Heritage Commission Grants Certificates

By MARK EVANS

mevans@stegenherald.com

All four requests for certificates of appropriateness were granted by the Ste Genevieve Heritage Commission on Sept. 21, but not without some discussion and debate.

DOOR, TRANSOM LIGHT CHANGES APPROVED

First, Carl Kinsky and Susie Johnson requested a certificate of appropriateness to replace screen doors and the frame on the front doors at 64 N. Second Street, in addition to removing a transom light.

Known as the Augustus Bequette House, the brick two-story Greek Revival house was built about 1850. It is considered a contributing structure to the National Register Historic District.

Kinsky was asked if there is a light above only one door.

“Yes, and I’m not sure why,” he said. “The light doesn’t work and it’s never worked since we’ve owned the house. “It’s a big box. It just sits on the transom.”

Commission member Frank Myers wanted to clarify that they were not talking about removing the transom itself. Kinsky assured him the transom would remain.

“We won’t be bricking over the transom,” he said. “We still want the light to come in. We actually think there will be more light once this box that’s about the size of two shoe boxes gets removed. I’m not sure what it was ever up there for, frankly.”

He said the screen doors have dry rotted badly. The wood “is just not usable for anything at this point.”

Commission members agreed the proposed changes, including painting the green door  frames white to match the window frames, would be attractive.

Johnson explained that at one time the house had green shutters, which probably explained the green door frames.

“Since there are no more shudders, we didn’t really like the green,” Johnson said.

The commission voted unanimously to allow the changes.

FRENCH OK’D TO CONTINUE MURAL

Mural artist Joy French then returned to the commission. On August 25 the commission had granted a certificate for her to restore a “ghosted” circa 1900 Selz Shoes billboard painted on the south wall of the Anvil Saloon on Third Street.

French has completed the project, but has been asked by the Anvil owners to paint the rest of that side of the building.

French explained that the new 23 by 24-foot area that was painted at one time, but the paint was flaked away and looked “pretty shabby.”

She has scraped and primed that section of the wall. The owners would like an Anvil ad, with a painted anvil, in keeping with the turn of the century painted billboards on many buildings.

This generated some discussion.

Myers said he would prefer the city decide “how far” it wants to go in the painting of murals and other artwork in the historic district.

“Some of it is very good on the old community,” he said, “but I think you can overdo it.”

Commission member Donna Rausch noted that the Landmarks ordinances it follows do not address the issue. Others agreed.

Community development administrator David Bova said there are guidelines on signs and that  this could be considered a sign. Patterson countered that it was art.

French noted that a similar advertisement for the Anvil had been painted on the other side wall at one time.

Myers then brought up the DuBourg Centre, where a city Bicentennial mural had been painted on the east wall when it was still Rozier’s store in 1985. The remaining section of the mural, not removed in the early 2010s restoration of the building, is flaking and fading away.

“No indication it will ever be maintained or updated … I’m not saying I’m against it. I’m saying I think there’ a limit and when you put too many of these giant things on one building,I think you’re approaching if not passing what should be acceptable.”

Bova said he could look into other city’s mural ordinances.

‘But again, these people own the building and I don’t know why they can’t have their name painted on the side of their building” French said.

It finally passed 3-1, with Myers voting against it.

COMPROMISE REACHED ON FENCING MATERIAL

Vicki Colton and Mary Thurman sought to install a white vinyl dog-ear fence on the north and south sides of  their building at  108 N. Fourth Street, and to install a powder-black handrail.

Colton said their insurance agent said the handrails on the porch needed to be replaced. “The holes are existing in the cement,” Colton said. “They were just taken out for some reason.”

Myers, long an opponent of vinyl usage, said he was “cautious” about allowing vinyl fences into the historic district.

Colton said the decision to go with vinyl was due to a serious lack of available wood, due to the COVID-19 shutdown, which led to a boom in home improvement jobs.

“I called the contractor prior to us closing on our house and he said he had not been able to get wood for a very long time,” Colton said.

She explained that they have dogs, which cannot be all

“Now we have to walk our dogs all the time instead of them using the doggie door and going out to go out and go to the bathroom,” Colton said.

The price was the same, but vinyl would be available much sooner. It might be a three or four-month wait for wood.