Friday, July 22, 2011

All Around Lafayette Park, Part 1

Lafayette Park has had its St. Louis niche clearly carved out for more than 150 years. The neighborhood, of which the 36–acre park is the center, covers several square blocks surrounding it.

It is an awesome mix (if you’re a historic architecture nut like I am) of Victorian, Queen Anne, Greek Revival, Italianate, Mansard, Craftsman and about a dozen other styles from the late 19th century.

The Lafayette Park Subdivision deed restrictions and an Act of the State Legislature protected Lafayette Square from much of the “undesirable types of mixed land-use” like manufacturing or taverns. While this co-existence was the norm in most inner city neighborhoods of the pre-zoning era, Lafayette Square was an early NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) advocate. Kind of ironic, too, considering that bars and specialty pubs are commonplace there and that the boundaries of the neighborhood, extended in 1986, include former brewers, a bed manufacturer, shoemaker and a publishing house.

It may, though, be that historic designation, that haughty pride in ownership, which has made this neighborhood one of the city’s most beautiful and enduring. There are so many gorgeous home, literally hundreds of them, that I couldn’t hope to photograph much less post them all. (And that's probably why the ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD is a designated historic site by the National Register of Historic Places.)

I can tell you I was like a kid turned loose in a candy store, my eyes gobbling up one gorgeous home after another.
Benton Place, laid out in 1868, is St. Louis' earliest existing private street. It seems as good a place as any to start. And, the pictures should speak for themselves …

1 comment:

Mama Martha said...

Beautiful shots NV. I love going to lunch there and gawking at all of the majestic houses.