Ivanhoe Ave. between Fyler and Arsenal has been a busy commercial center for the Lindenwood Park Neighborhood since its earliest beginnings in the 1920’s. This part of Lindenwood Park Neighborhood has a historic “American Main Street” feel and is also known as “Downtown Ivanhoe” or “Main Street Ivanhoe” to many residents of south Saint Louis City.
Today the Ivanhoe Business District is home to many St. Louis favorite business such as a few neighborhood bars, a farm-to-table restaurant, a pizzeria (where they still throw the doughs), an Italian/Greek Gyro deli, a famous rock-n-roll guitar shop, a local south city computer repair store, an art gallery, two churches, and many other great service businesses.
Some wonderful neighborhood history has been documented and archived at the St. Louis Library about the Ivanhoe Business District. Thanks to the efforts of Rosalie Heuing of Epiphany Parish, we have a snapshot of this vital area circa 1935.
See if you recognize these businesses:
Ivanhoe between Smiley and Scanlan
Epiphany Catholic Church
Ferlisi’s Shoe Repair
Gutman Dry Goods Store
Posie’s Gas Station
Ivanhoe between Scanlan and Bradley
Vortlein’s Grocery Store
Harrison Radio and Appliance Repair
Ivanhoe Shoe Repair
Plax Shoe Store
Ben Franklin 5 & Dime
Bob Taylor’s Tavern
Reichmuth Hardware Store
Bisswell Dry Goods
Borneman’s Barber Shop
John Rolling’s Barber Shop
(Second Floor housed offices for Dr. Cappel, M.D. and Dr. Mosley, Dentist)
HeinzPeter Drug Store
(Second Floor housed offices for Dr. Wilcox, and Dr. Paasch, Dentist)
Flentghen’s Auto Supply
Ivanhoe between Bradley and Fyler
Northwest Corner of Ivanhoe and Bradley
The older folks in the neighborhood called it The FIT. Although it’s actually on Ivanhoe and Bradley, maybe they called it the FIT because the bus line was the Fyler/Ivanhoe line. There is an apartment building there now. Across the street is an antique store, May’s Place.
The Ivanhoe was built in 1925 and closed in 1960. It was demolished in 1965. It was only an “Art” theatre for less than a year between 1959 and 1960 up until its closing. Seating capacity was 690.
Margie Lou Beauty Shop
Fischer’s Barber Shop
When I interviewed older residents of the Lindenwood Neighborhood to capture their memories, everyone spoke of the number of corner markets which existed in the neighborhood.
Most people did not have cars. It was important for them to be able to walk to the corner store for their groceries.
Another common memory was of the Ivanhoe Theater at the northwest corner of Bradley and Ivanhoe. The theater had louvered sides which could be opened in the summer to keep patrons cooler.
No air conditioning existed to make those hot St. Louis summers more bearable. You could hear the soundtrack from the movie when you were standing outside.