Compton Heights is one of the premier neighborhoods in St. Louis. Here are the boundaries:
If you haven't checked this area out already, you must. You won't be disappointed by the winding streets south of Russell. Hawthorne and Longfellow are strikingly beautiful, as are the surrounding areas in Tower Grove East, Fox Park and Shaw. Let's start with the interesting places along Grand in CH:
The former Pelican's Restaurant is on the north side of Shenandoah.
It was built in 1895 for local brewer Anton Griesedieck, who hired German-born Carl Anschuetz from Tony Faust's restaurant to run a first-class restaurant and "liquortorium." Mmmm liquortorium. I can't find a photo of the old neon Pelican sign that once adorned the corner of this building. If anyone has a photo please forward to me or post a link. This building is slated for renovation and redevelopment. I hope the old neon sign is somewhere safe while the building is in limbo, and that it gets reinstalled upon renovation.
The old YMCA between the Pelican and the above CH gates is planned to be demolished for a new 3 story mixed use building.
I can't figure out how to post a picture, but you can see the plans on pages 4 & 5 of this pdf.
The development looks very handsome and HAS PARKING IN THE REAR!!! Usually I would mourn the loss of an old building, but in this case, I think it would be a net gain to get a residential/office/retail building that is nicely scaled and apportioned to the surrounding buildings on Grand.
Also on Grand in Compton Heights is the striking water tower just north of Russell and south of I-44:
The Reservoir Park water tower is probably one of St. Louis' most recognizable landmarks. Did you know there were tennis courts and a dog park here as well? I sure didn't. The water tower is open to the public on the 1st Saturday of each month between April and November from noon to 4 pm. There appears to be some major stone/marble work going on around one of the fountains/pools.
Here are some facts and stats on the neighborhood:
Compton Heights is one of the earliest examples of planned residential developments of the American 19th century (1889). It was curiously designed "to view nature as neighbor not as an enemy to be subjugated by some rectilinear grid."
Damn, that's harsh. I've come to love the rectilinear grid of St. Louis. In fact the homes on the grid north of Hawthorne and Longfellow are among my favorites in the neighborhood.
Not unlike the other neighborhoods I've visited so far, Compton Heights experienced a loss in residents from 1677 in 1990 to 1448 in 2000 (14% decline in population). Sad. Another loss was observed in the 2010 Census count where a 9% loss was observed. 1,315 people now call Compton Heights home, of which 71% are white, 21% black, 4% Asian and the 2% Hispanic/Latino.
This neighborhood is so beautiful, I don't think I have much to say that won't be too emotive so I'll just let the pictures do the talking. This first mansion was the former home of the Magic Chef founder:
Pretty nice, eh?
There are opportunities for more intra-neighborhood services, restaurants, stores, etc. along Shenandoah. With just a few more businesses and services, this could be a very walkable, self contained, mixed use neighborhood.
This neighborhood has a personal significance, as my wife and I slumbered at the Fleur-De-Lys mansion on the night of our wedding, before we headed to Charleston, South Carolina for our honeymoon. Shan, thanks for the photos of the water tower!
This is one of the neighborhoods I would take an out of towner on a tour to showcase St. Louis.
On to Hamilton Heights...