ST. LOUIS, MO/May 17, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) After deciding that he wanted a larger bar with a restaurant, original 1860’s owner Richard Marion realized he would need more parking. He looked across the street and saw two vacant lots with an old relic of a house between them. It was brick and painted bright orange. It was referred to in the neighborhood as the Pumpkin House. Richard bought all three properties with the idea of razing the Pumpkin House and making one nice parking lot.
With due diligence in mind, Richard went down to City Hall to get a permit to tear down the Pumpkin House. But, unbeknownst to him, the Pumpkin House was considered a historic property and could not be razed.
The city’s Heritage Committee informed Richard that his only option was to restore the property. Begrudgingly, he agreed to do so and hired local Soulard carpenters to begin gutting the building so it could be restored. This work seemed to take a long time with not much getting done, until one hot summer day the weather forecasters were predicting a sever storm coming through St. Louis during the night. Apparently Richard wanted to secure the building because he had a large crew working in it that day and they seemed to be doing a lot of sawing, hammering and removing of a lot of large timbers.
Well, as luck would have it, the heavy rain and windstorm did come through St. Louis that night, and, like the big bad wolf, it blew the Pumpkin House down. Richard called the city’s Building Commission to report the catastrophe and they had no choice but to declare the building a public hazard and that it needed to be torn down.
Out of the bad luck Richard saw the bright side and built his parking lot. Some seem to recall him saying, “Mother Nature was good to me that day.” And rumor has it that he toasted Her with a shot of Jager and called it the Soulard carpenters’ miracle.
This is installment 2 of 3. Installment 1 was The 1860 Saloon Building History. Stay tuned for Installment 3, 1860’s Ghosts, Legends and Myths
Location: 822 – 826 Geyer Ave., Soulard
Contributing Editor: Tom Gullickson
1858 – 1860 South Ninth Street in the Soulard neighborhood
St. Louis, MO/April 15, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) The original building was built in the late 1800’s as a two-family town house with two separate entrances (1858 – 1860 S. 9th St.). In the early 1900’s the south side residence was converted to commercial space with the north side preserved as the living quarters for the commercial space proprietors.
Over the years the commercial side of the building has been a bakery, butcher shop, confectionery, and, in the 1960’s, a storefront church. The two spaces were eventually made into one space and became a tavern. The attached picture was during this time period.
In early 1980’s Richard Marion bought the building for $15,000; changed the front entrance to one door and the name to Marion’s 1860’s Tavern. The inside remodel included the addition of a stairway to the second floor (the opening in the ceiling when you walk in the 1860’s Saloon front door is where the stairway was located), the historic back bar and the vintage Budweiser neon sign. The tavern did not have food at this time.
In 1989, what is currently the Game Room was added with a full kitchen. The exposed beams are from old railroad tresses, which were dismantled in the 1970’s and 80’s when the railroads were in decline. When this room was finished the tavern’s name was changed to 1860’s Hardshell Café & Bar.
In 1992 construction began on what was to be a garden area on the east end of the building. Original plans called for an open-air building without a roof. By the time the project was finished there was a plastic roof along with weather-proof doors and windows. A unique feature is that the concrete floor was installed with heat pipes underneath so the snow and ice would melt off when bad weather prevailed. The system is still used today on cold winter nights to heat the floor. The plastic roof let in a lot of light, but never seemed to keep the rain out. The roof was replaced in 2013 with beautiful reclaimed wood from an old warehouse in north county. This space is now called 1860’s Hardshell Café, but the locals still call it “60’s Patio”.
Stay tuned for:
1860’s Parking Lot Miracle
1860’s Ghosts, Legends and Myths
Author: Tom Gullickson