Something Nice About Bella Villa


Bayless & Ruprecht Avenues in Bella Villa
South St. Louis County, MO

I love this house, though I don’t get to see it as much as I’d like because of where it’s located.


The tiny,  St. Louis County inner-ring suburb of Bella Villa has a reputation much larger than its population of roughly 700 residents.  It’s a notorious speed trap, with 59% of its 2005 municipal budget coming from traffic tickets.  And though I don’t typically drive crazy fast while gawking at scenery, it does conjure abrupt stops and lane changes for the sake of a photo, and that’s enough to get pulled over and ticketed in Bella Villa.

On the afternoon I took these photos a cop seemed to magically appear from nowhere and pulled someone over.  I kept that business out of the left side of the frame in the photo above.  Even though I was relatively safe being on foot, all the horror stories heard over the years ran through the memory bank, and I slowly slinked away to my car parked around the corner.


Ah yes, the house itself!  It was built in 1938, and the houses right around it on this end of the block all range from 1938-1940.  It’s vaguely art deco and reminds me of some of the places Harris Armstrong was designing around the same time – like this or maybe this.

I also love the Lego look and feel of the house, especially in the way the garage, front steps and entry are attached to the main house.  Also, the house is nicely situated atop a hill, so has the added drama of a stone wall on the side, and a nice high perch from which to watch the speed trap below.

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10 thoughts on “Something Nice About Bella Villa

  1. Pingback: Bella Villa, MO Mid-Century Modern - Modern STL

  2. Hi! I apologize for inconveniencing you but could you please send me an email at the email addy in my comment? I had a question regarding this site. Gracias!

  3. I live on Ruprecht from 1938 until 1957. The Wagner family were the first owners. There were 52 children in the first block (700 block) of Ruprecht who were all within four years of each other. It was the greatest street in the world to live on during the 40s and 50s.

    It even had a beacon next to 714 Ruprecht during the war years. There were two vacant lots there. The last two houses were built on these lots in 1952,

  4. I drive by this house almost every day (slowly). Yes I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting one of Bell Villa’s finest…errrr. I never get tired of seeing that house…wish I knew what the interior looks like…

  5. Thanks so much for this post, Toby! I grew up a couple miles from Bella Villa and know that neighborhood very well. I had several friends in high school who lived over there, my little sister lives in Bella Villa today, my brother used to, so I’ve probably driven by that wonderful house a couple thousand times. It remains quite memorable and you are spot on about the “Lego look and feel…”

    Knock wood department: I’ve logged many miles there over the years, but have never gotten a ticket in Bella Villa. When you got your driver’s license in our hood, one of the first things you learned was to drive like a snail in Bella Villa. I still do when down there and recommend that y’all do too…

  6. Again, glad to see that you’re venturing south! I love this house too!

  7. I can appreciate your caution in taking the pics of this house, Toby. Thanks to the paranoiac lunacies of the Bush administration, when I stop to take photos with my little Walgreens cheapie, I often feel eyes upon me–with the unspoken question “Should I call the cops or the Department of Homeland Security on this guy?” lingering in the air.

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