Tag Archives: Locust Street

Monday Update (a day late) » 7.24.12

It’s hot­ter than blazes in St. Louis, but the heat has­n’t slowed us down a bit at Camp­bell House! (Except for maybe our blog­ging schedule.)

Hel­looooooo Kevin! The west wall will not be paint­ed, but the brick will receive a clear weath­er­proof coating.

Exte­ri­or Ren­o­va­tion Begins
Con­trac­tors have begun to prep the house for the big paint job. Kevin has been patient­ly tuck­point­ing some of the high­est points of the house (up to 60 feet in some areas!) with a lift for over a week now, and when he’s done, the crew will come in to start paint­ing. The shut­ters have already been removed, and the painters have begun repair­ing and repaint­ing them in the shop.

Upcom­ing Tours
We got togeth­er with our friends down the street at Land­marks Asso­ci­a­tion of St. Louis a few weeks ago to plot a few events for the fall. We are ten­ta­tive­ly plan­ning an out­door movie night for Sep­tem­ber, a Locust Street archi­tec­tur­al walk­ing tour (that ends at the Schlafly Tap Room for drinks and cama­raderie), and a Camp­bell House restora­tion tour where you can see the inner work­ings of our place in either Jan­u­ary or Feb­ru­ary.  As soon as we final­ize every­thing, we will post all of the details for you. Stay tuned.

The new and improved cook’s bedroom.

New Cook’s Bedroom
Since the Camp­bells did not pho­to­graph many of the rooms in the ser­vants’ wing of the house  (includ­ing the kitchen and ser­vants’ liv­ing quar­ters),  we were able to inter­pret these rooms the best we could, based on the orig­i­nal floor­plan of the house. The house­keep­er’s bed­room has always been staged as a bed­room, but the cook’s bed­room — which had pre­vi­ous­ly housed an exhib­it on the ser­vants — has now been pre­sent­ed as a bed­room. Thanks to a bequest from one of our mem­bers, we received a beau­ti­ful set of fur­ni­ture of the style, peri­od and qual­i­ty that would have been in a ser­van­t’s bed­room in a house like this. Come down to the Muse­um to see it in person.

Stu­dents try­ing to inter­pret Hugh Camp­bel­l’s hand­writ­ing in a let­ter to his wife, Mary. (This Hugh is Robert’s broth­er, not his son.)

Black Rep Sum­mer Camp
We had the plea­sure of wel­com­ing about 20 stu­dents from The Black Rep Sum­mer Camp last week for our doc­u­ment work­shop. After tak­ing a brief tour of the first floor to hear the Camp­bell sto­ry, they came up to the third floor Aviary to play his­to­ry detec­tive. We gave them copies of Camp­bell doc­u­ments to inter­pret and to share their find­ings with the rest of the group. These were some of the most enthu­si­as­tic kids we’ve had come through the house, and we look for­ward to see­ing them again! Do you need a spe­cial edu­ca­tion­al activ­i­ty or work­shop for your group of chil­dren or adults? Give us a call! We’re hap­py to design a half- or full day of fun and learn­ing. Con­tact Andy or Shel­ley at 314/421‑0325 to let us start plan­ning your day at Camp­bell House!

Our Interns
Did you meet intern Han­nah? Read all about her here!

Robert’s Irish Break­fast Tea

Camp­bell House Tea
Look­ing for a small gift for the per­son who has every­thing? Robert has you cov­ered. Come by to pick up a 1‑oz pack­age of Robert’s Irish Break­fast tea, a blend we buy from our tea-lov­ing neigh­bors at the Lon­don Tea Room. A favorite with cof­fee drinkers, it’s strong and bold, just like our Robert. We’re sell­ing it for $5 a pack­age, and that includes a coupon for a free cup of tea or cof­fee at the Lon­don Tea Room. It’s avail­able now in the Muse­um Store and at the front door of the Muse­um. Pick up a pack­age to get a taste of Camp­bell House!

Urban Explor­ing: Trin­i­ty Luther­an Church
Today we took a field trip to Soulard to vis­it Trin­i­ty Luther­an Church. Docent Coor­di­na­tor Den­nis has been a mem­ber of this his­toric church all his life, and he invit­ed Camp­bell House staff, interns and docents out to get a behind-the-scenes look at every­thing in the church, includ­ing the bell tow­er. As a teas­er, here’s a shot of one of the gor­geous art glass win­dows in a space behind the choir loft. A full blog post with the church’s his­to­ry and all of the images will fol­low lat­er this week.

One of Trin­i­ty Luther­an’s art glass win­dows in a non-pub­lic area behind the choir loft.

Stay cool this week, and check back to meet Syd­ney — one of our won­der­ful interns — and the full pho­to essay of our vis­it to Trin­i­ty Lutheran!

Lucas Place in a nutshell

Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Andy with the crew at 14th and Locust, the orig­i­nal loca­tion of Gov­er­nor-then-Sen­a­tor Polk’s house. Andy is hold­ing a pic­ture of the house.

A cou­ple of weeks ago, we con­duct­ed one of our Lucas Place Walk­ing Tours, and we had a load of fun shar­ing the his­to­ry of our neigh­bor­hood with such an enthu­si­as­tic group. Why, you may ask, would any­one be inter­est­ed in the his­to­ry of this old street? Easy: Aside from its sig­nif­i­cance as the first exclu­sive neigh­bor­hood in St. Louis, the peo­ple who lived here were some of the most influ­en­tial in the region. Much of the his­to­ry of St. Louis is entwined with the peo­ple who lived here.


Cue this song.

In 1850, sib­lings James Lucas and Ann Lucas Hunt (sound famil­iar?) planned a res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment on farm­land they had inher­it­ed from their father. This new “sub­ur­ban” neigh­bor­hood was west of the city, and it stretched along what is now Locust Street between 13th and 16th Streets.

How was this new ‘hood exclusive?

  • They were expen­sive. $100 per front foot. Lots were at min­i­mum 25 feet wide, and nobody bought just one lot. This price exclud­ed all but the wealth­i­est of buyers.
  • It was remote, about 1 mile west of the Mis­sis­sip­pi River.
  • Lucas Place, cir­ca 1875.

    Deed restric­tions were on the prop­er­ty, and this was unusu­al back then. Among them:  hous­es were to be built 25 feet away from the street, thus pro­duc­ing front yards (hous­es were typ­i­cal­ly built right on the side­walk), and the fol­low­ing busi­ness­es were pro­hib­it­ed: gro­ceries, apothe­caries, restau­rants, and theatres.

  • Lucas Place was off­set from the exist­ing street grid with Mis­souri Park at the east end of the street, thus serv­ing as a bar­ri­er between the ele­gant homes and the hus­tle and bus­tle of the city.
  • Lots were a gen­er­ous 155 feet deep. (That’s only 5 feet shy of the width of a foot­ball field.)
  • Place” instead of “avenue” or “street” implied an impor­tant des­ti­na­tion, which rein­forced the exclu­siv­i­ty of the homes and residents.

The tee­ny-wee­nie Lucas-How house at 1515 Lucas Place.


Our Camp­bell House was the first one built on the street in 1851, and it was prob­a­bly the small­est one in the neigh­bor­hood. Homes on the north side of Lucas Place were much larg­er. Case in point, #1515, the Lucas-How res­i­dence. It sat across from Robert and Vir­gini­a’s, and it was rough­ly twice as large as Camp­bell House. We have a gen­er­ous 10,000 square feet, and the Lucas-How house was prob­a­bly about 20,000 square feet. (For com­par­i­son, new homes built in 2010 came in around 2392 square feet.)

Lucas Place was the place to be, and it rep­re­sent­ed the beau­ti­ful side of our fair city. So it should come as no sur­prise that when­ev­er impor­tant guests were in town, they were parad­ed through the neigh­bor­hood. The homes of some of the most influ­en­tial men and women in St. Louis were big and pris­tine with immac­u­late­ly main­tained yards, and the whole street was lined by MARBLE side­walks. (Real­ly.) Lucas Place was a sight to see.

View of Lucas Place dur­ing a parade in 1895.

In addi­tion to the res­i­dences, some busi­ness­es that were not pro­hib­it­ed by the deed restric­tions were on the street, includ­ing the orig­i­nal home of the St. Louis Art Muse­um and Mary Insti­tute (now called Mary Insti­tute Coun­try Day School.) The first pub­lic high school west of the Mis­sis­sip­pi sat behind Camp­bell House at 15th Street and Olive, and Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty was two blocks away on Wash­ing­ton Avenue.


Aside from James Lucas (#1515) and sis­ter Ann Lucas Hunt (#1706), some big muck­ety-mucks were Camp­bell neigh­bors, including:

  • Hen­ry Hitch­cock, the first dean of Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty. (#1507)
  • Amadee Valle, Mis­souri con­gress­man and friend to Abra­ham Lin­coln and Hen­ry Shaw. (#1516)
  • Gen­er­al William Har­ney, the com­man­der of the Army’s Depart­ment of the West dur­ing the Civ­il War. (#1428)
  • Trusten Polk, Gov­er­nor of Mis­souri (1856) and U.S. Sen­a­tor (1857–1863). (#1400)
  • John How, May­or of St. Louis, 1853–1857. (#1515 before James Lucas moved in.)
  • Hen­ry Kayser, city engi­neer who designed St. Louis’ first plumb­ing and sew­er sys­tems. (#1420)

View from Camp­bell House at the inter­sec­tion of Locust and 15th, look­ing east on Locust. Cir­ca 1920.


The deed restric­tions expired 30 years after the land was ini­tial­ly pur­chased from the Lucas­es. Since many of the hous­es were built in the 1850s and 1860s, the covenants were expir­ing in the 1880s and 1890s. This is when hous­es were con­vert­ed to busi­ness­es and board­ing hous­es, and the wealthy res­i­dents moved to more fash­ion­able neigh­bor­hoods far­ther west, includ­ing Port­land Place, Lafayette Square and Van­de­ven­ter Place.

The park bar­ri­er between Lucas Place and the rest of the city was removed in the 1890s, and Lucas Place was renamed Locust Street. The area evolved into an indus­tri­al neigh­bor­hood, with ware­hous­es and fac­to­ries replac­ing the hous­ing stock. Camp­bell House remained as the last home from Lucas Place.

Here are a few more notable images of Lucas Place.…

Before: The Kayser House, #1420. It was built in 1864.

After: The Kayser House short­ly before it was razed in the 1930s.

Camp­bell House, cir­ca 1930.