My family is NOT one of the OLD families of Dogtown, but for a brief period we thoroughly enjoyed living there at 1508 Central Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63139.
We moved-in in June 1956 and lived there until 1963, resp. 1976. More precisely: My mother, Rose Sodomka Crostic Baer, lived there for 6-1/2 years, from June '56 to January '63, when she died of gall-bladder cancer at age 52. I (Patricia Jean Crostic Druecker) lived there for 11 years, from June '56 to December '67, when I transferred to Germany with the American Red Cross at age 21. And my stepfather, Raymond Philip Baer, lived there for 20 years, from June
'56 to October '76, when he died of heart failure at age 73.
My stepfather purchased the 5-room, tract house at 1508 Central Ave. for $13,000.00 cash, handed-over in an envelope to a rather puzzled-looking real estate agent... The family (name forgotten) that resided at 1508 prior to our arrival had to leave St. Louis because their daughter's respiratory ailment demanded relocation of a "dry state." Later, I understand from a third party, they moved back to St. Louis when the change of climate failed to improve the young girl's condition.
After my stepfather's death in October '76, the house was sold to a young family, and since then has changed hands several times according to neighbors with whom I am still in contact.
Those particular neighbors, Harold and Adele Tate, who still reside at 1511 Central--just across from 1508--have been resident there for over 50 years. They raised a family of three boys there and are, themselves, currently in their 80s and ailing.
Other neighbors during our "residency" at 1508 Central were: directly next door, Wanda and John Coburn, and the families Blandford, Rosenburg, Sanders, Kuhn, Venable, Rogers, Campbell, Brown, Carter, Cousins and many more, whose names have been forgotten.
The cul-de-sac of Central Avenue is crescent-shaped, with both "arms" joining Prather Avenue. Thus "our street" was different from the "other Central Ave." in Dogtown.
Each morning, after breakfast, I walked the few blocks to John J. Roe Elementary School--Central to Prather; turn right on Prather, crossing Plateau and Mitchell, where a crossing guard always stood. The near proximity of Roe School, Benton Library and Franz Park to our home on Central was a positive feature--as well as Manchester Road shopping facilities and Forest Park. This was then an ideal community for small familites "getting started". For us kids, it rendered a wonderful environment--lots of greenery, safe streets to play on and friendly neighbors with lots of children to play with...
For me, the 11 years spent on Central Avenue were comforting and rewarding. As for Mother, she rejoiced in her home- and family-life there, although her experiences on Central were all too brief...
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