Some Kirkwood residents are organizing around the issue of historic preservation. Lately, more and more of Kirkwood's historic building stock is being demolished in favor of building expensive new replacement or "infill" homes.
The situation is similar to what the St. Louis region has witnessed transpire recently in Clayton, another historic St. Louis suburb. Just a few years ago, old town Clayton was a highly intact, historic residential area. Visit the old town section today, and you see more and more of the original homes being replaced with large, very high-end, new infill construction.
In response to this same tear-down-and-build-new trend, some in Kirkwood are working to establish local historic preservation codes. These new codes could place strict limitations on the demolition of historic buildings.
The issue is controversial. Not everyone believes such government restrictions are reasonable. On a personal level, we love visiting the historic sections of Kirkwood. However, is it reasonable for government to prevent a private property owner from selling a historic home so that a developer might tear it down to build a larger, more expensive home on the same site?
There are no signs pointing to an end to the controversy. To the contrary, this past weekend, outside Kirkwood's wonderful Greentree Festival, "Save Historic Kirkwood" signs could be seen in the front yards of historic homes all around Kirkwood Park.
One of the most appealing features of the St. Louis region is our historic neighborhoods, with parts of Kirkwood certainly among our best examples.