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Ridgewood House Tour

Oct. 13 tour features "Modern homes" in this post-war Crestwood neighborhood

Better Homes & Gardens in the 1950s awarded this home in the Ridgewood Subdivision a Five Star Home for its "handsome simplicity, its efficient use of space, and its practical construction economies." photo courtesy of Modern STL. (click for larger version)

October 05, 2018
ModernSTL is offering a unique opportunity to tour several homes of the Ridgewood Neighborhood in Crestwood.

The Ridgewood House Tour is set for Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 to 5 p.m. The check-in location is at 1331 Liggett Drive in Crestwood. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance at ModernSTL.com.

Designed by local modern architect Ralph Fournier and built by developer Burton Duenke in 1951 through 1953, the neighborhood of 258 homes is as much of a desirable place for an affordable modern home now as it was then.

This home at 707 Hutchins Drive is one of several 1950s-era "modern" homes to be featured on the Oct. 13 Ridgewood House Tour. photo by Ursula Ruhl.

To meet the public's growing demand for modern homes, Duenke, in collaboration with architects Ralph and Mary Jane Fournier, conceived Ridgewood as a modern alternate to the traditional style homes Duenke had been building since 1946.

The Ridgewood concept was an immediate success, and popular publications of the time such as Better Homes & Gardens and House + Home magazines were quick to showcase Ridgewood homes in their feature articles.

"The usual functions of a basement have been allocated to a compact, first-floor utility room. Here are washer, dryer, clothes hamper and water heater," according to Home & Garden.

Unique both for the time and for St. Louis, the Ridgewood project was also advanced in its form of construction. Duenke founded his Modular Homes company to create a unique, partially prefabricated building method that would further the success of his project. Post and beam frame construction, combined with an innovative modular panel system, allowed the Ridgewood home to be affordable, practical and approachable.

Americans are moving to the burbs in this photo of homes for sale in the Ridgewood Subdivision from the 1950s. photo courtesy of Modern STL. (click for larger version)

The modular panel system was successful enough to allow the Ridgewood home to be built in numerous locations within a 500 mile radius of St. Louis.

Duenke and the Fourniers went on to design and build Craigwoods and Sugar Creek Ranch in Kirkwood, and Harwood Hills in Des Peres. The homes in Ridgewood are in high demand and remain affordable, practical, and approachable for buyers seeking a modern home in the St. Louis area.

A portion of the profits from the house tour will be used to further fund ModernSTL's effort to get the Ridgewood neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. ModernSTL was formed in 2010 by a group of St. Louisans who share a passion for modern architecture and design.

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