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Private Streets of the CWE by Bicycle

St. Louis, United States

Experience hosted by Harold

3 hoursHosted in English
Committed to safety
This host committed to Airbnb’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Up to 6 people

What you'll do

Beginning in the mid-19th century, St. Louis' wealthiest and most powerful citizens designed a unique solution to the unrestricted and relentless expansion of the industrial city into previously exclusive residential neighborhoods. That solution was the private place, a street owned entirely by its residents and governed by a number of restrictive covenants intended to keep the burgeoning metropolis at bay. A surprisingly large number of these private places have survived and thrived into the 21st century, with the largest concentration located in St. Louis' Central West End. This c. 3 hour bicycle tour will explore the remarkable architecture (exteriors only) of eight of these private streets, whose houses inspired a national magazine in 1902 to rhapsodize that "It is said that to see a truly beautiful woman . . . you must go to Paris. It may be just as truly said that to see a truly beautiful home . . . you must go to St. Louis." Many of these homes were built by businessmen whose companies once were household names; one was occupied briefly by one of the pre-eminent poets of the 20th century; and one house has walls that don't talk but surely do rock n' roll.
Beginning in the mid-19th century, St. Louis' wealthiest and most powerful citizens designed a unique solution to the unrestricted and relentless expansion of the industrial city into previously exclusive residential neighborhoods. That solution was the private place, a street owned entirely by its residents and governed by a number of restrictive covenants intended to keep the burgeoning metropolis at bay. A surprisingly large number of these pr…

Meet your host, Harold

Host on Airbnb since 2014
  • 3 Reviews
  • Identity verified
I'm a long-time resident of the City of St. Louis. For years, I've been leading bicycle tours of historic St. Louis neighborhoods and cemeteries. I currently offer The Central West End Literary Tour as an Airbnb Experience.
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From $51
/ person
No dates available

Where you'll be

Our tour will visit (among others) the former home of one of most successful rail car manufacturers in the country and a prominent antiquarian book collector; the only extant St. Louis residence of one of the 20th century's most acclaimed poets; and the home of a man who transformed the musical culture of the entire planet. And we'll also see a house that achieved "celebrity status" after recently "going viral" for all the wrong reasons!
Helen
February 2020
Such a fun and unique experience! I had actually booked the experience in the thick of winter so I was lucky enough to get a 1-on-1 PRIVATE tour with Harold. As Harold and I cycled through neighborhoods with our bicycles, we passed rows and rows of beautifully constructed, breathtaking homes... something that I would easily have overlooked hadn’t it been for the tour. I genuinely learned so much about the history of St. Louis through the architecture of these amazing homes and structures that Harold had so much knowledge in. Highly recommend this tour!
Such a fun and unique experience! I had actually booked the experience in the thick of winter so I was lucky enough to get a 1-on-1 PRIVATE tour with Harold. As Harold and I cycl…
Kiera
September 2019
I contacted Harold to gift his bike tour to my parents and he was very communicative throughout the whole process, extremely flexible with dates and availabilities, and they ended up loving the tour!
Deanne
May 2019
Incredible turn of the century mansions on private streets with interesting historic value of a time when St Louis was in its heyday. The variety of architecture was astounding and Harold was great at sharing detail that brought the historic owners’ lives into focus. Easy ride on little used private streets with just a block or two on city streets. No problem with traffic as “share the road” is the norm here. The time goes quickly and we had plenty of time for discussion and questions. The bike is just transportation between mansions so it really isn’t a bike ride per se. Bikes were comfortable and functional but you don’t spend much time on them. Everything is pretty close but not close enough to walk. I would do it again. Hint. Bring water bottle and a snack.
Incredible turn of the century mansions on private streets with interesting historic value of a time when St Louis was in its heyday. The variety of architecture was astounding a…

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be cancelled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 6 guests ages 16 and up can attend.

What to bring

Thanks to the pandemic-created "bicycle craze," our local bike shop no longer is doing any rentals. All participants therefore will have to bring their own bicycles; helmets; water bottles; and snacks.