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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Menard Triplets

The "Menard triplets" are three 19th century flounder houses in Soulard located on the west side of Menard Street just south of Russell. Many flounder roofs simply form a half-gable, running down from one side of the building to the other. These houses have a hip to their roofs that allows for a front-facing dormer. Still, the roof form is within the flounder house range. St. Louis seems to have the largest concentration of flounder houses, which are found in few American cities (Alexandria, Virginia and Philadelphia have them).

The center house (left here) was extended to the south to meet the northern house, creating a "mousehole" entrance to the gangway.

A plaque on the wall of the center house tells some of the story of the houses, including a wide range of salvage pieces that went into rehabilitation of the center house. Plaques like these are a great part of the urban fabric in that they allow buildings to tell some of their own story. Forget the Internet or a guidebook -- the best way to explore is on foot, and the best way to learn about historic architecture is to study the buildings themselves. A few more clues always help.

5 comments:

andy said...

I like this little "nugget" type of post. Thanks!

Michael R. Allen said...

Glad that you liked it.

Anonymous said...

I love flounders - always got quizzical looks when referring to them. started using the term for 2 symmetrically side by side as 'bookmatched' but even so it requires explanation

Anonymous said...

what what the purpose of the "low end of the roof" window bay? i have one of these houses in benton park. i think the whole "low-end" side of my house was an outside porch, even though the porch would have had 3 brick sides... summer kitchen?

Michael R. Allen said...

Often flounders have a porch on the low end side concealed by the front and/or rear brick walls. These porches surely were used as kitchens in summer months. Many were later enclosed to become kitchens or extra rooms.