OLDEST DOCUMENTED STANDING HOME IN DOGTOWN

DOGTOWN CENTURY HOMES

1527 Tamm Ave.

Certified as built in 1860 Current owner: Frank Seifried

In his book ANCESTRY: AN IRISH-AMERICAN FAMILY IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI 1848-1998, James F. O'Gorman writes this about this oldest home in Dogtown:

"With his marriage John O'Gorman needed a house. In 1852 he had begun, with the help of free blacks who lived in the area, to clear land on the west side of Tamm Avenue on the edge of Cheltenham (originally Sulphur Springs) outside the city limits of St. Louis. (footnote # 9) and in 1854 be bourht the property for $100 from his brother David. (footnote # 10) This was part of "The Glades," a subdivision of the Gratiot League Square laid out by R.D. Watson. It was also in what was later to become "Dogtown." Although the area did not join St. Louis politically until the 1870s,it was linked to center city by the newly laid tracks of the Pacific (later Missouri Pacific) Railroad. The tracks reached Chelterham in the year John began to prepare the site fo rhis house. The O'Gormans were among the earliest suburbanites.

"John and his brother-in-law Richard Tobin, who was able to make his living as a carpenter and builder, erected a two-story, four-room, frame house taht still stands (1998), albeit unoccupied and some waht derelict, at 1527 Tamm. It faced south toward Pacific Street (later Manchester), the railroad, and the then more picturesque River des Peres. The tall narrow building with end chimnies stood out as a landmark in the lower reaches of Dogtown, as is shown in a series of watercolors made in the 1870s by a neighbor, Albert Muegge. (footnote # 11). It is certainly the oldest house in the neighborhood, and may be among the oldest standing frame homes in St. Louis. In that small structure John and Kitty produced eight children: Ellen ("Nellie"), Edward, James Patrick, Thomas, William, Honora ("Nora"), Anastasia (who died in infancy), and John. (footnote # 12)."

Footnotes:

9. Information taken from notes made by the present (1998) owner, Frank Seifried, from a document found stashed in the foundation of the house. The original, alas, has gone missing.

10. Registry of Deeds, City Hall, St. Louis, Book 158, p. 210.

11. George R. Brooks. "Some New Views of Old Cheltenham," Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society, XXII, October 1965. This house also appears in the upper left corner of the Plate 97 of Camille N. Dry and Richard Compton's Pictorial St. Louis. 1875

12 -- long and more of genealogical interest. Not realevant to our interests.

See The 1875 map to which James O'Gorman refers.

The house at 1527 is in the upper left corner of the map and looks much like it does today.

Yet another view of the O'Gorman house.

Bob Corbett comments -- Feb. 15, 2003

This is a black and white reproduction of a colored watercolor which Anton Muegge did in the 1870s, but he was drawing his memories of Cheltenham in the 1860s. This perspective would be from about Hwy I-44 looking north toward Muegge's house (the very large 2-story in the foregroupnd right). It was the Muegge home and the local post office. It was also the scene of the 1864 Confederate raid on the post office.

To the right of Muegge's house and looking up Tamm, first one notes the large 2-story white house on the left side of Tamm. That is the O'Gorman house at 1527 Tamm and it looks identical as it does today in 2003.

Up higher on Tamm, on the right hand side of the street is St. James Church. John O'Gorman's brother-in-law built the church in 1860 and it burned in 1891.

Also fascinating to me large house to the LEFT of the Muegge house and back at bit. I wonder if that can be one of the homes on Villa and still be standing? The one that is highest on the hill in the 6500 block.

The photo appears in the article: "Some New Views of Old Cheltenham" by George R. Brooks. The Bulletin, October 1965. Missouri Historical Society. Pp. 32-34. Note that the article has a couple of other reproductions of Muegge's watercolors. The originals are not on display, but held by the Missouri Historical Society.

Primary researcher: Jim Glaser


HOME DOGTOWN

Bibliography Oral history Recorded history Photos
YOUR page External links Walking Tour

Bob Corbett bcorbett@netcom.com