Maplewood History: A Small House in a Shady, Clean Air Suburb

Whoever built the small home that was once located at 2533 Big Bend may have been looking for an affordable escape from the stinking, cacophonic mess that the big city a few miles east had become.  I have no information as to when the little house was built.  But I have always thought that little houses are as important to a well-rounded community as big ones.  Some folks just don’t need a big house.  Small house, small mortgage also makes a lot of sense. My guess, knowing the history of some of the surrounding landscape, is that this home was built in the 20th century but very early.  I think some of the details are what one might find on a dwelling from the 1890s. On our old reliable map from the 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis County, Big Bend, north of Manchester, is still shown as Pennsylvania.  Searching for 2533 Pennsylvania on turned up nothing.  I suppose it is possible that the address changed at some time but I’m not sure how to find out. My curiosity got the better of me on March 13, 2006 when, knowing the little house was not long for this world, I decided to stop by and have a look.  I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the construction and some of the materials used in this tiny home.

Maplewood History: Woodside Meets Wash U

For those of you who came in late, Woodside, ca. 1848, is Maplewood’s oldest home as far as we know.  For 17 years, from 1999 until 2016, myself and many others worked to preserve and protect Woodside.  I hoped that Woodside could become the home of the Maplewood Historical Society and a community museum to boot.  17 years…  If you ever want to hear a one-sided rant about why that didn’t happen, just ask me the next time we run into each other on the street. On March 3, 2006, the historian of St. Louis County, Esley Hamilton, brought grad students from his class on historic preservation at Washington University to witness Woodside in the rough.  The photographs in this post were taken on that day. If you don’t know the fascinating story of Woodside and the Rannells family, this link will connect you to other posts on the subject.

Maplewood History: The Amazing Lillian Weber Herold Collection – Part Four

Images of the Herold’s Brentwood Store and Home

The descendant of Lillian Weber Herold who has so generously lent us historic family images has done it again.  This time we have been given a window into the past of the Herold store and home at 8500 Manchester in Brentwood after they left their location at Flora and Big Bend in our fair city. I don’t think we know why the Herold’s moved but it didn’t go well for them.  I would urge you to take another quick look at the links below.  The historic photographs and documents contained within are truly a treasure loaded with details that may have already begun to slip your mind. Part One

Part Two

Part Three

A Followup – The Murder

The Colonial Pleasure Club

Manchester Road has come a long way since 1930, the year the last image was made.  Now we can easily see why they called it a road.  I googled 8500 Manchester and was surprised to learn that today it is the location of my barbershop, Kings & Queens.  They used to be in Maplewood in the 7400 block of Manchester.  I highly recommend them.  Nice folks, relaxed atmosphere.  You can’t go wrong.  It still floods though.  Not often but now and then. Putting out this blog, I’m reminded over and over of a quote from Ernest Hemingway.  He said,”Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true story teller who would keep that from you.” I’d just like to say thanks once more to Lillian’s descendant who has not only preserved this fascinating collection but has been kind enough to share it with us.  As someone else once said, “we get by with a little help from our friends.”

Maplewood History: The Intersection of Manchester and Big Bend in 1955

I have been asked by Editor Miner to answer a question from someone at the NextSTL website regarding what businesses or entities occupied the four corners of the intersection of Manchester and Big Bend in 1955.  I can share this with my readers and kill two birds with one stone.  I believe I have covered all of this before in past posts but bear with me.  You may have forgotten some of it.  I put some numbers on an aerial image that may help. Well, I can say for certain what was on three of the four corners in 1955.  I hope that will satisfy the inquiring mind at NextSTL.  I added numbers five and six to the aerial image as a bonus.  Number five is the much missed, by those of us who appreciate good architecture, Masonic Temple.  

Thanks again to everyone who contributes to this effort.  It continues to be entertaining.  I appreciate very much your interest and support. Doug Houser          October 26, 2021

Addenda: In response to comments made by Jim Scheidt below, I am posting the following images.  DH 10/27/2021




Maplewood History: The Colonial Pleasure Club

Who the heck has ever even heard of the Colonial Pleasure Club much less knows exactly where it was located?  Lillian Weber Herold once did.  So does her direct descendant who has been kind enough to share this latest discovery with us.  So will you after you read this post. I know I have said this before.  This is another extremely rare photograph.  It has a lot of information on it.  The exact location of where the image was captured is known.  The year is known. It also provides answers to questions we had earlier during the first round of Lillian Weber Herold collection images.  Take a look at the last images in this earlier post. The Lillian Weber Herold Collection – Part One

And a dog even made it into the picture!  Historic images don’t get much better than this one. Thanks again to the descendant of Lillian Weber Herold for sharing this wonderful bit of her family history with us.

Maplewood History: Previously Unpublished Images of Charles Samuel and Mary Warder Rannells

And the hits just keep on comin’! That was a line I most likely first heard on KXOK sometime in the 1960s.  I don’t know where to go with that metaphor so I’ll just mix them up a bit.  We have hit the paydirt in the mountain of Maplewood History once again.  We have struck a historical gold vein.  Wow!  Crazy but if one tasked themselves with finding these images of one of our pioneer families, you simply wouldn’t be able to do it.  It is one shot in a million, the historical needle in the haystack of history. Again we have Rachel Potter to thank for most of this material.  Rachel is a direct descendant of Elizabeth Rannells, daughter of Charles and Mary. Let’s get started. This is a bit complicated so pay attention.  If you need to review some of the earlier material here are the links.

Maplewood History: Go to the Chamber Auction and Buy This Photograph!

This Friday, October the 8th, the Mid County C of C is having their annual auction, a 1920’s Soiree.  You can get all of the details here.  For about the last decade or so, the kind folks at Frame of Mind Picture Framing Shop and I have partnered to produce a highly collectible image for the chamber to sell.  This year we’ve done it again! For 2021, I have made a composite photograph of very early images of the Wedge at Southwest and Manchester.  Elmer Wind Jr., who was born in the upstairs of the wedge building, was kind enough to let me copy his images many years ago for the benefit of the community.  Elmer is no longer with us. I used to stop by Elmer’s beautiful home on Gayola and have a chat.  Built by his father, it had many interesting features.   I remember vintage high end hardware.  An original door closer appealed to me.  The front porch has a ring of smooth glazed bricks around the inside base of the porch wall.  So the mop won’t hang up on them, Elmer once explained. It was a museum of Maplewoodiana.  Elmer even had a gas pump from the family business, EJ Tire, on the wedge.  Hanging on the wall was an original photograph of the Goodyear blimp by Margaret Bourke White.  It had been an award for outstanding tire sales.  The house was full of cool and fascinating items.  Elmer loved to talk about them all.  He loved visitors.  You would do well to have a prearranged exit strategy before you went.

Maplewood History: The Last Will and Testament of Ann Aston Warder

Readers may recall from previous posts that Ann Aston Warder was the mother of Maplewood’s own, Mary Warder Rannells.  Descendant Rachel Potter kindly copied to me Ann’s handwritten will.  Tonya Lane Ferguson kindly offered to transcribe it.  This was no small undertaking. Ann Warder Will

State of Clark County, Ohio

Be it remembered that heretofore, to wit: on the 18th day of August 1871, the last will and testament of Ann A. Warder late of said County Deceased was produced for probate by the Executors therein named said will and testament is in the words and figures following, to wit:

I, Ann Warder of the County of Clark in the State of Ohio, in consideration of the uncertainty of Life and the ever nearness of Death do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following hereby revoking all former wills:

First:   I wish to give some parting advice to my children — seek the Lord earnestly & fervently — seek His blessing as the one thing needful. Then, when you know him individually for yourselves that He is indeed your Father, that He will grant to you Salvation through the atoning Sacrifice of Christ Jesus, our mediator, our Redemptor, then all else is easy, whether prosperity and adversity is our position in this life, we shall know that a Fathers hand has given or withheld all is by his Providence. Second: It is my will and desire that all my just debts be first fully paid and satisfied. Third: My household, kitchen and cupboard furniture and family supplies, linen, books, pictures, silver, and clothing I give to my daughters Sarah W. Cumming and Mary W. Rannells and daughter-in-law Elizabeth B. Warder or their survivors to be equally divided by them among all my children namely Sarah W. Cumming, John A. Warder, George A. Warder, Mary W. Rannells, William Warder, James Thomson Warder, and Benjamin H. Warder share and share alike without any listing or appraisement by our Executors and if any of the said children shall die before me leaving lawful issue their such issue shall take the share his, her, or their parent would have received if living at the time of my death.

Maplewood History: An Image from the Mid-1930s of Manchester at Laclede Station Road

Don’t you love images like this one?  It is a stretch of Manchester that is familiar to all of us who live in or near Maplewood.  Recognizable but almost completely different from the way it looks today. We are looking west down Manchester.  The intersection is that of Laclede Station Road.  I have never seen an image of the cool filling station that was once on the northwest corner.  Notice that it is a Phillips 66 station.  The 66 was for Route 66, the mother road that ran straight through Maplewood. The cars are from the mid-1930s. The original Route 66 was so designated from 1926 through 1933.  This image is almost certainly of the original Route 66.  Perhaps by the time this photograph was taken the alignment (as they are known) had been moved to Watson a couple of years earlier.  No matter.  The view wouldn’t have changed much. The NE corner today is the location of the Aldi’s supermarket.  The Volvo dealer occupies both the SE and the SW corners.

Maplewood History: Pre-Restoration Images of Woodside

In June of 2004, Maplewoodian Greg Rannells, a direct descendant of Charles and Mary, was allowed inside the old family home.  He took the images featured in this post and was kind enough to let me copy them.  Before receiving these from Greg neither I nor anyone else involved with the effort to save Woodside had seen the inside of it. As the reader can see it was in rough shape but surprising to those of us who love old houses was how much of the original fabric remained.  The years spent as a nursing home had caused a few modifications to be made, of course.  But beneath the later year add-ons much of the 1848 home remained. Readers unfamiliar with this story can find out much more about it from the following links. Woodside and the Rannells Family

Edward “Ned” Rannells of Woodside

The Historic Papers of Woodside 1838-1914

On Edward “Ned” Rannells

Jeremiah and Ann Aston Warder

Or by purchasing one of my books.  Maplewood History, Volume Two is available at Scheidt Hardware at 7320 Manchester.  Volume One is available at the Chamber of Commerce just a few doors west at 7326A, 314-781-8588. There is a steep flight of stairs inside but you probably need the exercise.  It’ll be worth it.  If you’re not up to the stairs, just holler and I’m sure they will toss down a copy for you provided you leave the correct amount of cash or I imagine they may have one of those other much more modern ways of exchanging money which I don’t know anything about but I can’t say for sure.  Let me know.

Maplewood History: The Legacy of Big Boy #4014

When smoke spewing Big Boy #4014 blasted through Maplewood on August 30 thrilling hundreds of steam engine buffs, railroad fans and curious onlookers; it was a reenactment of an evolution of an event that probably first occurred 167 years ago.  I don’t know yet exactly when the first steam engine passed through James Sutton’s farm as the Pacific Railroad pushed west.  It may have been 1854. According to the Summer 1994 issue of the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, Historical and Technical Society, Inc., “the Pacific Railroad built through the area” (meaning the Sutton farm) in 1853.  According to information from Joe Sonderman’s Facebook page, Vintage St. Louis & Route 66, this first engine reached “Sulphur Springs, (Cheltenham) … present day Hampton and Manchester” on December 9, 1853.

Maplewood History: Jeremiah Warder and Ann Aston – Early Rannells Family History

If you are a follower of this space you will already know that three of my last four posts have been about Woodside, Maplewood’s oldest home and the Rannells family that built it and occupied it for 70+ years.  If you don’t know this you can find out by examining the following links. Woodside and the Rannells Family
Edward “Ned” Rannells of Woodside
The Historic Papers of Woodside 1838-1914
On Edward “Ned” Rannells

In this post, I’m displaying some material generously sent by a descendant of the Rannells family, Ms. Rachel Potter.  These images are of exceedingly rare and early items that we are very fortunate to have a look at. To help you orient yourself, I’ll start with a Rannells family tree that was provided to me by Elise Todd. In 2017, I received a number of very interesting emails from Ms. Potter.  To these she attached images of paintings, photographs and even pages from Ann Aston’s will.  I will excerpt them here in the order received.  The first arrived on January the 23rd. I had written somewhere in an earlier post that there may have been a family home in England that was named Woodside.  I no longer remember the source of that information but Ms. Potter believes that it is incorrect.  The next email arrived on January the 27th.

Maplewood History: The Wedge – A Triptych

Triptych definition is – a picture (such as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by side. Not long ago some of the folks at the Schlafly Bottleworks asked if I would be interested in helping to design a display based upon the history of Maplewood for the inside of their brewery. I was and I did. What I came up with is a triptych of composite photographs of scenes that could be seen at some time in the past from their front door.  These images are meant to be hung side by side and read from left to right or in your case top to bottom. These images are 16×20 inches which means what you’ll see on your telephone has to be greatly reduced.  I hope they display well for you.

Maplewood History: On Edward “Ned” Rannells

If you are a follower of this space you will already know that my last three posts have been about Woodside, Maplewood’s oldest home and the Rannells family that built it and occupied it for 70+ years.  If you don’t know this you can find out by examining the following links. Woodside and the Rannells Family

Edward “Ned” Rannells of Woodside

The Historic Papers of Woodside 1838-1914

In this post, I’m including some of the material obtained from the newspapers regarding Ned Rannells.  I am also having a look at a couple of images, I believe were in his possession. Ned was born in 1854 and passed in 1920.  His father, Charles, passed in 1877.  His mother, Mary Warder, passed in 1896. This is great.  I can say for certain that Ned Rannells, from what would one day be Maplewood, was a cowboy participating in the cattle drives in the 1800s that have been mythologized by countless articles, books, movies, and TV shows.  He was there and I’d bet he’d say it was no picnic.  

Among the documents and photographs in Ned’s tin box were a couple of images that I noted but didn’t pay much attention to at first.  One was a stereopticon card of San Xavier cathedral south of Tuscon and the other was of the Casa Grande ruins not far from there.  You run into these things in family papers that at first seemed unconnected to the story.  Then I realized that Ned was in that area as a cowboy.  A little more research showed that the images were produced during that period.  I surmise he brought them back with him or sent them home as souvenirs.

Maplewood History: The Historic Papers of Woodside 1838-1914

One of the many interesting things that have happened out of the effort to save Woodside involved the Rannells family papers. This collection is a wide variety of legal papers, household and farm receipts, cancelled checks and documents of many different kinds. The papers of Charles Rannells dated from 1838 to 1865. There are also many papers that were generated from the activities of his wife, Mary Warder Rannells and his son, Edward W. Rannells. Edward’s are the latest with the most recent dating from 1914.  Charles passed in 1877, Mary in 1896 and Edward in 1920.

Maplewood History: Edward “Ned” Rannells of Woodside

Long summer days and beautiful weather (to a heatophile) conspire to keep me away from my computer until the last hour or two before I turn in.  As I mentioned in my last post, I have accumulated a large amount of information on one of our earliest pioneer families, the Rannells.  It is my intention to post as much of this material as I can.  For this reason I thought it worthwhile to refresh my readers’ memories by posting these pages from my latest book Maplewood History, Volume Two. Please keep in mind that the more of you who spring for a copy of my latest book, the less this adventure will wind up costing me when it is all said and done.  Your purchase will be helping me to pay for this retirement hobby of mine that I am sharing with you. Due to my lack of experience with or understanding of eBay, my book is no longer available on that site.  I don’t know what venue would be the best way to sell  it over the internet.  If you do, I’d appreciate the advice.  I also don’t know anything about these more modern ways of exchanging money that I have heard just a little about. Meanwhile, I better get to bed so I can get up early enough to be at the pool when it opens at 11 this morning. As always, I appreciate your interest and support.

Maplewood History: Woodside and the Rannells Family

Longtime followers of this space may remember that for about 17 years I and many others were involved in several schemes that were designed to keep Woodside, Maplewood’s oldest home, standing.  Due to the efforts of many, Woodside has not only survived but has been beautifully restored by her new owners. Over the course of that long project, I met many members of the Rannells family whose ancestors built Woodside.  They generously shared a very large amount of the historic documents, artifacts and images that they had carefully preserved.  I intend now to post as much of this material as I possibly can. I think a good way to bring everyone up to speed is by posting a couple of chapters from my latest book, Maplewood History, Volume Two, copies of which are still available from me or Scheidt Hardware (True Value to you newcomers) and on eBay.  

Aren’t those pretty?  If you like the looks of these pages, you can get all 177 of them neatly contained within a softcover for only $35 or a hardcover for only $50.  If you live close enough, I’ll be happy to deliver.  Or you may just want to make it over to Scheidt Hardware at 7320 Manchester.  The books were available on eBay but have disappeared.  I think I’ll try listing them on Amazon. And remember I designed these books to become valuable collector’s items.  They are printed and assembled by some of the best folks in the area.  Only the highest quality paper was used.

Maplewood History: Let Them Eat Art #1

It has been 15 years since the first Let Them Eat Art event in 2006.  Sometime before that I recall standing in front of one of the most famous paintings in America, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, and thinking that if the old white farmhouse in the painting was Woodside it would be completely restored and tour buses would be pulling up in front of it.  Such is the power of art. Woodside (2200 Bredell) is the oldest building in Maplewood that we know of.  It is safe today but in 2006 it was badly deteriorated and in danger of demolition.  Finding the money to restore it seemed like an impossible dream. Additionally, the Maplewood Mill buildings were for sale.  Owned for nearly 100 years by the prominent Blood family they would soon have a new owner.  I wanted the community to know that the chimney and cyclone dust collector were part of the historic fabric of the site and should be preserved.  They were both structurally sound.  I began to think of ways that the dust collector might become a feature to be appreciated.  Who better to ask than artists?  I have written about this so I won’t repeat the struggle here but you can link to those writings. I thought that we needed an art event in Maplewood which would allow me to farm some of the artists for ideas.  Fortunately a new community development director named Rachelle L’Ecuyer had recently been hired.  I called her and told her Maplewood should have an art event.  She had been thinking the same thing and suggested Bastille Day.  Jay Schober named it, Let Them Eat Art. The first year was wild.  We had very little money so we divided up and canvassed the business community for donations.  I still remember how much I was able to raise.  $0.  Despite that frustrating beginning, many other things went well.

Maplewood History: The Amazing Lillian Weber Herold Collection – A Follow Up

OK. Now where were we?  When I ended Part Three, we left Lillian and her husband, Edmund, standing in the doorway of their store on the NW corner of Big Bend and Flora. The year was 1914. Perhaps we should back up a little further.  I’ll refresh your memory with the blockbuster photograph that appeared in Part One. That image (which follows) was taken in 1904 at the NE corner of Big Bend and Manchester.

The National Building Arts Center: The Legacy of Larry Giles

In Pictures

The creation of the National Building Arts Center in Sauget, Illinois is the result of a lifelong effort by a Maplewood native, Larry Giles.  Larry once told me that he lived on Bredell near Woodside when he was a young boy.  He and his friends explored the surrounding area with curiosity that was sometimes dangerous. They played on slag heaps left by some unknown industrial operation near the location of the present day Loew’s store. Larry also explored the original mid-19th century Bartold’s Inn building once located at the Sunnen site.  By then it was abandoned and standing open.  About 1960, he found a painting of the Inn in one of the rooms there.  This same painting he gave to me to add to our collection of historic artifacts at the Maplewood Public Library.  He preserved the painting in good condition for 60+ years. Larry also insisted that there was no cave behind the building. He said the back walls of the lower rooms were the solid bedrock of the hill.