Category Archives: Shaw

Timecapsule Thursday: Irv’s Grill at Shaw and Vandeventer 1949-1999

I’d love to hear your memories of this place – it sounds so fun!


Timecapsule Thursday: Mary McRee obit

Mary McRee obit

21 Oct 1889 St Louis Post Dispatch via

Timecapsule Thursday: 1903 School for the Blind

Blind School 1903

Timecapsule Thursday: Mother/Son reunion, 1946

Mrs. Mary Patterson hugging her son George, whom she hadn’t seen for 7 years.  They had been separated in Scotland when he couldn’t secure passage to America after the outbreak of war.

Shaw reunion 1946

Timecapsule Thursday: Rossman School

Came across an article on another Shaw resident, Mary Rossman, founder of the Rossman School. (an independent, coeducational preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (age 4) through Grade 6, located in Creve Coeur)

Rossman school 6 Dec 1967

P-D archives, 6 Dec 1967

Mary Rossman school founders

Mary Rossman and Helen Schwaner, image courtesy of Rossman School

Timecapsule Thursday: Red Kate

This article originally ran in the January 2005 issue of the Shaw Neighborhood Newsletter.  Photo attributions are updated.

Red Kate Kindles Shaw

By Cara Jensen

I believe there might be an extra spark in the Shaw air to inspire people into activism.  How poignant that we have a notorious example in our past – socialist activist Kate Richards O’Hare resided at 3955 Castleman from 1913 to 1917.


Touted as the most radical public figure in pre-World War I St. Louis, “Red Kate” spoke for victims of oppression, especially poor working women, and against entrenched economic and political interests.  She worked tirelessly with local progressives for social change, but unlike most middle-class women she did cast her reform agenda in pa

rtisan terms.  O’Hare was a socialist and editor of the National Rip-Saw, a socialist monthly published in St. Louis.



In 1910, Kate O’Hare ran for a congressional seat on the Socialist ballot, and in 1913 she represented the party at the Second International in London. In 1917, as chair of the party’s Committee on War and Militarism, she spoke coast-to-coast against U.S. entry into World War I.  She was indicted under the Federal Espionage Act and imprisoned in the Missouri State Penitentiary with fellow activist Emma Goldman. In 1920, as the culmination of a nationwide campaign by socialists and civil libertarians, her sentence was commuted; she later received a full pardon from President Calvin Coolidge.

O’Hare’s distress over conditions for female prisoners sparked a life-long crusade for penal reform.  After leaving St. Louis, she became assistant director of the California Department of Penology where she implemented prison reform at San Quentin.  Kate O’Hare was also active in Upton Sinclair’s 1934 “End Poverty in California” campaign for the governorship.

Kate Richards O’Hare raised her young family in the Shaw neighborhood. She spent those years firming her ideals and beliefs and left the community stronger than when she arrived.  I honor the spirit of Red Kate, who leaves a legacy to inspire subsequent generations of Shaw activists.

Wandering Wednesday: Myrtle Avenue?

Street names fascinate me.  In each of my house history reports, I include the origins of the street name on which the house sits – it makes for interesting conversation.  In my neighborhood of Shaw, the main ‘business’ thoroughfare used to be called Vandeventer and now is called 39th Street.  I’ve often wondered when the change was made and why.  So I wandered around the Post-Dispatch archives a bit to find out.

Turns out in 1910, there was an effort to rename Vandeventer running from Manchester to Tower Grove Park and the city leaders were deep in debate.  Names of politicians like Zeigenheim, Schutz, and Rombauer were bandied about but there was a strong shout from local residents to name the road “Myrtle Avenue”, after Shaw sweetheart Myrtle Andreas.

Myrtle Avenue

image via 8 Jun 1913 Post-Dispatch,

Myrtle (Andreas) was artistically gifted and was taken out of public school in the sixth grade to be placed in an art school. By the time she was 14, she had her own studio in the back of her father’s pharmacy at 39th & Shenandoah Avenues in south St. Louis, where she taught married ladies to draw and paint. She was almost 18 when she had some of her hand-painted china on display in the Industrial Arts Building at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

Myrtle traveled quite a bit, including a trip to Alaska in 1909, and trips to Cuba and Yellowstone National Park before she married.

In 1912 she married Richard Earl Goyer and settled into being a wife and mother of four children. They lived on a country estate near Overland, Missouri where they raised a cow, chickens, a pony and employed live-in help as Richard was a successful insurance salesman for Equitable Insurance Company.

In 1926 Myrtle divorced Richard for ‘chasing the skirts’. She and her children moved to University City, and after a few moves within the city, she bought a nice home on Gannon Avenue from a builder during the Depression. Myrtle took many jobs and painted everything that was commissioned to support her family. Easter eggs were very successful; one year she painted 144 gross eggs for various businesses. She would paint on flower delivery trucks, petticoats, neckties, walls, metal items, china & glassware…anything that could be painted.

She continued to paint and teach in her later years. One of her eager pupils was her granddaughter Beth who went on to have her own successful art career. Myrtle continued to paint until she was 96 years old, then had a series of strokes and died 6 months later. She is still remembered with love and admiration by friends and family.

— from memorial, Richard Wesley, 16 Aug 2010

After several weeks of debate, the St. Louis City Assembly selected a name that had not been suggested in order to settle the issue.  The street has been known as “39th Street” ever since! (But I think I’ll call it Myrtle to myself from now on)

Timecapsule Thursday:

Each Thursday I’ll be reblogging articles from my Shaw Archives or reposting articles that I’ve written about Shaw stuff – hope you enjoy.  This one is from 1993:

1956 Shaw Business Directory

So there have been invigorated discussions in my neighborhood about commercial space and who should/who shouldn’t, where and where not businesses should locate.   I should back up.  [simplified version] My neighborhood was the victim of urban flight – after the interstate system was put in and cheap housing built in the suburbs, hundreds of families moved.  Businesses suffered, the neighborhood suffered, and crime flourished for a time.  Residents who stayed were forced to go out of the community for resources and services.  Then non-City people started realizing the value of urban housing stock and the value of community and neighborhoods and started moving back.  Residential redevelopment in my neighborhood has been vigorous, but the commercial footprint has lagged.  Thus my excitement to see opinionated, passionate discussions on how we as a community can blend business back into our neighborhood.

So this got me thinking about what USED to be here.  Before the interstates went in, before the urban blight, before neighborhoods were isolated and broken.

1956:  Eisenhower was President, Elvis had his first hit with “Heartbreak Hotel”, the polio vaccine was developed, and a gallon of gas cost $0.97.

Shaw had 7 taverns, 23 markets/delicatessens, 7 service stations, 18 barbers/beauty shops, 13 laundrettes, 7 restaurants, 4 bakeries, 4 shoe repair, 5 dentists, and 2 movie theaters!  There were over 140 businessess in what is now known as the Shaw neighborhood – take a look at the Google map to see where they were located.  [they might not match up with the exact current addresses, but I tried to get them as close as possible]

What do you think?  I am also curious to see an earlier business directory – say from the 20s or 30s – would that be an interesting comparison?  It would be fun to overlay those maps, but I don’t have the technical know how. [hint,hint]

Scandal in Shaw! 1896 Peeping Tom!



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