Tag Archives: Locust Street

The View from Hazlett’s Room

The balcony as it appears today, sans enclosure.

Master bedroom balcony at the Campbell House Museum

April showers bring May flowers and May flowers bring a beautiful garden along with… a lot of gunk on our roof and in our gutters. Once or twice a year we get up on top of the roofs of the Campbell House’s various built-out bays to clear out debris and do some spring cleaning. This was much easier when the Campbells were living here because their servants could have opened the windows and climbed right out onto the roof. However, as part of the Museum’s restoration in the early 2000s, all of the windows in the house were sealed tightly shut – making a relatively straightforward job a little more interesting (think really tall ladders, lots of climbing and steep roof slopes).

HAZLET~1

Hazlett Kyle Campbell lived in his family’s downtown St. Louis home for his entire life, from 1858 to 1938.

Today we climbed up to the balcony off of the master bedroom used by Robert and Virginia Campbell and, later, their son Hazlett. During Robert and Virginia’s lifetimes, full length windows opened directly onto the copper surface of the open air balcony, which was surrounded by a detailed wrought iron railing. Some time after the deaths of Robert and Virginia, their sons  enclosed the balcony with an elaborate copper roof and trellised wooden walls. While we can’t be entirely sure of why or even when (our guess is circa 1910) this was put onto the house, our best guess was that it was to provide some privacy to Hazlett Campbell, who became increasingly reclusive and mentally unstable as he grew older. Accounts from servants working at the house recall that Hazlett spent much of his time in the master bedroom, rarely venturing outdoors. By enclosing the balcony, Hazlett would have been afforded some privacy in an era when the houses of the neighborhood were being torn down and replaced by large hotels and commercial buildings. As part of Campbell House Museum’s extensive restoration in the early 2000s, this enclosure was removed to return the east side of the house to its 1880s appearance. Check out the gallery below to see how the use of the balcony has evolved over the past 160+ years.

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Monday Update (a day late) » 7.24.12

It’s hotter than blazes in St. Louis, but the heat hasn’t slowed us down a bit at Campbell House! (Except for maybe our blogging schedule.)

Hellooooooo Kevin! The west wall will not be painted, but the brick will receive a clear weatherproof coating.

Exterior Renovation Begins
Contractors have begun to prep the house for the big paint job. Kevin has been patiently tuckpointing some of the highest points of the house (up to 60 feet in some areas!) with a lift for over a week now, and when he’s done, the crew will come in to start painting. The shutters have already been removed, and the painters have begun repairing and repainting them in the shop.

Upcoming Tours
We got together with our friends down the street at Landmarks Association of St. Louis a few weeks ago to plot a few events for the fall. We are tentatively planning an outdoor movie night for September, a Locust Street architectural walking tour (that ends at the Schlafly Tap Room for drinks and camaraderie), and a Campbell House restoration tour where you can see the inner workings of our place in either January or February.  As soon as we finalize everything, we will post all of the details for you. Stay tuned.

The new and improved cook’s bedroom.

New Cook’s Bedroom
Since the Campbells did not photograph many of the rooms in the servants’ wing of the house  (including the kitchen and servants’ living quarters),  we were able to interpret these rooms the best we could, based on the original floorplan of the house. The housekeeper’s bedroom has always been staged as a bedroom, but the cook’s bedroom — which had previously housed an exhibit on the servants — has now been presented as a bedroom. Thanks to a bequest from one of our members, we received a beautiful set of furniture of the style, period and quality that would have been in a servant’s bedroom in a house like this. Come down to the Museum to see it in person.

Students trying to interpret Hugh Campbell’s handwriting in a letter to his wife, Mary. (This Hugh is Robert’s brother, not his son.)

Black Rep Summer Camp
We had the pleasure of welcoming about 20 students from The Black Rep Summer Camp last week for our document workshop. After taking a brief tour of the first floor to hear the Campbell story, they came up to the third floor Aviary to play history detective. We gave them copies of Campbell documents to interpret and to share their findings with the rest of the group. These were some of the most enthusiastic kids we’ve had come through the house, and we look forward to seeing them again! Do you need a special educational activity or workshop for your group of children or adults? Give us a call! We’re happy to design a half- or full day of fun and learning. Contact Andy or Shelley at 314/421-0325 to let us start planning your day at Campbell House!

Our Interns
Did you meet intern Hannah? Read all about her here!

Robert’s Irish Breakfast Tea

Campbell House Tea
Looking for a small gift for the person who has everything? Robert has you covered. Come by to pick up a 1-oz package of Robert’s Irish Breakfast tea, a blend we buy from our tea-loving neighbors at the London Tea Room. A favorite with coffee drinkers, it’s strong and bold, just like our Robert. We’re selling it for $5 a package, and that includes a coupon for a free cup of tea or coffee at the London Tea Room. It’s available now in the Museum Store and at the front door of the Museum. Pick up a package to get a taste of Campbell House!

Urban Exploring: Trinity Lutheran Church
Today we took a field trip to Soulard to visit Trinity Lutheran Church. Docent Coordinator Dennis has been a member of this historic church all his life, and he invited Campbell House staff, interns and docents out to get a behind-the-scenes look at everything in the church, including the bell tower. As a teaser, here’s a shot of one of the gorgeous art glass windows in a space behind the choir loft. A full blog post with the church’s history and all of the images will follow later this week.

One of Trinity Lutheran’s art glass windows in a non-public area behind the choir loft.

Stay cool this week, and check back to meet Sydney — one of our wonderful interns — and the full photo essay of our visit to Trinity Lutheran!

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Lucas Place in a nutshell

Executive Director Andy with the crew at 14th and Locust, the original location of Governor-then-Senator Polk's house. Andy is holding a picture of the house.

A couple of weeks ago, we conducted one of our Lucas Place Walking Tours, and we had a load of fun sharing the history of our neighborhood with such an enthusiastic group. Why, you may ask, would anyone be interested in the history of this old street? Easy: Aside from its significance as the first exclusive neighborhood in St. Louis, the people who lived here were some of the most influential in the region. Much of the history of St. Louis is entwined with the people who lived here.

Background

Cue this song.

In 1850, siblings James Lucas and Ann Lucas Hunt (sound familiar?) planned a residential development on farmland they had inherited from their father. This new “suburban” neighborhood was west of the city, and it stretched along what is now Locust Street between 13th and 16th Streets.

How was this new ‘hood exclusive?

  • They were expensive. $100 per front foot. Lots were at minimum 25 feet wide, and nobody bought just one lot. This price excluded all but the wealthiest of buyers.
  • It was remote, about 1 mile west of the Mississippi River.
  • Lucas Place, circa 1875.

    Deed restrictions were on the property, and this was unusual back then. Among them:  houses were to be built 25 feet away from the street, thus producing front yards (houses were typically built right on the sidewalk), and the following businesses were prohibited: groceries, apothecaries, restaurants, and theatres.

  • Lucas Place was offset from the existing street grid with Missouri Park at the east end of the street, thus serving as a barrier between the elegant homes and the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Lots were a generous 155 feet deep. (That’s only 5 feet shy of the width of a football field.)
  • “Place” instead of “avenue” or “street” implied an important destination, which reinforced the exclusivity of the homes and residents.

The teeny-weenie Lucas-How house at 1515 Lucas Place.

Buildings

Our Campbell House was the first one built on the street in 1851, and it was probably the smallest one in the neighborhood. Homes on the north side of Lucas Place were much larger. Case in point, #1515, the Lucas-How residence. It sat across from Robert and Virginia’s, and it was roughly twice as large as Campbell House. We have a generous 10,000 square feet, and the Lucas-How house was probably about 20,000 square feet. (For comparison, new homes built in 2010 came in around 2392 square feet.)

Lucas Place was the place to be, and it represented the beautiful side of our fair city. So it should come as no surprise that whenever important guests were in town, they were paraded through the neighborhood. The homes of some of the most influential men and women in St. Louis were big and pristine with immaculately maintained yards, and the whole street was lined by MARBLE sidewalks. (Really.) Lucas Place was a sight to see.

View of Lucas Place during a parade in 1895.

In addition to the residences, some businesses that were not prohibited by the deed restrictions were on the street, including the original home of the St. Louis Art Museum and Mary Institute (now called Mary Institute Country Day School.) The first public high school west of the Mississippi sat behind Campbell House at 15th Street and Olive, and Washington University was two blocks away on Washington Avenue.

Who

Aside from James Lucas (#1515) and sister Ann Lucas Hunt (#1706), some big muckety-mucks were Campbell neighbors, including:

  • Henry Hitchcock, the first dean of Washington University. (#1507)
  • Amadee Valle, Missouri congressman and friend to Abraham Lincoln and Henry Shaw. (#1516)
  • General William Harney, the commander of the Army’s Department of the West during the Civil War. (#1428)
  • Trusten Polk, Governor of Missouri (1856) and U.S. Senator (1857-1863). (#1400)
  • John How, Mayor of St. Louis, 1853-1857. (#1515 before James Lucas moved in.)
  • Henry Kayser, city engineer who designed St. Louis’ first plumbing and sewer systems. (#1420)

View from Campbell House at the intersection of Locust and 15th, looking east on Locust. Circa 1920.

Demise

The deed restrictions expired 30 years after the land was initially purchased from the Lucases. Since many of the houses were built in the 1850s and 1860s, the covenants were expiring in the 1880s and 1890s. This is when houses were converted to businesses and boarding houses, and the wealthy residents moved to more fashionable neighborhoods farther west, including Portland Place, Lafayette Square and Vandeventer Place.

The park barrier between Lucas Place and the rest of the city was removed in the 1890s, and Lucas Place was renamed Locust Street. The area evolved into an industrial neighborhood, with warehouses and factories replacing the housing stock. Campbell House remained as the last home from Lucas Place.

Here are a few more notable images of Lucas Place….

Before: The Kayser House, #1420. It was built in 1864.

After: The Kayser House shortly before it was razed in the 1930s.

Campbell House, circa 1930.

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