Early forecasts suggest we’re not in for a White Christmas in 2020. Nonetheless, these snow-covered photos from Dutchtown past got us in the holiday spirit! These old photos are of two prominent estates once located in Downtown Dutchtown near Meramec Street and Virginia Avenue.
At the top is the Barnard Mansion, formerly near the corner of Meramec Street and Virginia Avenue. Below is the John Withnell Dunn House which once stood on the 3400 block of Meramec.
The historic photos were colorized by Mark Loehrer. Mark is a local historian who runs the Arch City History Instagram account that features thousands of colorized images from neighborhoods across St. Louis. There is an Arch City History online shop where you can purchase prints of many of the photos at modest prices.
Mark’s collection includes dozens of Dutchtown photos worthy of their own post someday. For now though, while admiring the winter wonderland surrounding these stately homes, we’ll take a closer look at the influential figures who lived in these houses and were a couple of Dutchtown’s earliest citizens.
John Withnell Dunn
The John Withnell Dunn House was built in 1873 at 3418 Meramec Street. Dunn was the nephew of John Dunn, a contractor and stone mason who built both the Old Cathedral and the Missouri State Capitol. The uncle also donated a small building in Dutchtown that was used as St. Anthony of Padua’s first gathering space.
John Withnell Dunn was a three term member of the Missouri House of Delegates who made a small fortune in real estate. He was an active parishioner at St. Thomas of Aquin Catholic Church. The parish is no longer in operation, but the church and school still stand just north of Laclede Park at Iowa and Osage.
Dunn was also a prolific amateur photographer and a member of the St. Louis Camera Club during the rise of photography in the late 1800s. His son, J. W. Dunn, Jr., seemed to revel in sharing his father’s photography collection after the elder had passed away.
Dunn passed in 1931 at the age of 86. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery after a funeral at St. Thomas of Aquin. The home was demolished in the 1940s to make way for a supermarket. The replacement building is now home to Resalat Community Center.
William D. W. Barnard
Dr. William D. W. Barnard was a wholesale druggist who built his estate in Dutchtown prior to the Civil War. The mansion at 3316 Meramec Street sat on a vast plot of land. Later the home was moved around the corner to 4227 Virginia Avenue. The home was demolished in 1962 to make way for the current low-rise apartment building.
Barnard was related to the Dent family and a cousin to Julia Dent, wife of General Ulysses S. Grant. The Barnards once hosted the Grants at their South Side home. When Grant was just a lieutenant in the Army, Barnard offered him financial assistance in a time of need. Later, President Grant would return the favor when Barnard faced business troubles.
Barnard passed at the City Hospital in 1902 at the age of 74.