ST. LOUIS – Ronda Wright finds it a bit poetic that she hung on to her 127-year-old St. Louis home five years after transferring to Texas. After all, it once sheltered writer Maya Angelou.
A little more than a year since Angelou died at the age of 86 in North Carolina, there’s an effort afoot to get Angelou’s 1,300-square-foot childhood home at 3130 Hickory St. designated as a local landmark, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week.
Wright, 34, is glad she held on to the house she considered selling a half-decade ago, but instead converted to a rental given the soft real estate market. She’s unsure, however, what to do if the home that had belonged to Angelou’s maternal grandparents when she was born in 1928 receives its new designation. Angelou lived there for three years before she and an older brother were sent to live with a paternal grandmother in Arkansas after their parents’ marriage collapsed.
“I feel that responsibility, and I’m OK with that,” Wright said of pursuing a landmark designation. “I think I will have some kind of plaque on the home, small and tasteful. I really have to figure out what is next after that, which is still a question mark for me.”
The head of the group Landmarks Association of St. Louis, Andrew Weil, said the house likely wouldn’t be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because it isn’t a place where Angelou produced any of her famous writings.
But Weil suggested to Wright that the residence be designated as a city landmark – something bestowed 125 times so far in St. Louis on an eclectic mix of things such as the Eads Bridge, the Jack Buck statue at Busch Stadium, and the Old Post Office.
An ordinance required for such a designation for the Angelou home is making its way through the city’s Board of Aldermen, with the measure’s sponsor – Alderwoman Marlene Davis – believing it should become official by the end of June.