Following a year’s hiatus, the Central West End Association has announced that the 46th Annual House and Garden Tour will run Friday through Sunday, June 9 through 11, featuring the mansions of Fullerton’s Westminster Place. This year’s tour coincides with the 125th anniversary of the charming two-block enclave, one of the most beautiful and gracious residential places in the City of St. Louis.
Starting in the 1950s, Westminster Place, like many of the streets in the Central West End, experienced several decades of decline. In the late 60s, several of the houses on the street became “communes” occupied by young creative types who rented bedrooms and shared kitchen facilities. During that era Westminster Place was also home to several notable personalities associated with Gaslight Square, including members of the Mutrux clan who owned the renowned Three Fountains restaurant and an antiques shop located on the Square, and also operated a swim club on Westminster, and antiques dealer Richard Hirschfeld, who operated his business in several locations around the CWE.
Today, the rooming houses are history and Westminster Place is home to a proud group of couples, empty nesters, and young families who have restored the mansions to their original grandeur, including some who moved to St. Louis from either coast and can’t believe their good fortune to find grand houses such as these. From June 9 through the 11 you’ll have a chance to get inside ten of these beautiful houses and see why Fullerton’s Westminster Place is so special.
The preview party, catered by neighborhood favorite Wildflower, will take place at the Royal Vagabounds Foundation, 4315 Westminster Place, shown above. The Royal Vagabonds, Inc. is a Gentleman’s Club composed primarily of successful professional Black men who have banded together to leverage their philanthropic activities in the community and to share social activities that are of mutual interest. The membership has generously donated the use of the building to the CWEA for the preview party.
During the course of the preview party attendees will have access to all 10 homes on the tour, plus an additional home that will be open that evening only. There will be live music, great food provided by neighborhood favorite Wildflower, and a swag bag too. Suggested attire: “cocktails in the garden.”
Information about 4484 Westminster Place (above), which is on the tour, can be found in a recent article in the West End Word: “Built in 1909 by architect George Hellmuth, this modern California-style Spanish Colonial home was constructed for Paul Bakewell Jr., who married Mary Fullerton in 1908. Mary was the daughter of Gen. J.S. Fullerton, the Civil War general who built Westminster Place.”
As noted in Charles C. Savage’s Architecture of the Private Streets of St. Louis (available through Left Bank Books), “the 4300 and 4400 blocks of Westminster contain more residences of architectural interest than any other comparable blocks in the city. Nearly every important architect working at the turn of the century is represented here.”
The CWEA House Tour is a massive undertaking and could not be accomplished without the generosity of the residents of Fullerton’s Westminster Place, and the dedicated leadership of Kelly Waters, president of the Association, and Jess Batchelor, Executive Director, as well as many members of the board of directors who are working countless hours to make this happen. Hundreds of volunteers are serving as hosts and hostesses in the houses.
The Preview Party is Friday, June 9, from 6 to 10 p.m., tickets $100/each. The CWEA House Tour continues Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11, from 10 to 4 each day. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 0n-site. Visit the CWEA website to purchase tickets and get more information on parking, etc. In addition, all Straub’s locations are selling tickets to Saturday and Sunday’s tour.