The subdivision of Parkview, laid out in 1905 by Julius Pitzman, city surveyor and designer of private subdivisions in St. Louis beginning in 1867, has been recognized for its historic significance at the national level.
- Parkview Historic District, National Register of Historic Places, March 14, 1986 and by the two municipalities and county in which it is located
- Skinker-DeBaliviere-Catlin Tract-Parkview Historic District in the City of St. Louis, September 22, 1978
- Parkview Historic District in University City, July 27, 1992
- Parkview Historic District, deemed a St. Louis County Landmark, February 2, 1999
The National Register nomination states that Parkview is significant in the areas of community planning, architecture and landscape architecture:
"Parkview reflects a national trend at the turn of the century: the migration of the upwardly mobile, upper-middle-class population from the congested inner city to a place that provided solitude and peace, yet was close to the amenities of an urban area. It is an intact example of a planned, private residential place that has survived since its planning in 1905 and has retained its integrity of architecture and landscape through the adherence to (original) materials, scale, and siting. Its significance in the areas of COMMUNITY PLANNING, and LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE derives from its place in the work of Julius Pitzman, who designed over 47 private streets in the St. Louis area in the fifty years following 1867 and whose work was an important influence on other city planners and developers. Parkview was his largest private place in the City of St. Louis; the city portion of the district is about a third of the total 70 acres. Parkview encompasses 7 named streets and 254 (now 255) houses. Eighty-five percent of the houses were built between 1906 and 1914, and houses of sympathetic design continued to be added through 1934. The district has significance in ARCHITECTURE as the buildings reflect the traditional styles that were prevalent throughout the United States at the turn of the century, giving way to the emerging “modern” house as it relates to an urban setting."
The nomination points out that Parkview was named for its proximity to Forest Park, also designed by Julius Pitzman, and suggests a relationship between Pitzman’s curvilinear design for Parkview and the curving roadways in the park. Curving streets in residential subdivisions were unusual for the period, and in Parkview they were “soothing and peaceful” to the eye. “They added privacy as the streets curve gently out of sight, and they diminished the monotony of the continuous building setback.” The design also included three small parks in the unused areas.
The trust indenture is noted as a force in insuring Parkview’s permanence. Written by Henry Caulfield, then a U. S. Representative, soon to become a Parkview resident and trustee, and later Missouri’s governor, it called for the continuation of the trust and its regulations until the death of the last of the original trustees, and after that passed the trustees’ powers to the lot owners. The results, over time, have been a continuity of maintenance, use and building in the subdivision.
Notable architects of Parkview houses included Roth & Study, who were known for their carefully detailed period houses; Preston Bradshaw, who designed the Chase, Coronado and Forest Park hotels in the Central West End; Barnett Haynes & Barnett, architects for the St. Louis Cathedral; Tom P. Barnett, who designed both the Egyptian style Masonic building and the Christian Science Church which flank University City’s Lion Gates; Edward Nolte, whose house at 435 Westgate reflected the latest thinking in German residential design; Louis B. Pendleton, whose house at 6351 Waterman is a fine example of Arts & Crafts architecture; Ernest Klipstein, whose work included the Bauernhof at Grant’s Farm and Bevo Mill for Anheuser Busch; Stephens & Pearson, who designed some of the earliest Parkview houses in the Colonial Revival style; Ernst Janssen, experienced designer of houses in Compton Heights including the Stockstrom House at 3400 Russell; and Otto Wilhelmi, also experienced in Compton Heights, designer of two large houses, one in the elaborate style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo at 6251 McPherson.
Notable residents have been – in addition to Governor Caulfield – St. Louis mayor Bernard Dickmann; University City mayors Heman, Flynn and Cunningham; city planner Harland Bartholomew; artists Bessie Lowenhaupt, Aimee Schweig, Jane Pettus, Edmund Wuerpel and Gustav Goetch; writers Stanley Elkin and William Gass; aviation great Col. James (Jimmy) Doolittle; baseball players George Sisler and Bob Gibson; film maker Charles Guggenheim; and author of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Shepherd Mead. There have also been professionals, business people, university professors (especially from nearby Washington University) and musicians. Both artists and big city activists have been attracted to Parkview’s rare combination of quiet and stimulation, of retreat and participation: the park-like quiet beneath tall trees along curving roads and the urban bustle of the surrounding streets and community.
The physical integrity of Parkview has been guarded by deed restrictions on every piece of property in the subdivision. In addition, because of its designation as an historic district in St. Louis and University City, it is protected by the standards and regulations in the municipal historic district ordinances. Furthermore, Parkview’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places protects it with the requirement for comment from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on the effect of federally assisted projects on the district; no federal funds may be spent on activities without consideration of Advisory Council comment.
Finally, through the provision in the trust indenture authorizing assessments of lot owners, funds are collected and used for ongoing maintenance and operation. The Parkview lot owners’ association directs and pays for the maintenance of streets, sidewalks, alleys, parks, street trees, lighting and a private security force. It also sponsors periodic social events and works on area projects in cooperation with nearby neighborhoods and institutions. As an organization it has been able to support positive activities in the area and turn away threats to the balance that has made the subdivision so attractive. The future of this historic district as a park like neighborhood in an urban setting continues to depend on the combination of legal protections and the dedicated attention and work of its residents.
In being recognized as a University City Historic District in 1992, it is noted that Parkview is the second oldest of the large planned private subdivisions in University City, preceded only by University Heights whose plat was filed the previous year. Its designer in 1905 was Julius Pitzman (1837-1923), who laid out most of St. Louis’ private places, including Benton Park in 1867. Parkview was his largest, with six streets and 271 lots. A distinctive feature of the design is the curving of the streets toward each other in a modified horseshoe pattern, presenting gradually changing views and leaving triangular parks at the corners. When planned, the subdivision overlapped the western limits of St. Louis, the western two-thirds lying in un-incorporated St. Louis County. The next year, University City was incorporated and Parkview became divided between two cities. The orientation remains toward St. Louis with the gated entrances to five of the streets on Skinker Boulevard and secondary gates on the north, west and south sides. Nearly all of the 255 houses were built between 1906 and 1914, of brick, stone, or stucco, with slate or tile roofs. Most are two and a half stories high and large in scale. The most common styles are Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival and Craftsman.