ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The mansion of Mark Twain’s uncle in north St. Louis has burned down to just a few brick walls left standing.
Related Story: Firefighters Battle Three Fires in North St. Louis
Preservationist Michael Allen says James Clemens is famous for at least one thing – giving Mark Twain’s father the money to redeem a lot in Hannibal, Missouri from auction due to foreclosure.
“Because of that redemption, Clemons build the Mark Twain Boyhood homes and it all ties to this site here in St. Louis,” Allen says.
The fire was one of three to hit buildings over night in the area. Allen says the owner, developer Paul McKee, should’ve done more o protect it.
“You don’t save buildings with words or with clauses and with redevelopment agreements, you save them with physical repairs,” Allen says. “I think the city should have required some work on the building before they signed the redevelopment agreement.”
McKee tells KMOX he did do a lot of work to shore up the building, but couldn’t get financing to renovate it.
“You can just protect these buildings so much,” McKee says. “You put the boards up and they tear them off and climb back in the building.”
He says the building was insured.
Two other big building fires the same night were not McKee properties. The cause is under investigation.