Gravois Avenue & Meramec Street
South St. Louis, MO
This is a rather rundown intersection in the Bevo Mill neighborhood, but if you look through the grime, there’s some interesting visual history of when St. Louis (like other Rust Belt cities) actually produced goods, and those industries dictated the transportation, housing and society of the neighborhoods they resided in.
While stuck at this stop light contemplating these fanciful thoughts, I noticed the two buildings above had Hiliker For Sale signs. The building on the left is a 2-family flat from 1915, and next door is a 4-family from 1915.
And the one-story industrial building next to it, from 1918, is also for sale by the same company.
Even around the corner, on Meramec, the 4-family from 1915 is also for sale.
Which means the entire block bound by pink in the above aerial map (courtesy of bing.com) is for sale by the same agent, though info about these buildings are not on the Hiliker site. Included in this full city block is the jewel of the lot…
…the 9-story-total factory from 1928 which was formerly the Graham Paper Company. It sits majestically at the top of the viaduct, and in the late 20th century it served as a storage warehouse. I remember idle talk in the early 20s of it becoming loft apartments, but obviously that never happened.
All of these properties currently for sale are listed in city records as being owned by 4230 Gravois LLC, c/o Imagine Schools, which begs the question: did this organization buy all these properties with the intent of creating a campus, then changed their mind?
The Graham Paper Company building is a gorgeous example of dignified industry, which was par for the course for the 19th-into-20th century, and I admire how they tucked this large complex into a block already populated with multi-family housing.
What will become of this block? Must the buildings be purchased as a whole, or will “the whole” turn off any but the deepest pockets? It’s easy (but not desirable) for potential developers to dismiss the residential and remuddled one-story warehouse as demolition fodder, but the Graham complex cannot be denied. It’s a strange and intriguing plot of land, and the possibilities for a new use are plentiful…and worrisome.
If anyone has information on what’s happening with this block (including – and most especially – history of Graham Paper Company), please do share.