923 Locust Tudor Building

Downtown construction activity, including hotel projects, major renovations, office projects, streetscape improvements, etc.
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I'm trying to find more information about the 923 Locust Tudor style building. Now that it's up for sale since the plans to demolish it fell through, it would be nice to see this building rescued. I'd love to see a photo or drawing of what this building looked like before the Tudor cladding was added in the 1940's. Anyone have any more info?


http://preservationresearch.com/2011/09/second-chance-for-locust-street-buildings/

From website: The little timbered folly at 923 Locust Street on the corner gets the most attention of any small downtown building. The Tudor-inspired cladding corresponds to a 1947 building permit taken out by Fischer Optical Company, which must have had the clear vision of a slipcover that would delight and intrigue passers-by into the 21st century. This cover has led to years of speculation as to the date of the building underneath, and rumors of antebellum origin. The scale of the building suggests an old age, but the record is not suggestive. The Badaracco family, later to spawn the last citywide Republican officeholder in aldermanic president Joseph Badaracco, took out a permit to building this building on August 14, 1897. (We have a historic photograph of the building which we will post in a later article.)
Michael's research is always impeccable, and this tidbit is hearsay, but Vince Bommarito told me that his family added the Tudor facade when they operated the Fatted Calf at the site.
I never did find any more info on this building. Hopefully we will see this block come to life with the Roberts brothers no longer in the picture.
Not much detail to add here, but I did see an old photo hanging behind the register in Dee Dee's deli, now located in the Lamert Building on Washington, that showed Dee Dee's once occupied the ground floor of the Tudor building in the past. Perhaps the Deli owners know something about the building.
I've always thought that would make a great German restaurant / Bier Garden.
From the Post Dispatch:

" UrbanStreet, which specializes in housing development, is considering 73 one-bedroom apartments in the buildings on Locust the Robertses had eyed as a Hotel Indigo. The company said in its tax request that two of the four structures are in “demolition condition” while the remaining two “are in need of a complete and total renovation to every aspect of the exterior and interior.” Kuehling said that, in particular, the small building at 10th and Locust streets “is a pretty hopeless case” and needs to be torn down. "
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I would be really sad to see this building go, for all the reasons others have stated -- historic, holds the corner, unique massing, etc -- and because this is the first one that got me looking more closely at the city's building stock.

With the bike shop, bookstore and J. Gumbo's opening soon on 10th Street at the Syndicate across the street, this intersection is primed for activity. We've got the mind (Left Bank) and body (Downtown Bike Station and Urban Shark) covered. Now J. Gumbo's and a 923 Locust pub/venue would provide the soul...

Urban Street Group claims it is in "demolition condition," whatever that means. Very disappointing, as I thought its escape from the Roberts Bros./Hotel Indigo fiasco was a definite positive. And frankly, I still think the Roberts. Bros. dismantling of the neighboring building has done more to hurt this little corner building more than anything wrong with the structure itself.

Awhile back, I actually tracked down pictures of the interior (the upper floors, at least) but for the life of me, I can't find them now. I remember it had been re-done very shabbily as an apartment, with cheap cabinetry, countertops and carpeting. I think it was through a real estate website, but I've tried to look through the pages of the various owners -- Roberts Bros., Cardinal Realty, Urban Street, -- but to no avail. Maybe it's in a generic one like zillow or merchantcircle or something...

If anyone knows where those pictures are, please post them!
Kevin B wrote:
I would be really sad to see this building go, for all the reasons others have stated -- historic, holds the corner, unique massing, etc -- and because this is the first one that got me looking more closely at the city's building stock.

With the bike shop, bookstore and J. Gumbo's opening soon on 10th Street at the Syndicate across the street, this intersection is primed for activity. We've got the mind (Left Bank) and body (Downtown Bike Station and Urban Shark) covered. Now J. Gumbo's and a 923 Locust pub/venue would provide the soul...

Urban Street Group claims it is in "demolition condition," whatever that means. Very disappointing, as I thought its escape from the Roberts Bros./Hotel Indigo fiasco was a definite positive. And frankly, I still think the Roberts. Bros. dismantling of the neighboring building has done more to hurt this little corner building more than anything wrong with the structure itself.

Awhile back, I actually tracked down pictures of the interior (the upper floors, at least) but for the life of me, I can't find them now. I remember it had been re-done very shabbily as an apartment, with cheap cabinetry, countertops and carpeting. I think it was through a real estate website, but I've tried to look through the pages of the various owners -- Roberts Bros., Cardinal Realty, Urban Street, -- but to no avail. Maybe it's in a generic one like zillow or merchantcircle or something...

If anyone knows where those pictures are, please post them!


"Demolition Condition" translates to "We would like adjacent parking" when put into the Rea Estate to English translation engine
3 Historical Reasons They Can't Bulldoze the Noonan-Kocian Art Co (923 Locust):

1. This May Be the Last One.

While I love the way the Victorian cast iron structure pops through the stucco, that iron itself is a "modernization" c. 1890. The original structure likely dates to c. 1850. This may be the last remaining piece of pre-Civil War commercial history downtown.

2. This Holds the History of Italian & Jewish St. Louis.
This building is a last surviving downtown link to the St. Louisans' immigrant experience. We didn't all arrive on covered wagons from Virginia. The 1890 Goulds Directory lists this building as belonging to Pieri & Baldweer--both recent Italian immigrants. It was here that Attilio Balducci ran the Attilio Saloon. Attilio Balducci emmigrated from Italy and was naturalized in St. Louis on November 12, 1890. After his saloon moved or closed, the building was occupied by two Jewish art dealers....

3. Rembrandt was Here. And Russell Got His Start Here.
Most famously, this building was the home of the Noonan-Kocian Art Company, formed in 1902. It was at the Noonan-Kocian gallery on November 23, 1903 that the famed American painter and sculptor Charles M. Russell had his very first solo exhibition, which consisted of paintings and watercolors. Russell was a native of St. Louis.

This Noonan-Kocian Gallery was also where the St. Louis Art Museum purchased pieces for its collection, including Rembrandt van Rijn's Landscape with a Cottage in 1913 (http://www.slam.org/emuseum/code/emuseu ... lse/,/true). The following year, the Noonan Gallery was the St. Louis agent for the Panama Pacific Exhibition and handled fine art objects to be displayed in San Francisco the following year.

If the last piece of our antebellum downtown, our downtown immigrant experience and the story of how St. Louis became a great center for the arts is demolition-ready, then I suggest we consider finding a hammer rather than a bulldozer.
In 2008, the city's CRO concluded: "923 Locust, the corner of 10th Street and Locust, is non-contributing under the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. It has been altered so severely that it no longer retains any architectural merit."
^It's not the building's architecture that makes it worthy of the National Register of Historic Places. It's the building's history.
Right. I'm reading the past CRO approval of demolition and it's quite short with very little history. It seems that what you've added above should be part of any conversation about 923.
If the developer thinks this building is a "hopeless case" we need to take him on a tour of Old North to show him just how far gone a building can get and still be brought back to life!
If and when this comes before the preservation board, it is up to ALL OF US to show up in force to testify in favor of preservation. Power in numbers!
Tenth and Locust from the 1875 Compton & Dry Pictorial St. Louis:

Notice how the antebellum townhouses were already dwarfed by their neighbors in 1875...
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There were six townhomes at the northeast corner of Tenth and Locust in 1875. Each one was three stories tall facing Locust, with a two story structure on the back parallel to Tenth. The Locust facades were three bays wide. I suspect we're looking at the last survivor of this row of houses. It was evidently converted to commercial (with cast iron storefront) aound 1890, with the stucco tudor covering added in the 1940s.
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This doesn't shed much light, but it does tell part of this building's history. Construction News Vol. 34 from July 1912 lists planned alterations to the existing 3-story structure at the corner. I suspect $10,000 amounted to a significant investment in a building of this size. By that time, though, Noonan-Kocian was a major player in the cross-Atlanic art trade.

St. Louis—Store Bldg. (Alts.). $10,000. 10th & Locust Sts.
Archt., J. D. Paulus, 3066 Merchants Lacelede Bldg. Completing plans.
Owner, Badaracco Estate, Jos. Badaracco, 705 Olive St.
Lessee, Noonan, Kocian Co., Jas. Kocian, Pres.; A. A. Kocian, Secty.,
617 Locust St. Brk., 3 stys.
A little more history on this building at 923 Locust. For one thing, it forms part of the permanent provenance of masterwoks of art the world over. I do not exaggerate...

According to Christies, Claude Monet's Le Palais Contarini exhibited in this building in November 1915. Of course, that would have made this a *modern* art gallery at the time:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/ ... ID=1073048
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Monet's Chemin exhibited here in November 1916:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/pain ... tails.aspx
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His Île aux Orties near Vernon had hung here in 1914:
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/se ... /110001574
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According to the US State Dept, Oscar (O. E.) Berninghaus (a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists) had his first exhibition at Noonan-Kocian:
In 1908 he had his first exhibition at St. Louis’ Noonan-Kocian Gallery, which showed the artist’s work during his lifetime. In the teens Berninghaus maintained a studio in downtown St. Louis, where neighboring artists included Charles M. Russell.

http://art.state.gov/artistdetail.aspx?id=139248
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Charles M. Russell's first solo exhibition was at N-K, too, according to the Carter Museum of Art:
http://www.cartermuseum.org/charles-m-r ... line/25424
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According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Claude Monet's Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog) was exhibited at Noonan-Kocian in 1911-12. This was the painting's second public exhibit and its first outside of France.
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/se ... /110001576
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Late in the gallery's life -- not long before being replaced by The Fatted Calf, I suspect -- the gallery was still a global player in the art trade:
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Yes. It all happened here, back when St. Louis was one of the largest and richest cities, a city to which the world came for business and art and the business of art. It all happened here:
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^ Can't wait to see you at a Preservation Board meeting...if it comes to that. In the meantime, this probably deserves a little more space on the blog...
^Feel free to cut and paste at liberty. Or tell me what would be helpful. Just a quick Google image search of "Noonan-Kocian" in quotes leads into some amazing art museums and auction houses. They always kept records of where fine art traveled. It was the best hedge against forgeries. And a lot of it met in St. Louis at the corner of Tenth and Locust.
Very interesting and fun info, Presbyterian. I have no idea how you come up with some of your stuff, but please keep it coming.
^You know, there are a ton of Wash U records from a hundred years ago that list this compamy as a "framer" they used to fit all those paintings of dead white men that hang all over their campus... I guess it's how they made a living in between the peaks and valleys of the art trade. Maybe you should try that. :D
I'd really hate to see this corner turn into surface parking. Here are a few close-up pics from today. I was able to get a little peek inside by holding my phone up to a hole above the front door. It looks bad inside, and also outside where the shell is nearly falling off in places. Image
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More pics

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The Tudor cladding is why many people know the building, but I'd be happy to see it removed as part of a renovation.