Evans Howard Place

One of the first large industries in early Brentwood was the Evens Howard Fire Brick Co. The Brickyard. It was the early 1900’s, the time of the Great Migration of Blacks from the south to northern cities. They were looking for work and a fresh beginning, in addition to escaping the oppression of the Jim Crow southern states.

Some of those families settled in an area near the Brickyard called Howard Place. They lived in small dwellings with no electricity or indoor plumbing. It was a tough existence.

The property was owned by Frank Tegethoff, a real estate agent, and an early Brentwood resident. Tegethoff lived on Pine Avenue, near North and South Road. He had a large family. Three of his daughters were named Agnes, Frances and Rose. Three streets in Evans Howard are named for his daughters.

Later, an adjoining neighborhood, Evans Place, was combined to form Evans Howard Place. Streets in the Evans Howard neighborhood included: Withrow, Grace, Darling, Rose, Evans, Frances and Hathaway.

In the early days, the residents of Evans Avenue were Italian immigrants who worked at the Brickyard. They also owned stores and eateries on North and South Road, in addition to the famous roadhouse tavern The Rigoletto Inn.

In 1925, L’Ouverture School opened on Rose Avenue, serving the children in the Evans Howard neighborhood for grades K-8.

L’Ouverture was closed in June 1963. In the early days, students who wished to attend high school went to Douglass HS in Webster Groves. In 1954, Brentwood schools abolished segregation and Evans Howard students attended Brentwood High School.

In April 1968, the Brickyard, then called General Refractories, was destroyed in a spectacular fire. The old building was wood and the floors were saturated with residue from the industry. The blaze could be seen for miles. Cars pulled on to the shoulder of Highway 40 to watch.

In 1977, the first of several attempts to eliminate the neighborhood began with a discussion of building new ramps for Highway 40 and 170, and later, the extension of 170 through Brentwood.

Finally, in 1996, plans for the current day Brentwood Promenade were developed and approved. Some Evans Howard residents were resigned to the fact that a takeover a their neighborhood was inevitable. Some wished they could stay and put up a fight.

In 2019, the Brentwood Century Foundation hosted a get-together of former Evans Howard residents. Although their neighborhood had been gone for over 20 years, they are still a close community of friends.

They talked about the close knit community, the common bond of generations who had lived in the neighborhood, and the friendships developed through caring for each other. Everyone knew each other, looked after each other, and grew up together.

The group spoke highly of the Brentwood schools, and in particular, some Brentwood teachers who made them feel welcome and appreciated.

At times, though, it had to have been tough. Living in a predominantly white community comes with situations most of us never deal with. They had to put up with the “stuff”. The “stuff” no one should have to endure. In the last few years, many have looked in the mirror and saw how they have contributed to the “stuff”. We all need to be respectful of others and to look for ways to do what is right.

When I look at the picture above, I see two things. A proud people; a joyful people. That is admirable.

In a show of respect for those who lived in the Evans Howard community, the Brentwood Historical Society would like to erect a memorial in their honor. The monument would be located on Rose Avenue, just east of the bridge, entering Brentwood Promenade. Right in the heart of the old neighborhood.

We have started a GoFundMe page for donations to make this project a reality. This a great opportunity for the Brentwood community, past and present, to honor those who were important members of Brentwood. We need your help to make this happen. No donation is too small.

You can also send a check payable to Brentwood Historical Society, c/o Dan Fitzgerald, 2440 Annalee Ave Brentwood MO 63144.

Thank you.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/evans-howard-memorial

Brentwood History Book

The Brentwood Historical Society published this book for the centennial in 2019. Stories and pictures of Brentwood in the early days and now. You can purchase this book at the Brentwood Library, at the front desk. Cost is $20.

2211/2213 Brentwood Blvd.

2213 and 2211 Brentwood Blvd.

These two old houses were razed recently. Back in the day, there were plenty of homes on Brentwood Blvd. Not many of them remain. Both of these homes were built in 1926.

2211 Brentwood Blvd

The original owners of this home were the Charles Gualdoni family. Charles immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1885. He lived on The Hill. Later, his family owned a store on North and South Road (now Brentwood Blvd.) The store was in the current location of the White Building. At that time, there were many Italian families living on Evans Ave, around the corner from the store.

Later, the Gualdoni family would open a market on North and South, at the current day location of Frank Papa’s, just a block south of their home.

Front John Gualdoni. Rear, l to r, Lou Brusatti, Neal Gallagher, Bob Gorla, Louis Degasperi

Charles Gualdoni died in his home at 2211 Brentwood Blvd in 1949. His wife, Rose (Brusatti) Gualdoni had died there in 1944. There son Angelo lived in the home until around 1950. Gualdoni Market was sold in 1963.

2213 Brentwood Blvd

The original owners of 2213 Brentwood Blvd was the family of Angelo Ravezzani. Angelo, and his wife Louise, arrived in the United States in 1911 from Italy. Angelo was a foreman at the Evans Howard Brickyard, where many of the Italians on Evans Avenue also worked. The Ravezzani’s lived in this home until around 1940.

Dead Man’s Curve

Many towns have a place called “Dead Man’s Curve”. There is usually a good reason for the moniker. Back in the day, Brentwood had it’s own version of Dead Man’s Curve. My grandfather once told me about it. He said vehicles traveling northbound on North and South Road (Brentwood Blvd), just north of Pine Avenue, would come to sharp turn in the road. If you didn’t know it was there, the vehicle would sometimes lose control and veer off the road. Keep in mind, there was no traffic signal at Pine Avenue to slow the vehicle. Here is a map of the area (circa 1939):

Brentwood (circa 1939)

Here are some news articles highlighting the problem.

Webster News October 18, 1912
St Louis Post Dispatch Oct 25, 1912
St Louis Globe Democrat February 1, 1913
Webster News Times October 31, 1930