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Three Significant St. Louis Historic Rehabs: Sun Theater, Hammond Apts., 3867 Shenandoah

Categories: Architecture

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3867 Shenandoah in the Shaw neighborhood.

Corner Store, 3867 Shenandoah Avenue

Built in two phases in 1898 and 1903, this red-brick gem with cast-iron and terra-cotta elements silently but proudly holds down just one corner of the Shaw neighborhood. Taking on the airs of a medieval castle, the building completes the rebirth of the intersection of at 39th Street and Shenandoah Avenue as the other three corner buildings are occupied and in good condition.

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The Hammond Apartments after renovation into apartments.

Hammond Apartments, 101 Cass Ave

Who ever would have thought that apartments would have come to this isolated but historic corner of the North Riverfront neighborhood? The St. Louis Stamping Company began constructing its huge complex in 1877. Over the course of the next century, the company and its successors added more buildings. While not particularly ornate or ostentatious, the old factory shows the simple, clean lines of historic industrial architecture in the city. After having sat empty and neglected, it has now found new life as apartments, taking its name from a former owner of the building. Best of all, the redevelopment shows that there can be life east of Broadway in the neighborhoods of old warehouses and mills that once powered St. Louis' industrial might.

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The Sun Theater restored to its former glory in Grand Center.

Sun Theater, 3627 Grandel Square

Even just a couple of years ago, all hope seemed lost for the last of the great, architecturally stunning theaters of Grand Center. Originally a German-language theater named the Victoria, the business was never truly successful. Eventually the building fell into disrepair and abandonment that lasted for decades. Trees grew from the roof, the interior decayed from mold and water leaks, and the west outer wall began to collapse into a heap of broken bricks. Midtown already had enough theaters, so what possible use could this crumbling landmark provide? Enter the Grand Center Performing Arts Academy, which just so happened to need a performance space for its students. Renovation began last year, and just this month the newly restored theater opened to the public. While a few details were lost to neglect and budgetary considerations, the renovation saved a jewel of St. Louis architecture from becoming just another memory.

Chris Naffziger writes about architecture at St. Louis Patina. Contact him via e-mail at naffziger@gmail.com


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