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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mark Your Calendar: Fri., Sept. 20 - RHCDA’s Pop-Up Street Party at Crown Square

On Friday, September 20th, the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance (RHCDA), our co-developers of Crown Square and partners on other projects within Old North, will hold what they’re calling a “First Annual Pop-Up Street Party” on N. 14th Street at Crown Square.

Come on out to join us for a fun celebration in the heart of Old North, with great music, food, entertainment, and much more.

Details of the event are listed on the flyer above.  For more information, contact RHCDA’s Larry Perlmutter at 314-333-7008 or by email at  This event is free and open to the public - so help spread the word to other friends of Old North, fans of neighborhood revitalization, and supporters of good times in the city.  No reservations are required, but if you’ve got a Facebook account, be sure to visit RHCDA’s Facebook page for this event (click HERE), and click on “join” to let them know you plan to be there.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Scenes from Old North’s National Night Out Celebration

This past Tuesday provided us with unseasonably comfortable temperatures, which made it a perfect evening for a gathering at Old North’s 13th Street Community Garden for our annual National Night Out Celebration.  Highlights of the evening included:

A cookout around a small bonfire…

a bounce-house…


a chance to explore a firetruck from Hook & Ladder Station 1…

snow cones…

tours of the chicken coop…

and a lot of great neighbors enjoying each other’s company!

Thank you to all who made it such an enjoyable evening, especially Sara Stagg for fantastic planning & coordination; Clear Sound Entertainment for the bounce house & snow cones; St. Louis Fire Department Hook & Ladder 1; Jessica Neal for face-painting; Luz Maria Evans-Cox for the bonfire management, firewood, cups, plates, utensils; Claire Wolff for the marshmallows; Carole Gates for the lawn games; John Thro for firewood; Veronica Holden for hot dogs and buns; Gloria Bratkowski for hot dogs and buns; Natasha Ramey for the condiments; Melody Geyer for set-up; Thom Fletcher for cups, plates, utensils, sidewalk chalk, and beach balls; and all other members of the 13th Street Garden Committee not mentioned above.

To support our ongoing efforts to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of Old North in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character, please make a tax-deductible contribution today by clicking HERE or on the image below.

Monday, July 29, 2013

More Images from a Vibrant Community - Part ?

On many occasions we’ve posted photos showing the before and after conditions of buildings that have been transformed from crumbling eyesores into beautifully restored homes or mixed use buildings.  The preservation and redevelopment of historically and architecturally significant buildings represents a very important part of the Old North story.  And we intend to do a lot more of that.  However, that’s only part of the revitalization in progress throughout Old North.

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s mission statement calls for the organization to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of the neighborhood because a vibrant and sustainable community requires more than just attractive buildings and aesthetically pleasing surroundings.  Consequently, ONSLRG spends a lot of time and energy on a broad range of activities that nurture the relationship-building aspects of community development.  The following images illustrate just some of that work as it took place this past Saturday.

Putting the “Open” in Old North’s Neighborhood Open Meeting

On Saturday, ONSLRG held our regular neighborhood meeting outside on the corner plaza at N. 14th & St. Louis Avenue as a way of taking advantage of the wonderfully cool late July weather and to draw more people to the meeting.  Meeting topics included an update from our Gateway Greening AmeriCorps Summer Associate, Sara Stagg (see below), on plans for the National Night Out Celebration scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 6 at the 13th Street Garden; a presentation by representatives from Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) about the recently dedicated “Old North Rain Garden” at N. 14th & Clinton (and watch for a separate blog post about that in the next day or so); a presentation by Natasha Ramey about plans for the Old North St. Louis Foreign Language Lab and Art Gallery at 1323 Hebert; and an introduction of our new 5th District Community Liaison Officer, Quianna Dickerson.

Sara Stagg discussed plans for National Night Out.

Sara Stagg discussed plans for National Night Out.

Stephanie Woods and Natasha Ramey were on hand to discuss plans for the Old North St. Louis Foreign Language Lab and Art Gallery.

Stephanie Woods and Natasha Ramey were on hand to discuss plans for the Old North St. Louis Foreign Language Lab and Art Gallery.

MSD representatives provided tours of the new Old North Rain Garden at N. 14th and Clinton.

Live Music at Crown Square - for North City Farmers’ Market and Crown Candy’s Line of Customers

Musician Atum Jones of Kreative Pandemonium performed on the Crown Square corner plaza stage.

The usual line out the door of customers waiting to get in at Crown Candy Kitchen got to enjoy the entertaining sounds of Atum Jones, followed by the music of Jamaica Ray.

Yoga… and Other Developments at the Sustainable Land Lab Lots

ONSLRG practicum student Jagat Acharya led a yoga session at the Mighty Mississippians’ Sustainable Land Lab lot at 13th & Montgomery.

Meanwhile, the corn is coming in rather nicely at the back part of the Mighty Mississippians’ lot.

Photo courtesy of Sunflower+ Project: stl Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Sunflower+ Project: stl Facebook page.

The Sunflower+ Project at 1318 Warren continues to draw visitors and neighborhood residents to check out the sunflowers - or to help out.

13th Street Community Garden

It wouldn’t be a Saturday without work going on at the 13th Street Community Garden, where garden regulars Nick, Thom, and Ross found time to take a break from gardening to swap updates on what’s blooming these days.

North City Farmers’ Market

And the highlight of every Saturday in Old North is the North City Farmers’ Market.

Jamaica Ray's "Officer Mannequin" stands watch at the corner of N. 14th and St. Louis Avenue, next to the market sign created by Caleb Hauck.

Jamaica Ray's "Officer Mannequin" stands watch at the corner of N. 14th and St. Louis Avenue, next to the market sign created by Caleb Hauck.

And speaking of the North City Farmers’ Market, we are a bit behind in acknowledging and thanking the Riverfront Times blog for their great coverage of the market on July 19 in Zach Garrison’s Gut Check Guide to all things food-related.

The whole piece is worth the read - and you can do so by clicking HERE - but here’s one of our favorite lines:

“The North City Farmers’ Market is, without a doubt, the little engine that could, operated by the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, whose overarching goal is to bring vivacity and excitement (and fresh veggies!) to a neighborhood looking to make a comeback.”

Thanks to all who make Old North such a dynamic, friendly, and sustainable community.

If you’d like to help ONSLRG continue the work of revitalizing Old North, please make a tax-deductible contribution today by clicking HERE or the button below.

Friday, July 5, 2013

North City Farmers’ Market Music Series Profiled on STL Public Radio; Come See (& Hear) For Yourself!

Today’s Cityscape program on St. Louis Public Radio featured a story by reporter Erin Williams about this year’s music series at North City Farmers’ Market.

To listen to the story online, or just to see the pictures they’ve posted, click the link HERE to be taken to the St. Louis Public Radio page on their report about the music series at North City Farmers’ Market.

In the meantime, come on out Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of the market.  Perhaps you’ll even get a chance to jump rope with a carrot.

L.B. Johnson was the featured musician of the week on June 8.

L.B. Johnson was the featured musician of the week on June 8.

The entertainment at this week’s market will come in the form of music by Coco Rico and dancers from Lindy Hop St. Louis.

And be sure to pick up some ingredients that would allow you to prepare the latest recipe presented by our intern, Jazmin Richardson on the North City Farmers’ Market blog.  This week’s edition of “What’s Cookin’ with Jazmin” features plums and can be found by clicking HERE.  If you’d like to discuss this further with Jazmin, look for her at the market on Saturday - or on many Thursday evenings over at the Whitaker Urban Evening concert series, presented by Grace Hill in St. Louis Place Park.  Jazmin and Shenika often wander the crowd to promote the market and Old North Grocery Co-op (as shown in the photo below from the June 20th concert).

This week’s market will also play host to the Truck Farm, which is described as a mobile community farm and a public art and education project, sponsored by slow food St. Louis.

Yet another good reason to come out Saturday: support the initiative and social activism of one of Old North’s favorite 10 year olds.  Nolan will have a lemonade stand to raise funds for the Whaleman Foundation, an agency focused on ocean conservation. So, stop on by for a good cause and to thank Nolan for doing his part to save the whales.

We’ll llook forward to seeing you all at the market!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thank You to Jane Smith for 13 years of Dedication and Service to Old North!

Today marks the end of an era in Old North - it was the last full day on the job for Jane Smith, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Office Manager. After 13 years at our front desk and at the helm of ONSLRG’s phone system, Jane has retired.  But she won’t be leaving us completely.  Jane graciously has agreed to come in for a limited number of hours to help with some of our bookkeeping and financial management tasks.

Jane staffing one of the tables at the very first North City Farmers' Market on June 2, 2007, when that stretch of N. 14th Street was still a pedestrian mall lined with boarded-up, vacant buildings.

Jane staffing one of the tables at the very first day of the first North City Farmers' Market on June 2, 2007, when that stretch of N. 14th Street was still a pedestrian mall lined with vacant, boarded-up buildings.

Over the years Jane’s duties have evolved and expanded, but she has always tackled work that goes well beyond her official job description.  As the first person visitors would see when they came through the front doors of our office, as the first voice they would hear when callers contacted us by phone, or as the fielder of all emails sent to, Jane dealt with an extremely broad range of issues and responded to an eclectic array of characters and personalities.  And, through it all, Jane’s low-key and even-keeled style helped set the tone for the organization.

Jane behind the front desk at the old office.

Jane behind the front desk at the old office.

Coming to us after many years of work with the State of MIssouri, first as a caseworker with the Department of Social Services, then as a supervisor in the Department of Child Support Enforcement, Jane was prepared for just about anything that came through our front doors, whether the situation called for kindness and sensitivity or a firm, no-nonsense poker-face.  As a resident of the neighborhood for 30+ years, Jane also was ideally suited to greet visitors to the office, whether they were out-of-town tourists or former residents returning to see how the old neighborhood had changed or neighbors needing help with a personal crisis.

After ONSLRG moved down the street from 2800 N. 14th Street to 2700 N. 14th Street, where her new desk offered a view of the beautifully restored historic buildings up and down N. 14th Street, Jane was able to spend the whole work day looking out at the product of ONSLRG’s efforts and then go home to another product of ONSLRG’s work.

Jane and her husband, Bruce, in front of their new home at North Market Place in 2006.

As a home-buyer of one of the new houses developed through ONSLRG’s partnership with Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance, Jane was able to make a statement about her commitment to the community and her faith in its future.  In a 2004 Post-Dispatch story about the North Market Place development, Jane explained why she and her husband, Bruce, were ready to trade in their old home for a new one in Old North:

“We love it here,” Smith said. “There’s an astonishing collection of diverse people here. . . . But I’m not 30 years old anymore, and we’re not especially handy.”

And, she further explained that even with Old North’s rich history, she had great confidence in what was still to come:

“The story of this neighborhood is still being written,” she said. “I want to stay around for the next chapter.”

On behalf of the staff, Board, and friends of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, we thank you, Jane, for being such an important part of many chapters of the Old North St. Louis story.

Jane with State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed earlier this month.
Jane with State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed earlier this month.

Jane working the information booth at the 2008 Old North House & Community Tour.

Jane working the information booth at the 2008 Old North House & Community Tour.

Jane with Johnnie Owens at the re-dedication of the Hebert Garden as the Johnnie Owens Garden

Jane with Johnnie Owens at the re-dedication of the Hebert Garden as the Johnnie Owens Garden

If you would like to share your appreciation - or offer any of your stories about Jane’s time with us, please click on “LEAVE A COMMENT” on the left side at the top of this post.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another New Crown Square Business: Kennedy’s Pet Shop Grand Opening Sat., June 29

Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group is pleased to welcome Kennedy’s Pet Shop to Old North! The new Crown Square business at 2601 N. 14th Street is not only open for business, it’s open 7 days a week with hours that should accommodate just about any pet’s busy schedule… and the pets have already started arriving!

Stop by any time to extend your greeting and to thank Seth Turner for bringing his business to Old North. But if you want to enjoy some snacks beyond the usual dog biscuits, this coming Saturday, June 29, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., they’ll be offering refreshments for people, too, as part of the Kennedy’s Pet Shop grand opening celebration.

According to their press release announcing the grand opening,

Kennedy’s Pet Shop, LLC is a full service grooming, walking and retail store for pet products.  We serve both pets and pet lovers. We want to help you and your loving pet live a longer life by keeping a smile on your face. Today’s pets are not just animals, they are men and women’s best friends,” said Owner, Seth Turner Jr. “There may be a list of reasons that may stop you from attending to your pet’s wants and needs and that’s where KPS comes to the rescue. Those who work long hours will come home to a happy and calm pet and disabled pet owners will be able to rest easily knowing that they are helped with their love one.”

About Kennedy’s Pet Shop

Kennedy’s Pet Shop, LLC is a five year old pet service company, started by 25-year-old entrepreneur and pet lover Seth Turner Jr.  The company started as a pet-walking and sitting service and is now opening its first retail location at the revitalized Crown Square business district (formerly the 14th Street Mall).

Services Offered:

  • Local Pet Food Delivery
  • Delicious pet dishes and treats (some homemade)
  • Dog Walks for 30 or 45 minutes
  • House Checks
  • Cat Visits
  • Grooming
In addition to being thrilled to have another business setting up shop in Old North, we’re also happy to have another opportunity to show off what is possible when abandoned and deteriorated but historic properties get redeveloped for new uses.  The photos below show the transformation from the before conditions in 2006 to the after conditions.

Just a few years ago, the building at 2601 N. 14th Street was an eyesore, crumbling into the street, and most observers had concluded that it was beyond worth saving.  Now, thanks in part to historic preservation tax credits and a determined community (among many factors), the property houses 5 occupied apartments and 2 retail businesses.

Come on out on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to see for yourself the positive benefits of this historic preservation.

For more information, including a coupon for first-time customers, visit their website at or by clicking HERE.

If you’d like to show your support and help Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group continue working on the revitalization of Old North St. Louis through historic preservation, business recruitment, residential development, and other community-building, please make a tax-deductible contribution today by clicking HERE or on the image below.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Scenes from Opening Day for North City Farmers’ Market’s 7th Season

Although Friday night’s storms and early Saturday morning rain threatened to put a damper on the opening day celebration for North City Farmers’ Market’s 2013 season, we still managed to enjoy a great day INSIDE Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street.

For more photos, check out the album on the North City Farmers’ Market Facebook page by clicking HERE.

Come back EVERY Saturday, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  If it’s clear outside, the market will be in the street, along the 2700 block of N. 14th Street (across from Crown Candy); if it’s raining, we’ll be back in the gallery at 2700 N. 14th Street.

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

One Last Invite to Join Us TOMORROW (Sat., May 18) for Old North House & Community Tour… AND Announcing Another Crown Square Commercial Tenant

We’re down to the last few hours before the big day, so we’ll issue one last invitation to all friends of Old North, former residents, current residents, fans of urban revitalization, advocates for sustainable development, historic preservationists, arts enthusiasts, and anyone who just happens to like Crown Candy Kitchen: please join us on Saturday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for our annual Old North House & Community Tour. The forecast shows beautiful weather for tomorrow.  Come on out to enjoy a pleasant stroll though the walkable, architecturally rich, historic neighborhood of Old North St. Louis.

The hour by hour forecast from the experts at

It'll be a gorgeous day in Old North on Saturday, according to the hour by hour forecast from the experts at

For those who are new to St. Louis or just aren’t familiar with how neighborhood house tours work, here’s what you can expect from the Old North House & Community Tour:

The Old North House & Community Tour is a self-guided tour, so you’ll be able to use our tour booklet to decide which stops to visit and in what order - or you can visit all of the sites on the tour in the order presented in the booklet.  And, you’ll be able to go at your own pace, whether that means enjoying the nice, summery weather as you walk leisurely between stops or as you catch a free ride from one of the roving, environmentally- friendly bicycle rickshaws from St. Louis 3Wheel Taxi.

For more on what will be featured on the tour, take a look at our posts from Thursday (click HERE) and Tuesday (click HERE).

Registration for the tour - where you can buy tickets, trade in your already-bought tickets for the tour booklet or pick up tickets you purchased online - will be at the new and improved Crown Square corner plaza at the southwest corner of St. Louis Avenue and N. 14th Street, pictured below.

The first official performances on the plaza’s stage will take place immediately following a brief dedication ceremony at 10:30 a.m.   Scheduled to perform are local musician, poet, and spoken-word artist, Chris Ware, and later by Old North’s own favorite steel drum musician, Jamaica Ray.

We also want to share the reminder that the public is invited to celebrate the official start of work at the 5 Sustainable Land Lab projects in Old North, with a ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m. at 1318 Warren (just east of 14th Street at the south end of Crown Square).  Mayor Slay will be on hand to congratulate the winners of the competition, and representatives from all 5 of the projects will be present to show off their sites and discuss their projects.

Although the “day-of” ticket prices of $12 should go into effect after midnight, the advance ticket price of $10 can still be obtained by purchasing online up until about 6 a.m.  So act now!

And, now for some other big news we’re thrilled to share…



Earlier today, Firecracker Press issued the following press release:

The Firecracker Press is excited to announce, in addition to its location at 2838 Cherokee Street, the expansion of a second location at 2612 North 14th Street, in Crown Square. The expansion will take place over the Summer of 2013 with a Grand Opening to be announced later this year.

Founded in St. Louis in 2002, The Firecracker Press has become a cultural institution for printmaking. With a gang of antique printing presses (some dating back to the 1800s), a rich collection of St. Louis printing history, and a talented group of designers and printers, The Firecracker Press has made its mark regionally and nationally. Handmade, letterpress posters for music and art shows, custom business cards, stationery, wedding invitations, and books are just a few of the things that The Firecracker Press crafts. Using printing presses that are found and restored, The Firecracker Press prints from hand-set wood/lead type and uses hand-carved woodblocks to create imagery that’s rooted in history yet freshly modern. Its Southside, Cherokee Street location will remain while The Firecracker Press plans to expand a rotating list of events, classes and demonstrations at the new Crown Square location.

The Firecracker Press location in Old North will be in the former Sobel Department Store building at 2612-24 N. 14th Street.

Their announcement further describes their plans for the space in the heart of Old North, just across Montgomery from Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s office:

The new space, nearly 8000 sq. ft., will host a large collection of printing presses and tools, a retail storefront with a variety of posters and design-related home-goods, and a 100 person capacity venue for music, readings, and events. The Firecracker Press will continue to offer the same high quality, unique, independently minded services that have made them well-known. The expansion will also bring the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations including Old North Restoration Group and its affiliates, and with Studio STL, which will be sharing a portion of the space for its non-profit, children’s writing programs. The publishing arm of The Firecracker Press dovetails in exciting ways with the mission of Studio STL. An arts center for writers, thinkers, and makers will grow where The Firecracker Press and Studio STL overlap, with more to come.

For more details about The Firecracker Press and their plans for the space at Crown Square, click HERE to read the full news release.

The leasing of 2612-24 N. 14th Street follows the recent leasing of 2606-08 N. 14th to Blackmun Footcare, which opened just last month, and the leasing of 2601 N. 14th to Kennedy’s Pet Shop, which is now in the midst of interior build-out.  Both Blackmun Footcare and Kennedy’s Pet Shop will be open for tours on Saturday.

With just a few spaces left, anyone interested in leasing commercial space at Crown Square should contact leasing agent Susan Sauer of Duffe-Nuernberger Realty by phone at 314-571-7654 or by email at

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:]


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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