Lisa Frumhoff Real Estate listed the property for sale and within 30 days being actively for sale, Lisa sold the Mullanphy Emigrant Home to Dr. Gendi and closed October 2018 for $130,000.
June 13, 2019 – Lisa Frumhoff & Nolan Sharkey
August 2019 – Mullanphy Immigrant Home
The 151-year old home was built because of the generosity of Bryan Mullanphy, the son of St. Louis’s first Irish millionaire and a mayor of the city in the late 1840s. When Bryan Mullanphy died in 1851, his will stipulated that one third of his property be left to the city to establish “a fund to furnish relief to all poor emigrants and travelers coming to St. Louis.” Just over 15 years later, the Mullanphy House opened, adhering to the former mayor’s will that insisted it be open to people of all nationalities and faiths.
However, its life as a refuge for poor immigrants coming to the city was short-lived. By 1877, it closed and the commissioners of the Mullanphy fund began a policy of paying for the food and lodging of immigrant families elsewhere. Until 1899, the building was leased to the St. Louis School Board. For much of the mid 20th century, it was a factory for Absorene Manufacturing Co.
In 2006, the entire southern wall of the Mullanphy Emigrant Home was destroyed by a storm and the city planned to demolish the building. Passionate residents and architecture and history buffs including my sister, Marti Frumhoff, fought to keep Mullanphy standing. The Mullanphy’s story is not one of despair, but of hope. Neighborhood groups have even rallied around the building to save it
For years, the Old North Restoration Group was the caretaker of the Mullanphy property, until the board decided to sell the property in hopes of finding someone willing to take on the renovation responsibilities and reintroduce the building into the community. Nolan Sharkey, a member of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group’s Board of Directors, asked me if I was interested in selling the property.
Local physician Dr. Wahied Gendi, an immigrant himself, purchased the Mullanphy Emigrant Home at 1609 North 14th Street for $130,000 in October 2018.
Dr. Gendi intends to create a space that holds the same value for the locals as it once did for the immigrants who viewed the Mullanphy building as a place of refuge and a gateway to a new future. Coming from a country with one of the richest and oldest history on Earth—Egypt—Dr. Gendi understands the importance of preserving cultural history better than most of us, and this is what he intends to do right here, in Saint Louis, with this building.
Dr. Gendi is also interested in getting feedback from the community. He intends to send out a survey to the neighborhood residents. The future of Mullanphy will greatly depend on the feedback from Old North St. Louis residents.
Dr. Gendi hopes that the feedback from the community will inform his decision. He estimates $4 million in repair and renovation costs, but is up to the challenge. He is very adamant about preserving the integrity and history of this iconic building and hopes to bring something truly valuable to the community, whether that means the Mullanphy is used as a health facility or residential housing.
The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group has also played a key role in this whole process. The group is committed to offering high quality housing opportunities that welcome a diverse population from all walks of life. We all share this vision. We hope Mullanphy helps to revitalize the physical and social dimensions of the community in a manner that respects its historic, cultural, and urban character.