Benton Place

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St. Louis, MO
United States
Benton Place

The city’s first true ‘private place,’ this elongated loop laid out  by Julius Pitzman in 1868 is situated off Park Avenue, north of Lafayette Park in the Lafayette Square neighborhood. First platted in the 1860s by Montgomery Blair, the street was modeled in part after Lucas Place, established in 1851 and located approximately a mile to the northeast. It differed from Lucas Place by not respecting the traditional street grid and utilizing a gate to mark its entrance and provide privacy for its residents. The development was owned not by the city, but by the property owners themselves, who were responsible for its maintenance. Pitzman’s plan included 49 lots, each 25 feet wide, and ensured that each residence had a view of greenspace: the lots faced either Lafayette Park or a central, elliptical, richly planted island, approximately 60-feet wide The median, oriented north-south, is encircled by a cul-de-sac, dubbed ‘Benton Place.’ While Pitzman left the drive’s northern end open, a high, stone wall was eventually constructed, preventing through traffic. Deeds stipulated that the residences, many of which were built in the second empire style, must be set back 25-feet from the interior road. Service alleys were situated behind most homes, supporting additional access for residents and essential services Benton Places no longer privately owned yet retains many historic residences and landscape features, including dual stone entry posts at Park Avenue topped by light fixtures and a stone fountain built into an eastern retaining wall. Though the drive is now predominantly paved with asphalt, bricks comprise the northernmost, curved section. The linear island, is composed both of a grass lawn and shade trees, including linden, maple, oak, and sweetgum. Benton Place is contributing feature of the Lafayette Square District, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.