South Grand Historic
Walking Tour

South Grand Detailed Histories

3008-12 S. Grand
The Park Building

3110-s-grand_360Named the Park Building in honor of its famous neighbor across the street, Tower Grove Park, this building was designed by the prominent architectural firm of Mariner & LaBeaume, a firm responsible for many churches, institutional buildings and homes in St. Louis. Constructed by contractor Patrick O’Brien in 1910, the building has a classically-inspired white glazed terra cotta pediment above the central entrance, as well an arcaded ribbon of three round arched windows beneath white glazed terra cotta hood molds centered on the second floor.
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A stately if fairly typical example of an early 20th century, two-part commercial block, the Park Building reflects the economic growth and prosperity of both the South Grand commercial and residential districts in the years following the turn of the century. Earliest uses include doctors’ and dentists’ offices, a drug store, a confectionery, a real estate company, a tavern, a branch of Lungstras Dyeing & Cleaning Co., and the neighborhood offices of, what was at the time, a new company known as Union Electric. Of note, the name of the building is visible in the tile floor of the entry and is also embossed in letters large enough to be read by passing streetcar commuters on the terra cotta just above the doorway.

3014-26 S. Grand

3014-s-grand_360Situated at the prominent intersection of the Grand and Arsenal electric streetcar lines, this building, erected by Pelligreen Construction in 1905, is one of the earlier commercial buildings constructed in the business district. The architect is unknown, but the building displays late-19th and early-20th century revival styles typical of buildings constructed in the time period. Dark brick contrasts with white terra cotta including ornamental panels depicting urns filled with flowering plants that perhaps reference the flora of the neighboring park. Indicative of the surrounding residential area’s growing demand for goods and services of all kinds, the building housed a wide variety of businesses, including barber and beauty shops, shoe retailers and repairmen, dress shops, taverns, and restaurants. Henry Hackman Hardware opened for business at 3014 just after the building’s construction.
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Another early tenant was L.C. Whitaker’s millinery or hat shop which was the original occupant of the storefront at 3024. Prior to opening this business, Whitaker had spent ten years learning the millinery trade in New York. By the late1920s Lillian Pearce took over the storefront with her own millinery business, which operated there until the early 1950s. Another notable long-term business was the flower shop run by the Plotz family from the early 1920s to the early 1950s. The first business to occupy the corner storefront at Grand and Arsenal was the popular Sebastian’s Candies & Ice Cream, run by G.L. Loeffler. Following this precedent, the space served as a confectionery and restaurant for many years. In the 1910s and 1920s, it was the Nelson Catering Co., and in the 1940s and 1950s, it was location of the Courtesy Sandwich Shop chain, followed by diners going by different names. If a patron ate too much at the diner or cracked a tooth on a hard candy, they needed only to mount the stairs to the second floor to find relief as the offices were occupied primarily by physicians, dentists, and chiropodists for much of the 20th century.

3101-13 S. Grand
The Butler Building

3101-13-s-grandThe Butler Building was designed by the well known firm of Eames & Young, which also designed many buildings at Cupples Station, the Palace of Education at the 1904 World’s Fair, the Lincoln Trust [later Title Guarantee] Building and other prominent commissions. Completed in1909, construction of the building coincided with a peak time for residential development in surrounding neighborhoods. The Grand-Arsenal Theater opened here at 3101 S. Grand in shortly after the building was completed, providing residents of the new suburban district the opportunity to view “moving pictures.”
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The theater closed just a few years later following the success of the newer and larger Juniata Theater just down the street, but in 1916 a syndicate of local businessmen brought it back to life. The group—which was comprised of Herman W. Fay of the Fay & Schueler Label Co., John and Edward Kleekamp of the nearby Kleekamp Bros. Piano Co., E.P. Craig, and G.L. Loeffler, whose candy and ice cream store was located diagonally across Arsenal—purchased the theater and reopened it to compete with the Juniata. Reports noted that the newly-dubbed Arsenal Theater, which boasted over 600 seats, was advantageously located due its position at the intersection of three streetcar lines. Aside from the theater, the building also housed Joseph J. Walsh’s billiard hall, bowling alley, and barbershop in the Arsenal storefronts and a confectionery operated out of the southernmost storefront along Grand (3107) as well. Near the advent of the Great Depression, the theater and bowling alley both closed and the building was divided into separate storefronts. The corner storefront began its long run as a pharmacy in the 1930s when the Walgreen Drug chain opened a branch that would remain in business until the early 1970s. Paramount Drug later took over the space and remained until the early 2000s. Upper floors of the buildings were used by a variety of professions including health care providers, real estate companies, and music teachers.

3115-19 S. Grand
The Dickmann Building

3115-s-grand_360Constructed in 1926, the six-story Dickmann Building reflects a citywide trend toward higher density construction along major transit corridors during the boom years of the Roaring Twenties. Of course, within three years of the Dickmann’s completion, the stock market crashed and put an end to this optimistic period in St. Louis’ development, but the Dickmann and other large buildings nearby such as Tower Grove Manor (originally The Marmaduke Apartments) and the Saum Building (Saum Hotel) remain as reminders of a time when plans called for Grand to be rebuilt on a more monumental scale. Individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was designed by Wedemeyer & Nelson for Bernard Dickmann of the Dickmann Real Estate Company. Highlighting the rapid change and growth that had been occurring along Grand for the previous two decades, the Dickmann Building replaced an earlier commercial building that had been constructed just 22 years earlier at that location.
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The namesake of the Dickmann Building is reflected in the composition of the primary façade with the prominent placement of the letter “D” above the corner entry and centered on the building’s parapet. The façade is clad completely in white glazed terra cotta tiles and adorned with variegated terra cotta shields.

In addition to being associated with the real estate business, Bernard Dickmann served as Mayor from 1933 until 1941. During his two terms in office he was instrumental in securing funding for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the construction of Homer G. Phillips Hospital (the largest hospital for African Americans in the country at the time) and also championed many progressive policies such as the Standard Milk Ordinance and the Anti Smoke Ordinance, which drastically improved air quality in St. Louis. In its early years, the building housed many health-care professionals as well as real-estate and insurance businesses. In 1946 the building was purchased by Queen’s Work, a prominent Jesuit Catholic publishing company who remained through the 1960s. Today, the building is still locally known as the Queens Work building, especially among older residents of the neighborhood.

3121-23 S. Grand

3121-s-grand_360Constructed in 1907, this three-story brick building was designed by architect Leo Rottler for the Kleekamp Bros. Piano Co. Operating out of the first floor commercial space, Kleekamp sold pianos and sheet music. Aside from the piano business, which they operated with their sister Minnie, brothers John J. and Edward Kleekamp were part of the syndicate that purchased and reopened of the Arsenal Theater in the late 1910s at 3101 S. Grand. At a time when recorded music was in its infancy, the success of Kleekamp Piano speaks to the continuing importance of “homemade” music in nearby households. The second and third floors contained Kleekamp’s Hall, which served as a performance space for students of local music teachers and also hosted community meetings.
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Numerous fraternal organizations used the hall regularly, and for many years it was the meeting place of the Tower Grove Heights Improvement Association, an organization of local businesses and residents who tasked themselves with positive neighborhood development and protection. Following the death of John Kleekamp in 1923, the E.E. Baker House Music became the primary ground floor occupant. The building continued to house a performance and meeting space on the upper floors although it was renamed Dickmann Hall, after the Dickmann Real Estate Co. built the prominent new Dickmann Building next door. The building retained arts-related tenants throughout the 1920s including music teachers such as Viola Schira who ran the Schira School of Music and Dramatic Art.


In the 1930s and 1940s, the building changed uses and became home to Neisner Brothers department store. It later housed F.W. Woolworth Co. from the 1940s to early 1990s. Likely a component of standardized store design, it appears that Woolworth’s installed the surviving streamlined metal sign that spans the façade above the first floor storefronts. Likely dating to the 1940s, the sign matches others that were mounted on the facades of other contemporary Woolworth establishments.

3127 S. Grand

3127-s-grand_360This two-story commercial building represents the decision of an established commercial enterprise to expand into the new and rapidly growing South Grand business district in the first decade of the 20th century. In 1908, Louis Onimus, who owned an umbrella shop 2214 South Broadway, purchased the lot at 3127 South Grand after noticing large numbers of customers moving west to the area. He contracted Henry Brocker to construct the building based on designs by the architectural firm of Matthews & Clarke, although the Post Dispatch reported that the design was inspired by buildings Mr. Onimus had seen while traveling in Europe.

3127-s-grand_360Onimus opened his new shop on the ground floor, and lived with his family above. A local booster publication noted, “There is no one better known, better liked, or more highly respected in South St. Louis [. . .] For over thirty years Mr. Onimus has been supplying the citizens of St. Louis with the useful ‘rain stick,’ and his advertisement, in which appears the old time ‘Gamp’ and the slender umbrella of modern days, must be familiar to the most casual reader of the daily newspaper.”

3127-s-grand_360The new store carried a wide assortment locally-produced and imported European umbrellas, parasols and canes with handles made of gold, silver, and ivory. These luxury products speak to the middle class prosperity of surrounding residents. Few clues remain of Onimus’ presence here, but historic images indicate that the blank panel on the building’s parapet once advertised the “Onimus” name and that the façade was once graced with ornamental umbrellas. Following the umbrella store, the building was briefly used as a bakery before becoming a Great A&P Tea Co. (more commonly known simply as A&P) grocer from the late 1920s throughout the 1930s. In the 1940s and ‘50s, it housed a Kroger grocery store which likely installed the existing blade sign (constructed locally based Kirn Sign), and clock above the storefront.

3129 S. Grand

3129-s-grandThis building, which wraps the corner of South Grand to the west along Hartford was constructed c. 1906 by A.H. Fehlber and designed by the firm of Wessbecher & Co. The utilitarian building is a two-part commercial block typical of early 20th century neighborhood commercial districts in St. Louis. One of the building’s earliest and longest running tenants was the Grand Meat Co., run by Louis A. Billmeyer and William H. Stockhausen. The butcher and produce operation was one of the first food-related businesses along the commercial strip and it remained in business until the 1930s. Also typical of South Grand in the early 20th century, the upstairs rooms were offices for doctors and dentists. In the 1940s, Mavrako’s Candy opened a branch in the storefront where it remained until the early 1980s. While the building itself may be typical of its period of construction, the black Vitrolite cladding is a later addition. Vitrolite is a structural glass that was commonly used to “modernize” and “streamline” the look of older masonry buildings in the 1920s and 30s. The trend of updating a building’s façade with Vitrolite on South Grand was not confined to this building. Indeed the building across Hartford to the south (3137-39 S. Grand) received a similar Vitrolite treatment, which was further embellished by another feature of Art Moderne design, the portal window.

3612-14 Hartford

3612-14-hartford_360Constructed in 1911 by William Gruenwald, who also constructed several homes in the Tower Grove Heights subdivision as well as the neighboring commercial building just to east, this building apparently had trouble attracting commercial tenants until the U.S. Postal Service moved here in the mid 1920s. Located at 3111-13 S. Grand from c. 1910-1926, the post office was forced to relocate when the building it had previously occupied was demolished to make way for the Dickmann Building. The post office that operated in the South Grand Business District was briefly known as Tyler Place Station before being renamed Tower Grove Station. The USPS operated in this building until the early 1980s, when it moved to its current location at 3198 S. Grand.

3137-39 S. Grand

3137-39-s-grandThe building at 3137-39 South Grand was constructed in 1907 by contractor William Gruenwald for baker Henry Mausshardt. Born in Germany, Mausshardt had previously operated a bakery on S. Broadway when he purchased what was then an empty lot in the burgeoning Tower Grove Heights neighborhood. While no architect is listed on the building permit, it may have been designed by William Lucas, who had collaborated with the builder Gruenwald on the neighboring building to the south at 3141-45 S. Grand. Mausshardt opened his bakery in the southernmost storefront, which was later taken over by his son, Albert. A succession of other bakers used the space until the late 1990s.
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While other uses have come and gone, the building’s corner storefront has primarily been occupied by pharmacies through the years. The first tenant in the corner store was pharmacist Jacob Scheu, who opened his drug store there shortly after the building’s construction. Highlighting Progressive Era ideals of the time, Scheu advertised that he strictly adhered to recently enacted Pure Food Laws. The Max Hesselberg Drug Co. succeeded Scheu’s pharmacy in the early 1920s and remained at the location, remarkably, into the early 1990s. Historic images show that a large cupola once graced the roof over the building’s corner entry giving the projecting corner bay the appearance of an engaged tower. It is unclear when this feature of the design was removed, but it may have coincided with the effort to modernize and streamline the building’s appearance (probably in the 1920s or 30s) by covering the first floor in red Vitrolite and modifying original rectangular window bays on the building’s north wall into portal windows.

3141-45 S. Grand

3139-s-grand_360Designed by William Lucas and constructed in 1909 by William Gruenwald the versatile commercial building at 3141-45 S. Grand has housed a wide variety of restaurants and shops (much as it does today) for more than a century. The first restaurant in the building was a delicatessen owned by German immigrant Hieronymus Bernhard. The original tenant of the northernmost storefront, Bernhard specialized in, “ham sausage,” which enjoyed wide popularity in the neighborhood. After Bernhard closed the business in the 1910s, William Albrecht opened a restaurant of his own in the storefront, and by the 1920s, Paul and Anna Senst took over the space. Senst Restaurant operated there through the early 1940s when it gave way to a restaurant run by August Boedeker, which remained in the location into early 1970s. A new restaurant —Pearl & Ray’s Diner—took over and remained open until the early 1990s. At that time, the new South City Diner opened at this location before moving to its present space.
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The central storefront at 3143 S. Grand was originally home to Christina Schumann’s dry goods store, which relocated to the building from another building in the neighborhood. The business remained at this location until the early 1910s when it became the home of F.H. Hoell Dry Goods Co. A longtime anchor in the business district, Hoell Dry goods sold clothing, undergarments, cloth etc., and remained in business until the 1960s.
Among the first tenants to occupy the southernmost storefront at 3145 S. Grand was Urban Hardware, and later, Grand Hardware. In the 1940s, Florene’s Shoppe, a women’s clothing store operated by Carl and Nathan Block, took over the space and remained there into the early 1970s. The second floor of the building was occupied by a mix of residents as wellas professional and commercial tenants including offices for opticians, dermatologists, music teachers, and even a small millinery shop run by Mae Shain during the 1930s and 1940s.

3150 S. Grand
Hamiltonian Federal Savings & Loan Building

3150-s-grand_360The Hamiltonian Federal Savings and Loan Association Building in St. Louis, the building is an outstanding local example of the application of International style design ideas applied to a small neighborhood savings and loan association building. Completed in 1962 and designed by the local partnership of Winkler & Thompson, the building differs from other financial institution buildings of the time for its embrace of the classically-influenced school of modernist design advanced nationally by Mies Van De Rohe among others. Many local financial institutions turned to the styles of the Modern Movement between 1940 and 1980, but most embraced either eclectic modernist approaches or traditional styles. In the city of St. Louis, where construction was fairly modest in the early 1960s, there is no stylistic peer to the Hamiltonian Federal Savings and Loan Association Building. The period of significance covers 1961, the year in which the building was designed and built.

3151-57 S. Grand
Tower Grove Bank Building

3155-s-grand_360Constructed in 1911 by H. Hess, this building originally housed two different storefronts, evident in angled entrances at its northeast and southeast corners; the central entry led to a stair hall for second floor access. The building was the original home of Tower Grove Bank, which opened its doors the year the building was completed. In less than a decade however, the bank had outgrown its space and had a new, larger building constructed across the street for their operations. The words Tower Grove Bank remain visible in the terra cotta above its former storefront. The second floor was divided into a number of professional offices. Primarily occupied by dentists and physicians, during World War I, the local draft board also occupied one of the rooms perhaps to facilitate physical examinations of draftees by the medical professionals nearby. In the 1940s, the St. Louis Business College took over the entire second floor and remained through the 1960s. After the bank offices left c.1920, the building served as home to a number of different businesses including tailors, hairdressers, a shoe repair store, a dress shop, a tavern, restaurants, a barber, a jeweler, and even one of the several locations of the Dickmann Real Estate Co.

3609-13 Juniata

3612-14-hartford_360Constructed in 1927, this building is 10 to 20 years younger than most of the buildings in the South Grand business district. Built by contractors Huger & Bueckler and based on plans by architect O.J. Krieg, the building has a symmetrical design with storefronts flanking a central entry that leads to the second floor. The building’s elaborate terra cotta is somewhat in contrast with the more restrained facades found along Grand. A number of different establishments have occupied the building’s storefronts through the years, including a barbershop, a beauty shop, and clothing cleaner. One business, the Ritz Delicatessen, took its name from the landmark theater that once stood on the site of Ritz Park. Following the end of Prohibition, the western storefront housed a tavern operated by William Schmidt, who had earlier sold non-alcoholic beverages out of a now demolished building at 3156 S. Grand. Completed just two years before the 1929 stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression, this building represents the end of the building boom that resulted in the construction of most of the South Grand business district.

3159-61 S. Grand

3159-s-grand_360Among the earliest buildings in the South Grand business district, 3159-61 S. Grand was constructed by a man by the name of Eicholz in 1894, more than a decade before construction of the business district we know today began in earnest. The building’s form, with two ground level doorways in the center for stairs to the second floor, hints that it was originally built as a four family flat. The ground floor was converted to commercial space early on however and the fact that it was home to the Haun Oyster & Ice Cream shop for the first two decades of the 20th century indicates that South Grand has always been a place that welcomes eclectic businesses. Next door, fur seller David Davis operated from the late 1920s into the mid 1960s.

3163 S. Grand

3163-s-grandThis building was designed by the architectural firm of Wessbecher & Hillebrand and constructed in 1908 as the second location for Frank H. Bloemker’s undertaking business. Known as Bloemker & Son, Embalmers and Undertakers, the business operated here into the 1910s. A garage at the rear of the building was also likely used by the Bloemkers as storage or possibly as their embalming parlor. In the late 1920s the Nell-Rose women’s clothing store took over the space and a desire to distinguish the new use from the previous undertakers may explain the reorganization of the first floor storefront and the addition of the projecting display windows and copper roof. Other uses for the storefronts throughout the 20th century include barbershops as well as the A.E. Mayer Plumbing & Heating Co. On the upper floors, Edward Wagner Real Estate had offices in the building from the late 1920s into the 1960s.

3165 S. Grand

3165-s-grand_360Although this building was constructed for Walter Noll (not to be confused with the florist Walter Knoll) in 1938, its façade appears to have been altered more recently. The building was home to Yaeger’s dress shop in the early 1940s. After that, part of the building was given over to a United States Selective Service office during and after World War II, while the other half at 3165 ½ served as a optometrist’s office run by Fred C. Kunze. It is likely that Kunze and the other doctors and dentists nearby performed the physical examinations that were required for evaluating draftees. By the early 1950s, George A. Lucas joined Kunze’s practice, and the business was renamed Kunze & Lucas Optometry. Other businesses occasionally used part of the building, including a branch of the Mallroy Shoe Co. in the early 1950s, but Lucas Optometry has remained throughout.

3167 S. Grand

3167-s-grand_360With its next door neighbor, this building is one of the few standalone residences that remain on this section of S. Grand. When M.A. Koran constructed the building in 1897, the business district did not yet exist and Grand Avenue was not the bustling thoroughfare it is today. Widespread construction of commercial buildings along South Grand took off just a few years later, but unlike other residential buildings that were removed or altered to accommodate more profitable commercial uses, this home remained intact.

3169 S. Grand
(originally 3115 S. Grand)

3169-s-grand_360M.A. Koran constructed this residence at 3169 S. Grand in 1896 and like its neighbor, it somehow escaped the commercial development pressure that destroyed other residences. Even as similar two-family homes on the opposite side of Grand rose and then fell to make way for larger commercial buildings, this building remained, despite its prime location. While mostly serving as a residence, a few professional offices have operated here through the years, including chiropractors and dentists.

3171-75 S. Grand

3171-75-s-grandConstructed in 1911 by B.J. Charleville and designed by William H. Gruer, this building has been a busy commercial center for over 100 years. With three storefronts on the first floor, the building served the surrounding neighborhood and visiting streetcar riders with several prominent retailers, as well as opportunities for artistic training and expression. In its early days, the building housed Koessel & Steller Carpet Co. at 3171 South Grand c.1912, which, like many other early businesses in the area, had moved from another location on S. Broadway. The first tenant at 3175 S. Grand was Bolte’s Shoe Co., a shoe retailer that had been founded in St. Louis in 1856. William F. Bolte moved to South Grand in the early 1910s and about six years later sold the business to George V. Werner who lived upstairs with his wife at 3171a. Werner’s business, Werner Boot Shop, later operated by Edwin A. Werner, anchored the spot for over 20 years. The space at 3173-75 was the original location of the South Grand Woolworth store and later housed R. Strecker’s grocery market from 1937 into the 1940s.
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The second floor of the building was home to the La Pieno Accordion School in the 1930s and 1940s. A shoe repair store, Grand View Shoe Repair, was located at 3173 from the early 1950s to mid 1990s, and New Dawn Natural Foods occupied 3175 for many years before moving to its current location. Originally, the building was graced with sheet metal cornices which are no longer intact. In addition the interesting geometric design executed in glazed brick and terra cotta at the center of the parapet wall has also been altered by the reduction of the parapet’s height.

3172-76 S. Grand

3172-s-grand_360This large three-story building holds a unique place within the South Grand business district as it is the only building with a clear cut Art Deco design. The lot, part of which had previously been occupied by the Grand Avenue M.E. Church South, was cleared in the late 1920s, but the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent Great Depression likely delayed any construction on the lot until this building was erected in 1935. Designed by Benjamin Shapiro as a dealership for the Weber Implement & Automobile Co. (a forerunner of Weber Chevrolet) the building is adorned with yellow glazed terra cotta and has eight octagonal windows, which allowed light into the second and third floors. After Weber vacated the building, the large storefront and extra floors served as a logical space for a branch of Star Furniture House in the 1940s, and then for a Kroger grocery store which remained into the 1970s.

3177 S. Grand

3177-s-grand_360Constructed in 1901, this building is one of the oldest commercial buildings in the district. In the early 1910s, Jacob Duffner, who had previously operated his business at 1553 S. Jefferson, opened a saloon and grocery in the building. Later in the 1910s, John Kauffman took over the first-floor saloon, which closed during Prohibition. In the 1920s, a Piggly-Wiggly grocery chain opened in the space demonstrating that then, as now, both national chains and independent businesses have operated side by side on South Grand for decades. Piggly-Wiggly remained at 3177 from the 1920s to the early 1940s. The second floor, for many years, was home to Etheline Beauty Shop, just one of numerous barbers and beauty shops in the South Grand business district. Attesting to the German heritage of many local residents and the popularity of accordion music into the 1950s, after Piggly Wiggly left, the storefront space was taken over by a branch of the Trick Brothers National Accordion Institute!

3179-89 S. Grand

3179-s-grand_360Designed by prominent architect Otto Wilhelmi (who designed many residences in nearby Compton Heights) and erected in 1916 by builder George Moeller, this three story building reflects the trend toward larger buildings and greater density in the South Grand business district as the neighborhood became more established. Several storefronts line the ground level, and two floors of apartments rise above. With a courtyard and more apartments extending west along part of Connecticut Street, the rear section of the building provided amenities such as private balconies which allowed tenants to enjoy fresh air away from the din of the busy commercial corridor. Some of the storefronts have original white and blue hexagonal mosaic tiles in the doorways and inside the stores.
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The corner storefront at 3179 S. Grand served as the Blue Bird Candy Shop, operated by Joseph J. Hauser and Helen Lindsey, for many years. The neighboring storefront at 3181 was home to Fuller Brush Co. 3183 housed a millinery from the 1920s through the 1950s, with the original owner, Ida Widmer, running the business for over two decades. After the hat shop closed in the 1950s, another longtime business, Becker’s Delicatessen, opened in the location. Becker’s remained in business until the mid-1990s. 3189 S. Grand served as a longtime location of St. Louis-based Namendorf’s Umbrella & Luggage Shop for over two decades. Notably, a Chinese restaurant called “Oriental Kitchen,” opened between 1934 and 1935 at 3189 ½ S. Grand representing what appears to be the first appearance of Asian food in a neighborhood that today boasts a wide range of ethnic cuisines. The restaurant also had a branch on Easton Avenue (today’s MLK) and was owned by Harry C. Lew (President) and Lum Hing (Secretary).

3182 S. Grand

3182-s-grand_360Originally constructed for the Standard Oil Company, this mission revival service station has continuously served the South Grand business district since it opened in 1934. Probably built to corporate specifications, the buff-brick building has a Spanish Mission style parapet with clay tile cladding on false gable roofs. Markings of the original Standard Oil station are still visible on the building. Constructed at a time when the automobile was increasingly accessible to middle class consumers, this building reflects the shift in transportation preferences that eventually led to the dismantling of the electric streetcar system in St. Louis.

3190-98 S. Grand

3198-s-grand_360Designed by architect W.A. Lucas in 1906, this mixed use building contains five storefronts that have been used for a wide variety of businesses for well over 100 years. The storefront at 3190 S. Grand was a furniture store in the 1910s through the mid 1920s, and later it was home to offices of the Harry J. Ewers, Jr. Realty Co., which survived at the location from the 1920s to the early 1990s. After an early dry goods store at 3192 S. Grand closed, Pearl Patterson opened a billiards hall, which, catering primarily (if not exclusively) to a male clientele, doubled as a barber shop in the 1910s. In the mid-1910s John Marino took over the space and used it exclusively as a barbershop, which it remains today. Edith Scholle’s Millinery Shop was located next door at 3194 S. Grand for 25 years.
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Scholle first came to work on South Grand as a trimmer and designer for the Ladies’ Hat Emporium at 3116 S. Grand, which was opened by William H. Stamm in 1908. Next door, the hardware and plumbing businesses of John & Robert Roos could be found in the early days at 3196, but later the Vera Cole Beauty Salon moved in and occupied the shop from the 1950s until the mid 1980s. The original tenant at 3198 S. Grand was Henry Sum’s pharmacy which operated for many years in the early 20th century. After changing hands a few times, the drug store was eventually run by Adolph J. Sinnwell whose pharmacy remained here until the late 1960s.

3191 S. Grand

3191-s-grandBuilt in 1910 by William Schmidt, evidence of an early occupant can be seen via a worn “ghost sign” that says “H. Koenig” painted on the building’s south wall. German-born Herman Koenig opened his tailoring, cleaning, and dyeing business here soon after the building was constructed. Just a few years later, St. Louis Perfection Tire Co. opened. Throughout the 1920s, Joseph R. Eike’s tire business served the growing ranks of automobile drivers in the neighborhood and across St. Louis. The burgeoning popularity of the automobile suggested that days of the streetcar—the mode of transportation that had given birth to the S. Grand business district—were numbered. By the 1940s, the storefront housed Tevis Radio & Appliance Sales & Service, run by Kenneth Tevis.

3195 S. Grand

3195-s-grandSet back several feet from the street, this building was originally constructed as a residence in 1905. Within just a few years, the area had become a flourishing commercial district and the first floor of the two-family flat was converted into Holloway’s barbershop. Later on the building was variably used by music teachers, physicians, and accountants. The Building had relatively few long-term tenants, but its early conversion from residential to commercial space speaks to how quickly the business district grew, and how that growth took some early developers by surprise.

3197-99 S. Grand

3197-s-grandConstructed in 1909 by the Chapman Realty & Construction Co. and designed by architect Oscar Geishorn, this building, which features remarkable terra cotta lion head busts, was home to several different businesses in the first half of the 20th century. The storefront at 3197 S. Grand, was a grocery store run by Alex Stengel in the 1910s, then served as a local branch of the Penrose Shoe Co. Later, it was home a hardware store and then, from the 1940s to the early 1980s, a sporting goods store. Like many other buildings in the district, the spaces also housed music-related functions at various times. For example, the second floor apartment was occupied by a branch of the Hugo Schools of Music, and the storefront at 3199 S. Grand was home to Kammerer Music Shop in the late 1920s. That storefront also housed an early location of R. Strecker’s grocery store from c. 1931 to 1937, with real estate companies and tailors occupying the second floor. Of special note, Orpheum Cleaners has been a landmark business at 3199 S. Grand since the late 1930s, and the interior lobby retains its original blue and white mosaic tile floor, a design feature that was once common in many of the district’s commercial buildings.

3200-10 S. Grand

3200-s-grand_360Designed and constructed by Herman J. Burgdorf in 1906, this building’s four storefronts line half of the block between Wyoming and Humphrey. One of its first tenants, Gibson & Wilson’s Pure Food Groceries Co., occupied the 3200 storefront. The company’s name calls attention to the fact that in the early 20th century people had grown increasingly concerned about the safety of both food and medicine, which led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act the same year the building was constructed. In the late 1920s, 3200 became the second location of Bergstermann Floral when their original building was demolished for the construction of the Dickmann Building. Bergstermann Floral left a few years later, however, and the space at 3200 served as a variety of restaurants and taverns into the 1980s. In the 1920s, 3206 housed one of the district’s Kroger stores. Another early proprietor to occupy the building was George J. Schulte, who operated a barbershop and billiard room—a common combination in the early 20th century—at 3208 into the 1910s. Two different auto supply stores operated out of the building, as did hairdressers and a clothing cleaner. Like many other buildings in the district, some of the storefronts fell vacant during the Great Depression, illustrating the local impact of this national problem.

3201-03 S. Grand

3201-s-grand_360This building resembles the original appearance of the building 3137 S. Grand although, unlike its counterpart, it retains the sweeping cupola over its corner entrance. The first occupant of the storefront was German-born baker John H. Waldeck, who purchased the empty lot in 1905 after selling his previous bakery near Jefferson Avenue. He contracted E.J. Lay & Son to construct the building based on the designs of architect William F. Holtman and opened his doors at this location in 1906. Reflecting Progressive Era ideals of “pure food,” Holtman advertised the use of an electrical dough mixer, which a local promotional publication boasted was the safest and most sanitary way to make bread. A bakery occupied the space until about 1940 under different operators including Gustav Bange who ran the shop for over a decade. Later the space became the C.F. Knight Drug Company which occupied the corner storefront from the 1950s into the 1980s. The southern storefront’s earliest tenant, John J. Kuhn, operated a butcher shop and vegetable market there into the 1920s. In the 1930s, Otto Neslage & Son meat market succeeded Kuhn in the storefront. Reflecting the adaptability of the building, the space was also a dress shop in the 1940s, one of several on South Grand. While the second floor typically served as residences, a woman named Mary Lyng also ran a music school from one of the rooms.

3207-11 S. Grand

3207-s-grand_360Built circa 1909 by contractor H. Folkers and designed by architect Leonard Haeger, this building clearly references its neighboring building to the north, despite being constructed four years later and despite being designed by a different architect. Its three storefronts have housed a number of different retail and service enterprises over the last century, including dry goods stores, beauty shops, a jewelry store, and a dressmaker, all common business types in the South Grand business district in the first half of 20th century. The middle storefront at 3209 S. Grand originally served as home to a restaurant run by Adolph Viebig, then later delicatessens under a few different proprietors. In the 1940s, the storefront was the home of Henze Pet Shop. Highlighting fashion trends that emphasized hats for men and women in the 1920s and 1930s, a millinery shop was located in the space at 3211. Between the storefronts, doorways set off with limestone trim and keystone lintels lead to second-floor residences.

3212-26 S. Grand

3226-s-grand_360Constructed in 1915 by B.J. Charleville and based on plans by prominent architect Preston Bradshaw, the original appearance of this building has been obscured by the application of pre-cast stone on the second floor. The two storefronts at 3212 and 3216, in particular, housed a variety of businesses in the first half of the 20th century, including one of South Grand’s several hat stores, a restaurant, a flower shop, clothing cleaner, and a dress shop. In the early 1940s, the Mehler Realty Co., one of the many real estate firms located on South Grand, took over both storefronts. Of note, from the early 1920s into the 1950s, tailor and cleaner Oscar Greenspoon operated his business at 3220, a space that had previously been occupied by the Shannon Piano Co. In the 1920s and 1930s, Fisk Rubber Co. and then Beverly Rubber occupied one of the storefronts, selling tires to the burgeoning numbers of automobile owners in the area.

3232-34 S. Grand

3232-s-grand_360Designed by architect Leo Rottler and constructed by Ernest J. Lay in 1906, this two-story building has continually served as a commercial space on the ground floor with residences above. In 1911 Laurence Meyer opened a saloon in the corner storefront at Grand and Humphrey. The space housed a drinking establishment for many years, even serving non-alcoholic beverages during Prohibition. While Meyer was the original proprietor of the saloon, it would change hands a few times in the coming decades. Owner James Cavanaugh ran the tavern the longest having taken charge around the time of the repeal of Prohibition and remaining until at least 1946. The storefront remained a tavern and lounge almost continuously into the 1970s, when it became the first location of Jay Asian Foods. Another early occupant was tailor Max Tzinberg’s Jeff-Sell Fashion Co.—a dressmaker and women’s clothing retailer—occupied the storefront at 3234 before it became a fruit market in the 1920s, and then a confectionery from the mid 1930s to the 1950s.

3238-46 S. Grand

3224-s-grand_360Dating to 1911, this building was designed by local architect Frank Saum and constructed by Arthur Hess. A wide variety of businesses including a shoe repair shop, tailors, cleaners, electrical companies, and radio and appliance sellers all occupied the storefronts at various times, demonstrating that South Grand was a neighborhood shopping district that provided a wide range of consumer needs. The storefront at 3242 S. Grand housed the Schira School of Music and Dramatic Art in the 1940s. Run by Viola Schira, the school had previously operated in the old Kleekamp’s Hall at 3121-23 S. Grand. The storefront at 3246 S. Grand was home to one of several Kroger grocery store locations in the district, as well as the St. Louis Baby Carriage Co.

3250-52 S. Grand

Another building highlighting the demand for great residential density adjacent to the commercial district in the early 20th century, the three-story Grandview Apartments were designed and constructed by F.J. Cromwell & Son in 1910. The building has always been primarily residential though units have occasionally been used as doctor’s offices through the years. Constructed long before the invention of air conditioning, each unit has a balcony where residents could cool off. And an interior courtyard offers additional light and air to what would otherwise be stuffy interior rooms. Small stained glass windows adorn each floor with simple floral designs.

Lost Buildings

3100 S. Grand
The Tamm Building

(visible in photo)
Date of Construction: c. 1900-1902
Original Owner/Occupant: Francis Hemm’s Pharmacy (3100)
Major Tenants: E.J. Fuess, dry goods (3122); William H. Stamm, Ladies’ Hat Emporiums (3116 S. Grand)
Demolished: 1970s
3114-3130(approximate) S. Grand (visible in photo)

3132-36 S. Grand

New Tower Grove Bank Building
Date of Construction: c.1920
Original Owner/Occupant: Tower Grove Bank & Trust
Major Tenants: Tower Grove Bank & Trust

Tower Grove Turnverein

Original Owner/Occupant: Tower Grove Turners
Major Tenants: Bowling Grand
Demolished: 1970s—footprint is now the parking lot on the north side of Jay.