Groth Guide to Tiffany

Tiffany is a south St. Louis neighborhood bound by Chouteau Avenue to the north, I-44 to the south, Grand Boulevard to the east and 39th Street to the west.

This is a small neighborhood in both area and residential capacity, as most of the Tiffany neighborhood is comprised of the St. Louis University Medical Center including Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and SLU hospital. The north end of Tiffany is largely industrial, and is the site of the former Pevely Dairy.

From Wikipedia we learn that the neighborhood takes it’s name from the Tiffany streetcar line which started operation in 1890 with the opening of the Grand viaduct. The Tiffany streetcar line transformed the neighborhood into a middle-class commuters suburb. The area was originally platted out by the French in 1769; back then Grand was for beyond the edge of the settlement of St. Louis. By the 1860’s much of this area had become property of Mrs. Mary McRee, who ended up selling most of the land to a developer in 1888. A portion of the area was subdivided into McRee City in 1869 and was developed by Mary McRee to take advantage of the horse carriage lines that were arriving in the area. Wow, this city has an amazing history.

Mary Urquhart McKee is another distinguished woman in St. Louis’ long history. She married Samuel McRee when she was 14 years old, she moved to New Orleans when her husband was serving the Army in the Mexican-American War. They moved back to St. Louis where they owned their land. Samuel eventually died of cholera and Mary donated her land to the City of St. Louis in 1869.

Parts of her land were still called McRee Town as recent as 2004 when the city made the decision to demolish many of the homes and re-brand the neighborhood as Botanical Heights.

So now that you have an idea of the history of the part of the city, let’s take a look at who is living there now (as per 2000 data): The Tiffany neighborhood was relatively stable from 1990 – 2000, showing a mere 1% population decrease down to 1,340 residents: 83% black, 12% white, 3% Asian and 2% Hispanic/Latino. There are only 571 housing units, at 88% occupancy rate, split 25%/75% owner/renter.

Here are some of the views along South Grand Blvd:

Almost 1 year ago, part of the Pevely dairy caught fire and collapsed, leaving a big hole in the streetscape along Grand near Choteau. Bruce Development purchased the 10-acre complex in April, 2010 for $2.2M. The redevelopment plan for the building is now on the books and includes rental lofts and retail space. A redeveloped Pevely building will certainly help the streetscape on Grand.

A shot of the fire which destroyed the southern most building (by Michael R. Allen):

Renderings of possible redevelopment (the building lost due to fire was located where the parking lot is shown at the bottom of the second image):

Lafayette Avenue is visible just north of I-44. There are some attractive multi-unit apartment buildings as well as single family homes. Here are some of my favorites:

The vast majority of Tiffany is comprised of the SLU medical complex and the residential streets are purposefully and frustratingly disconnected from each other. Check out the map to see what I mean, there are very few through streets; but the homes that exist here are awesome:

These condos have access to an in ground swimming pool directly adjacent to the property, to the right of the frame:

Check out the corner gem at Park Ave. and 39th Street:

Nearly all the homes on Hickory Street are unoccupied. I wonder if SLU owns these for future demo/expansion of the medical complex?

There is also a lot of open ground west of the hospitals. There is this weird demo where they left the entry ways, foundation and 1st story of bricks. Turns out it’s part of the once bustling Tiffany Streetcar shops. When you visit, look for the rails still in the ground:

Some nice Dutch colonials on Rutger Street:

Tiffany is also home to a charter school called Imagine Academy of Environmental Science and Math. A great re-use of an old warehouse and immediately adjacent to the Pevely complex. Another quality educational option for St. Louisans.

The official before and after photos from project designer SPACE Architecture + Design, (the firm recently relocated to the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood from Maplewood):

What an incredible transformation!

Tiffany pride: