Monday, September 30, 2013

St. Louis’s Shaw Neighborhood: One of the City’s Jewels and a Great Place to Live, Play and Visit

St. Louis’s Shaw Neighborhood: One of the City’s Jewels and a Great Place to Live, Play and Visit
Named for the man who founded the Missouri Botanical Gardens—Henry Shaw—the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis (which is comprised of two smaller communities called Tower Grove Park and Shaw Gardens) is one of the city’s oldest intact neighborhoods in St. Louis’s historic districts. It’s also one of the communities in the city that is still in the throes of gentrification, thanks to the Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corporation which strives to both improve and promote different properties by working with developers, sponsors, realtors, and others.
The area was purchased from French settlers by Captain William Chambers in 1816, and then was bought by Henry Shaw, who was then only 19 years of age and had just arrived to the St. Louis area. Once there, Shaw built his large country home he named Tower Grover House and began work on his garden, now known as the Missouri Botanical Garden. Shaw is the main reason why there are such a variety of architecture as well as the many different types of residences: Two- and three-story homes are seen next to multifamily dwellings, churches, schools, and small businesses.
Present day Shaw is still seeing a lot of new development, including the progress on new apartments, and ongoing renovations on the neighborhood’s old homes and building. While some still remain boarded up and empty, many associations like the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association are trying to get new businesses into the community, since there are so many new young families that have come to the area; many residents feel this is the next phase for the community.
Attractions in Shaw are plentiful and include the Missouri Botanical Garden, the famous Shaw Art, all of the beautiful and historic homes along the Flora Place boulevard, the stunning churches like St. Margaret of Scotland, and the Tower Grove Park. Tower Grove Park is an attraction and special part of the city all on its own; it was originally part of Henry Shaw’s land but he donated it in 1868 to the city of St. Louis and is now around 289 acres. This park has 11 pavilions of different designs, including Victorian, as well as a lovely lily pond, gorgeous plants, the Piper Palm House, which is a bandstand and the site of special events and music, tennis courts, a wading pool, open expanses of grass for picnics or playing sports, softball and soccer fields, and pathways for walkers, joggers, and dog walkers. The park also features almost 400 species of flowering plants, trees, and bushes, plus it’s a wonderful place for birdwatching, especially in spring and fall. There are also lots of statues in the park, such as Christopher Columbus, Alexander von Humboldt, William Shakespeare, and famous musical composers.
The famed Historic Shaw Art Fair has been held in the community for 21 years; it brings together the whole neighborhood with great art from artists from across the country, food, music, and more. It is held in every October, and is an event that residents, artists, and tourists look forward to every year.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Clayton-Tamm Neighborhood of St. Louis: The “Dogtown” of the City

Clayton-Tamm Neighborhood of St. Louis: The “Dogtown” of the City
Known to locals as “Dogtown”, the Clayton-Tamm neighborhood of St. Louis is famous for its large population of Irish-Americans, and together with the smaller communities of Franz Park and Ellendale make up the famed Dogtown section of St. Louis. The annual Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s Day Parade happens here it this famous neighborhood, which was first started in 1984 to showcase the variety of charities, donations, and offerings of the Irish people in the community. Located just on the western border of St. Louis, the neighborhood takes its name from the bisecting streets of Clayton Avenue and Tamm Avenue.
Historically, this Irish-American community started out as a parcel of land owned by the Spanish settlers of the area, and was later bought by Charles Gratiot in 1785 for growing things like tobacco, corn, and wheat. After his death the land was divided and given as inheritance. The major growth in the community really began in the late 19th century when coal and clay mining developed. Further growth was seen in 1904 when preparations began for the great World’s Fair. Attractions in “Dogtown” run the gamut from popular restaurants, bars and nightlife, a theater, art shops, and bakeries. There are also numerous attractions located nearby Dogtown, including Forest Park, which is just a short walk away, and the renowned St. Louis Zoo, and the Art Museum. There are also the Dogtown community garden, and various other restaurants, bars, and taverns to fit most any tourist who comes to the Dogtown area
Popular local attractions in the Clayton-Tamm neighborhood include: Horseshoe House (which has the famed “horseshoes” so beloved by residents of St. Louis), Amsterdam Tavern, Seamus McDaniels, Felix’s, Latitude (a Tex-Mex place), and Nora’s (a soup and sandwich shop). For families visiting the zoo, try having their famous fried chicken at Pat’s Bar & Grill, located at the corner of Tamm Ave and Oakland Ave. The Hi Pointe Movie Theater is a great place to catch the newest flick, take a look at some great pieces at The Dogtown Gallery and Frame Shop, or rejuvenate at Urban Breath Yoga studio. All of these great places are located right within Dogtown and can all be walked to within minutes.
Start off the day by having breakfast at Cadiera’s, then check out the gorgeous Dogtown community garden, which is south down near Manchester. Stop by the Dogtown Gallery and Frame Shop later, then have lunch at Seamus McDaniels or Felix’s, then take in the zoo or art museum. Demographically, the residents of Dogtown are primarily Caucasian (89%), with a smaller percentage of African American (6%), Asian (2%), and Hispanic (2%). The median home value in Dogtown is around $175k, and an average household income of approximately $41k. The safety here in Dogtown is low, especially in comparison to other neighborhoods, so the affording housing, low crime rate, great restaurants and bars, plus the close proximity to some awesome attractions like the zoo and art museum, make this neighborhood a popular destination for young families, young professionals, and even retirees.
The Helderle Team 2013 © All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 20, 2013

Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood: A Suburban Oasis in the City of St. Louis

Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood: A Suburban Oasis in the City of St. Louis Home to one of St. Louis’s most beautiful parks—a park that is even larger than NYC’s Central Park—Forest Park Southeast is a suburban oasis in the heart of St. Louis. There are actually many other parks within the community, like Adams Park, Eads Park, and Tambo Park. This neighborhood is a young, lively area, home to many families and singles, and features lots of attractions for residents and tourists. Universities, small businesses, restaurants, and shopping options are also at home in this diverse neighborhood.
Forest Park’s Historic District (currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places) features stunning turn-of-the-century architecture, including Colonial Revival and Romanesque styles. The district includes many different types of buildings, like homes, a meeting hall, a specialty store, and a religious structure. The history of the neighborhood dates back to the 1850s with the arrival of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which made the neighborhood much easier to access. Major development of the area began at the beginning of the 20th century, and was marketed as the first true “subdivision” and an oasis for many of those who worked in downtown and other larger neighborhoods who wanted a quiet place to live with close proximity to their workplace. Commercial development of the community started during the 30s and 50s.
One of two of the neighborhood’s largest attractions is Forest Park, for whom the community is named. It is one of St. Louis’s largest parks, and is actually even larger than NYC’s famed Central Park. This park is home to the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Muny, which is America’s largest outdoor theater. All these different attractions are located in the park, right in and nearby the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. Residents and tourists can take advantage of the museums, and the park’s natural attractions like lakes, walking and biking trails, lots of open space for events like picnics, weddings, and family reunions, and even annual events like the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis (held in late May/June) and the LouFest, which is a celebration of modern music and living “green” (held in August).
The St. Louis Zoo is a famed attraction in the city; it contains more than 18,000 exotic, rare and endangered species of animals, and an excess of 700 species that represents all of the countries of the world. It’s a free attraction that St. Louis natives and tourists can take advantage of year-round, except during holidays.
The neighborhood’s demographics are primarily African American (64%), Caucasian (30%), and Asian (2%). The average household income was around $43k in 2010, with a median home value of $148k. Although the crime rate in the community can be somewhat high than in other neighborhoods, efforts are slowly being made to revitalize the area, and a shift can be seen by the number of young families entering this neighborhood. Busy professionals, as well, are in this community, due to the proximity to downtown, and the low housing costs.
The Helderle Team 2013 © All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Improving Your Credit Score Top Ten Tips

10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Credit Score People often do not understand how badly a bad credit score can hurt them until it is too late. If you are looking to buy a house, your credit score is a huge factor. There is nothing worse than finding the perfect house for your family and then discovering that your low credit score is a roadblock towards being able to get the house. Your credit is also important because it is how banks and finance companies determine mortgage rates. The better your credit score, the more favorable your mortgage terms will be. Finding a house that you like is only half of the battle, getting mortgage terms that are favorable is the other half.
Looking for a house in the St. Louis area? Finding a house is not always easy, you want the neighborhood to be good, and if you have children, you want a good school to be nearby. We want to help you find the perfect place for you and your family and we know St. Louis. We are a family team and our job is to help you find your next house, without the hassle and the stress. Visit us at and let us help you today! If you are worried about your credit score, there are things that you can do to improve your score. A low score can keep you from getting a good interest rate, or worse, a bank can even deny you because of it. You need to be thinking about your credit score before you buy a house, not discovering too late that you need to increase your score. If your credit score could use some improvement, follow the following to help your score improve, giving you a chance of getting better rates. Do not let bad credit derail your quest for a house.
Check Your Credit Report Do you know what is on your credit report? Many people do not. The problem with that is that if there is any incorrect information on your credit report, especially if it is negative, it will affect your credit. Removing incorrect information can help bring your score up, especially if you have incorrect information that is negative on there. You need to look for more than just information that is not yours. Pay close attention to what the balance owed and total line of credit for each creditor is correct. Consumers are allowed a free credit report every year. Visit to get your free copy of your credit report. From this site, you can get your credit report from all three credit agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Balance Your Credit If you have a few cards that are close to being maxed out and a few with low balances, transfer some of the balance from the cards that are close to being maxed to a few cards with low balances. You do not need to transfer balances to every card, just a few. This is a short-term solution to help boost your credit score. Ideally, you need to pay off the accounts, but if you have high balances, this is a way to help spread the debt out, so it looks more balanced on your report.
Do Not Close Unused Accounts Part of your credit score is your utilization ratio. Your utilization ratio is your total debt divided by your available credit. Having cards that are unused and that have no balance will help your credit. If you do not want to use the accounts, do not carry the card with you to limit temptation, but leave the accounts open.
Keep Older Accounts If you have a lengthy credit history, your score is better. Closing old accounts that you do not use anymore can actually hurt you because it leaves you with newer credit lines only. Make sure to keep your oldest accounts active by using them every now and then and then paying off the balance quickly.
Bring Down Your Balances If you carry high balances on many cards and loans, your score will be lower. The bigger the difference between your credit limit and your actual credit balance, the better your score. It is tempting to pay off of the cards or loans with the highest interest rates first, but if you want to improve your score, pay off cards that have the highest balances first. Credit card debt affects your credit score more than installment loans, such as student loans, auto, and mortgages. Although it is important to pay off all debt, your credit card debt is very important.
Pay On Time Paying bills late, even if just by a few days, can negatively impact your credit score. It is vital that you pay your bills on time, every time. If you have trouble remembering to make payments on time, set up reminders.
Only Use Credit When You Need To Limit your use of credit cards. You are only working against yourself if you continue to use your credit cards while trying to pay them off. Try to keep your balances to 30% or less of the total limit of the card.
Ask For Late Payment Forgiveness If you have a history of making your payments on time but you have a single late payment on your credit, you can request that the creditor remove that late payment from your history. Request this in writing for them to give you more consideration.
Do Not Apply For New Credit If you open multiple new lines of credit, it can be a double-edged sword. The available credit can boost your score but having too many accounts that were all recently opened makes it look like you are desperate to find credit and it can hurt you.
Do Not Consolidate Your Debt Consolidation can hurt you. When you transfer your balances all to a single card, it negatively affects your credit. It is better to keep your debt spread over a few cards while you pay the balances off rather than have it all on one credit line.
Your credit counts. Protect yourself by following these tips for increasing your credit score. Do not let your dream house slip from your fingers because of a less than stellar credit score. The Helderle team is here to help you. We know the neighborhoods, we know the city, and we can help you find the house that you have been dreaming about.
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