One of the questions on this week’s Mini-Poll asks readers to select the public board that has had the greatest influence on the City this past year. Some of the choices - Metro, the St. Louis Police Board, the SAB - are obvious ones; others, like the memberships of the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District and the Preservation boards are less high-profile groups that also made big differences in our lives.
I thought of the Preservation Board today when Barb Geisman told me that Dick Gregory Place has just been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you are of a certain age, you’ll know that Dick Gregory Place (named for the civil rights activist and comedian) was once a high-brow private street called Wagoner Place (named after a local pickle magnate) and that its newer name is the Board of Aldermen’s ironic (and fitting) reaction to the fact that Wagoner was the last street in the City to adopt a restrictive real estate covenant that attempted to exclude racial minorities.
A listing on the National Register will make rehab of the largely intact district’s interesting mix of elegant Romanesque single family homes, commercial buildings, and multi-family structures eligible to use both the 25 percent state historic tax credit and the 20 percent federal tax credit.
CRO staffers Jan Cameron and Andrea Gagen did a great years-long job of researching and writing the successful nomination to the National Register, which was then recommended for approval by the Preservation Board in April. Their work makes it much more likely that an important part of the City’s architecture and cultural history will be saved.