14 September 2006

Hampton Residence -- ENDANGERED

project: Hampton Residence
location: 1751 Laclede Station Road, Richmond Heights, Missouri
architect: Harris Armstrong
client: Dr. Henry E. Hampton
date: 1941
condition: in imminent danger of demolition

This home is included in a large parcel of land the city has slated for demolition to be cleared for commercial development. Although arguments were made by Architectural Historian Esley Hamilton and others regarding the significance of the house (architecturally as well as historically), the city has decided to proceed with condemnation.

Following is excerpted from the article by Esley Hamilton entitled "Harris Armstrong and Dr. Henry Hampton: An Historic Architect-Client Relationship," St. Louis Chapter Society of Architectural Historians NewsLetter, Summer 2006:

"Once again, an important landmark of Modern architecture faces demolition, this time at the hands of the City of Richmond Heights, which has included [it] in a TIF-financed redevelopment project. The house [which] is [located] at 1751 Laclede Station Road (at the northwest corner of Bruno) was designed for Dr. Henry E. Hampton by Harris Armstrong in 1941. Armstrong was the first architect in St. Louis to work in a consistently modern style, and he is recognized as one of the greats of St. Louis architecture. Several of his buildings are already listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Shanley Building at Maryland and Bemiston in Clayton.

Several of Armstrong's early clients were prominent physicians, including Neville Grant, Evarts Graham, and Leo Shanley himself. Dr. Hampton was a highly respected physician and surgeon, but he was also and African-American who played an outstanding role in the civic life of the St. Louis region. He was the first medical director at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital from 1937 to 1941. In 1949, he became a member of the board of freeholders which wrote the present county charter, and in 1952, he played a similar role in the creation of the Metropolitan Sewer District. As a patron of modern architecture, he was also a pioneer, commissioning two medical office buildings from Harris Armstrong in addition to this house. The first one, at 2328 Market was built in 1941 but demolished as part of the Mill Creek Urban Renewal Project. The second, at the northeast corner of Jefferson and Pine, replaced it in 1962. That building [was recently sold as of August 2006 and is slated for renovation.]

Dr. Hampton's son Henry Junior grew up in Richmond Heights to become a visionary filmmaker who documented the history of the civil rights movement in the series Eyes on the Prize, which won more than twenty major awards. Following [Dr. Hampton's] his early death in 1998, Washington University established the Henry Hampton Collection as part of its film and media archive."

To see more recent photographs of this home, click here.

Photograph courtesy of the Harris Armstrong Archives, Special Collections, Washington University in Saint Louis.

1 comment:

  1. Did you say demolition? Why would someone demolish such a great architecture structure? Structure such as this should be preserve. If indeed, it concerns high cost of maintenance. It could might as well be preserved and use it as public utitlity like make it a small museum perhaps having vintage artworks.