Oldies, Goodies New Book to List Historic Buildings That Dot County

Article excerpt

By Charlene Prost Of the Post-Dispatch Staff FOR THOSE who associate St. Louis County with new buildings, county preservationists are planning several events this week that might change that.

As part of Preservation Week, the county's Historic Buildings Commission is releasing a 93-page book with pictures and descriptions of about 230 buildings it considers the most historically and architecturally important.

The buildings are as old as Casa Alvarez, a French Colonial house built around 1790 in Florissant, and they're scattered throughout cities, towns and unincorporated areas. One has been torn down.

"We lost the Coral Court Motel while we were working on the book," said Esley Hamilton, the county's preservation historian. The motel, built in St reamline Moderne style in 1941 at 7755 Watson Road in Marlborough, was replaced earlier this year by houses.

The book, called "The Past in Our Presence: Historic Buildings in St. Louis County," contains three other buildings that Hamilton says are endan gered. They are:

* Barlbort's General Store, circa 1895, at 12204 Bellefontaine Road in Spanish Lake, vacant for several years and on a potential development site.

* Bethel Methodist Church, circa 1859, at 25000 Wild Horse Creek Road in Wildwood, vacant for at least 20 years and deteriorating.

* Thomas Lucas House, circa 1865, at 11404 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, up for sale and on a potential development site.

Hamilton says that while a listing in the book doesn't protect the buildings, "our hope is that it will focus people's attention on them."

"Sometimes," he said, "people in the suburbs don't realize how many surviving historic buildings are around them."

Mostly, though, as county preservationists join others across the country in observing Preservation Week this week, they'll celebrate the successes.

An exhibit featuring about 150 buildings in the book, most of them well cared for and safe, opens this week at the St. …