Maplewood History: If You Can’t Tell A Bollard From A Guard Stone…

Well, neither can I sometimes.  I have been considering doing this post for quite awhile because I had become convinced, wrongly as I now know, that the Scheidt Hardware building, originally the Maplewood Theater, had cast iron bollards on each of the front corners. To begin, I have no idea how long vehicles with wheels have been around.  The Egyptians had chariots, didn’t they? If so, they must have had other sorts of machines with wheels?  Doesn’t matter in this case because this article is not about them.  This article is about a problem that arose when a wheeled vehicle passed too close to a building or some other immovable object.  The rear wheel closest to the object being passed could easily become hung up on that object causing an immediate cessation of forward momentum with all of the accompanying travail; i.e., damage to the wheel, the vehicle and the operator. Someone many eons ago came up with a clever solution to this problem.  It’s a solution that’s still around today.  Wheel guards.  Some of the first ones were probably made of wood because wood is easier to shape than stone.  But as you might suspect the better buildings and the better neighborhoods would probably have gone with stone.  In modern times, cast iron was used in a wide variety of styles from the very simple to the very elegant. Some wheel guards survive in Maplewood.  A pair of the most visible are on the corners of the Scheidt Hardware store.  If you’re new in town and think of the hardware store at 7320 Manchester as a True Value, I still call it by its original name, even though the Scheidts have fled the scene.

Maplewood History: Lustron Homes

Lustron homes were designed as an answer to the housing shortage in America following WWII.  They were and still are a porcelainized enamel-coated, all metal, factory-made home.  They were meant to require no maintenance.  I really think they didn’t with the possible exception of the occasional wash (and wax?).  I never heard of anyone waxing one but you know how your car looks even if  it just sits in the driveway for a while. Lustron homes were invented by Carl Strandlund and manufactured in Columbus, Ohio between 1948 and 50.  The manufacturing effort managed to produce a bit over 2,500 homes.  This was far short of their goal to produce them by the tens of thousands.  The company lost money on every home and went bankrupt in 1950. They left orders for 8,000 that were never filled

These homes were ingeniously designed by Morris Beckmann of Chicago.  The interior surfaces were all metal.  Pictures had to be hung on the metal walls with magnets. The shingles on the roof were all metal.  Most had an oil burning furnace that heated the space above the metal ceilings.  One idea whose time had apparently not come and still hasn’t was the combination clothes and dishwasher by a company named Thor. The motivating idea behind the design was to provide the occupying families with as much free time as possible since they wouldn’t have to spend time maintaining their homes.

Maplewood History: The Ghost Sign at Sutton and Manchester

Letters. I get letters.  Well, mostly I get emails and texts but I do occasionally get a letter as well.  Recently I heard from my old friend and fellow Maplewood history aficionado, Tom Bakersmith by email.  Tom had this to say. Hi Doug,  As I think you know, I am interested in the old “Ghost Signs”. One’s painted on building walls years ago.  There are quite a few in Maplewood.  This one is on the Sutton side of the building that houses Rich’s Hair Salon and Tiffany’s Diner.  I can make out NAILS TOOLS CUTLERY. at the top.  I wonder what hardware store it was.

Maplewood History: Let’s Bring Back the Great Old Signs of Maplewood!

I’m dusting off another old post.  Blame the long hours of day light.  This one first ran about 6 1/2 years ago.   We had some wonderful old signs in Maplewood.  Perhaps this post can spark some interest in their return. The Great Old Signs of Maplewood

I hope you are enjoying the summer.  The Maplewood Pool has been the place to be. Doug Houser       July 13, 2022

Maplewood History: Let Them Eat Art Is 16 Today!

The 16th annual Let Them Eat Art Event in Maplewood is today, July 8, from 6 to 10PM.  I had a lot to say about this last year but this year…well… I’ve been busy. Here is the link to last year’s Let Them Eat Art article.  Keep in mind that the information within is from last year. Let Them Eat Art #1

These are always a lot of fun so don’t miss it! Doug Houser   July 8, 2022

Maplewood History: Another Batch of Vintage Photographs from Some of the Earliest Photography Studios in St. Louis

More images from the collection of Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley. This is the thirteenth post in this series. For those of you who are just coming on board, all of these images are part of a collection that once belonged to young Emma Thomas, daughter of William Lyman and Catherine (Kate) Sutton Thomas.  I assume all were friends, acquaintances or family of Emma’s.  She wrote her name on the back of many of them to identify her as the owner but many have no information to identify the subjects. Vintage images such as these found in a tag sale or antique store would have only a small amount of value.  These are important because they all belonged to Emma and are a good record of the many people in her life.  She was born on land that once belonged to her grandfather, James C. Sutton.  It is land that would one day become Maplewood.  Emma lived here her entire life. From these images of Emma’s people we can all have a good look at the populous of our neighborhoods many years before any of us came along.

Maplewood History: “A Good Corn Broom” Can Be Yours at Scheidt Hardware

It must have been some time in the late 1970s when my neighbor, Mrs. Mahler, who was probably around 90 years old, told me she was fed up with cheap plastic brooms.  She found what she wanted at Kroger, “A good corn broom.”  Her new broom looked good to me.  The handle was a one inch dowel rod as opposed to a ¾ inch one on the lesser corn brooms.  Very sturdy.  I bought one for myself and haven’t been without one since. Today I have three.  One on the back porch, another one in the garage and one in the kid’s house.  All of these I bought at Scheidt Hardware at 7320 Manchester (True Value to you new folks). You can get yourself a good corn broom there too.  While you’re there take a look at their wide selection of hoses and yard care equipment.  I bought a new sprayer there the other day and I swear it is the best one I have ever owned.  It has made watering the yard and flower beds a pleasure.  I’m including a photo of it so you’ll know what to look for. As for blog posts,  I am having a hard time focusing on them with the long summer days.  So please take another look at this previous one about Scheidt Hardware.  

And, as most of you already know, both of my books on Maplewood History are still available at Scheidt.  They make wonderful gifts and I have received several reports of individuals actually reading them.

The Legacy of the Dancing Schwartzmans (again)

What follows was my fourteenth post on the website, 40 South News.  It first appeared on January  6, 2014.  In the first few lines, I was worrying about running out of material.  I shouldn’t have.  This is post number 386 and I’m not done yet. DH

For a bit longer than 4 ½ years, I have posted articles and photos about the history of Maplewood on three different websites.  Posting once or twice a month, more here lately, I usually include anywhere from 3 to 10 photos.  I’ve not repeated myself much but I’m getting ready to. It’s not that I’m running out of material on what might seem to some a narrow subject.  Far from it.  It’s just that there are folks asking me about subjects I’ve already posted.  This is the easiest way to answer them.  Some of the photos in this post were originally shown on the Facebook page of the City of Maplewood. According to the research of St. Louis County historian, Esley Hamilton, County directories show that Albert Schwartzman and his wife Rosie lived and worked in one of Maplewood’s finest commercial buildings at 3101 Sutton at least as early as 1909.  They operated a grocery and a meat market there.

Maplewood History: Still More Vintage Photographs from Some of the Earliest Photography Studios in St. Louis

More images from the collection of Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley. This is the twelfth post in this series. For those of you who are just coming on board, all of these images are part of a collection that once belonged to young Emma Thomas, daughter of William Lyman and Catherine (Kate) Sutton Thomas.  I assume all were friends, acquaintances or family of Emma’s.  She wrote her name on the back of many of them to identify her as the owner but many have no information to identify the subjects. Vintage images such as these found in a tag sale or antique store would have only a small amount of value.  These are important because they all belonged to Emma and are a good record of the many people in her life.  She was born on land that once belonged to her grandfather, James C. Sutton.  It is land that would one day become Maplewood.  Emma lived here her entire life. From these images of Emma’s people we can all have a good look at the populous of our neighborhoods many years before any of us came along.

Maplewood History: Fitz Guerin, a Leader in St. Louis in the Photographic Art

A couple of months back I made a post that had all of the images in the collection that once belonged to Emma Beauvais Thomas that had been created in the Guerin Studio.  If you would like to take another look at them, you can find them here. Yesterday, scrolling through Facebook I found this interesting notice.  This promises to be a fascinating Zoom presentation for any of you who have been following my posts of Emma’s 1890s era images.  The ones from the Guerin studio are definitely among the best. At any rate this image was so funny I thought that it would have much appeal to my audience.  

This is a presentation I definitely don’t want to miss.  Let us know what you think of it. There is still more to show from the collection of Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley.

Maplewood History: A Rare Image of William Koester Comes to Light

Recently I was pleased to renew a friendship with a man who I once had as an instructor of digital photography, John Nagel.  In the spring of 2007, I was enrolled in my second semester of Photoshop at St. Louis Community College – Meramec. It was the last semester that John taught before retiring.  I was very lucky to have gotten there before he left. John is well known in his field.  For 30 years he was a professor of fine art photography at STLCC – Meramec.  More recently he retired as the executive director of the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum.  He was instrumental in bringing the museum to St. Louis.

Maplewood History: Emma Thomas and Benton Hall

Even though I never knew Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley, I feel a deep connection to her.  This is due mainly to having been allowed access to so many of her very personal images and documents by her great-great granddaughter, Chrissie Hayes McConnell. I have lost count of how many posts have come out of this treasure trove of Maplewood history.  Indeed, they are still coming out.  Soon I will publish the twelfth post of just a part of Emma’s collection…a couple hundred early images of friends and family most of whom are not identified. All of which I scanned and have presented or will present to the followers of this space. Quite a while ago I published an invitation to an 1894 Domino Party and an 1896 dance card of hers. Both took place at Benton Hall.

Maplewood History: The Ed Notter Collection of Images

Reader Ed Notter emailed me a few of the images he has accumulated that he’d like to share with the rest of my audience.  I suggested he send all of what he has found.  This he did and here they are.  In alphabetical order.  

Thanks so much to Ed Notter for sharing these with us. There are still more images coming from the Emma Thomas collection.  Stay tuned. Doug Houser          May 10. 2022

 

 

Maplewood History: Even More Vintage Photographs from Some of the Earliest Photography Studios in St. Louis

More images from the collection of Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley. This is the eleventh post in this series. For those of you who are just coming on board, all of these images are part of a collection that once belonged to young Emma Thomas, daughter of William Lyman and Catherine (Kate) Sutton Thomas.  I assume all were friends, acquaintances or family of Emma’s.  She wrote her name on the back of many of them to identify her as the owner but many have no information to identify the subjects. Vintage images such as these found in a tag sale or antique store would have only a small amount of value.  These are important because they all belonged to Emma and are a good record of the many people in her life.  She was born on land that once belonged to her grandfather, James C. Sutton.  It is land that would one day become Maplewood.  Emma lived here her entire life. From these images of Emma’s people we can all have a good look at the populous of our neighborhoods many years before any of us came along.

Maplewood History: The Salle Ann Shop

Letters, I get letters.  Not really but I do get phone calls, texts and emails.  I thought that followers of this space might enjoy this recent exchange I had with Gary Luebke. On April 20 at 3:05 PM, Gary wrote:
Hello Doug,

I have read a number of your articles on the history of Maplewood and thought perhaps you might have an answer to a question concerning the location of Salle Ann Shops. I have been researching the history of Maplewood,  my mom and grandparents used to live in Maplewood.   Both my mom and grandmother worked at Salle Ann clothing store in the 1950’s.  The store was located on the south side of Manchester a few stores east of Sutton.  I have found next to nothing on the internet.   Are you familiar with Salle Ann in Maplewood and would you know where the store was located? 

As a hobby, I do quite a lot of “Then and Now” photography and find some interesting  subjects in Maplewood.

Maplewood History: Larry Giles and Woodside Receive Honors

The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation has presented former Maplewoodian Larry Giles and Maplewood’s oldest home, Woodside, with their highest honors. Tuesday was a big day for Maplewood history in Jefferson City.  I would like to congratulate everyone involved. We lost Larry Giles less than a year ago.  He was a fine and talented man who has left a lot of friends.  Here is a link to my post about him from last June. Doug Houser       April 21, 2022

Maplewood History: Rarer Than Rare – Mind blowing JC Sutton Artifacts Resurface

Totally unexpected, rare artifacts from the farm of James Compton Sutton, Sr. for your viewing pleasure! A little over a year ago I made two related posts, the first of which was titled, Rarer Than Rare.  The subject was not only an astonishing photograph of James Compton Sutton, unseen by anyone in our town for probably over 100 years, but also an assortment of Sutton family and community related, images, documents and artifacts.  I consider these two posts to be so amazing that I want you to take another look at them.  You don’t have to read the whole thing but just so you appreciate what you are about to see. Rarer than Rare

Rarer Than Rare – A Followup

This stuff is scarce, scarcer than scarce.  Yet, here we are… able to view a few more important artifacts from the history of our town!  And we never would have seen any of this were it not for the generosity of Ms. Laura Varilek.  Thank you, Ma’am.  

A little over three years ago I made a post titled, “The Thrill Is Not Gone.” (Apologies to BB King).  The subject was a collection of images and artifacts from a Sutton descendant, Dan Shelton.  Amongst them was only the second image I had ever seen of  James Sutton, Sr. and his wife, Ann L. Wells.  This knocked my socks off.  It truly did.  I just don’t expect to find things this rare.

Maplewood History: Vintage Photographs from Some of the Earliest Photography Studios in St. Louis

More images from the collection of Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley. This is the tenth post in this series. For those of you who are just coming on board, all of these images are part of a collection that once belonged to young Emma Thomas, daughter of William Lyman and Catherine (Kate) Sutton Thomas.  I assume all were friends, acquaintances or family of Emma’s.  She wrote her name on the back of many of them to identify herself as the owner but many have no information to identify the subjects. Vintage images such as these found in a tag sale or antique store would have only a small amount of value.  These are important because they all belonged to Emma and are a good record of the many people in her life.  She was born on land that once belonged to her grandfather, James C. Sutton.  It is land that would one day become Maplewood.  Emma lived here her entire life. From these images of Emma’s people we can all have a good look at the populace of our neighborhoods many years before any of us came along.

Maplewood History: The Second Heaviest Piece of Maplewood Memorabilia Finds a New Home

The Heating Stove from the Maplewood Train Depot has been relocated to the National Building Arts Center in Sauget, Illinois. We recently lost one of Maplewood’s oldest residents, Rita Kippenberger.  Rita lived her entire 97 years in the house she grew up in on Maple.  I regret that I didn’t try harder to interview Rita again.  I spoke to her once but it had been many years. I remember she told me that she had once worked at Golde’s Department Store.  She had been working as a cashier in 1966, the year that Golde’s was completely destroyed by a disastrous conflagration.  According to Rita, the cause of the blaze was a lightning strike that hit the plate glass of the entrance doors on Manchester.  The force of the strike knocked over the cash register and stand just inside the doors.  This was her workstation. Just a few doors away from Rita lived my good friends, the McCoys.  A very long time before I ever dreamed of becoming the historian of Maplewood, Bill McCoy told me a story that I believe he had gotten from Rita.  Scott Joplin’s music publisher, John Stillwell Stark had once lived at 7380 Maple. (Correction: 7360 Maple).  The story is that he once invited Joplin to his home which caused somewhat of an uproar because Joplin was a negro.

Maplewood History: Vintage Photographs from the Guerin Studio

More images from the collection of Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley. This is the ninth post in that series. A particularly enjoyable part of this mission that I have set for myself is having had the opportunity to closely examine hundreds of original photographs with a connection to our community. The image quality of many of the cabinet cards, as some of them were called, is remarkable.  I would call a lot of them stunning.  They are of such a high quality that they don’t appear to have deteriorated at all even though they are 120 years old or more. Additionally, many of them were stored under conditions that I would not have thought suitable.  To begin with the images appear to have been printed on a thin photographic paper that is attached with an adhesive to a cardboard mount.  Were the photographic studios of that era even aware of low acid cardboard in those days?  Did it exist?