Archive for the ‘Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’ Category

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Please Join Us This Week for Multiple Visual, Performing & Community Arts Events in Old North

This coming week features multiple occasions to celebrate the arts right here in the heart of Old North.

Wednesday, March 5, 7 p.m.: 3-Time World Champion Spoken Word Artist Buddy Wakefield

The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street will play host to a performance by world champion poetry slam / spoken word artist Buddy Wakefield.

Friday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: CAT Cafe Open House in Old North

Please join Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute of the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission for CAT Café Open House in Old North St. Louis as we convene the CAT community and the greater St. Louis community to experience what arts-based community action looks like in the Old North neighborhood.

The evening will offer opportunities to experience some of what the arts organizations located in Old North have to offer. Participating locations include Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery, Firecracker Press, STL ArtWorks, and 14th Street Artist Community.

Friday, March 7th, 2014

5:30 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. Reception

6:15 p.m. - 6:20 p.m. Welcome

6:20 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Arts in Old North

6:45 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Neighborhood Exploration & Activities

Featured Artwork in Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Gallery:
Reflections of a Private Public
Prints & Works by Matty Kleinberg
A visual dialogue about places left behind and re-discovered.
Artworks about Old North St. Louis presented in the neighborhood they depict.

RSVP through Eventbrite is requested by clicking HERE.

Families are welcome!

Location: Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is located at 2700 N. 14th St. (intersection of 14th St. & Montgomery Ave.), 1 block south of Crown Candy Kitchen.
Free parking is available in the lot behind the building.

For more information, please contact Claire at

Friday, February 21, 2014

Celebrating the Life of Teresa Leahey Johnson, 1934-2014

We recently learned that former Old North resident Teresa Leahey Johnson has passed away after a short illness.  Although Teresa had lived all over the world at various points in her life, when she moved into Old North, she indicated that she wanted it to be her last move.  As it turned out, declining health forced her to move out of her apartment on Wright Street and into assisted living at Little Sisters of the Poor a few years ago, and then again to a senior living community closer to family in Kirkwood.

When Teresa was in Old North, she could be counted on to show up for just about every event or meeting that she could fit into her schedule - and if she couldn’t make it to one of our meetings, it was usually because she had already made a commitment to another meeting elsewhere.  Even after Teresa was no longer in the neighborhood, she managed to recruit a friend to drive her back into the neighborhood as often as she could make it.  And since Teresa enjoyed the art of conversation, she could be counted on to be one of the last people to still be there, long after everyone else had gone home.

Demonstrating her initiative and support for the causes she believed in, Teresa held a sidewalk sale along 14th Street to support the Urban Studio Cafe.

Demonstrating her initiative and support for the causes she believed in, Teresa held a sidewalk sale along 14th Street to support the Urban Studio Cafe.

Teresa showed up for almost every community event, such as the opening day celebration for North City Farmers' Market in 2009.

Teresa showed up for almost every community event, such as the opening day celebration for North City Farmers' Market in 2009.

As seen in the photo above, Teresa was always ready to lend a hand, as she did with volunteering to help dispense ice cream at the 2010 Old North House & Community Tour.

Teresa was always ready to lend a hand, as she did with volunteering to help dispense ice cream at the 2010 Old North House & Community Tour.

We were greatly enriched by Teresa’s stories, and even though her visits had been less frequent in recent years, we will all miss Teresa’s positive outlook on life and her passion and commitment to community-building.  Because Old North meant so much to Teresa, we’re happy that her friends will pay tribute to her by gathering at the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group gallery at 4 p.m. Saturday after stopping by to pick up a treat from Crown Candy Kitchen.  The gathering is open to all who wish to celebrate the life and contributions of Teresa.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Join Us Next Monday, Feb. 17, for ONSLRG’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper

We have a lot of updates and news to catch up on here, but first and foremost, we need to extend an invitation to all members of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, all residents of Old North, and everyone else out there who cares about the future of Old North to please join us NEXT Monday, February 17 at 6 p.m. for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Annual Meeting & Pot-Luck Supper.

As noted above, this year we’ll be offering free childcare so that parents with young children can join us.  If you can let us know in advance whether you’ll be taking us up on this offer, that would be great.  Please call 314-241-5031 or send an email to  If you can’t let us know in advance, don’t let that hold you back.

Watch for more details throughout this week on this site and on our Facebook event siteand start spreading the word to all of your neighbors! If it would help, we’d be happy to provide copies of the flyer shown above.  Just let us know.

Friday, December 20, 2013

THANK YOU to All Who Made the “Holidays in Old North” Festival & Craft Fair a Great Success

With a bumper crop of vendors, free photos with Santa, refreshments, holiday carolers… and wonderfully wintery weather outside, the 2013 edition of our Holidays in Old North Festival and Craft Market was a great success this past Saturday.

We extend a huge THANK YOU from all of us at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group to the following:

-Burns & McDonnell for their generous financial support;

  • Firecracker Press, 14th St. Artist Community, and Rise for serving as hosts for vendors and activities within their spaces (along with ONSLRG’s gallery) at the heart of Crown Square;

Eric Woods of Firecracker Press (above) was happy to show off their new space in Crown Square.

Eric Woods of Firecracker Press (above) was happy to show off their new space in Crown Square.

Holiday shoppers at Firecracker Press (above).

Holiday shoppers at Firecracker Press (above).

  • All of our volunteers from the neighborhood & beyond, including Thom Fletcher, Linda Quinn, Curtis Berry, Al (Chris Umbertino’s brother), and Eileen Cheong for facepainting;
  • Crown Candy Kitchen for donating candy;
  • 3 A-capella groups from St. Louis University: Astha A Cappella, Bare Naked Statues, and Decadence;
  • Our current interns at ONSLRG, including Eric Bablinskas, Alex Durdello, and Chris Umbertino;

Interns Eric, Alex & Chris join Claire Wolff, ONSLRG's Community Engagement Specialist, and Matt Fernandez, ONSLRG's Community Development Specialist, for a staff photo with Santa.

Interns Alex, Eric, & Chris join Claire Wolff, ONSLRG's Community Engagement Specialist, & Matt Fernandez, ONSLRG's Community Development Specialist, for a staff photo with Santa.

  • BONU (Businesses of Old North United) and Equifax for sponsoring free photos with Santa by Photomaton;
  • Einstein Bagels and MacArthur Bakery donated breakfast for vendors and volunteers;
  • Matt Fernandez of our staff for clearing the sidewalks;
  • Sylvester Jacobs for donating his time to be Santa;
  • and Larry Perlmutter of Rise for providing us with most of the photos above, along with Photomaton and Rene .

And thank you to all who attended!  Happy Holidays to All!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Please Join Us for Upcoming Community-Enriching Events & Celebrate the Holidays in Old North

Old North is a thriving community with active neighborhood residents and a full schedule of events and activities to strengthen relationships among neighbors and help the community become even more vibrant.  Come on out to the following events to see all of this in action:

Wednesday, December 4 at 6 p.m. for the next installment of our So Reel film and discussion series.  The topic for this month’s “interactive and reflective conversation about race” is the school to prison pipeline.  Please note that this event will be a pot-luck - so bring some food to share, but don’t let that keep you from attending if you don’t have time or ability to bring anything.

Thursday, December 12 at 6:30 p.m. for our next Neighborhood Open Meeting. Watch for more details later about the featured guests and topics for discussion.

Saturday, December 14, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. for our 3rd annual Holidays in Old North Festival and Craft Market.  This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever, so please come on out to be a part of this great holiday tradition - and spread the word to all of your friends, neighbors, and others.

In addition to the approximately 50 vendors spread throughout 4 buildings at the intersection of N. 14th Street and Montgomery, St. Louis ArtWorks will also be holding their annual holiday art sale at 2707 N. 14th Street.


And, watch for the premiere issue of our new Old North community newspaper! This paper will be hand-delivered to all households in Old North and available for pick up at ONSLRG’s office and select neighborhood businesses.  We’ll post the content on later.

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!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

THANK YOU to All Who Attended or Made the ONSLRG Benefit Concert Possible

Thank you to the hundreds of individuals who attended the benefit concert for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group this past Saturday or supported the event in other ways.

We especially want to thank the bands for performing for us:

Last to Show First to Go (in the photo below)

…including Old North resident Phil Valko (shown below)

…and, all the way from Athens, Georgia, Five Eight (shown below)

We also need to acknowledge that none of this would have come about had it not been for the initiative and tireless efforts of ONSLRG Board Member Doug Rasmussen (in the knit cap below):

Thanks also to ONSLRG’s staff, including interns, who handled a lot of the event prep, from recruiting raffle prizes to promoting ticket sales all the way through to staffing the merchandise table and clean up after the event.

ONSLRG staff and interns at the event included Sean Thomas, Eric Bablinskas, Claire Wolff, Alex Durdello, and Matt Fernandez. Not pictured but also present was Chris Umbertino.

ONSLRG staff & interns working the event included Sean Thomas, Eric Bablinskas, Claire Wolff, Alex Durdello, & Matt Fernandez. Not pictured but also present was Chris Umbertino (who deserves a huge thank you for such a great job with the raffle!).

Thank you also to Chris Bay and KDHX for tremendous assistance with the planning and coordination of logistics and arranging the venue, and so much more.  (Chris really was there at the event, but we neglected to capture a photo of him.)  Speaking of the venue, thank you to Plush St. Louis for really cool space for the event and for handling all of the ticket sales.

A key piece of the advance promotions involved professionally designed flyers and posters, thanks to the creative talent of ONSLRG Board Member Bryan Reckamp.

In addition to all named above, we also received additional support from Schlafly Beer, Chase Park Plaza, and the following raffle prize donors:  the Fountain on Locust, St. Louis Cinemas, Lodge of the Four Seasons, Morgan Ford Massage & Spa, Ameristar Casino, and anonymous others who donated St. Louis Blues tickets and a Toshiba laptop and HP printer.

Congratulations to the following winners of raffle prizes:

  • Julie Cole
  • Jill Delston
  • Leslie Duling
  • Betsy Havens
  • Julie Lawson
  • Linda Quinn
  • Colleen Thomas

We also are incredibly grateful to all of you who came out to attend the event - a great crowd that included Old North residents, friends from other neighborhoods, community development partners, and staff from a variety of other organizations working with ONSLRG.

Proceeds from the concert ticket sales, raffle, and other contributions from individuals who could not attend all add up to help us cover a variety of the operating costs necessary for our comprehensive, neighborhood-wide revitalization work.  Saturday’s event was a great help.  But we still have a ways to go to make up for some funds that we did not receive this year that had been committed at the time we prepared our budget for the year. If you could not attend the event but still want to support ONSLRG’s ongoing initiatives which are revitalizing the physical and social dimensions of Old North, please click HERE or on the image below to make a secure, online contribution right now.

Thank you!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Message to St. Louis from Patrick Ferguson of Five Eight

As we continue spreading the word about Saturday night’s benefit concert (and you still can buy your tickets online by clicking HERE), we want to pass along a message we got from Five Eight’s drummer, Patrick Ferguson:


Hello, St Louis-

As I write this, Five Eight is loading the van to leave Athens and come to your fair city. It is not our first time there, as we played Cicero’s several times back in the ’90s and we played Washington U with Bunnygrunt and some other fantastic St. Louis bands. Beatle Bob has rocked out to our music, we have dined on the famous Cicero’s Pizza (but with two New Yorkers in the band, there’s an argument waiting to happen there), and we have braved the terrifying load-out of the Cicero’s Steps (in the rain!). One of the handful of times I have seen Dan (our bassist) really shithoused was after two or three Guinesses and a shot or two at the bar when we played with Cher UK in Cicero’s Basement.

This is all to say that we’ve been doing this a long time. We’ve gotten a lot of very gracious press leading into this gig and we’re very grateful for that. However, much of it has focused on how long we’ve been playing and how we should’ve been a much “bigger” band, and blah blah blah. There’s something you should know: Five Eight is not a nostalgia act. We’re not bitter about not being bigger than Pearl Jam or even Cake or Tonic or some other ’90s also-ran bands and we’re not all misty-eyed about the Good Old Days.

We still write new music. We still practice as often as we can. We keep putting out records because we still have mountains to climb and bridges to cross (or burn). We’re still as hungry and driven as we ever were. Maybe MORE so, now. If you’re coming to see a bunch of wizened middle-aged guys take a little amble down memory lane and tell some chuckle-worthy stories about the time we met Beck, we may disappoint you. In some ways, Five Eight is like a tire fire- still burning, still smelling bad. If you want to come and see a band that writes music from our real lives and for whom this is a living, breathing, important part of our lives, well, bring it.

We hope to see you Saturday night. It’s going to be a big ol’ blast.


-Patrick Ferguson


Five Eight


As Patrick noted, we have, indeed, gotten some very good media coverage - and we especially want to thank KDHX and St. Louis Public Radio for reporting on and posting good info on the concert.  We also want to report that the Riverfront Times has deemed the Five Eight and Last to Show First to Go concert to be one of the “Ten Best Shows in St. Louis This Weekend.”

Friday, November 1, 2013

Counting down the hours… Join us Saturday for ONSLRG Benefit Concert with Five Eight and Last to Show First to Go

If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, it’s not too late.  Tickets are still available online (click HERE) for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s benefit concert at Plush (3224 Locust, 63103), featuring the legendary musical talents of Five Eight and Last to Show First to Go.  Although we strongly encourage advance ticket purchases, you should be able to buy tickets at the door Saturday night.

Also, if this is news to you, there’s a good chance you’re not subscribed to our eNewsletter, the latest edition of which just went out this morning.  Click HERE (or on the image below) to see the web version of that eNewsletter.

And if you’d like to subscribe to the eNewsletter so that you’ll receive future issues straight in your email inbox, click on the “Contact” button at the very top right portion of this page or click HERE to be taken to a page that offers a space along the right side of the page for you to enter your name and email address.

If you read through the eNewsletter, you’ll see that Maria Altman of St. Louis Public Radio is helping us spread the word about the benefit concert via an interview conducted by Maria Altman (and posted on the front page of their website) with Mike Mantione, lead singer of Five Eight, along with ONSLRG Board Member Doug Rasmussen and ONSLRG Executive Director Sean Thomas.  You can listen in on that interview by clicking HERE or or on the image below or by going to and clicking on the story.

Thank you to all who have helped make this concert happen, especially Doug Rasmussen for recruiting Five Eight to come all the way from Athens, Georgia, to perform for us, and for tirelessly working to get the word out about the big event.  Thanks also go to our intern, Chris Umbertino, for recruiting some great raffle prizes; to raffle prize contributors St. Louis Cinemas, the Fountain on Locust, Lodge of the Four Seasons, Morgan Ford Massage & Spa, KDHX, Five Eight, and more; to other generous supporters, Schlafly, the Chase Park Plaza, Vintage Vinyl, and Chris Bay.

See you Saturday night at Plush!

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.


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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