Edina, Missouri, is one of those very rare towns that still retains a lot of its past and yet has not been gentrified into contrived quaintness. It’s loaded with surprisingly intact commercial storefronts facing the town square. Which is itself rather interesting as Edina has not just one town square, but two! And the two are adjacent to each other. Portions of two streets bordering the squares make up the Edina Double Square Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
Platted in 1839, the town is old enough to boast a number of antebellum houses. The volume of historic buildings, both modest and ornate, gives Edina its memorable character. Its roughly 1,200 residents are friendly and justifiably proud of their heritage. The affordability of real estate makes the community an anomaly for 21st century preservationists. The potential is vast – especially for historic preservationists in neighboring Illinois wishing to escape from their ever-increasing high taxes.
The following 18 images are a mix of photos I took last year and screen grabs from Google Street View dating to 2012 and 2014. Commercial buildings will be followed by houses:
Ivy adds both beauty and intrigue to the side of this handsome Romanesque Revival building facing the courthouse square (though it’s not helping the longevity of the masonry a bit).
An imposing Italianate commercial block with cast iron storefronts and window crowns also faces the square. These structures offer amazing potential for entrepreneurs to combine home and business in an affordable small town environment. Image courtesy Google Street View.
This block, built in 1891, makes dramatic use of sheet metal ornamentation.
An 1870’s Italianate of brick, limestone and cast iron.
Brick patterning in this building’s cornice creates an optical illusion when viewed from below.
Ornament is everywhere.
The cast iron storefront is all that remains of a former corner commercial building; it now serves to anchor a small parking lot. Image courtesy Google Street View.
Sheet metal window crowns and cornice.
This large Italianate building waits for someone to remove the indignity it has suffered. The siding installers apparently could not conceal the cast iron window crowns so they are left to project rather bizarrely from the siding. Rust stains have had the interesting effect of re-defining the covered windows. The original cornice is intact beneath the siding. Image courtesy Google Street View.
Exuberant metal facades help to frame the town square. Image courtesy Google Street View.
A beautiful Italianate building is wrapped on two sides by an intriguing Mid-Century Modern addition. Something for everyone! Image courtesy Google Street View.
And now for some houses!
This handsome late Federal style house has stucco parging over brick. Note the outline of two former fanlights in the gable.
This Gothic Revival house was updated early on with a Queen Anne porch.
Another handsome facade of the late Federal period. Image courtesy Google Street View.
This cozy Queen Anne Free Classic features a Palladian window and diamond-paned top sashes.
A Greek Revival opposite the North square.
Early frame houses in the local vernacular.
This house at first appears rather non-descript. However, the center gable is rather steep, suggesting a Gothic Revival origin. Note the second floor windows have been visually shortened with the application of siding… I’m going to guess that this was done to conceal Gothic-arched upper sash which appears to remain intact. Hopefully the second floor windows will be fully revealed one day. The house may have once sported a porch (and bargeboard under the eaves as well).