The Golden Era for Tudors in St. Louis

Talk about an architectural legacy:

From about 1915 through the 1940s, the architecture firm of Maritz & Young defined the residential aesthetic for those who’d made their mark in St. Louis.

The firm designed more than 150 homes in the Tudor Revival, Spanish Mediterranean and Norman styles, many tucked away inside the private enclave of Carrswold, in the leafy inner suburb of Clayton.

Now a new book, published by the Missouri History Museum and distributed by the University of Chicago Press, documents them in photos and original drawings.

It was written in the middle of the Great Recession by Kevin Amsler, who’d worked at Raymond E. Maritz & Sons Architects (successor to the original firm) for six years, and John Schott, who was there for 30. The firm closed its doors in 2005.

“I suggested to John we could create our own jobs by creating this book,” says Amsler. “We talked to Ray Maritz Jr., who gave us permission and wrote the foreword, at 90 years of age.”

“The practice of architecture keeps you young,” writes Maritz in the foreword. “Each new job starts with a client, a site and a blank piece of paper.”

The book is jam-packed with photos and biographies of the original owners, a kind of “Who’s Who” of St. Louis’ most prominent citizens. They were clients looking toward the continent and England with a romantic vision of life grounded in European architectural antecedents.

It’s also loaded with sketches, sections, drawings, elevations, floor plans and construction documents, all donated to the archives at Washington University at St. Louis.

“You can unroll them and get a complete set of basic drawings,” says Schott. “The few drawings done in the teens were ink on linen, and in the early 1920s, pencil on vellum. A lot of them are very fragile.”

Perhaps the best metric for the firm’s work today is the price their homes fetch on the market. Just last week, one of their Carrswold residences sold for more than $3 million.

“Their names mean a lot when the homes are put up for sale,” Schott says. “There’s a little cache there.”

And for good reason.

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