The Grim Reaper was seen lurking in south St. Louis County. Call Newspapers reports that the Session or Kassebaum Building at 5039 Lemay Ferry and Butler Hill Roads may become a QuikTrip. It’s one of the few gems of human-scaled traditional development in south St. Louis County which is riddled with low-productivity auto-oriented land uses and a fragile hierarchical street network.
Call Newspapers – In-person open house scheduled for tonight on proposed QuikTrip
Call Newspapers – Two new QuikTrips proposed in two miles on Lemay Ferry Road
The Kassebaum Building is #26 on the list of Historical Landmarks, South St. Louis County –
Mattese was an unplanned settlement at the intersection of Lemay Ferry and Butler Hill Roads, near Mattese Creek. In the early years of the century Mattese and Oakville provided the only commercial centers for “the Point.” The building that housed the general merchandise and produce store operated by August Kassebaum and Kassebam’s own residence both survive at this intersection. The two buildings were spared by a recent highway widening. August Kassebaum was the son of Henry Kassebaum, who immigrated to this area from Germany in the 1840s. August grew up in the Mattese area and opened a store there in 1884, dealing in general merchandise and farm implements. Two years later he expanded into St. Louis, opening a produce and commission business in what is now Laclede’s Landing. He served as the postmaster of Mattese and was elected Collector in 1910. He married Catherine Brummer in 1885, and the couple had 11 children, eight of whom survived. His son J. Harry took over the business. The August Kassebaum House is a Georgian Revival style brick structure. It was constructed in 1907 and is unusual as an architect-designed house erected in the midst of a rural community. The architect was William Wedemeyer, who was born in St. Louis and had established his own practice by 1893. He designed factories, theaters, and office buildings in the St. Louis area, and he may have designed Kassebaum’s nearby store as well.
Findagrave.com – August Kassebaum
St. Louis County – August Kassebaum House, 5009 Lemay Ferry Rd [PDF]
QT has a long track record of destroying the traditional development pattern as if it’s a part of their business model to remove walkability.
As was predicted the QT at Lemay Ferry and Bayless moved across Lemay where these stood.
Nextstl – Do The Math: Lemay Demo
Next up for QT is likely along Grand between Lafayette and McRee. The parcels fronting Grand are owned by St. Louis University. QT has tipped its hand acquiring the home at 3616 McRee. The Assessor’s website shows 3619 Lafayette, a four family, as owned by a LLC, but there is a daily date of March 3, 2021 which may indicate a transfer of ownership. The highway has done enough damage, why add to the public safety, public health, blighting effect, and environmental hazard (benzene!) with a gas station? Let SLU, the St. Louis Midtown Redevelopment Corporation, and Ald Davis know your thoughts about this.
More on the damage gas stations do to communities – Nextstl – Tax Abatement for Gas Station Exemplifies All That is Wrong
If you would rather the Kassebaum Building endure, contact the St. Louis County Council members. Especially Ernie Trakas since it’s in the district he represents. Hurry, destruction trailers are already on site.
One of the only bits of the traditional development pattern in the area may be lost. It’s understandable given what’s been built around it and the dangerous stroad environment created by Lemay Ferry (70 feet wide) and Butler Hill (60 feet wide). At least it all meets the parking minimums. I’ll leave you (again) with my favorite quote from Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. This is yet another example of the thousands of little decisions that erode our built environment.
Erosion of cities by automobiles entails so familiar a series of events that these hardly need describing. The erosion proceeds as a kind of nibbling, small nibbles at first, but eventually hefty bites. Because of vehicular congestion, a street is widened here, another is straightened there, a wide avenue is converted to one-way flow, staggered-signal systems are installed for faster movement, a bridge is double-decked as its capacity is reached, an expressway is cut through yonder, and finally whole webs of expressways. More and more land goes into parking, to accommodate the ever increasing numbers of vehicles while they are idle. No one step in this process is, in itself, crucial. But cumulatively the effect is enormous. And each step, while not crucial in itself, is crucial in the sense that it not only adds its own bit to the total change, but actually accelerates the process. Erosion of cities by automobiles is thus an example of what is known as “positive feedback.” In cases of positive feedback, an action produces a reaction which in turn intensifies the condition responsible for the first action. This intensifies the need for repeating the first action, which in turn intensifies the reaction, and so on, ad infinitum. It is something like the grip of a habit-forming addiction.
Update 3/24/2021 – From a presentation given at a community forum last week, QuikTrip says the Kassebaum Building would take $3M to renovate. Not that they’d use it for a gas station anyways. They would use some of the bricks to make a monument for Kassebaum. The gas pump canopy would be where the Kassebaum is. They claim the new gas station will increase tax revenue. I would wager the economic activity there will almost if not entirely be shifted from elsewhere.