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?

Maplewood History: Another Look at Manchester Road in Brentwood, ca. 1930

The images in this post were run not long ago as part of The Amazing Lillian Herold Weber Collection – Part Four.  Since then, with the help of the donor and my Brentwood correspondent, we’ve analyzed them a bit further.  I think we have a clearer understanding of what we’re looking at now than we did back in November when I first posted these images. The impetus for this reexamination is because I was preparing to print them and send them off into the world. I had planned to give digital copies to my contact at the Brentwood Historical Society, Dan Fitzgerald.  This I was unable to do as his email address seems to have changed.  Also, I wanted to give physical copies to my barber friends, Paul and Dan, whose business, Kings and Queens Salon is located within steps of the site where these photographs were first taken. Knowing how sets of images such as these, digital or hard copy, tend to get separated years down the road, I wanted to make sure each image had all of the pertinent information that it could stand alone if need be.  I’m just trying to make some future historian’s lives a bit easier. Next post I’ll get back to the Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley collection for there is still much more of it to be seen.

Maplewood History: A.H. Curtis Was Found Alive!

The Owner of the Goldsmith Studio Had Disappeared On A Fishing Trip

Readers with most of, or at least a large part of, their memory cells intact may recall that at the end of my last post about the images from Goldsmith Studio, the proprietor had gone missing. Eager to confront this mystery, I launched my search engine into an ocean of Newspapers.com information but was unable to hook onto the answer as to what became of him.  I was rescued by reader Rita Fuhrman and this isn’t the first time. Rita dove in headfirst and pulled the article off the very bottom of the archival sea. She was kind enough to send it along. Read for yourself.

Maplewood History: More Photographs from the Goldsmith Studio

As most of you know I have been running a series of posts that have been supplied from the collection of Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley.  This is number eight.  The collection included a large number of images of friends and acquaintances of Emma’s, one has to assume.  Many of these had nothing written on them that would identify the subjects. First I separated by type, mounts etc.  Then I separated them according to which photographer’s studio had made them. This research has turned up some interesting and unexpected details about life in our area around the turn of the 19th century into the 20th. In my last post I focused on an unusual (to me anyway) set of diamond-shaped images that had been made by the Goldsmith Studio.  In this post we’ll have a look at the other photos in the collection by the same photographer.  

The images are shown courtesy of Chrissie Hayes McConnell.  All of the images in this post are now in the collection of SHSMO at UMSL.

Maplewood History: What Do Alice Hines, Nelle Trigg, and H.D. Rogers Have in Common? (even more images)

They all were either friends or acquaintances of Emma Beauvais Thomas.  We may never know which.  Here are their images and many others from:

The Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley Collection – Part Seven. Regular followers of this space will already know that many of my most recent posts have featured vintage images that were once collected by the young Emma Thomas, daughter of William Lyman and Kate Sutton Thomas.  They may recall that a large number of these images were of mostly unidentified persons.  Not all of them but most. I sorted these images by type first and lastly by what photographer’s studio in which they had been made. These are a wonderful sampling of some of the folks that once populated our town and neighborhoods…and they’re wearing their best clothes! I think you will enjoy seeing these as much as I did.

Maplewood History: What Do Alice Hines, Nelle Trigg, and H.D. Rogers Have in Common? (continued)

They all were either friends or acquaintances of Emma Beauvais Thomas.  We may never know which.  Here are their images and many others from:

The Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley Collection – Part Six. Regular followers of this space will already know that many of my most recent posts have featured vintage images that were once collected by the young Emma Thomas, daughter of William Lyman and Kate Sutton Thomas.  They may recall that a large number of these images were of mostly unidentified persons.  Not all of them but most. I sorted these images by type first and lastly by what photographer’s studio in which they had been made. These are a wonderful sampling of some of the folks that once populated our town and neighborhoods…and they’re wearing their best clothes! I think you will enjoy seeing these as much as I did.

Maplewood History: What Do Alice Hines, Nelle Trigg, and H.D. Rogers Have in Common?

They all were either friends or acquaintances of Emma Beauvais Thomas.  We may never know which.  Here are their images and many others from:

The Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley Collection – Part Five. Regular followers of this space will already know that many of my most recent posts have featured vintage images that were once collected by the young Emma Thomas, daughter of William Lyman and Kate Sutton Thomas.  They may recall that a large number of these images were of mostly unidentified persons.  Not all of them but most. I sorted some of these images by type and others by what photographer’s studio in which they had been made. These are a wonderful sampling of some of the folks that once populated our town and neighborhoods…and they’re wearing their best clothes! I think you will enjoy seeing these as much as I did.

Maplewood History: The Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley Trove – Part Four

This trove contains many fascinating early images. According to a couple of history of photography websites, George Eastman, the founder of the Kodak Company, invented film to replace the apparatus and chemicals that professional photographers were using.  If that weren’t enough, he also created a way to make photography less expensive and available to amateurs. In 1888, he released his first camera, the Kodak #1.  The camera sold for $25 ($796 today) and came loaded with enough film for 100 images.  When the roll was completely used, the camera was sent back to the Kodak factory in Rochester, NY, where it was reloaded and returned to the owner while the photos were being developed.  The cost was $10. By 1900, the camera sold for a dollar and film was 15 cents a roll. I speculate that William Lyman Thomas was an early customer.  As far as I can tell, it was Thomas who took the photographs on his Memphis trip in 1896.

Maplewood History: The Love Song of W. Lyman Thomas – Status Report

Before you read this post, I believe you would do well to read my first post about The Love Song of Mr. Thomas.  It contains a lot of information that I don’t intend to repeat. This post is to let interested parties know that all of the letters that Mr. Thomas wrote to his wife-to-be, Kate Sutton, from June of 1867 until their wedding in March of 1869 are now in the possession of the State Historical Society of Missouri.  Known as SHSMO, the society’s office is on the campus at UMSL, in the Thomas Jefferson Library, adjacent to the Mercantile Library. What I hadn’t seen at the time of my first post was the box that the Thomases had used to store these letters.  It was here where they remained for roughly 150 years.  And what a box it is! It is a large wooden cigar box.  I suppose it is Thomas’s brand but we’ve no way of knowing. As hard as it is for me to believe now, I once smoked cigars myself.  Some of the boxes that my cigars came in are still in the basement full of orphaned, useless bits of hardware.  But they are cheap, cardboard boxes compared to this deluxe, wooden one of William Lyman’s.

Maplewood History: The Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley Trove – Part Three

Never Before Published – Vintage Images of the Thomas Home and Grounds

One of the tactics I used to try and better understand Emma’s collection of photos and documents was to separate the images by the way they had been mounted.  Nearly all were on cardboard of one sort or another.  In my last post, Part Two, we looked at images that I assume had been made by Emma’s father, William Lyman Thomas, on a trip he took to Memphis. There were sixteen of these images that all had identical mounts, an embossed flower design around all edges.  From the dates on the back of them, all were made in June of 1896.  Ten were of William’s trip and six were of his home and of a gathering held there of his friends and family. I assume these were all from the same roll.  I attempted to discover what sort of a camera he may have used but couldn’t be certain with these.  I’ll talk about the camera in an upcoming post. I’ll start off with an image that was in this collection but was not one of the ones from the roll that I mentioned.  It is an image of his home, Ellendale Home Place.  This lovely home is judged by this author to be (along with Woodside) one of  Maplewood’s two most historic homes.  It is easy to see from the street at 2637 Roseland Terrace.  Please respect the owner’s privacy. The home is not open to the public.

Maplewood History: The Emma Beauvais Thomas Grumley Trove – Part Two

In 1896, William Lyman Thomas Took a Little Trip – To Memphis. Images he brought back have recently surfaced as part of his daughter’s collection. The trove, as I received it, was in a large box.  It consisted of two folders, each containing some images, but the largest number, 200+, were in the bottom of the box in no particular order.  Ms. Thomas was in the habit of writing her name on the backs of her images.  More accurately she wrote her name on the backs of most of her images whether or not her visage appeared on the front.  All well and good but I’m certain some of them are of her.  I’m just not sure which ones. First, I went through and pulled out all of the images that I could identify or ones that had some information written on them.  Next, I tried to determine images that all appeared to be from the same role of film.  I gained some knowledge from this tactic. Finally, I separated images according to which photographer’s studio in which they had been made.

Maplewood History: On Being A History Broker

I have no memories of ever wanting to be a historian.*  Just happened. I have been interested in old houses for as long as I can remember.  Mostly I never gave a thought to who built them or the families that lived there. I toured a lot of historic buildings and listened to the guides’ prepared remarks.  But I was mainly interested in the structure and its contents. It was the effort to save Woodside and then the creation of the first Maplewood history book in 2008 that changed my focus. It was shortly after that when I began to post material on the internet that this job really opened up for me.