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Kleinert Terrace


The Kleinert Terrace Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Selected text, below, is from the nomination document. [1]

The Kleinert Terrace Historic District is situated in the south central portion of Baton Rouge on flat terrain about two miles from the Mississippi River and perhaps two-and-one-half miles from the city's central business district. It lies below (south of) and adjacent to the Roseland Terrace and Drehr Place subdivisions. As platted in 1927, the boundaries of the Kleinert Terrace subdivision are Myrtle Avenue on the north, Broussard Street on the south, and an alley (formerly known as Antonio but now called Arlington Street) on the east. The area's curving western boundary follows Perkins Road to its intersection with Myrtle. The resulting subdivision contains sixteen blocks of varying sizes. Taken together, these blocks form a wide but shallow rectangle with a point extending from its northwest corner. Because half of block twelve and all of the smaller blocks fourteen and fifteen did not develop until after the fifty year cutoff, these areas are being excluded from this submission, per National Register guidelines. Buildings located in these areas consist of one story, slab-on-grade, ranch style houses dating from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Despite the curving shape of its western boundary, Kleinert Terrace's streets are laid out in a typical, perpendicular grid pattern whose major streets run from west to east. However, the method of subdividing the blocks into lots is somewhat unusual. Although most of each block is filled by long and narrow lots designed to host houses facing north or south, each block's eastern and western ends feature irregular shaped parcels for house sites facing east and west along the subdivision's north-to-south running cross streets. The irregular shaped parcels resulted in small squares at each corner. The intended use of these small areas is unknown. They do not appear on the landscape today.

Purchasers of Kleinert Terrace home sites sometimes obtained more than one lot on which to place their residences. For this reason, the neighborhood contains houses and plots of various sizes, including one, eight-lot "estate." The west-to-east running Kleinert and Terrace avenues (both containing landscaped medians or neutral grounds) serve as the neighborhood's grandest boulevards, and it is here that the majority of the district's landmark houses are found. The neighborhood features mature plantings of trees and other vegetation, including large live oaks which, in some places, form canopies over the streets. Also of interest is the subdivision's system of alleyways running through the interior of each block. These continue the pattern of development found in the adjacent Roseland Terrace and Drehr Place subdivisions, established in 1911 and 1921, respectively.

Kleinert Terrace is architecturally significant because the neighborhood is, in effect, a window into the past, allowing people to view and understand the appearance of a period neighborhood. Stylistically, the subdivision illustrates very well the eclecticism of the early twentieth century. The Colonial Revival style appears in the greatest number and exhibits a wide variety of examples. Another popular style found within the district is the English Cottage mode, which is represented by examples of both the "Stockbroker Tudor" and smaller cottage types. Sprinkled into this already rich mixture are a few examples in more "exotic" designs such as the Renaissance Revival, Modernistic and Neo-Creole styles. In addition, there are four bungalows and a number of eclectic houses which feature a mixture of styles.

The Colonial Revival category accounts for over one-fourth of the district's contributing elements (46 houses). Examples range from grand two story houses reflective of the Georgian and Federal styles, to Cape Cod cottages, to houses with handsome porticoes (six of which are pedimented), to a gambrel roofed house, to interpretations of the Mount Vernon look. In terms of size, they range from what many would call mansions (although moderate sized ones) to small cottages.

Kleinert Terrace is also an excellent reflection of the popularity of the English Cottage style. The neighborhood has 31 houses which are members of this family, all located in a concentrated area. The picturesque English look was quite popular for residences in early twentieth century America, whether they be baronial halls or cozy cottages of the type found in Kleinert Terrace. At the up-market end were the so-called "Stockbroker Tudor" houses. These multi-story, half-timbered dwellings suggested stability and prosperity and would be considered mansions, albeit small ones, by some. For middle class America, the English Cottage style was popularized through mail order house catalogs and magazines, with specific models being advertised with evocative names such as "The Devonshire," "The Sussex," and "The Dover." The style as a whole was referred to at the time as "old English" and "Quaint English Cottage Style." As explained in Part 7, Kleinert Terrace's collection contains well-developed examples ranging from the half-timbered "mini-mansions" mentioned above to small cottages. All feature steeply pitched gables and arched openings; the majority feature frontal chimneys as well.

In addition to houses in the Colonial Revival and English Cottage styles, several houses in other styles add architectural interest and distinction to the Kleinert Terrace Historic District. Of special note in this regard is the Manship House, a finely articulated Renaissance Revival style residence which ranks as the subdivision's only true mansion. Also of interest is a restrained example of the Modernistic style — a mode which was never widely accepted for houses because it failed to fit the "cozy cottage" domestic ideal. This is particularly true in conservative areas such as the Deep South. Hence, it is surprising to see such a house in Kleinert Terrace tucked in amongst more traditional residences. In addition to adding variety to the district's stylistic mix, the appearance of a twentieth-century interpretation of the Creole raised plantation house adds an unexpected element of surprise to the streetscape. Its presence indicates the longevity and strength of this colonial building tradition in the Baton Rouge area.

Finally, it should again be emphasized that Kleinert Terrace is impressive in terms of integrity. Only 20% of its resources are non-contributing, and contributing elements are very well preserved.

Kleinert Terrace is of local significance in the area of community planning and development because it illustrates the early twentieth century expansion of Baton Rouge eastward from the Mississippi River. Although Baton Rouge is a very old community, having been settled in the colonial period, it remained relatively small until the early twentieth century. By the end of the nineteenth century, the city extended only a few blocks in (east) from the Mississippi River. The town experienced considerable growth and prosperity in the early twentieth century due to various factors, the most important being the arrival and expansion of the petrochemical industry (most notably, a huge Standard Oil plant). The city's population more than doubled between 1910 and 1930 (14,897 to 30,279), and Baton Rouge surpassed Shreveport as Louisiana's second largest city. All of this growth created a need for additional housing. Although Roseland Terrace, the first subdivision, was established in 1911, a July 1919 article in the local paper noted an "acute" shortage of homes in the city. It estimated that three or four hundred more were needed. Drehr Place (1921) was presumably a response to this need, as was College Town (1923), a South Baton Rouge subdivision founded to accommodate those working at the new and larger LSU campus. However, at least one family who moved to Baton Rouge in 1925 could not find a home and was forced to live in a hotel for two years until the father, a builder, constructed several homes in Kleinert Terrace.

Kleinert Terrace is also a fine representative example of the type of bedroom suburb which sprang up around major eastern cities in the early years of the twentieth century. These neighborhoods were designed to give working men in the cities a more rural domestic life. Kleinert Terrace exemplifies the early-twentieth century "garden suburb" with its small lots, liberal planting of trees along streets, and rear alleyways. In addition, the subdivision is more attractive than most because utility poles were deliberately placed (and are still located) along the rear alleyways. Thus its bucolic atmosphere is preserved and enhanced.

  1. National Register of Historic Places, Kleinert Terrace Historic District, selections from nomination document, 1998, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.; source: www.crt.state.la.us/hp/nhl/

See Map

Street Names: Broussard Street, Camelia Avenue, Drehr Avenue, Eugene Street South, Kleinert Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Perkins Road, St Rose Avenue, Terrace Avenue

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