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Monday, December 15, 2008

Chuck Berry House Listed in National Register of Historic Places

Photograph by Lindsey Derrington.

On Friday, the National Park Service listed the Chuck Berry House at 3137 Whittier Avenue in the National Register of Historic Places. The listing is the result of the diligence of my colleague Lindsey Derrington, Researcher for Landmarks Association of St. Louis. Last year, Lindsey identified the house and its National register eligibility. She pursued the nomination against long odds -- the National Park Service has a long-standing policy to not list properties whose significance comes from association with living people.

Lindsey demonstrated that the significance of the house lay in the work Berry wrote while living there some fifty years ago -- not recent achievement but music that has long been recognized as foundational in American rock and roll. The staff of the State Historic Preservation Office, especially reviewer Roger Maserang, joined the cause and persuaded the federal staff to review the nomination. Now the house has its official place in history, and a modicum of protection against demolition. The owner of the vacant one-story house is a holding company based in Washington state with no discernible intent to rehab the house. The next step is finding a responsible owner for the important house. Meanwhile, we can celebrate the big step taken through Lindsey's work.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations.

PE

Lolololori said...

yay!

Jeff said...

Rock 'n roll!

Stax said...

Way to go. I drove past the house last Wednesday before I saw Chuck at Blueberry Hill. The house looked deserted and it's not in the best neighborhood. Many historical sites get torn down due to simple neglect.

The Cosmopolitan Club in East St. Louis is a perfect example. The club was the place where Chuck and his band first performed the songs Chuck wrote in the Whittier house. Arguably (and a good argument at that) the home of rock and roll. Unfortunately, it was leveled a few years ago because of neglect and there's no sign that notes the history. It's just gone.

So it no small thing that the house is listed on the National Register. At least it has SOME protection from demolition.

Congratulations and thanks for the post.

A fan in Madison, WI