Historic Preservation Council to consider nominations for National Register Feb. 13

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-034 For Immediate Release: Feb. 2, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, --The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will consider nominations to the National Register of Historic Places during its quarterly meeting Feb. 13 in Jefferson City. The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 9 a.m. in the La Charrette conference room of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Lewis and Clark State Office Building, 1101 Riverside Drive.

Fifteen nominations are scheduled to be considered for listing in the National Register. Properties on the agenda include historic residences, commercial buildings and historic districts. Approximately 1,000 historic resources are represented in the nominations.

The following five properties in the St. Louis area are being considered:

The narrow William A. Gill Building, 622 Olive, in downtown St. Louis is already listed in the National Register as a contributing property in the Olive Street Terra Cotta Historic District.  Due to demolition of the other buildings in the district, the Gill Building is being nominated individually. Constructed in 1910, the Gill stands four stories tall and features a glazed white terra cotta exterior with wide bands of windows rendered in the uncommon Vienna Secession architectural style.  It is so reminiscent of a Louis Curtiss-designed building in Kansas City (the Boley Building) that many people assume he was the architect for this one as well.  If Curtiss didn't design it, who did?  Perhaps it was the building's contractor, the M. Eyssell Construction Co.  The nomination thoroughly explores both possibilities.  

The Bel Air Motel, 4630 Lindell, opened in 1957 as St. Louis City's first "resort-styled motor hotel."  Developed by hotelier Norman K. Probstein and designed by architect Wilburn C. McCormick, the three-story motel combined the luxury accommodations associated with downtown hotels with the convenience of motor transportation.  In addition to 198 guest rooms, the hotel included the construction of a large underground parking garage.  The building is nominated for its architectural significance.  The Mid-century Modern motel is a signature example of mid-20th century design along Lindell Boulevard, an area touched by a commercial and development boom in the 1950s. 

Though the earliest buildings in the Grand-Bates Suburb Historic District in St. Louis date to c. 1860, the neighborhood is more characteristic of late 19th and early 20th century commuter suburb development.  The proposed district contains 665 historic resources, and is roughly bounded by Bates Street, Grand Boulevard, Interstate 55, Fillmore Street and Iron Street.  The district's period of growth straddles two phases of historic suburban development, the first relying on streetcar transit, and the second illustrating increasing dependence on the automobile.  In addition to the densely developed residential area constructed for working-class streetcar commuters, the district contains a portion of the city's first and only recreational driving parkway along Bellerive.

The Liggett and Myers Historic District, roughly bounded by Vandeventer, Park, Thurman and Lafayette, in St. Louis includes the western portion of the National Register listed Tiffany Neighborhood Historic District.  Due to the demolition of six blocks of historic residences in the center of the Tiffany District, its boundaries are to be reduced.  To encourage preservation, the western blocks of the district are being nominated as a separate historic district.  Though largely residential, the district is visually dominated by the historic Liggett and Myers Co. buildings, once considered the largest tobacco processing plant in the world.  Though the first houses in the neighborhood were constructed in c. 1875, development and the livelihood of the residents depended largely on the Liggett and Myers plant, constructed in 1896.

The Downtown Kirkwood Historic District is a collection of 59 contributing and 21 noncontributing buildings and parking lots in St. Louis County.  The T-shaped district visually reflects the community's development from a bedroom community established in 1853 through its growth into one of the largest automotive suburbs in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  Kirkwood's historic Missouri Pacific Depot, constructed in 1893 and already listed in the National Register of Historic Places, stands near the upper center of the district.  Located approximately 13 miles southwest of downtown St. Louis, the district is significant in the areas of architecture, commerce and community planning and development, the nomination asserts.

Other properties that are being considered follow:

In addition to nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, the council will receive status reports on programs provided by the State Historic Preservation Office and discuss business related to its own function and duties. 

The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is a 12-member group of historians, architects, archaeologists and citizens with an interest in historic preservation. The council is appointed by the governor and works with the Department of Natural Resources' State Historic Preservation Office, which administers the National Register program for Missouri. The council meets quarterly to review Missouri property nominations to the National Register, the nation's honor roll of historic properties. Approved nominations are forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C., for final approval.

For more information about the Feb. 13 meeting or the council, call the State Historic Preservation Office at 573-751-7858 or the department toll free at 800-334-6946.