4233 Osceola and Its History

     I haven’t done a building history post in a while and wanted to put out one or two before the end of the year.  I decided to research 4233 Osceola, the first floor flat in a four family flat, which I lived in during the 1970s.  4233 Osceola was built in 1907, most likely to deal with the housing shortage due to the influx of residents moving to St. Louis after the 1904 World’s Fair.


The Flat on Osceola Street Which Was Built in 1907. We Lived in the Far Left Flat, Aunt Gert Was In The Far Right – Courtesy of Google Earth

     The Moeller family were some of the first residents in the flat.  16-year-old John Moeller fell to his death in the Roe Building in Downtown St. Louis during October 1908.  John inadvertently fell down an elevator shaft after the elevator had passed his floor.  These accidents were not uncommon during the early 20th Century in St. Louis and most industrial cities.

     On April 28, 1914, 37-year-old resident Charles A. Haack passed the test to become a janitor with the St. Louis Schools.  Ten years later after he moved from 4233 Osceola, Haack died from the effects of septic arthritis and emphysema.

     In July 1924, George Ohlendorff, financial secretary for the Home-State Mutual Aid Society of Brown Shoe Company, went to the bank to make sure $1,140.00 was on deposit.  However, he found only 11 cents.  St. Louis Police arrested the society’s treasurer, who claimed the shortage was due to bad bookkeeping.

     In 1926, Henry Moldenschart, the motorman on the nearby Cherokee Streetcar, lived at 4233 Osceola.  At 8:30 am on August 11, 1926, Moldenschart was operating the Cherokee Streetcar.  As he was discharging passengers on Twelfth and Chouteau Avenues, the Tower Grove Streetcar suddenly appeared and crashed into the Cherokee Streetcar.  Miraculously, no one was killed in the collision.


Dad and Me at Our Flat on Osceola

     In June 1940, Anthony T. Heger was living at 4233 Osceola, when he wed Josephine V. Janda of 3546 Iowa Street.  No less than ten children were born to families living in the flat through the years including me and my two younger sisters.

     When we lived at the flat, Mr. Schenk, who bought the flats in the 1960s, lived in the flat above us.  Mr. Schenk maintained the property to a high standard.  He was also selective about who he allowed to rent the flats.  Mr. Schenk’s presence at the property probably accounts for the good condition it is still in more than 100 years after it was built.

     After Mr. Schenk passed away in 2011, the property was purchased by an investment company.  Hopefully, they maintain the property to the level it is today.

     You can leave a comment or ask a question about this or any post on my Facebook pageTwitter profile and Google+ page.

Sources: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 12, 1908 edition, p. 2, April 28, 1914 edition, p. 10, June 19, 1924 edition, p. 3, August 11, 1926 edition, p. 2, and June 2, 1940, p. 43.

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