4200 Cook Avenue

St. Louis City

Decorated Civil War veteran Frederick W. Fout (1840-1905), after a successful career in glass manufacture both in Indiana and Missouri, turned to pensions and claims as well as real estate development in his later years. In the 1890s he was known to have owned several large parcels of land in the City, including one in City Block 3746 at the corner of Whittier and Cook in what were then St. Louis’s western suburbs. From what it appears, Fout was interested in building a cohesive group of substantial buildings to be held as rental property. A group of St. Louis’s most talented architects at the time became occupied with plans for Fout’s proposed developments. Drawings from the June 1892 Northwestern Architect by Harvey Ellis show a large corner building with what appears to be a double row house to its right, entitled, “Premises of Frederick W. Fout, St. Louis, Mo.” Drawings by the firm, Barnett and Haynes from the same publication in September of that year, show the same sort of building campaign, with a large “anchor” building on the corner and a smaller building to its right and titled, “F.W. Fout’s Terrace, St. Louis, Mo.” Likewise in 1893, a drawing by Oscar Enders, then with William Ittner Architects, appeared in the American Architect showing a development more compact and restrained in style and proportion, with the caption, “A Block of Houses for Captain F.W. Fout, St. Louis, 1892.” Building permits for the buildings that would occupy Fout’s development at Whittier and Cook were dated December 2, 1891 and consisted of a 2 story brick dwelling to cost $5,000.00 and a second adjacent 2 story brick dwelling at a cost of $3,500.00. The building permit lists the architect as “Barnett and Hagan,” which surely represents a typographical error. Census records from 1900 show that the residents of both buildings were renters. The westward companions to the anchor building on the corner of Whittier and Cook have been lost After an unsuccessful restoration effort, owners abandoned the remaining building at 4200 and it was acquired by the City’s Land Reutilization Authority. The remaining building in Fout’s development at Whittier and Cook is classically Richardsonian Romanesque, with its red brick construction, rough faced squared stonework, arched window openings and tower with conical roof. This seems to be a very last call for a would-be developer to acquire and renovate this gem designed by the best of St. Louis’s architects at the turn of the 20th century.

Listed in 2017

Update: This building was purchased shortly after listing to be rehabilitated. Minor work had been done but no updates or changes have occurred since 2018 and the home still sits in very poor condition.

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