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History of Seven Gables Building (1926)

Location: 26 N. Meramec Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105
Source: Internet search
Seven Gables Inn, Clayton MO When it was constructed in 1926, at an approximate cost of $60,000, it was a remarkably sophisticated structure for its time and place. Seven Gables is a three-story stucco and brick Tudor Revival building trimmed in Brown, and originally contained 27 apartments, 4 offices and 4 storefronts. In the '20s, efficiency apartment living was a relatively new but fast-growing approach to housing for middle-class Americans. An advertisement in the St. Louis Daily Globe Democrat in 1927 offered a "three-room efficiency; Seven Gables Bldg.; $57-50."** This amount probably included gas and electric service. Steep roofs, a massive chimney, tall, narrow windows and decorative half-timbering are just some of the Tudor influences found at Seven Gables Inn. It is a combination commercial-residential building that has had no major additions and is essentially intact. It is one of the few remaining buildings that reflect the development of Clayton in the 1920s.

The building was developed by Captain Gunther Meier and Norman Comfort, partners in the firm of Hawke and Comfort, with the help of architect Daniel H. Mullen. After completion Meier and Comfort moved their offices to the building as well as Daniel H. Mullen. At the heart of the city, the Seven Gables was convenient to county government and other businesses. Attorney Edward W. Garnholz had his law offices on the west side of North Meramec and he lived in the Seven Gables. It was a short walk from the courthouse. Sid Autenrieth, grandson of one of Clayton's first political and civic leaders, George Autenrieth, and a prominent citizen himself, lived there within sight of the business that his family had owned from 1878 to 1924, the Autenrieth Hotel. Some apartment residents also rented office or shop space on the premises. Dr. Harvey Meador lived in apartment #307 and treated his patients at #22; later, Vera Hicks would cater to well-dressed St. Louis women in her shop, Hicks and Hicks, at #22 while residing at #310. Dan J. Mullen, the architect's son, recalls a 1926 view from the building: "There were mostly woods to the west, as far as one could see, all the way to Brentwood Boulevard." Landmarks of an earlier era and a few contemporary buildings were located nearby. The Autenrieth Hotel was down the block, and Gutman's Department Store and Clayton's first garage and filling station, owned by Arthur Kerth, were across the street.

The Seven gables building was renovated in 1986 by the Balke group and is now the location of the Seven Gables Inn.

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