Monthly Archives: November 2012

36 new photos added to SJML November 18,2012

I have added 36 new photos to the following sections:

Metro Downtown

Businesses North Of Felix

Businesses South Of Felix



Schools North of Felix

Schools South of Felix

Movie Theaters



Leave a comment

Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Downtown St Joseph


29 new photos added to Metro Downtown Section Nov 14, 2012

Many thanks to John Fulmer for all the photos he is donating.

I just added 29 of his photos in the Metro Downtown section.

Some dating as far back as the late 1800’s

I don’t know where he finds all these neat photos

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Downtown St Joseph


17 aerial views of St Joseph before East Hills have been added

In the Metro Downtown section, I have posted 17 aerial photos that Phil Okonski’s father had taken.

The exact dates are unknown, several show Belt and Frederick area before East Hills was constructed.

2 of the photos have I-29 in them, some may be older prior to I-29, it’s hard to date such photos.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Downtown St Joseph


6 1961 photos of 6th & Edmond added – more to come

I have added 6 neat 1961 photos of the northeast corner of 6th & Edmond back when Herman’s Drug Store was on the corner.  The photos are located in the Metro Downtown section. They were donated by Doug Howard.

I have lots of new photos yet to add that John Fulmer has donated. Also Phil Okonski has donated numerous old aerial views of St Joseph that his father had taken. They will all be added this week as time permits.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Downtown St Joseph


One local business owner is ready to turn his back on Downtown

One local business owner is ready to turn his back on Downtown

Geneo DeSpain, owner of 616-620 Felix St., said he was denied an approval to modify and update his buildings’ existing facades so he could accommodate businesses that have expressed interest in the property. It’s the “red tape” and multitude of guidelines that makes it difficult for small businesses to grow Downtown, he said.

The St. Joseph Downtown Partnership, however, says while it encourages business development, those guidelines are put in place to keep businesses in line with the city’s vision of Downtown.

Mr. DeSpain said he hired a developer to redo the front of both properties, which includes the Paris Building at 618 Francis St. In the plan presented to the city, Mr. DeSpain said he would add crown molding across the top of both buildings and cover the exterior front with dryvit, a continuous insulation.

He said he also would extend the dryvit to cover the windows as a response to repeated vandalism. The look would be similar to that of Aspen Leaf Yogurt and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory on Frederick Boulevard.

Because he intended to pay for all the work out of pocket, Mr. DeSpain said he could not understand why his request was denied at Wednesday’s Downtown Review Board.

“I’m one of the ones trying to make things better down there,” he said. “Every time I turn around, I see pictures and stories about the Downtown buildings looking terrible. Here I am, trying to do something with the buildings, and they’re declining it.”

However, Rhabecca Boerkircher, executive director of the St. Joseph Downtown Partnership, said Mr. DeSpain’s proposed design would clearly violate the city’s Downtown Precise Plan, which was developed in 2002 as a set of guidelines for buildings and development in Downtown St. Joseph.

“It used to be that anything goes Downtown. Then we got to the point that we realized in order to make positive changes Downtown and to bring back these historic buildings, there needed to be these regulations in place,” she said.

Ms. Boerkircher said the board’s denial was not intended to hinder Mr. DeSpain’s success, but because the exposed brick on the Paris Building is historic, he would not be allowed to cover it with any material.

The board also is concerned that the material underneath the facade of 620 Felix St., the old Dixie Dress Shop, may be of historic nature. In order for Mr. DeSpain to move forward with any renovations, he would have to remove that material to determine whether it is historic, or in poor condition.

The city offered the business owner the chance to submit an application to the Downtown Commercial Facade Improvement Loan Program to help with the cost of removing and repairing the facade. But Mr. DeSpain said that would just be more loopholes for him to jump through, when what he says he’s proposing would help the city bring more economic development to the area, which he thinks is lacking.

Because of the board’s denial, Mr. DeSpain said he will not be pursuing another application and will now try to sell both buildings.

“My fight is done. I’m not going to get any more white hair trying to get these people to understand why I want to be Downtown,” he said. “ … It’s not like there’s people in line waiting to get their buildings done Downtown.”


Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Downtown St Joseph

%d bloggers like this: