Throwback Thursday: The Parkmoor

The Parkmoor was founded by William L. McGinley in 1931. In the early 1920s, McGinley invented an aluminum tray that attach to car doors. The viability of McKinley’s TraCo tray was dependent on the viability of the fledgling curb service business. So McKinley and his wife Ellen, with a few belongings and a trunk full of dreams, set out from their Texas home and traveled the country by car, determined to sell his trays and the idea of drive-in restaurants.

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A Clayton Throwback Thursday | Seven Gables Inn | CLAYTON STYLE

The Seven Gables Inn was constructed in 1926 by developers Captain Gunther Meier and Norman Comfort, partners in the firm of Hawke and Comfort, with the help of architect Daniel H. Mullen. At an approximate cost of $60,000 ($809,269.27 today), it was a remarkably sophisticated structure for its time and place.

Seven Gables is a three-story stucco and brick Tudor Revival building trimmed in Brown, and originally contained 27 apartments, 4 offices and 4 storefronts. In the ’20s, efficiency apartment living was a relatively new but fast-growing approach to housing for middle-class Americans. An advertisement in the St. Louis Daily Globe Democrat in 1927 offered a “three-room efficiency; Seven Gables Bldg.; $57-60″($777-$818 today). This amount probably included gas and electric service.

At the heart of the city, the Seven Gables was convenient to county government and other businesses. Attorney Edward W. Garnholz had his law offices on the west side of North Meramec and he lived in the Seven Gables. Sid Autenrieth, grandson of one of Clayton’s first political and civic leaders, George Autenrieth, and a prominent citizen himself, lived there within sight of the business that his family had owned from 1878 to 1924, the Autenrieth Hotel.

Some apartment residents also rented office or shop space on the premises. Dr. Harvey Meador lived in apartment #307 and treated his patients at #22; later, Vera Hicks would cater to well-dressed St. Louis women in her shop, Hicks and Hicks, at #22 while residing at #310.  Landmarks of an earlier era and a few contemporary buildings were located nearby. The Autenrieth Hotel was down the block, and Gutman’s Department Store and Clayton’s first garage and filling station, owned by Arthur Kerth, were across the street.

The Seven gables building was renovated in 1986 by the Balke group and is now the location of the Seven Gables Inn.

Information from