Archive for the ‘Crown Square Businesses’ Category

Thursday, May 5, 2016

2 days until Old North House & Community Tour: Saturday, May 7

We’re two days away from the 2016 edition of the Old North House & Community Tour - and everything is coming together rather nicely. All we need is YOU. Please join us at any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, but to allow yourself enough time to see everything, we recommend getting here in the earlier part of those hours. And, to take advantage of the pre-tour pricing, we strongly encourage you to get your tickets right now (or no later than Friday afternoon).

Advance tickets, for just $15 each, can be purchased at the ONSLRG office (2700 N. 14th Street) or via our secure, online PayPal site. Click HERE or on the button to get your tickets now.

Yesterday’s post provided a few sneak preview images of what you’ll see on the tour. Here are a few more for your viewing pleasure…

For those who recall that last year’s tour involved a bit of rain, you can rest easy with the knowledge that we got our good weather order in early this year. According to the good folks at, the day should be beautiful and clear for the entire duration of the tour.

And, as noted in earlier posts, we’re sharing the day with the ever-popular Spring Fling in the City vintage street market, with all sorts of presents for the Moms in your life, just in time for Mothers’ Day!  Come on out to enjoy the activity in the street and to celebrate all things good about urban, historic neighborhoods.

So, this is your last call to get advance tickets. Click HERE for that. However, you’ll still be able to get tickets on Saturday at the day-of price of $20 (still one of the best prices in town for a neighborhood house tour).

:::::Also noted in yesterday’s post, we still have openings for volunteers. Please send a note to or click HERE to register your time preference online - and you’ll get to go on the tour for free.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, May 7, right here in the heart of Old North!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

3 Days to Go Until the Annual Old North House & Community Tour!

Thank you to all who contributed to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group through Give STL Day on Tuesday (and Wednesday morning)!  Through your generosity, we surpassed last year’s total, which is especially important to us this year during very tight financial times! And thank you to the staff at St. Louis Community Foundation for coordinating Give STL Day (and had to work around some serious technical glitches that were beyond their control!).

Even though Give STL Day is over, we still can accept contributions any hour of every day, via our secure, online PayPal account. Just click HERE if you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution right now.

Another way to support and celebrate the work of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is by buying tickets to our annual Old North House & Community Tour, coming up THIS Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are also available for purchase online by clicking HERE. In fact, if you’d really like to support ONLSRG, buy as many tickets as you can afford and give them to friends, family members, colleagues or business associates so that they can come see just how attractive, friendly, and exciting Old North is these days.

Or, if you’ve contributed in years past, the tour represents a great opportunity for you to come out and see the results of your past support.

Some of the sites you’ll see on this year’s tour are…

Check back tomorrow and Friday for more sneak preview images.

And, once again, we’ll offer the most environmentally-friendly shuttle service in town for anyone who may not want or be able to walk to all of the sites on the tour.

Now that you’ve seen a little bit of what will be on display Saturday, be sure to click HERE to get your tickets now at the pre-tour price of just $15 each, and plan to join us for the tour!


One more thing: we still have volunteer opportunities available. Or to put it another way, we could really benefit from some additional help on Saturday for a variety of tour-day jobs, from checking visitors in to greeting tour-goers at houses on the tour. Click HERE if you’ve got time and are willing to help (and you’ll get to go on the tour for free!). Do you know any students who need service hours?  This might be a fun way to get some of that taken care of, so send them our way.

We look forward to seeing you here on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

UPDATED (again!): 3 Big Days This Week: Tuesday, Friday & Saturday

If you don’t have these on your calendar yet, we invite you to join us for any or all of the following big events this week:

TUESDAY, MAY 3 AND WEDNESDAY, MAY 4: Give STL Day (& a half)

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is participating in Give STL Day again this year, which will take place all day on Tuesday, May 3rd AND until 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 4.

You can support us and the ongoing revitalization of Old North here:


You can still help us reach our goal!

On Wednesday afternoon, the Give STL website was down due to some technical issues, so they extended the deadline until 12:30 p.m. and set up a phone bank to take phone-in contributions.  You can still contribute to ONSLRG until 12:30 p.m. in one of two ways:

  1. The Community Foundation along with  media partner, KSDK Channel 5, will be taking offline donations via a phone bank. Please call : 314-969-8655 to contribute. Please have patience with the system, as phone bank volunteers are limited today.They will be taking calls via the phone bank until 12:30 p.m. WEDNESDAY,  May 4th.
  2. And, now that the system is back up - even if a bit slower, you can make online contributions that qualify for incentives and possible matching funds:


A partnership between the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation and local nonprofits from across the area, Give STL Day is an online day of giving where nonprofits like ours will be reaching out to our donors – and looking for new ones – as we educate them about our mission and raise operating funds. We raised $1,600 last year, and Give STL Day generated a total of $2.1 million for the 720 participating nonprofits throughout the St. Louis metro area.

Local impact with a national twist. Like last year, we will be joining more than 100 communities across the country to raise millions of dollars for the greater good—all on a single day.

Everyone can be a philanthropist. On May 3, we’re asking every person in the St. Louis area to get behind this effort and give. Large and small gifts will combine for big impact— It’s time to think big.

Single day, lasting impact. All the funds raised will benefit participating nonprofits right here in our hometown. It’s time to be bold!

Help us continue our imperative revitalization work in Old North St. Louis as we build new homes, bring in new business, and expand our community building efforts including operating the 13th Street Community Garden and North City Farmers’ Market. We’re building a strong, inclusive, diverse community that is setting a precedent for effective, sustainable community development. All the while, we are committed to maintaining the historic, cultural and urban character of our neighborhood. All are welcome!

Show your support on Tuesday, May 3rd (AND Wednesday, March 4th), by donating here: or by calling 314-969-8655.


First Friday Art Walk in Old North, including opening of Humans of St. Louis photography exhibit in the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery, 2700 N. 14th Street. Come to the opening reception to meet the photographer behind the compelling photos - and some of the people who appear in the photos.  To get a preview of the photos, visit the Humans of St. Louis Facebook page by clicking HERE, or look for Humans_of_STL on Instagram.

SATURDAY, MAY 7:  Old North House & Community Tour and Spring Fling in the City

Always one of the highlights of our year, the Old North House & Community Tour shows off the progress achieved to date throughout Old North.

Now is the time to purchase tickets for the pre-tour price of just $15.  Just click HERE to purchase your tickets online - and while you’re there, get a few more for the rest of the family, for your colleagues, and for everyone you know who would benefit from seeing a genuine demonstration of an award-winning, community-driven neighborhood revitalization in progress. As a bonus, each tour booklet includes a certificate for a free cup of Crown Candy ice cream.

This year’s tour features 20 sites that demonstrate the vibrancy and dynamic character of Old North, including an incredible mix of homes, from a rare, limestone-front house built in about 1875 to a work-in-progress 1861 home that has incorporated a range of green-building components, such as soy-based foam insulation and recycled blue jean insulation. Other stops on the tour include a 3-story 1873 home that has made a dramatic recovery from being decimated by a storm that knocked most of it down to the first floor; a home and art studio built into a former warehouse building; a community garden that grows fruit and vegetables for North City Farmers’ Market; a large demonstration raingarden; Old North’s own Little Free Library and the Wingmann Park Reading Garden; a Crown Square apartment in a building that once housed a Woolworth’s store; the site where new homes will be built this year; and several commercial and nonprofit spaces that serve the Old North community.


And while you’re here in the neighborhood, you won’t be able to miss the 80+ vendors up and down the 2600 and 2700 blocks of N. 14th Street, who will be here for the Spring Fling in the City Vintage Street Market.

More details about Spring Fling can be found on their website: or their Facebook site:

We look forward to seeing you here in Old North. If you can’t attend any of these events but still want to support the ongoing revitalization of Old North St. Louis, be sure to click HERE on Tuesday (or on the Give STL Day link:

After Tuesday, our regular online contribution page is always open. Just click HERE or below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Just 10 Days Away: Old North House & Community Tour, Sat. May 7

Please join us on Saturday, May 7 for the 2016 Old North House & Community Tour. Now that we’re down to days before this celebration of all that is good and inspiring about authentic and vibrant neighborhoods, we are encouraging all who plan to attend to purchase tickets for the pre-tour price of just $15.  Just click HERE to purchase your tickets online - and while you’re there, get a few more for the rest of the family, for your colleagues, and for everyone you know who would benefit from seeing a genuine demonstration of an award-winning, community-driven neighborhood revitalization in progress. As a bonus, each tour booklet includes a certificate for a free cup of Crown Candy ice cream.


We’re also still accepting event sponsorships via the following link: Click HERE for Sponsorship Opportunities. Although we will need to get the program to the printer fairly soon, we are willing to work with any late arriving sponsors to assure that we can offer appropriate acknowledgments. And on that note, we thank the following businesses for their support of this year’s tour: American Bank of Missouri, Atwater Group, Bene-Kelly Insurance, Better Life, Beyers Lumber, Bryan Cave,  Commerce Bank, Crown Candy Kitchen, Kohner Properties, MSD, Rise Community Development, and U.S.Bank. Watch for more businesses to be added to this list.


If you’d like to help out - or if you want to get the tour for free, we are in need of more volunteers and would be happy to have you join us as a volunteer at the tour.  Just click HERE to learn about the options, or just send an email to to let us know your availability.


In addition to the opportunity to see inside some incredible homes representing the broad range of architectural and interior styles and various stages of rehab (from pristine restoration to works in progress) and how the neighborhood-wide revitalization is taking shape throughout Old North, North 14th Street will be bustling with acitivity, including the Humans of St. Louis photo exhibit in the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery and the Spring Fling Vintage Street Market up and down the  2600 and 2700 blocks.

For more details about the Humans of St. Louis exhibit at the ONSLRG Gallery, click HERE for the Facebook event page.

For more details about Spring Fling in the City, click HERE for the Facebook event page.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Springtime in Old North

Although the lines never seem to go away, despite the season or the temperatures outside, a sure sign of spring in Old North is the crowd lining up for Easter treats at Crown Candy Kitchen, well before the doors open for the day.

For more information about their menu, hours, and the Crown Candy experience, visit their website at (or just click on the image below).

If you can’t come by this week to get your chocolate bunnies or one of Crown Candy’s famous chocolate Easter Monkeys, mark your calendar now for Saturday, May 7, when you can come to the Old North House & Community Tour.  All ticket-holders will be able to get free Crown Candy ice cream (while supplies last) at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery on the day of the tour.  So, get your tickets today by clicking HERE or on the image below.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Old North in the Spotlight as Fox 2’s “In Your Neighborhood” Spends the Morning with Us

Thank you to Fox 2 St. Louis for coming to Old North St. Louis this morning to tell the story - in many parts - about a lot of the great things going on in the neighborhood.

Since the website has a lot of the segments broken into different clips, we have collected as many as we can and posted them here all on one page.

Click HERE to see…

  • the introduction to Old North by the show’s co-hosts on the scene in Old North, Kevin Steincross & Margie Ellisor
  • more from inside Crown Candy Kitchen
  • and a bit about the Sunflower Project

Click HERE to see

  • a couple of different video clips of their conversation with Andy Karandzieff of Crown Candy Kitchen, talking about all of the chocolate, the legend of the Easter Monkey, the rebirth of the neighborhood, and a behind the scenes view of how the chocolate gets made and poured into the molds

Click HERE to see

  • an interview with Jamaica Ray
  • a visit to Headhunters Barber Shop, including a conversation with owner/barber, Archie Cole

Click HERE to see…

  • Police Chief Sam Dotson making the case that crime is down “almost 50%” in Old North due to the “turnaround driven by neighbors…”
  • a visit to the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office with a few comments from Sean Thomas

Click HERE to see visits to and interviews with

  • 14th Street Artist Community
  • Cafe Hope

Click HERE to see visits to and interviews with

  • Kennedy’s Pet Shop
  • Blackmun Footcare

Click HERE to see visits to and interviews with…

  • UrbArts
  • Excelsior Tax Service

Click HERE to see…

  • a conversation with Steve Marx at Marx Hardware, a family-owned business that has been in Old North for five generations

Click HERE to see…

  • a visit to Confluence Academy

They don’t have video clips posted yet for their conversation with Tom & Gloria Bratkowski (being interviewed in the photo below), about Tom’s family’s roots in Old North that go back several generations and Gloria’s work with ONSLRG’s Greenspace Committee…

…or their visit with Veronica Holden at La Mancha Coffeehouse, or their report on Firecracker Press and Central Print, or the interviews with artists William Burton and Robert Ketchens, along with Darryl Reece (shown below), discussing the Jesse Owens mural at the Crown Square corner plaza on St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street, but we’ll put those on here when they get posted.


Thanks again to all of the anchors, reporters, producers, camera crews, and interns at Fox 2 for sharing the story of how vibrant and exciting life in Old North is these days.


Now that you’ve seen some of the characters of the neighborhood and some visuals of the businesses and streets of Old North, we invite you to come see even more on Saturday, May 7, when we host our Annual Old North House & Community Tour.

Click HERE to learn more about the tour and to get your tickets while they’re still available at the early bird price of just $10 each.

And, whether or not you can join us on May 7, we invite you to support the work of continuing the dynamic revitalization shown on the air today.  Tax-deductible contributions to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group make it possible for us to continue revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character. Just click HERE or on the image below to make a one-time or recurring contribution today.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

It’s Time for a Change

A Message from Sean Thomas, Executive Director
Old North St. Louis Restoration Group
Thank you!
I can’t think of any other way to start this message other than to say thank you to so many of you who have been a part of my work at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group over the past 12 years. Those years have been thrilling, nerve-wracking, awe-inspiring, a lot of fun, occasionally frustrating, and so much more - and sometimes all of that in the course of one day. However, this roller coaster ride has to end sometime. That end is now on the horizon, although the exact date of my last day as ONSLRG’s Executive Director is still to be determined. I want to finish up some commitments and be here to celebrate some of the big events on our calendar, such as the Old North House & Community Tour on Sat., May 7, so, I’ll be around for a little while.  Even after I’m off the payroll, I look forward to continuing my support for the work of ONSLRG in whatever way is helpful. At the very least, I can assure you that you’ll see me periodically at Crown Candy, La Mancha, North City Farmers’ Market or Old North’s First Friday Art Walks.
As I begin the process of winding down my duties, cleaning out my desk, and passing along my responsibilities, I want to pause to acknowledge some of the people who helped bring about so many of the incredible things that have taken place in Old North.
I have had the privilege and honor of having the best seat in the house to witness a genuine, community-driven transformation that has been called “one of the country’s best revitalization stories.”
The highlight reel of all that I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of at ONSLRG could go on for hours, so I’ll have to settle for the following:
I.  A baker’s dozen of memorable moments, events, and developments (& the people behind them) from the past dozen years;
II. A brief summary of the reasons to be excited about Old North’s future; and
III. A few suggestions for how YOU can help support the ongoing revitalization of Old North.
12 (+1 more for good measure) Highlights of Developments, Neighborhood Changes, & Groups of People that I Am Thankful to Have Been a Part of…
1. North Market Place Homes
The list has to start with the North Market Place new homes, for two reasons: (1) that development represented, at the time, the single biggest and most visible sign of new investment in Old North in many years, and consequently served as a catalyst for a lot of the other positive developments that followed; and (2)  because by the time I started with ONSLRG in 2003, the community had already been working on the plan for several years - and residents of the community were adamant that this new development would reflect and respect their values and vision for the community. Many pieces had to come together to make it happen, including finding the right partners with capacity, but it all started with a vision and a plan crafted by the community, facilitated by members of ONSLRG’s Board and staff, including John Burse, Will Winter, and Tom Tschetter.
That project was made possible by more people and organizations than can be listed here, but key players from outside Old North included staff who were at Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance at that time, notably David Dodson, Aaron Burnett, and Lloyd Simms, who spent a good chunk of the next several years working with us on North Market Place and two subsequent projects. All of those deals were complicated, but David, Aaron, and LLoyd were always respectful and collaborative in working with their community-based partners.
2.  North Market Apartments
The next game-changer in Old North was the North Market Apartments, which involved rescuing multiple historic buildings that were well on their way to complete collapse. The transformation of those 9 eyesores into 32 decent, attractive, and affordable rental apartments sent a powerful message to residents and visitors alike that something big was going on in Old North. That development also provided a good case study of how affordable and attractive rental housing not only can be compatible with market-rate, for sale housing, it can also boost the sales of new homes.
Because of the success with attracting investment and people to new houses and rehabbed apartments in the North Market area, and the track record of a good partnership between ONSLRG and RHCDA, combined with the talent and skill of general contractor, E.M. Harris Construction Co., the next big thing to follow was probably the largest and most complicated development deal any of us will ever be a part of…
3.  Redevelopment of the Former 14th Street Pedestrian Mall into Crown Square.
I can’t say enough about that project, but it will forever be a highlight of my career, not just because of the scale of the $35 million, 27-building development but because of the phenomenal team of people who were part of that endeavor, from our development partners, architects, contractors and sub-contractors, and the very patient neighbors and nearby businesses who thought the project would never end.
4.  Rescuing & Securing the Mullanphy Emigrant Home
Some of the same parties who helped make Crown Square possible, especially E.M. Harris and Rosemann Architects, also pitched in to support ONSLRG’s efforts to rescue the Mullanphy Emigrant Home from a demolition order issued by the City of St. Louis after a devastating storm blew out much of the south walls in 2006.
Until some passionate preservationist neighbors encouraged ONSLRG to lead the efforts to save the building, the end was almost certain for the architecturally, culturally, and historically significant Mullanphy Emigrant Home, which had been built in 1867 and anchored the southern end of Old North. The cause was even closer to being declared hopeless almost exactly a year later when another storm blew through the building and knocked out much of the north wall.
The Mullanphy building is still around today because of the generous and determined support from neighbors and hundreds of others from throughout St. Louis who rallied to support the cause with contributions of money, time, and other resources. That list also is too long for this space (but you can click on Mullanphy Emigrant Home in the Categories section in the right column to see the dozens of blog posts, which provide a lot more detail of the project and the people who made it possible).
5. Partnerships with University of Missouri- St. Louis & MU Extension
The importance of physical and visible transformations cannot be overstated in the process of changing the trajectory of a neighborhood, but sustainable revitalization requires so many other pieces to fall into place.
As with everything I’ve noted so far, there have been multiple key partners who worked closely with ONSLRG to advance a very ambitious, comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization strategy. On several different occasions, a few individuals at University of Missouri - St. Louis, and their colleagues at University of Missouri Extension, stepped up to play key roles.  Kay Gasen, Andrew Hurley, and John McClusky (and others) were already involved with ONSLRG as part of a 3-year community-university partnership when both Kay and John encouraged me to pursue the position of Executive Director.  So, for that alone, I extend my tremendous appreciation to both of them.
Those university connections produced so many important elements of how the story of Old North is told (from the history book, DVD, and brochure for the history trail) - and resources that helped shape the way ONSLRG has operated (including strategic planning assistance from John McClusky on 3 separate occasions). Andrew has captured the history of Old North in more than one book and has worked with us to develop tools for using that rich history to guide plans for new, in-fill construction.
6. Old North Grocery Co-op
Kay and her colleague, Kara Lubischer, from the Extension side of the university system, brought tremendous insights, research, resources, and connections to ONSLRG’s work to launch the Old North Grocery Co-op in 2010 - and practically worked out of the ONSLRG office for several months.
The whole experience of the community-driven planning process and the massive amount of work put in by residents and friends of Old North served as yet another demonstration of the do-it-yourself approach and community-entrepreneurial spirit of Old North. And, even though not everything will turn out in the ways we want, that shouldn’t hold us back from experimenting and trying new and ambitious approaches to seemingly intractable challenges, especially when no one else is doing anything about it.  The very fact that the Old North Grocery Co-op made it to a successful launch was nothing short of a miracle, with the right people, resources, funding, and a vision coming together at just the right time  – thanks to Missouri Foundation for Health and the Empowerment Zone, property owner Ken Kranzberg, university support from Kay and Kara, and so many residents and friends of the community.
7. North City Farmers’ Market
The co-op wouldn’t have happened at all had it had not been for our experience with the North City Farmers’ Market, which had its very modest start in 2007, with funding from Missouri Foundation for Health and an initial vision created by our friends at New Roots Urban Farm.
The primary focus of the market has been to bring fresh, healthy, and affordable foods to the heart of the neighborhood, but we have always seen the market as more than just a place to buy stuff. For 20 Saturdays in a row over the past 9 years, the market has been a great gathering place where residents and visitors of diverse backgrounds can come together to celebrate community, enjoy live music, children’s activities, exercise and fitness, cooking demonstrations, and much more. All of that requires a dedicated team of volunteers who come out week after week after week. Thank you to all who have given of their time and labor to make the market happen!
8.  Community Gardens
With the distance of a short block from the 13th Street Garden to the North City Farmers’ Market, we really have the “shortest distance from harvest to market” here in Old North.
The 13th Street Garden - and Old North’s 8 other community gardens, have been cultivated and maintained by a dedicated team of garden volunteers, with years of support from Gateway Greening, and free use offered by land owners, Ken Kranzberg (for 13th Street) and the City of St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (for most of the other gardens).
9.  Strong & Enduring Anchor Businesses
One of the most encouraging developments in recent years has been the arrival of new businesses and nonprofit service providers, but special acknowledgment needs to go to the businesses that have stuck it out during the tough times and are still going strong today, from Marx Hardware to Headhunters Barber Shop, and Crown Candy Kitchen (which provided caloric support for countless meetings with visitors, prospective homebuyers, development partners, funders, and friends over the years, not to mention many years of ice cream for our house tour attendees).
10. A Vibrant & Growing Arts-Supporting Community
Further evidence of the vibrancy and creativity of Old North can be seen in the windows of the neighborhood’s galleries, music at the corner plaza, exhibits and events, such as First Friday Art Walk, and special programs, such as last September’s Shakespeare in the Streets (thanks to Shakespeare Festival St. Louis).  So much of the art in Old North has benefited from support from Regional Arts Commission, including many years of grants to ONSLRG.
11.  Neighbors Working Together To Create a Safe & Supportive Environment
Many visitors remark about the “small town” feel of Old North, largely due to the warmth of the community and the way residents look out for each other.  Among the positive byproducts of that attitude has been a steady reduction in crime over the years (down 42% from 2010-2015). That type of progress doesn’t just happen automatically, especially when surrounding areas or citywide numbers have not experienced the same results. Residents and businesses all over Old North deserve credit for that, but among the leaders deserving acknowledgment are Vela Hermann and members of Old North’s Neighborhood Ownership Model team, including ONSLRG staff and current and past 4th district police representatives, such as Officers Lori Wozniak, Rich Schicker, Jamie Partee, and Capt. Kreismann (and several other captains before her), as well as the many neighbors who show up for community meetings, who call their neighbors when they they have reason for concern, and go out of their way to pick up litter.
12.  A Wonderful Staff of Dedicated and Caring Individuals
The day-to-day work of running Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has been a team effort from the beginning, and virtually everything ONSLRG has worked on over the years involved full staff participation, regardless of job titles or official responsibilities.  I have had the pleasure of working with an amazing group of individuals, including:
- Jane Smith, office manager through 2013…
-and other former staff members Irvetta Williams, Karen Heet, and Claire Wolff;
- as well as the great team we have today: Community Development Specialist Matt Fernandez, VISTA Health Initiatives Coordinator Jessica Payne, VISTA Sustainable Development Coordinator Brendan Ziebarth, and AARP Senior Service Corps Receptionist Charlotte Harris.  I can’t thank these individuals enough for their constant above and beyond the call of duty efforts. A more detailed description of that will have to come later.
…and it shouldn’t go without noting that our staff benefited greatly from support provided by a very long list of interns and practicum students over the years. I wish I could name them all here, but that, too, will have to wait until later.
13. Caring, Thoughtful, and Committed Board Members
Finally, my greatest thanks go to the people who have entrusted me with this job. The group of people who set the course for the organization, ONSLRG’s Board of Directors, come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences, but they share a common sense of purpose in making Old North the “Best Place to Live” that it is today.
Special thanks to the two Board members who were around in 2003 and have offered reliable support and encouraging words ever since, Gloria Bratkowski and Dave Eisenbraun.
Three other Board members who, sadly, are no longer with us  - Johnnie Owens, Rev. Richard Taylor, and Tom Tschetter -  brought different talents and perspectives to the Board but always provided inspiration to keep moving forward, regardless of any hurdle.
Over those years, the Board has enjoyed leadership and direction from 3 different Board Presidents, each bringing his own style and set of priorities. Thank you to John Burse, Tino Ochoa, and Doug Rasmussen for your support of me, personally, and for keeping the organization grounded in the community while regularly pushing to achieve ambitious goals.
So, what’s next for Old North?
Rest assured that my departure does not reflect any diminished confidence in the future of Old North or the viability of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. In fact, I have more excitement than ever about Old North’s future. Reasons for hope for Old North’s continued revitalization are too many to list here, but the following are just some of the items on that list:
  • Construction will be starting very soon on the 1300 block of Monroe for new, for-sale energy-efficient houses, which will mark the return of new construction within the North Market Place development area after several years off…
By the way, if you’d like to get one of these new homes before they’re all snapped up, contact Matt Fernandez at 314-241-5031, ext. 101 or at
  • a lot of new energy, activity & ideas coming from new neighbors & organizations, such as UrbArts…
  • We are currently in the midst of promising conversations about a redevelopment of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home building (more to come on that later)…
  • Our STL North LLC partner, Ken Kranzberg, is working with us on plans for redevelopment of the one-time pasta factory building at 1225 St. Louis Avenue into affordable artist loft apartments…
  • the soon-to-be-released Sustainable Development Plan for Old North, produced through support from EPA, will provide a good outline for positive, sustainable and community-enriching development…
  • …And, most importantly, Old North continues to attract, retain and engage a strong, resilient, determined, passionate, and growing community of residents and stakeholders who are going to keep working hard to make Old North the vibrant, dynamic, friendly, welcoming, safe, and sustainable neighborhood they know it can be.
The work of ONSLRG will continue - BUT your help is needed!
No matter how much progress has been achieved, Old North still has plenty of work to do, and the community needs a neighborhood-based organization to facilitate the process and continue pulling residents, key stakeholders, and supporters together. What makes a community sustainable isn’t the building stock - it’s the people.  Real estate development is a key piece of any revitalization strategy for a neighborhood that experienced generations of de-population and disinvestment, but genuine community development needs much more than that.  And that’s why Old North St. Louis Restoration Group remains committed to pursuing a comprehensive approach. Unfortunately, many aspects of that comprehensive approach don’t generate any - or enough -  revenue to cover their costs. So, we rely on the generosity and support of any and all who believe this work is worthwhile.
If you believe the community-driven approach of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is worth continuing, I encourage you to help ONSLRG sustain and build upon the great achievements that are evident today.
Please show your support for the mission of revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural and urban character by making a contribution right now. Just click on the button below to make a secure, online donation.
Other ways of providing financial support include buying as many tickets as you can for the annual Old North House & Community Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 7 by clicking HERE, and/or becoming a house tour sponsor (or referring a business you know) by clicking HERE.  Or, you could always buy a new house when they’re ready or one of ONSLRG’s rehab-ready houses. (Click HERE for info on the rehab-ready houses.)  If you have any other ideas, give us a call at 314-241-5031 or send an email to
Thank you again to all who have been with me on this phenomenal adventure over the past 12 years!
Friday, February 5, 2016

Join Us TONIGHT - Old North First Friday Art Walk

Tonight, Friday, February 5, the stretch of N. 14th Street from 2600 up to 2800 N. 14th Street will be alive with the arts - and visitors who appreciate the arts. We invite you to join us this month’s installment of the Old North Art Walk.

The event is free and open to the public from 7 p.m. until midnight, with live music and visual arts on display in several venues, including Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s own gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street, spoken word at UrbArts (2600 N. 14th), great food at both Crown Candy Kitchen and La Mancha Coffeehouse, at the intersection of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Celebrate MLK Day at UrbArts’ Youth Poetry Slam

Today you can celebrate the life and contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr., and show your support for the next generation of civil rights and social justice leaders.

This MLK Day, teens from 13 to 19 are invited to VerbQuake’s 2nd Annual King Me Youth Slam. Doors open at 12:30 pm at UrbArts, 2600 N. 14th Street at Crown Square in the heart of Old North. The event starts at 1:00 pm., and is free and open to all. For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It’s taken us 200 years to get to this point… & You can help us get off to a good start in 2016

Earlier today we sent our last e-news message of 2015. If you didn’t receive that in your in-box, see below.

2016 is going to be an incredible year for Old North St. Louis as we celebrate the bicentennial of the founding of the Village of North St. Louis. However, we still have 1 day left to celebrate the achievements of 2015 - and 1 day left for your tax-deductible 2015 contribution in support of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.

THANK YOU very much if you’ve already made a contribution to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in 2015. Your support has helped us continue the revitalization that Old North St. Louis Restoration Group began in 1981. However, if you still haven’t made a contribution in 2015, you have just one day left to qualify as a deduction on your 2015 taxes - and to help us start off 2016 with the resources needed to make ONSLRG’s 35th anniversary year and Old North’s 200th anniversary year successful.
To make that tax-deductible contribution right now, just click HERE. Your support will help us continue the following revitalization activities (and so much more!) in 2016:

…and so much more, including neighborhood safety initiatives, support for prospective, new, and long-term residents, and many other things that we just don’t have pictures of.  We’ve made great progress over the past 34 years - and we’d love to continue all of that in 2016. To make that happen, though, we need the resources to cover our expenses. We invite you to help us with that - whether through your own financial support or by telling others who can make a donation of any amount.

Your tax-deductible investment in the future of Old North can be made online by clicking HERE or on the image above.

THANK YOU AGAIN to all who’ve contributed to Old North St. Louis Restoration Group in 2015!

One more thing: we invite you to celebrate the new year with us at Old North’s First Friday Art Walk on Friday, New Years Day, from 7 p.m. to Midnight.

If you aren’t receiving our e-news, you can subscribe by clicking HERE.


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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