Historic St. Louis Homes

Fullerton’s Westminster Place (1892) | 4411 Westminster | Mary H. Semple House

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Excerpts of “Architecture of the Private Streets of St. Louis. The Architects and the Houses they Designed” by Charles C. Savage 1987

Only recently has the name Fullerton’s Westminster Place been revived, reflecting an awareness of the origins of this once private street. A neighborhood association, reinstated only within the last two decades, recognizes that the two blocks, 4300 and 4400 Westminster, contain more residences of architectural interest than any other comparable blocks in the city. Nearly every important architect working on the turn of the century is represented here.

J.S. Fullerton bought this property in 1882 from the Charter Oak Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, which had surveyed the land and been holding it since 1877. Before that, it had been, like Vandeventer Place, part of the “Grand Prairie” common fields. As with Lucas Place, through traffic was restricted rather than cut off, and there was no elliptical greensward, or median park. Deed restrictions were established: No dwelling could be built on a lot fewer than 60 front feet; No dwelling could cost less than $10,000; And no dwelling could be in front of a 25 foot setback line. Pitzman Surveyed for many of the architects and the clients built here.

Fullerton commissioned W. Albert Swasey to design the subdivision’s gates, 1893, at Boyle Avenue on the eastern end and at Taylor on the west, and its first houses. Designed and built between 1892 and 1895, these houses number 13 today, although Swasey claimed in 1900 to have been commissioned to design fourteen. As a group built in the first half of the nineties, all variations of one another in plan and elevation and all from the same drawing board, these houses are not without interest. They are even more remarkable because their elevations clearly reflect the sequence of the national trends in style — Romanesque, Italian Renaissance, and colonial Georgian.

Several of these houses are in the Romanesque-French Renaissance style with prominent round tower and arcaded porch, forerunners of Grable & Weber’s No. 4411, whose lot Pitzman surveyed for Mary H. Semple in 1891. Weber’s hand is recognizable in the firm’s more classical mode.

In 1887 Grable and Weber received the commission. Alfred Grable had practiced architecture in St. Louis for more than thirty years, but his association with Auguste Weber was of recent origin. The firm’s reputation relied on their elegant walls, poplar wood trim, and oak pews contributed to its beauty. Large wrought iron chandeliers equipped with electric lights hung from the ceiling. Natural light streamed through the two rows of windows on the east and west walls.

You can quite literally own a piece of history.

www.4411Westminster.com   |   $1,295,000

Listed by Ted Wight, Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty, 314-607-5555, [email protected]

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