No, this is not one of Paul McKee's Blairmont properties. No, it was not the victim of brick rustlers. Until a last Monday this house on Hebert in Old North St. Louis was undergoing a full gut rehab, having been a formerly abandoned LRA property. So you may be asking yourself what the hell happened? What happened is possibly one of the most blatant acts of gross negligence and stupidity I have heard in a long time... over week later I am still trying to wrap my mind around this one.
So the shell work had been completed, including full tuckpointing, masonry re-building in some areas, new floor joists and sub-floor, new windows, new roof, etc. and work had apparently already begun on interior finishes. Apparently there was some foundation underpinning that needed to be done. OK, I'm going to stop here and state the obvious: that foundation underpinning is something you do in small sections at a time. The foundation contractor, who obviously has a complete absence of common sense, excavated the dirt away from the rubble stone foundation all the way to the bottom along the entire east side of the house. This act alone is not advisable for a 100+ year old rubble foundation, as in many cases, they need re-pointing, and exposing the entire length can make the foundation become unstable. Then he precedes to dig under the footing, and keeps digging, until...well you see the result.
To make matters worse than they could have been, the the new floor joists were not simply inserted into the old masonry pockets as they would have been when the house was built. If this were the case, it is feasible that a good part of the shell would still be standing, since the floor and joists would have been able to fall away from the shell. Instead, the genius bolted band boards to the exterior walls and attached the joists to the band boards, so when a portion of one wall started to collapse, the floor structure dragged the rest of the house down with it. It is unclear at this point what will happen here, but my guess is will end up a vacant lot.
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