Best Obscure Historic District - 2001
Crittenden Historic District
Bounded by Louisiana Avenue at one end and South Grand Boulevard at the other, the Crittenden Historic District, which comprises three city blocks (two residential and one on the campus of St. Elizabeth Academy, the only private Catholic girls' high school in the city), is the tiniest historic district in the state of Missouri. If you ignore the hideous '50s extension, St. Elizabeth Academy, the oldest part of which was built in 1894, is a stellar example of High Victorian architecture, with its gothic front door, its rare and beautiful lamella-roofed gymnasium (miss the Arena, anyone?) and its imposing central entrance tower. The 3500 block of Crittenden Street contains large single-family homes, all built between 1901 and 1919, with Tudor and Arts and Crafts architectural detailing; the more modest 3400 block comprises two-family flats and one multiunit building of similar vintage. The more imposing houses in the district wouldn't look out of place in Compton Heights or Flora Place; the more modest buildings, with their lovely brickwork and stone façades, display a quality and craftsmanship seldom seen in newer, planned-for-obsolescence middle-class housing. There are fancier historic districts in the city, to be sure, but few are as pristine, consistent or charming.