Matthew Langston’s discovery of the streetcar rails and cobblestones uncovered during the recent repaving of Big Bend is a good excuse to rerun some of the photographs of the streetcars that once glided over them. [Editor: see a map of streetcar routes in St. Louis]
By Bill Jones: White Castle was our only stop on the way to Saratoga Lanes. The White Castle was located in the 7400 block of Manchester–about 40 feet west of Sutton. Johnny Ryan’s Tavern was on the southwest corner of Sutton and Manchester and did NOT serve food. The City of Maplewood wouldn’t license them to serve food. Their customers would take White Castles to Ryan’s and have them with their schooners of Falstaff.
No one asked for this post. I ran one of these images in my previous post, “Night of the Cobras”. I had a thought while looking at the Yale Loop Fire file that my blog followers would probably like to see these other images. That day it was 104 degrees in Maplewood. Perhaps that explains part of the appeal of these images to me.
A photograph sent by a reader, Michele, started me thinking about how we traded our original old streetlights for the modern (at the time) cobra heads. Then how our taste flipped and we gratefully deep sixed the cobra heads only to replace them with guess what? Faithful reproductions of the originals.
Then I started to think about some of the really wonderful streetlights that I’ve seen in Europe and I wondered have they kept them all along? If they have how is it that they’re smarter than us?
By now Bill Jones should need no introduction. He is very good at supplying me with these short sketches from his experiences here in Maplewood. I’ve been less good at getting them posted. I know you’ll enjoy this one titled:
Where The Clean Air Is–Maplewood! In 1934, we moved to Maplewood because mother had a lung condition (indicating possible TB).
After I retired at the end of 2001, I helped some folks start the Maplewood Historical Society. One of our first projects was making enlargements of some of the historic photographs in our library’s collection and displaying them in a then empty storefront on Sutton. To save money we made the enlargements on Kinko’s copy machine. Worked pretty good too. Some of the first old timers I talked to were Elmer Wind Jr. of EJ Tire (on and in the Wedge) and Alan Blood of the Maplewood Mill.
Truth be told it’s me that’s live. Maplewood History is, of course, being created constantly but just about everything I’m going to talk about happened a long time ago. I have carefully selected about a hundred and ten digital images to present to you Thursday evening. As Dawn has mentioned all ripe fruit must be checked at the door. I will be live and I want to stay that way so don’t bring any weapons either.
These stories that Mr. Jones has been submitting are priceless. I’m not sure whether I should refer to him as Bill, Will or Billy but no matter. His stories let us understand past life in our community that we couldn’t possibly imagine otherwise. I’m sure you’ll enjoy his latest called:
My Lesson in Growing Up
February 5, 1939–My sister said, It’s Mr. Harper calling for Billy.” Mr. Harper asked me, “Will you be twelve tomorrow?
April 17, 2017, the New York Times, page A4. That is the location of a disturbing article by Alissa Rubin titled, “As Village Homes Are Stripped Bare, French History Vanishes.” Ms. Rubin then goes on to describe how speculators and sometimes owners are stripping many of France’s historic buildings of their “architectural treasures and sell(ing) them, often abroad, leaving once graceful historic structures little more than empty shells behind gaily painted facades.”
Just what exactly are these defilers of French history making off with? The NYT’s article lists “antique tile floors, wood paneling, mantelpieces and chimneys and sometimes even …staircases.” It also mentions floorboards, wooden window frames and doors. Many of these items wind up in expensive homes in Germany, the United States, Japan and some are bought by foreigners for their vacation homes in the south of France. A terra cotta tile floor for a kitchen might be worth $6,500, a mantelpiece, as much as $10,000, and an antique oak door, $600.
Now this is a story I’ve been wanting to post for a long time. Three years anyhow. Those of you who have been following this blog for that long will recall that is when the magnificent cabinetry of the original Harper’s Pharmacy was removed so the space could be restored. You may also recall how many of us were upset with Mr. John Hickey, director of the local chapter of the Sierra Club because he chose not to have the cabinets returned to the place they had been since their installation in 1926. We had an almost completely intact interior of an historic pharmacy, a time capsule of our community, miraculously survive until that April of 2014.
My last post featured a story from 1910 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that told of a serious yet completely forgotten explosion in Maplewood. It came to light from the furious digging of Maplewood history aficionado, Luke Havel. Commenting on that post, Luke pointed out that there was another very interesting Maplewood related story on the opposite side of that front page. I agreed.
Some posts are easier than others. This is one of the easiest of all. For me it is like shooting fish in a barrel even though I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to do that. For those of you who may be young enough to be unfamiliar with the phrase, like shooting fish in a barrel implies that something is as easy as taking candy from a baby even though I can’t imagine why anyone would do that either. Enough of this.