Press Release: Brownhurst Scheduled for Demolition.
Landmarks Office just received a press release from the Kirkwood Landmarks Commissions which states:
Historic "Brownhurst" Landmark is Scheduled for Demolition Unless a Buyer can be Found to Purchase and Move the Mansion
Kirkwood, Missouri: The historic Brownhurst mansion, currently situated on the grounds of Vianney High School, will be demolished in fewer than 60 days unless a buyer can be found. Brownhurst's owners, the Society of Mary or "Marianists" will sell the building for $1 to any serious buyer with proven financing and a conceptual plan to move the building away from the campus before October 9. Additionally, the Marianists will donate $30,000 toward the cost of moving the structure. The buyer must make an offer prior to Septbember 9.
History: The Brownhurst mansion is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, and its nomination has been submitted. Known as "Brownhurst," it was built circa 1892 for entrepreneur and avid horticulturalist Daniel Sidney Brown and is an intact example of the Shingle Style, rarely seen in Missouri. It is the final piece of a former grand estate. The building has been a Kirkwood Landmark since 1989.
Brown, son of the 1854 founder of the Pioneer Steam Keg Works (later the Pioneer Cooperage Company), was the compan's director in St. Louis and was responsible for leading this city to becoming one of the largest manufacturing concerns of its kind in the nation during the early 20th Century. Brown was also known for cultivating rare orchids, palms, ferns and other plants species on the Brownhurst estate. This collection, valued at more than $500,000 at the time, was donated to the internationally known Missouri Botanical Garden in 1918. Brown's gardens, greenhouses and conservatories ahve since been lost.
The property has been owned by the Society of Mary since 1918, and the house has sat vacant since 1989. It retains many historic elements, both interior and exterior, but needs to be rehabilitated and restored. The clock is ticking for this significant Missouri residence, which seeks a sympathetic and creative new owner to preserve its history and to continue writing its story.
For general requests for information about the Landmarks Commission, see Kirkwood's website on Historic Preservation. Or contact the Secretaries to the Building Commissioner;
City of Kirkwood
139 South Kirkwood Road
Kirkwood, Missouri 63122