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St. Louis Neighborhoods Celebrate Spring With Home & Garden Tours

This home at 3127 Longfellow will be featured on the Compton Heights Home & Garden Tour May 19-20. photo by Michael C. Daft (click for larger version)
April 11, 2012
Home and garden tours have become a popular St. Louis tradition. This spring, residents of several historic St. Louis neighborhoods will once again open their doors to the public.

Downtown St. Louis Home Tour - Saturday, April 28

The Downtown Home Tour will showcase 10 to 12 unique homes of downtown residents illustrating the variety of downtown living on Saturday, April 28, from noon to 6 p.m. Units will include condominiums to apartments, and penthouses to one bedrooms. This is a self-guided tour. A tour booklet, tour map and free shuttles will be provided at registration. Free parking is available in the Seventh Street Garage on 7th Street between Washington Avenue and Locust Street in downtown St. Louis (enter off 7th Street).

Registration for the tour will be held at The Laurel Apartments, 616 N. 7th Street (63101). Tickets are $14 in advance and $20 the day of the event and are available online at www.downtownstl.org.

Central West End Association House & Garden Tour - May 11-13

Six historic mansions and a distinctive "clocktower" gatehouse will be featured on the 2012 Central West End Association House & Garden Tour, to be held May 11-13 on Washington Terrace.

"As a fifth-generation resident of the Central West End, I can tell you that Washington Terrace is one of our city's crown jewel private places," said Doug Teasdale, president of the Central West End Association (CWEA). "Our 42nd annual house tour is a great way to glimpse the fashionable palaces of this World's Fair-era neighborhood."

The regular tour will be held Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 13, noon to 4 p.m. (Mother's Day). Parking with shuttle buses is available at the Washington University lot at Hoyt Drive and Forest Park Parkway near Skinker Boulevard. Limited street parking will also be available on Union Boulevard north of Lindell Boulevard. Tickets are $22 in advance; $25 the day of the tour. Tickets are available online at www.TheCWE.org, at Left Bank Books and Coffee Cartel in the Central West End or by calling 367-2220.

A special preview party will be held Friday, May 11, 6 to 9 p.m. Cost is $75 per person and will feature a "sneak peek" at the homes, buffet and entertainment.

Washington Terrace, located just north of Forest Park, is one of the city's distinctive "private places" designed by Julius Pitzman, a prominent surveyor and civil engineer. Pitzman laid out Washington Terrace circa 1892 with 50 lots and an imposing entry gate, a "French Norman Clock Tower" designed by Harvey Ellis and the architect George R. Mann.

The styles of the mansions, many of them built in anticipation of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World's Fair), range from Italian Renaissance to Richardsonian Romanesque and Tudor. Many of the homes were designed by the prestigious architectural firm of Barnett, Haynes & Barnett. Prominent St. Louis residents who have lived on the street include David May of the May Company, Joseph W. Moon of St. Louis' once-successful Moon Motor Car and Julius Adler Baer of Stix, Baer and Fuller.

The Central West End Association was founded in 1958 and is committed to preserving the neighborhood's history and celebrating its diversity. Proceeds from the house tour will benefit the not-for-profit CWEA.

Compton Heights Home & Garden Tour - May 19-20

Compton Heights, a gracious St. Louis neighborhood long celebrated for its gorgeous turn-of-the-century architecture, will host a house tour expected to draw thousands May 19-20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

After a four-year hiatus, a volunteer committee of neighbors has again organized the Compton Heights House Tour, featuring several homes that have never been opened for a tour before, as well as beautiful mansions known citywide by reputation, like the famed Magic Chef Mansion on nearby Russell Boulevard.

Come see the area recently named one of the "Best Old House Neighborhoods for 2011," by "This Old House" magazine. This year's tour will feature the home where Irma Rombauer, one of the authors of the renowned "Joy of Cooking" cookbook, grew up.

Residents say they're proud to share homes with original stained glass windows, intricate woodwork and elegant features. They're also proud that Compton Heights is home to diverse residents, that show-stopping homes sit side-by-side with lovely, more affordable properties in a neighborhood where residents still socialize and look out for one another.

"We're truly excited about the mix for the 2012 house tour," said Compton Heights House Tour Chair and resident Jeff Hill. "In a nod to the beer barons who built stately homes in the neighborhood, we're planning a Biergarten at the event, where people can meet and gather. We've also developed an audio tour, so visitors can learn more about the neighborhood's history and architecture as they walk between a dozen featured homes."

The Biergarten will feature cold drinks and live music and will be held on the grounds of the Magic Chef mansion.

Check-in for the tour is at 3521 Hawthorne Blvd. at the intersection of Grand Avenue, Longfellow and Hawthorne boulevards. Tour tickets are $15 each in advance, $20 the days of the tour, and $5 additional per person for the optional audio tour. Small service fees will be added for ticket purchases. Updated information is available at comptonheights.org. For more details, email tour@chnba.org or call 827-6348.

Annual Old North House & Community Tour and Homegrown Street Festival - Saturday, May 19

Every year in May, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group hosts a neighborhood-wide house and community tour to show off the warmth of the area, the richness and character of the architecture, the beauty of the community gardens and greenspaces, and the dynamic revitalization in progress. This year's tour is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the second year, the tour will incorporate the Homegrown Street Festival, which will celebrate and spotlight locally-produced foods, goods and services.

The tour will feature the great diversity of housing styles that make Old North a community where almost everyone can find a place that suits their budget and lifestyle. Stops on the tour will include historically rehabbed houses that once were abandoned shells, at least one LEED-certified home built by Habitat for Humanity, community gardens (including the 13th Street Garden, which grows food for the North City Farmers' Market and is home to the Old North Chicken Coop), the Old North Grocery Co-op and new businesses at Crown Square.

Tour tickets are available in advance for $10 and on the day of the tour for $12 per person. Tickets may be purchased in advance one of the following two ways:

• With a credit card using PayPal online at: onsl.org/house-and-community-tour. Tickets will be waiting at the registration tent at St. Louis Avenue and North 14th Street on the day of the house tour.

• Come by the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group office with cash/check or send a check to: Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, 2700 N. 14th St., St. Louis, Mo. 63106.

Lafayette Square Spring Home & Garden Tour - June 2-3

1526 Mississippi is the former home of Ruth Kamphoefner, Lafayette Square “pioneer.” The home is featured in her book, “Lafayette Comes Back.” (click for larger version)
Residents of one of St. Louis' most historically and architecturally rich neighborhoods invite the public to join them for their 43rd annual Spring Home & Garden Tour on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this weekend-long celebration of Lafayette Square's historic past, some of St. Louis' most spectacular Victorian homes and gardens will be on display.

Visitors can travel among a dozen homes and gardens on an air-conditioned trolley, or amble through Lafayette Park in a horse-drawn carriage, both provided at no charge. Guests can browse through antique booths, cheer on players of vintage baseball, sample wine during the Saturday wine festival, and visit the vibrant business district filled with unique gift shops and top-rated restaurants.

The Arts Council of Lafayette Square will kick off its 30th annual season of free concerts with the Ralph Butler Band on Saturday evening from 6 to 9 p.m.

"The Spring Home Tour is when Lafayette Square comes alive each year," said Jennifer Weston, president of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee and chairperson of the Spring Home & Garden Tour. "I am proud to be one of a large and growing number of young families who have recently discovered Lafayette Square. I can't imagine living anywhere else, and I am eager to show guests all that we have to offer."

Home tour tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the weekend of the tour. Children under 12 and accompanied by an adult are free. Group sales of 20 or more are $12. Advance tickets are available online at www.lafayettesquare.org; by phone, beginning May 25, at 772-5724; by check made payable to "LSRC Home Tour" and mailed to: 2023 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, Mo. 63104; and in select neighborhood businesses beginning May 14 (visit website for details).

Lafayette Square is one mile south of downtown St. Louis and is bounded by Jefferson on the west, I-44 on the south, Truman Parkway on the east and Chouteau on the north. There is easy access to the neighborhood from I-55 at the Truman Parkway exit, I-44 at the Jefferson exit and from I-64 at the Jefferson exit.

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