1111 South Compton

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1111 South Compton Avenue
St. Louis, MO
On Compton between LaSalle and Hickory Avenues, there was this lone, single-family house. I’ve lived in South St. Louis for 13+ years and it was always vacant. It wasn’t anything remarkable save for the fact that it was the only survivor of what had once been a typically dense city block. In March, a small crew had been dispatched to carefully dismantle the building for brick salvage.

Every day for one week, I took pictures of it from the same vantage points just to see a mini-movie of demolition play out, frame by frame.

Turns out that Saint Louis University owns this property. Actually, they own many full blocks of property in this immediate area. Considering that SLU is currently erecting a new building a few blocks west at Chouteau & Grand (photo below, left side), this is no big surprise. Just wondering if SLU will reuse all the brick they’re demolishing for all these new projects.

2 thoughts on “1111 South Compton

  1. This house was the last residential building not only on its particular block, but in the whole 15-block area bound by Compton, Rutger, Grand and Chouteau. One of the few other neighborhood buildings in the area is an active church at Hickory and Virginia that unsurprisingly, SLU also owns.

    Outside of that area, on the south side of Rutger near Virginia, there are two homes remaining, one of them built in 1884, and the other in 1993. Whoever built that house sure has a big backyard all to himself!

  2. My guess is that SLU will sell it to a dealer who will sell it off to a wealthier city that historically in its own building tradition did not have brick half as nice as St. Louis brick, or buildings half as nice as St. Louis buildings. At least it’s not going to the landfill, though, I guess?

    I think it would be really interesting to do a study of houses that are the lone survivor of their block–to photograph them, and then to see what happens (although we all know how it usually ends). I don’t know why, but the Lone House phenomenon has long fascinated me.

    I remember that as a kid, I commented on it to my best friend as our school bus drove past one such (grey stone) house: “I would love to live in the only house left on a block.”

    “I wouldn’t!” she responded. “I would feel so vulnerable!”

    She had a good point, but it hadn’t even occurred to me, since I was so caught up in the mystique of the Lone House. Today, I love my wonderful wonderful neighborhood, but I still quietly daydream about living in some isolated, last house on the block little place with a three digit address east of North Broadway.

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