Posted on May 10th, 2011 5 comments
Creve Coeur, MO
May 7, 2011
Modern StL teamed with the residents of Ladue Estates to present an Open House & Tour of their neighborhood. It turned into a gorgeous spring day, and over 75 people came out to tour the inside of 5 open homes and take guided and self-guided tours of the entire subdivision.
“The Kitchen” (as it’s come to be known by anyone whose ever seen photos of the original GE teal blue metal kitchen in #3) was a major draw, to be sure. But the comments from those who toured all 5 homes was about how completely different each home was, and how beautifully it highlighted the eternal allure of the post-war ranch house, a thoroughly American architectural style.
One of my favorite comments was, “$10 is way too cheap for this event. I’ve been to other home tours that charged way more for a lot less. You shoulda charged $20, at least.” (It was $5 for Modern StL members; if you wanna take advantage of this kind of savings in the future, become a member!).
The Ladue Estates trustees – Mario Conte, Lea Ann Baker and Suzanne Walch – knew long ago how special their subdivision was, being untouched by tear downs and McMansions, and that it had a certain magic that made it a real world paradise. With Lea Ann leading the charge, they spent 3 years working on the application that would land Ladue Estates onto the National Register of Historic Places in May 2010. This is the first mid-century modern neighborhood in Missouri to make the list, and one of very few in the United States.
The induction ceremony in October 2010 was a milestone moment that made one hopeful that mid-century modern architecture might be spared the callous and rampant destruction that took out far too many turn-of-the-20th century buildings in St. Louis (and nationwide). Watching the genuine enthusiasm and joy of the tour attendees was a sweet moment, fanning the optimism that there are plenty of us around who “get it,” and that our newest – and last – wave of historic homes will be cared for and loved for decades to come.
A day of appreciation like this is one of the reasons Modern StL formed in the first place, less than a year ago. There are many other worthy MCM StL neighborhoods that deserve an event like this; we’re lucky to have them and hope to feature them in future events.
As for Ladue Estates, I had the pleasure of working with the Trustees on a feature article for an upcoming issue of Atomic Ranch magazine. I’ll be sure to let you know when that’s available. And they are already contemplating throwing another event like this in the future. Imagine these beauties decorated for Christmas….? It’s a thought!
5 Responses to “Inside Ladue Estates”
steve carosello May 11th, 2011 at 11:12 AM
A Christmas tour is a great idea. I’ve toured the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield at Christmas, and the appropriate period decorations make it a distinct experience.
samizdat May 12th, 2011 at 9:00 AM
The wife and I really enjoyed the tour. I was somewhat surprised by the absence of too much in the way of open plans, as I’ve seen in other MCM houses. No matter. We could happily live in any one of those homes. We even drove around some of the other streets nearby. Some really great designs there. Loved the dress Suzanne Walch was wearing. So Betty. Fit in well with the era of her house.
I just started following your blog and this is the first post I’ve received and I’m very impressed. I’m glad I found you. Ironically, I just found Modern StL on Twitter this evening.
Great post as usual, Toby! Excellent images. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to enjoy those hip homes.
And thank YOU for helping us out that day. We were touched that you and two other Modern StL members volunteered – mid-century modern fans are just the best across the board!