2815 Russell

Single Family Gut Rehab

Fox Park Neighborhood

Renovation began: April 2005
Completed: December 2005

HISTORY: The George Denison House
This house was built circa 1879 for George Denison, a prominent St. Louis attorney. Mr. Denison came from Vermont where he was born in 1831. He graduated from law school in 1857, and arrived in St. Louis the very next year. In 1864, he married Emma Webster who was a relative of famous New Hampshire statesman and orator Daniel Webster.

George had his own storied background: his father, Daniel Denison, was a lawyer who served in the New Hampshire state legislature; his mother, Pamelia Head, was the sister of New Hampshire Governor Nathaniel Head; and his paternal grandfather, Colonel George Denison, gained a reputation as an Indian fighter in King Philip's War.

The 1880 census shows George, his wife Emma, their four sons, one daughter, and two servants as living in the house until 1885. At that time the home was sold to James Hanley, a vice-president of the Eugene Papin Buggy Manufacturing Company. In 1924, following the history of the times, the home was converted into a three-apartment tenement.George Denison was twice appointed judge of the St. Louis police court from 1877-1885, was deacon of the Compton Hill Congregational Church, and served as treasurer of the St. Louis Law Library for 30 years.

Fast-forward to 1965: as urban decline began to take hold in the city, the home was converted into an eight-room boarding house. In 2002, the DeSales Community Housing Corporation purchased the property for redevelopment and then Millennium contracted to take on the project in early 2005.

The renovation of 2815 Russell included the removal of three non-historic exterior stairwells, many interior partition walls, and several double-dropped ceilings. In re-creating the grandeur that once was this home, Millennium replicated the grand staircase, the fireplace mantles, the wood entry door and the windows, including the arched-topped second floor sitting room casement.

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