Private Places

Vandeventer Place Gate

Well, I did a weeks worth of “cooking” on Sunday and except for breakfast, I didn’t use the stove. Breakfast was eggs and bacon, but I already told you about them. After breakfast and after our walk, I got to work in the kitchen. Using the Cuisinart, I first made pesto, which I promptly froze. It became one of the blocks of ice that we’ll be hauling up to the cabin next month. Next up was gazpacho, which I also mainly froze, but we will be having some of that this week. Finally, I made tabbouleh, which will be our base course this week, including both grain and veggies, but wait there is more. Bill and Mary invited us over to their house for an outdoor happy hour, the one that we were going to enjoy yesterday. Anne was feeling well today, so I packaged two sets of chips, dip (French onion and pup cheese) and veggies (celery and carrots). This way we could share our dish with our hosts in a socially responsible manner.

Bill and Mary live closer to Forest Park than we do, almost kitty-corner to its most northwest point. Last night, while we were having wine and snacks on their back porch, a little more than a mile east of us a drama was unfolding. I learned of it this morning, when I checked Twitter and saw that St. Louis was trending. Never a good thing. A Black Lives Matter protest had begun a march to the city mayor’s house, to protest the doxing that she had done earlier of other protesters. They were marching to her home to demand her resignation. There were several hundred protesters, They were loud and apparently they broke down a gate (or maybe not) and entered a private street called Portland Place. 

Starting in the late 19th-century these private places became popular in Saint Louis among the well to do. More akin to a neighborhood association than a gated community, they were formed to address the problems that arose from a lack of any zoning regulations in the city at the time. The photo with this post is of one of the gates for a private place that didn’t make it, called Vandeventer Place. The gate is purely decorative and was not meant as an impediment to access. This gate somehow made it to Forest Park, where it is still on display.

Anyway, two white homeowners hearing the commotion of the passing protest, took matters into their own hands, when they appeared in their front yard and confronted the protesters with their guns. A brief standoff between the 1st and 2nd amendment ensued, until cooler heads prevailed and the protesters moved along. Photos and video of the two homeowners went viral and the Twitterati were not kind, pointing out that neither person knew how to handle their gun and asking why had both of them shown up to a gunfight while barefoot?

According to reports, the homeowners are both personal injury lawyers. Their truly elegant home was featured in St. Louis Magazine. Built in the 19th-century, as an Italian palazzo, by a scion of the Busch dynasty, it is purported to be the most beautiful home in Saint Louis. It wasn’t so nice, when this couple first acquired the place, but 30 years of work has transformed it back to its former aristocratic splendor. All of that accomplishment has now been tarnished, by one evening’s rash decision to brandish firearms. Maybe if they had taken the time to put on their shoes first, none of this would have happened?

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