Michael Allen

Architectural historian Michael Allen is the Director of the Preservation Research Office, which he founded in 2009. He has conducted historic resource surveys, written National Register nominations and provided technical expertise professionally for close to a decade, and has written the blog Ecology of Absence since 2003. Allen has lectured on historic preservation and architectural history at New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis University and Fontbonne University, among other institutions. Allen is regular contributor to the NewsLetter of the Society of Architectural Historians, Missouri Valley Chapter, a regional journal of original research, and has contributed to Next American City, theSt. Louis Beacon and other publications.

Currently he is president of the board of Modern STL, the regional mid-century modern preservation organization. Allen resides in Shaw and works at an office in Gravois Park on Cherokee Street.

Recently St. Louisans heard the news: we’re getting IKEA.  Well, we’re getting an IKEA that will occupy a big concrete box with 700 parking spaces and a handful of trees around it.

(Courtesy Jarred Gastreich)

Listeners following the city’s ongoing renaissance may have heard of a project named Midtown Station, a giant commercial center proposed for Vandeventer and Forest Park. This could be a dreadful retail strip or a game-changing development. The way it gets built matters a lot.


(Courtesy Jarred Gastreich)

In 1850, Colonel John O’Fallon led a group of investors in creating the St. Louis Place subdivision just north of St. Louis’ central city. The large plat included a public park, land for housing and sites for churches and businesses. The group had just one issue: the land was outside of the city limits, which would be extended west in 1855.

Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office


2011 was an excellent year for historic preservation in the region, and here are some of the reasons why.