North St. Louis Possible

Happy (slightly belated) Thanksgiving to all of the residents and friends of Old North! As we finish the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we want to express our thanks to all of the people who work with or support Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in the pursuit of our mission to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.  We especially thank the following:

Members of ONSLRG’s Board of Directors, who take on responsibilities above and beyond most non-profit boards, including volunteering for numerous neighborhood cleanups, vacant building board-ups, garden work, setting up for and/or staffing a table at the North City Farmers’ Market (not to mention growing some of the food sold there), opening their homes for the annual Old North House & Community Tour, talking to the media, running meetings, lining up bands for fundraising events, designing flyers or preparing for layout program booklets, and inviting neighbors to attend many of ONSLRG’s programs and events.

ONSLRG Staff, who put in long hours and a lot of hard work on a wide variety of tasks that don’t quite fit into anyone’s job description and still manage to deal with whatever comes through the front doors on a daily basis.

Interns and Practicum Students, who make it possible for us to implement so much more than our full-time staff could have time to do, and bring great energy, creativity, and skill to work that sometimes may not be the most glamorous or exciting.

Volunteers - from high school and college students to international service organizations and corporate employees - these groups are too numerous to identify by name, and they come all year long to help with a multitude of work, including neighborhood clean-ups, beautification and tree-planting projects, work at North City Farmers’ Market, other special events, and so much more.  Thank you to all!

Partners and Collaborating Organizations bring additional resources and skills to the table to support ONSLRG’s comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy.  Again, this category includes too many groups to name them all here, but we especially thank our Crown Square development partners, Rise (formerly RHCDA); Equifax, for recruiting help from Rebuilding Together to design and build improvements to the Crown Square corner plaza at St. Louis Avenue & N. 14th Street; the City of St. Louis and Washington University for bringing the Sustainable Land Lab competition to Old North; the Episcopal Service Corps for making it possible for us to bring Eric on board as an intern and to launch a new “street team” community engagement initiative; multiple parties who have been involved with North City Farmers’ Market; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for assistance with our launching of the Old North Neighborhood Ownership Model; Community Builders Network for helping us strengthen our relationship with other community development corporations around town; and so many others…

Donors and Investors

Although we get a lot of great work out of volunteers, interns, neighbors and partners, ONSLRG still needs funding to cover other organizational expenses and to have a full-time staff.  Funding comes from a diverse mix of sources, including many individuals, but we owe a special thanks to major donors, Equifax, Bank of America, Rise Collaborative Support Grant, U.S. Bank, Covidien, United Way’s small grant program, Burns & McDonnell, and all of our sponsors and contributors who supported the house tour, trivia night, benefit concert, and holiday market.  [We'll provide a full acknowledgment of all funders as part of our annual report at the end of the year.]

New Programs Still To Come:

We also need to acknowledge new programming still to come.  For instance, VerbQuake, a program initiated by M.K. Stallings, who had been an intern at ONSLRG long ago, received support from Incarnate Word Foundation’s Marketplace of Ideas grant program.  This poetry workshop series will get under way in 2014.

**  And, of course, the Current, Former, & Soon to Come Residents of Old North

None of ONSLRG’s work would be possible without the people who call Old North home.  This group includes many individuals who have been recognized in other categories above, especially our board, volunteers, and contributors, but it also includes many who contribute to the revitalization in a variety of other ways.  Some show up regularly for events, others offer words of encouragement, or shop at the farmers’ market or other neighborhood businesses.  All contribute in one way or another by just being a part of the community, adding life to the streets as they walk their dogs, take their children to the playground, mow their lawn, help a neighbor with home repairs, and watch out for each other.

We even have future residents of the neighborhood willing to speak up on behalf of Old North.  One such individual who is planning to buy a property to rehab and move into the neighborhood recently took the New York Times to task for an article that portrayed the entire north side of the City of St. Louis as if it were just one big neighborhood, rather than a collection of different neighborhoods with unique sets of circumstances in each.

No list of things to be grateful for would be complete without thanking Crown Candy Kitchen for 100 years of tasty treats and service to Old North - and for continuing to bring visitors, customers, and prospective residents and business owners to the community by the busload!

Thank you again to all!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Baseball, Indie Rock & Neighborhood Revitalization

Welcome to St. Louis, baseball fans!  As the World Series returns to the best baseball town in America, we invite all visitors to stop by to see the revitalization in progress in the Old North neighborhood, which is just a mile and a half north of Busch Stadium.  (OK, for those of you who think St. Louisans are being a bit too boastful these days about how great the fans are here, keep in mind we’re pretty darn good at putting ourselves down most of the time.  Shouldn’t we brag about something? Especially if it’s true?).

So, what does the World Series have to do with Old North St. Louis?  First, baseball is a sport that embraces history and tradition… and food.  The same could be said of Old North.  In fact, it’s a tradition among many long-time St. Louisans (and former St. Louisans when they’re back home for a visit) to make a pilgrimage to one of our city’s most historic eating establishments, Old North’s own Crown Candy Kitchen, at the corner of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street.

And if you don’t believe us, just ask Jimmy Fallon, who visited Crown Candy just a couple weeks ago and shared his enthusiasm on Facebook. (Oddly enough, Fallon played a die-hard Red Sox fan in the film, Fever Pitch, which featured actual footage of Fallon and his co-star, Drew Barrymore, at the old Busch Stadium when the Red Sox played the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.)

While in Old North, you may get a chance to enjoy the musical talents of Jamaica Ray, who often entertains the line of customers outside Crown Candy with the sound of his steel drums and keyboard.  You also may notice other products of Jamaica Ray’s talents - a whole variety of custom-designed mannequins standing around in front of Crown Candy or across the street at the Crown Square corner plaza.

Ray was recently on the street working on finishing touches to a mannequin being prepared for an upcoming event featuring St. Louis comedian/civil rights activist Dick Gregory.

Ray was recently on the street working on finishing touches to a mannequin being prepared for an upcoming event featuring St. Louis comedian/civil rights activist Dick Gregory.

The cool and attractive scenery at the corner of N. 14th and St. Louis Avenue - from the historically rehabbed buildings to the inviting plaza and stage - is just a sampling of the visible outcomes of an ongoing neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy being pursued by Old North St. Louis Restoration Group (ONSLRG).  As a community-based non-profit, ONSLRG relies on the passion, energy, and commitment of determined neighborhood residents, along with the financial support of a whole range of neighbors and friends of the community.  And on that note, you can help ONSLRG continue this award-winning revitalization by making a tax-deductible contribution right now or simply by going out to enjoy a fun evening of great music next Saturday, Nov. 2.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, ONSLRG will be the beneficiary of a concert at Plush (3224 Locust) featuring the talents of legendary indie rock band, Five Eight of Athens, Georgia, and the opening band, Last to Show First to Go (with Old North resident, Phil Valko, and other long-time friends of Old North).   You can purchase tickets online RIGHT NOW via by clicking HERE.

Seriously, folks, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group really needs your support! Our work covers a broad-range of initiatives which demand a lot of staff time to plan, coordinate, and implement.  Even when we successfully recruit a lot of good volunteers to help with these efforts, the recruiting, deploying, supervising, and managing volunteers requires staff time.  And, since we like to pay our staff for their long hours and hard work, we need funds to pay those salaries.  And since some of our previous supporters have experienced financial crunches of their own and have had to cut back on previous commitments, we need everyone who appreciates the progress achieved in Old North to pitch in with their financial support.  We’ve received a lot of awards and compliments for our work (and we really do appreciate that encouragement!), but those kind words and shiny plaques don’t help us cover our rent, utilities, supplies, and salaries.  So, if you want us to keep Old North moving in the right direction, buy as many tickets to the Five Eight / Last to Go First to Show concert as you can afford (by clicking HERE) and/or make a financial contribution online right now by clicking HERE or on the image below.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Community Development Rocks! 3 Reasons to Go to Benefit Concert for ONSLRG on Sat., Nov. 2

November 2 is right around the corner, so get your tickets now for the Community Development Rocks! benefit concert featuring the critically acclaimed band, Five Eight, and the locally loved band, Last to Show First to Go.  Proceeds from this benefit will help Old North St. Louis Restoration Group continue the good work of revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of the Old North neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

If you’re wondering why you should buy as many tickets as you can afford for the Nov. 2 concert, we offer a few reasons to think about:

(1) Great music

According to NPR’s All Songs Considered, Five Eight is one of the top five bands that should be way bigger than they are.  St. Louis fans of Five Eight - and many who are just getting to know them - are excited about the rare opportunity to see the indie rock veterans in the Gateway City.  The band has agreed to travel all the way from Athens, Georgia, to perform at this benefit for ONSLRG.

Although Last to Show First to Go is a local band - which means you may have seen them before and likely will get many other opportunities to see them - it’s worth pointing out to those unfamiliar with them how good they are.  Here’s one review by Annie-Rose Fondaw on KDHX:

“On first listen, Last to Show First to Go appears to have its roots down in the landscape of heartland rock ‘n’ roll. Lead singer Bredon Jones’ earnest, earthy vocals lie simply against a backdrop of acoustic guitar, drums and vocal harmonies, all bolstered by a double bass. Yet as each song unfolds, it’s clear that Last to Show First to Go has a flair for genre-bending. From Jay Lewis’ rippling cello arpeggios to Miriam Keller’s jazz-infused trumpet, the band embraces a wide variety of sounds and textures. And lo and behold, they pull it off. What could easily veer into a trite modernization of the down-home Americana genre instead becomes a singular, engaging sound.”

(2) A Really Cool Venue

Plush, located at 3224 Locust between Compton and Grand, has earned a reputation as one of the hippest, hottest, coolest (or whatever term you’d use for the highest level of a positive experience) venues for food, drink, and live music in St. Louis.  One recent review on Yelp described Plush as “as good at it gets,” while a review in the Riverfrtont Times last year was headlined, “Plush is the most ambitious drinking, dining and dance establishment St. Louis has seen in a decade.”  Get your tickets now to check out Plush in person on Saturday, Nov. 2.  And, if you can get there for dinner before the concert, be sure to mention that you’re there for the Community Development Rocks! concert to get a special deal on the meal.

The photo above is by Kate McDonald from St. Louis Magazine’s 2012 “A List” issue, which included Plush among their “Night Life” awards in the “Dinner and Dance” category.

(3) And, of course, a chance to support a Great Cause

When you support ONSLRG, you support the cause of urban core revitalization implemented in a manner that respects the community that lives there.  The best way to respect the community is to pursue their vision and to involve them in the process of making that vision a reality.  That’s what ONSLRG has been doing since it was created by residents of Old North in 1981.  Everything ONSLRG does is rooted in a desire expressed by community residents.  That’s why ONSLRG has taken on…

the preservation of historic properties - from small, single-family homes to to multi-family, rental buildings to large, institutional buildings, such as the Mullanphy Emigrant Home…

coordinating a farmers’ market in the heart of Old North since 2007 to bring healthy & affordable foods to the neighborhood…

Hosting theater, film, photography exhibits, and other arts programming…

Beautifying Old North through tree-planting, community gardens, supporting other green investments, and regular neighborhood-wide clean-up days

Improving neighborhood safety by establishing a police substation at Crown Square, hosting neighborhood watch trainings, and coordinating implementation of the City’s “Neighborhood Ownership Model”…

Bringing residents together regularly to plan, discuss, and review ideas or proposals for development in Old North…

Plus, all sorts of community-building social events, and so much more!

In addition to supporting ONSLRG by buying concert tickets, you can also buy raffle tickets at the concert or before!  ONSLRG’s tireless intern, Chris Umbertino, has lined up some phenomenal prizes for a raffle drawing that will take place at the concert.  See the flyer below for details.

Raffle tickets will be sold at the concert, but you can also purchase them in advance - either in person at the ONSLRG office or online. Just follow the link below for online contributions - and make a contribution along WITH a note in the comments/special instructions or other notes section to alert us that the purpose is for raffle tickets in your name.

We’d love to get as many people out to Plush on November 2 as we can get to support ONSLRG and to show our appreciation for the generosity of Five Eight, Last to Show First to Go, and Plush; and we’d love it if you could purchase a large pile of raffle tickets as a way of letting the prize donors know their contributions were worth it.  However, we also are willing to accept good, old-fashioned direct contributions straight to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.  We can accept contributions in whatever form you’d like to send us:  cash (please not through the mail, though); checks (which can be dropped off at our office or sent by mail to 2700 N. 14th Street, St. Louis, MO 63106); or by credit or debit card - either in person at our office or online via PayPal by clicking HERE now or by clicking on the image below.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scenes from a Day-Long Celebration of a Neighborhood Revitalization in Progress

Thank you to all of our volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and musicians who participated in some capacity at yesterday’s Old North House & Community Tour, and special thanks to the the business-owners, homeowners and tenants who opened their homes or businesses to let hundreds of visitors wander through over the course of the day.

By all measures, the day was a great success.

Mayor Slay met neighborhood residents while attending the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Sustainable Land Lab projects.

The day started with the formal kick-off of the Sustainable Land Lab projects (re-scheduled from the rained out date in April), including a presentation to the 3 runner up projects and the 5 teams that were selected to implement their proposals on 4 lots in the Crown Square area.

Pablo Moyano Fernandez and Old North residents Gloria & Tom Bratkowski represented Hybrid Urban Bioscapes project.

Pablo Moyano Fernandez and Old North residents Gloria & Tom Bratkowski represented Hybrid Urban Bioscapes project.

After the start of the tour, the celebration continued at the corner of N. 14th Street and St. Louis Avenue, where representatives from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and RHCDA (co-owners / co-developers of the corner lot, which is part of the overall Crown Square redevelopment of the former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall) thanked Rebuilding Together St. Louis for coordinating the improvements to the corner plaza space, including the addition of tables with umbrellas, construction of the fence along the south and west sides of the space, new plantings, and the addition of a stage for public performances.  Also acknowledged were the many volunteers, including many from Scottrade and Equifax, financial support from Equifax and Regional Business Council, and contributed professional services from Sherwoods Forest, Kimberlin Construction, and IBEW-Local 1.

Neighbors from down the street came out to celebrate the first official event at the new & improved Crown Square corner plaza.

Dave Ervin, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together St. Louis, and RTSL’s Outreach Coordinator, Kuleya Bruce, acknowledged our appreciation and thanked all who helped them with the project before introducing local musician, Chris Ware for the first official performance on the stage.

Environmentally friendly shuttle service was provided by St. Louis 3 Wheel Taxi.

Volunteers, including Nolan (below), provided a variety of valuable services, including merchandise sales.

And the tour provided an opportunity to show off the diverse range of housing styles in Old North, from apartments to a loft-style conversion of a former warehouse (below).

And a number of number of historic houses…

The soon-to-come Chess Pocket Parkat 2713 N. 14th Street offered the opportunity to try out some chess moves throughout the day.

Another tour tradition is free ice cream, thanks to the generous donation from Crown Candy Kitchen.

Norah Ryan returned for the critical role of scooper and dispenser of ice cream.

The kickoff activities at the 5 Land Lab projects included:

The Sunflower+ project at 1318 Warren

Children from the neighborhood joined the Sunflower+ project coordinators in planting of sunflowers and other work at the project site.

The Mighty Mississippians at 1300-06 Montgomery

The Bistro Box at 1301-03 Montgomery

RR Farm, also at 1301-03 Montgomery

and Chess Pocket Park at 2713 N. 14th Street

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Old North House & Community Tour: 2 Days Away to Sat., May 18

We’re down to counting the hours now until our biggest event of the year - so any help you can offer in spreading the word about the Old North House & Community Tour would be greatly appreciated, and you still have time to let us know if you can volunteer to help out on the day of the tour.

If you still aren’t subscribed to receive our e-Newsletter, then you probably missed our most recent edition.  Click on the image below or click HERE to view the web version.  Once you’re there, be sure to click on the Facebook “Like” image and/or the Twitter “tweet” image to share via these social media tools.

We also have some updates on what else will be going on here on Saturday.

At 9:00 a.m., Mayor Slay and the organizers responsible for the Sustainable Land Lab competition will lead the official kick-off ceremonies marking the start of work at the 5 Land Lab projects in Old North.  This ceremony will start at 1318 Warren (as seen in the photo above, courtesy of Washington University’s Office of Sustainable Development), the site where the Sunflower + project is underway, and will then travel to the other 3 Land Lab lots.  Please join us for this celebration just prior to the start of the Old North House & Community Tour.

At 10 a.m., the House & Community Tour officially begins, with registration table at N. 14th & St. Louis Avenue (see photo below) opening to distribute tour booklets to those who’ve registered in advance or to sell tour tickets (at the day-of price of $12) and the environmentally-friendly, bicycle rickshaw shuttle service will start up for those who don’t want to walk between the stops.

At 10:30 a.m., we’ll celebrate the ceremonial, unveiling / ribbon-cutting of the recently improved Crown Square corner plaza, followed by performances on the new stage by local musician, poet, and spoken-word artist, Chris Ware, and later by Old North’s own favorite steel drum musician, Jamaica Ray.

The tour activities will continue until 4 p.m., featuring 20 stops, 4 of which are located in historically rehabbed buildings at Crown Square, including a residential apartment incorporating a portion of the mezzanine level of the former J.C. Penney building (originally built for the Peters Dry Goods & Clothing Co. in 1881), the recently-opened Blackmun Footcare in that same building, and the soon-to-open Kennedy’s Pet Shop at 2601 N. 14th (in the photo above).

Other stops include:

  • the 4 empty lots where 5 Sustainable Land Lab demonstration projects are being implemented;
  • 2 other businesses offering free treats to tour-goers, La Mancha Coffeehouse, which is offering free cups of coffee, and City Bar & Grill, which is offering free toasted ravioli;
  • 2 historically-rehabbed homes, which have won Landmarks Association “Most Enhanced” Awards in previous years (in addition to the Crown Square project, which also received one of these awards in 2010);
  • a “loft-style” conversion of a warehouse building into a living space and a separate sculpture studio;
  • a couple of historic houses that are still in the midst of major re-construction and rehabilitation after massive damage, from a fire at one and two-different storms at the other, that would have led to demolition in other neighborhoods;
  • the future home in Old North for the Episcopal Service Corps community later this year;
  • the Old North Grocery Co-op and 13th Street Community Garden;
  • the home of Northside Workshop, a community art space that opened last year; and
  • the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office and Gallery, where a new photography exhibit will have its opening on Saturday; this exhibit, titled “Revitalizing,” features photos from 6 neighborhoods (including Old North), where UMSL’s PPRC Photography Project worked with community residents.

As noted in Tuesday’s post, another tradition of this event is the treat of some ice cream from Crown Candy Kitchen (celebrating 100 years of service to Old North).  All tour-goers will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cup, redeemable at the Old North Gallery.

If you haven’t already clicked on the link above, click below to get your tickets while you can still take advantage of the advance ticket price of $10.

And, if for whatever reason, you’re still not convinced that something special is going on in Old North St. Louis, take another look at the YouTube video we prepared before last year’s tour to highlight the dramatic transformations in progress throughout Old North.

We look forward to seeing you again in Old North on Saturday!

[One last appeal: if you've got some time available and are willing to help out, we still could use a few more volunteers.  Give us a call at the ONSLRG office at 314-241-5031 or send an email to Claire Wolff:]

Sunday, March 31, 2013

ONSLRG Receives “Growing Green” Award for Leading Old North’s Transformation

This past Thursday the Missouri Gateway Region chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council presented Old North St. Louis Restoration Group with one of their 2013 Growing Green Awards in recognition of the dramatic transformation achieved in Old North in recent years and the role ONSLRG has played in leading the effort.  ONSLRG was nominated for the “Community Champion” award by Rosemann & Associates.  firm.

ONSLRG Board President Tino Ochoa and Executive Director Sean Thomas were on hand Thursday to receive the award.

The Executive Summary of the nomination by Rosemann highlights ONSLRG’s perspective that “sustainability is more than the built environment” and the organization’s “programming and activities to cultivate relationships among long‐time residents and newcomers.”

Many programs, including a multi‐pronged healthy eating strategy with a farmers’ market, produce‐growing community gardens, and a neighborhood‐owned grocery co‐op, enable residents to enjoy healthier lifestyles and enhance community connections. These and other examples are eloquent testimony to Old North’s commitment, community spirit, and leadership in creating a diverse, vibrant and sustainable community within the city of St Louis that can serve as a brilliant example of how true sustainability is conceived and practiced.

Recent events from the past couple weeks provide good illustrations of this commitment to community-building.  On the same evening as the Growing Growing Green Awards ceremony, the monthly Neighborhood Open Meeting was under way at the Old North Gallery, and last Sunday, ONSLRG hosted an event which will undoubtedly become a new spring tradition (even though we were still digging out from a good 10 inches of snow at the time):  a community celebration with children’s crafts, face-painting, and free photos with the Old North Easter Bunny.

Thank you Ann Hubbard of Photomaton for taking the pictures.

Thank you Ann Hubbard of Photomaton for taking the pictures.

Thank you Jessica Neal for handling the face-painting duties.

Thank you Jessica Neal for handling the face-painting duties.

Thank you to all of our staff , practicum students, and volunteers who make these events possible.  And because coordinating a neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy takes a lot of time and planning, we are lucky to have a professional staff and an office to coordinate the many details.  To help us cover these costs and to continue the work of facilitating a sustainable transformation, please make a contribution to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group today.


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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