Best New Old Building

Lucas School House

Dan and Mia Jameson, the husband-wife team responsible for rehabilitating the Lucas School House, bought the historical property in the fall of 2004 intending to live there. But after chatting with nostalgic locals, they decided the Soulard edifice they'd bought for $429,000 needed to be shared with the public. The Jamesons went about their rehab with an eye toward respecting the edifice's heritage and safeguarding its memory. "At least once a month, I have someone drop in who used to attend school in this building," Dan says. "We had a couple of men in their mid-seventies go upstairs [to the old gym] and crouch down to show us how they played handball." On May 16, 2006, the Jamesons debuted Lucas School House as an entertainment/private-party venue. The key to the property's reworking, which Dan describes as "a new building within its old shell," was staying true to the original 1898 architecture. Named in honor of the school that once thrived here, Lucas School House still boasts its original wainscoting and stained-glass windows — and the Jamesons ain't finished yet: They're also overhauling the church next door. "For all of the hard work, we still wake up every morning pinching ourselves," says Dan. "It's too good to be true." We respectfully disagree: It's too good, all right, and also true.
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