Hidden Gem in St. Louis County needs to be preserved

While I typically contain my research to St. Louis City, due to the fact that the Recorder of Deeds has put priority in conserving and archiving historical records (applause), my realtor friend called me the other day raving about this hidden gem in unincorporated St. Louis County near St. Ann.   She described a 1960s ranch complete with pool, poolhouse, studio, sunken white tiled shower, etc. – she said it looked as if Sammy Davis Jr. could have hung there – very retro!  So of course she was curious as to any info I could dig up for her clients and of course I obliged…

After an hour or so of digging, I found that the house had belonged to Don and Ruth Leonard, of Leonard Masonry.  The more I dug, the cooler it got – Leonard Masonry did the Eagleton Federal Courthouse, Citygarden, Grand Basin restoration, most of Wash U campus, among many other award-winning projects!

When I called my friend with the findings, I first asked if there was any interesting brickwork or stonework on the property.  She told me about the gorgeous stone wall that surrounded the pool, and 2 brick archways – then I spilled the beans about the residents!  She couldn’t believe that no one was marketing this unique aspect of the house and suggested that I contact the listing agent.  (her clients ended up writing a contract on another property, unfortunately)

Since the house is showing age, careful, considerate renovations should take place and we hoped that whoever bought the property would honor it’s historical value.  That is a valid concern and something which my research, coupled with historic preservationists, can ensure.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

3634 Arsenal Art Deco query

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A neighbor recently visited an open house for this beautiful Art Deco condo in our neighborhood and asked me if I knew anything about it.   Not one to leave a curious friend in the dark, I did a bit of casual research.

Classified as Art Deco, it was built between 1930 and 1936.  One of the original residents was Van Graafrisled Hildebrand and his wife Cornelia Barnes Blank. Van Hildebrand was a federal claims agent for the Anheuser Busch Brewer’s Association.  They must have made the journey west since he died in Los Angeles in 1961.

In 1938, I found a Dr. Raymond Edward Doyle and his wife Margaret residing in the 3634a unit.  Dr. Doyle was from Pueblo Colorado and studied medicine at St. Louis University, served in WWI, and came back to St. Louis to practice in the Veteran’s Bureau at Jefferson Barracks in 1930.   Dr. Doyle and his family lived at 3634a Arsenal until his death from heart disease in 1958.

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In 1940, Oliver Steele lived at 3634 Arsenal,  He founded Oliver Manufacturing in 1930 in St. Louis and then moved the company to Rocky Ford, Colorado in 1947.  It is still in existence.

Whew – all this in just an hour of research!  Sometimes I have to stop myself before I wade in too deeply and lose track of time.  So that’s it for now – I hope my neighbor enjoys this peek into the past as much as I have enjoyed my morning!