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129 Year Old Home Demolished – Gas Station Rumored Replacement

July 29, 2014

A few weeks ago I noticed a heartbreaking demolition just north of Downtown.  On one of the most active blocks in the vital transition between the heart of Downtown/Washington Avenue Loft District and neighborhoods to the north (part of Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration), a rare reminder of contiguous urban form connecting these areas has been erased.  Built in 1885, the home pictured below was purchased for $135,000.00 just over a year ago, only to be demolished a couple of months ago at a cost of $6,000.00.

Home on N. 13th before demolition

1414 N. 13th Street – June 2013

This last weekend I found the time to photograph the lot, and speak with the neighbors at Kunkel’s Auto.  Apparently the little shop’s days are numbered as well.

Soon to be demolished

Kunkel’s Auto – November 2013

The rumor is that a gas station will be going into this prime lot near the new Stan Span/Downtown interchange, and is part of Northside Regeneration’s plans for the area.

Tucker/N. 13th between Downtown and Stan Span Access

Tucker/N. 13th between Downtown and Stan Span Access

In the image above, the red circle identifies the demolished home, blue circles point out existing gas stations, and the green circle is the only other surviving home on this important stretch.  Note that much of the Tucker frontage is devoted to surface parking and inappropriate infill like the straight-out-of-suburbia McDonald’s at 1119 N. Tucker.  Single use modern housing developments barricaded from walkable downtown by superblocks and fences dominate areas to the east and west, leaving Tucker as the only feasible way that McKee’s plan can connect livable urban places to the north and south.

1414 N. 13th – Gone

By squandering what little is left of this area’s built environment for another gas station/convenience store, Northside Regeneration is proving that it’s unfit for the job of remaking this part of our city, choosing instead to double-down on the failed strategies of the last few decades.  I hope that the rumors are wrong, but can’t help but believe them.

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4 comments

  1. I believe the Post-Dispatch reported McKee was going to announce a grocery for that area in the coming weeks but perhaps it will be a gas/mini-mart. I suppose whatever is announced will give us demonstrable evidence of whether McKee has any elevated ambitions for Northside Regeneration or not. I’m not hopeful.


  2. As of Nov. 2014, no grocery and/or gas station has been built. Early this year there was a contest to design a “Welcome to North St. Louis” entryway and signage (students from St. Mary’s High School in south St. Louis won). Eight feet tall, it was to include video screens featuring such things as current weather conditions and community news, as well as chalk boards on which artists and neighborhood kids could be creative. It was supposed to be erected near Tucker Blvd. and Cass Avenue and be completed in the fall, but as I write this, winter is only three weeks away and there is no evidence that they have even begun its construction.



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