Last week I was tipped by a question someone posed on an unrelated Landmarks photo post to Facebook about what is going on at Page Manor? I looked on the Geo St. Louis and found that a demolition permit had been applied for in July. The wrap-around porch has already been removed from the front making it clear that the mansion would soon follow. The mansion is located on Page Boulevard just west of Grand. This is a tragic loss of one of the last grand homes in this area. With Vandeventer Place once being located just a few blocks south, Midtown's boulevards were once dotted with mansions, but this one even then stood out on what was a dense block of upper middle class homes. Over the years though, most of the mansions long ago disappeared. This demolition is yet another reason St. Louis needs City-wide Preservation Review instead of this policy up to the whim of 28 different Aldermen. The 19th Ward, where Page Manor is located does not have Preservation Review.
The mansion was built in 1888 according to the City's data and has been used as a nursing home for decades.
A large brick addition connects the main house with the original carriage house at the rear of the property. From the style of construction I would guess that the addition dates from somewhere between the 1920's and WWII. As I was photographing a guy who works at the Grand Manor senior residential building across the alley to the south came up and commented about what a shame it is that the old home is being demolished. He told me that Grand Manor was once located there and there are a few people who work there who were at the old building 30 years ago.
The original carriage house as viewed from the alley.
This photo from a few years ago (from Geo St. Louis) shows the original porch. The building was occupied until a few months ago. The future of the property could see new construction of a replacement facility on the site. City records show that a zoning only permit for a new residential care facility was applied for in 2009, but the guy from Grand Manor said that the owner of this home just opened another building on Hebert. This might indicated that plans for a new facility here are dead. This mansion would have easily qualified for listing on the National Register and the rehabilitation tax credit incentives that come with listing.
Sadly, there are a large number of vacant blocks land large enough for new construction in the immediate vicinity of the old mansion that could have been used for a new facility instead of immediately turning to demolition. One of these groups of vacant parcels is right across Cook Avenue from Grand Manor, which was the site of four beautiful and unique townhomes built just seven after the mansion now being destroyed.
Vanishing STL was created to illustrate the continuing loss of irreplaceable architecture from landmark buildings to ordinary homes due to demolition, abandonment and neglect. Often I write about structures threatened with demolition to bring awareness of the situation and promote preservation as an alternative. All photos are by Paul Hohmann unless noted otherwise.