Maplewood History: John Stillwell Stark – New/Old Images Are Found

Many readers of this blog will recall John Stillwell Stark, the music publisher, from my series of posts on Famous Maplewoodians.  John’s story is complicated.  You are more likely to appreciate this post if you reacquaint yourself with that original post so do that now.  Here is the link.  John Stillwell Stark. For this post I am pirating a column from the internet by this fellow, Larry Melton.  He has his email address at the bottom.  Once I have published this I intend to send him a link and hope that he approves.  If he doesn’t, look for this to disappear very rapidly.  Larry, if it helps you reach a decision, I can guarantee that there is no money involved.  Take a look at my previous post on Stark.  You are welcome to copy it. The image that was most interesting to me was the third one.  Stark’s son, Etilmon and his wife, Margaret are standing in front of their home at 7377 Maple in Maplewood. This is the only known image of that home.  An apartment building occupies the site today.  Stark lived with his son for awhile at that address.  Eventually he purchased a large home across the street at 7360 Maple that still exists. It was there that he died in 1927.

Maplewood History: Taverns of Maplewood and Richmond Heights

Reader Ed Notter has done us all a great service with this exhaustive survey of the many fine watering holes located within and around our two favorite communities.  Here’s Ed to start us off. Not sure if this would be of any interest to you but here’s some “tavern” history of MRH+ in my lifetime. If you don’t think it’s appropriate for 40 South you’re not gonna hurt my feelings, it was fun to put together. The numbered ones are those I frequented at some point in my life and my opinion of them. If you do see a use for it please let your readers know I concede my fallibility and memory loss.

Maplewood History: When Did Sutton and Marshall Avenues Exchange Names and Why?

Those are two questions that I would like to know the answers to but don’t.  All I can say for sure is that sometime between 1893 and 1909 those street names were swapped.  Seven years ago I made a post about the Sutton/Marshall family connection.  You would do well to take another look at it because I don’t want to repost everything and the information is relevant, sort of, to this post.  So go ahead and take a look at The Sutton/Marshall Family Connection.  We’ll wait here. OK, if you didn’t know about the Sutton/Marshall family connection, now you know.  That very first image of the Marshall family home is from the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.  It is very large for a tintype image at least in my experience.  I don’t think it is quite an 8×10 but approaching that.  The last image is lifted from the map of Maplewood in the 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis County.  You can see the footprint of their home still in its original location even though some commercial buildings have been constructed along the road frontage on Manchester and Sutton.  



The good ol’ days?  Anyone wanting to go back to them is delusional.  It is up to us to make the days ahead as good as we possibly can… for everyone.  Our time on this planet is growing shorter.  2020 was in a lot of ways one of those years that stressed many of us to the breaking point.  In 2021, aim high, not low.

Maplewood History: William Lyman Thomas – Spelunker and Other Cave Stories

William Lyman Thomas needs no introduction to regular readers of this site. If you are not one of those, here is a link to a post that has links to the 27 other posts I have made regarding Mr. Thomas and family.  27 posts about the Sutton/Thomas families. What follows is a very interesting article that ran March 25, 1888 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  It mentions a cave in Ellendale that was once explored by Mr. Thomas who along with his wife Kate Sutton were the owners of Ellendale and the developers of the same.  I suspect many of my readers know that Ellendale is the name of a subdivision adjacent to Maplewood but lying within the boundaries of the City of St. Louis.  They also may remember (but this is a long shot) that William and Kate named Ellendale after their daughter, Ella.  I know.  Go figure.

Maplewood History: Evelyn McGregor’s Ginkgo Is At It Again

If you are familiar with ginkgo trees you know that the leaves all turn a brilliant yellow in the fall.  Then the tree drops them…(in what seems like) all at once.  Every year about this time my wife and I, and I’m sure others, try to keep an eye on the landmark ginkgo tree at 7380 Flora.  The yellow carpet created by the falling leaves is worth the walk to see as well. The McGregor legend says that a treasured family matriarch, Evelyn, bought the tree at Shaw’s Garden (Missouri Botanical to you younger folks) and planted it in front of her home.  As we have record that the McGregor’s bought the home in 1922, it seems likely to assume the ginkgo will soon be approaching 100 years on this planet.  A cakewalk for it.  Ginkgos have been known to live 1000 years. If you would like to revisit the posts on the McGregor family, here are two. A Serendipitous Encounter with the McGregor Family Home and History

The McGregor Bakery and the Family Behind It

As followers of this space probably already know I used the carpet of leaves from Evelyn McGregor’s ginkgo on the soft cover of my new book, Maplewood History – Volume Two.  If that seems curious, I used maple leaves as well.  My goal is to increase awareness of this very special tree.  It is as much a part of our history as most of our buildings.  I am sure there are many other trees that qualify.  We must remain mindful of them and not lose them needlessly. If you couldn’t get over to see Evelyn’s ginkgo’s display this year, here are a few of the photos I took today.

Maplewood History: The Maplewood Bike Shop (Updated)

In the early 1970’s I lived for a while in the Delmar Loop area.  I had a very cheap ten speed bike that I had purchased used from a friend.  I didn’t need a lot of money to live on in those days.  Somehow I had managed to accumulate the staggering sum of $325 in my savings account.  It seemed perfectly reasonable to take $125 of it and buy my first fairly good bicycle. I went down to the Touring Cyclist Shop which was in U. City on Olive.  I had made up my mind to buy a Peugeot bike.  I had spent some time looking at one while I was in the army.  Also I remember reading an article about a local fellow who was discharged from whatever branch of service he was in near Seattle.  He had bought a Peugeot bicycle there and ridden it to his home in St. Louis. That was good enough for me, I thought. I’ll get one for myself.  So I took my money, went into the bike shop and was promptly dissuaded from buying the Peugeot bike of my dreams.  The bike repairman/salesman somehow, in ways I don’t remember, convinced me I’d be better off with a Raleigh Grand Prix.  He had a beautiful blue one.  It had no kickstand so at my insistence he installed one made of an aluminum alloy.  He sawed a couple of inches off the end of it and threw the scrap in a bucket.  He was saving the alloy for a friend who was building his own airplane, he told me.

Maplewood History: (Well, kind of) The Barron Mansion – Part 2

Let’s pick up where I left off yesterday which was in about the middle of the demolition process of the Barron Mansion. 
If you missed yesterday’s post you can link to it here.  Barron Mansion – Part 1


What makes it worse is that we keep doing it.  You’d think we’d learn. Since it is now Halloween, here is a bonus ghost story about the Barron Mansion that is from photocopies that were in Joellen’s file.  I don’t know who the author is so I apologize to him/her ahead of time and will happily give them credit once I find out the author’s name. Don’t you love a good ghost story!  I hope to see a lot of folks doing safe trick-or-treating.  Happy Halloween, everyone. Doug Houser     October 31, 2020


Maplewood History: (Well, kind of) The Barron Mansion

The Italianate mansion that Henry Barron, the dentist, had built for his wife and family (I suppose) in 1868 was built to last.  And last it did for 134 years until it was taken down. It was located at the SE corner of Clayton Road and McKnight in Richmond Heights.  So what does this have to do with Maplewood history, you’re thinkin’? Keep reading. Followers of this blog should have a great deal of knowledge about one of our most prominent Maplewood residents, William Lyman Thomas, 1846-1914.  If you have just recently joined us or have gotten a little foggy on the details of WLT’s life, here is a link to take you to a post I made in December of 2019 that contains links to all 28 posts that I had made regarding Thomas including a few concerning his father-in-law, James C. Sutton, Sr.

William Lyman Thomas’s father was Jacob P. Thomas, a Pennsylvanian who moved to St. Louis in 1835.  His mother was Eleanor G. McCutchan, daughter of William and Rebekah McCutchan, Virginia pioneers who purchased a farm on the Clayton road.  Jacob with his brother-in-law, Samuel Black, established a livery-stable business on Walnut St.

Maplewood History: Where was the Maplewood Laundry?

Perhaps the title of this post should be Where was the Maplewood Laundry and Why Would Anyone Care?  In just a couple of minutes you’ll be able to answer both of those questions.  Though I don’t know the exact years, the Maplewood Laundry prospered more than 100 years before today’s Maplewood Wash House. The impetus for this post is an article about the Maplewood Laundry that Mary Piles, relentless curator of things historic at our town’s Citizen’s National Bank of Maplewood (now known as CNB St. Louis Bank) had uncovered in her research.  I decided it would be interesting to include what images I could of buildings that once shared space with the laundry on Manchester.  Thanks again, Mary.  

There is a lot more but the size of Charlie’s fictional walk is getting unwieldy.  I’ll continue it at some point in the future. This is my three hundred and third post about Maplewood History on 40 South News.  I was in a couple of other places prior so there should be somewhere around four hundred posts floating in the ether.  I started with Doug Miner and 40 South almost exactly seven years ago.  My first post was on Oct.

Maplewood History: A Couple of Surprising Discoveries About the Scheidt Hardware Building

If you are not buying everything you can from Scheidt Hardware…well, why the heck not? It is located in one of our best historic buildings.  It has been continuously in business for 115 years, 104 in its current location at 7320 Manchester.  It is a rare survivor.  Nearly all of the neighborhood hardware stores have fallen to the big box ones.  We are very lucky to still have it. I usually park around back to avoid the traffic on Manchester but you can quite often park almost directly in front of the store and be maybe 50 feet away from the object/s you desire.  As for desirable objects, they have very many.  The interior of the store is very clean, well-lighted and a masterpiece of efficient packaging of the very large inventory of goods that they offer. I am familiar with a few of the objections some customers had in the past.  Specifically tobacco smoke and a radio playing a program that a few of us didn’t agree with.  But that was a long time ago.  The new owners, Ben Reynolds and George McCandliss and family, are unfailingly cheerful and accommodating. You owe them your patronage while at the same time you are helping to preserve one of our finest examples of early Maplewood architecture.

Maplewood History: Emil Scheidt and his Hardware Store

One hundred years old this year, this article has been lifted directly from the 1920 History of St. Louis County.  This is another gift from the prodigious research of Mary Piles, keeper of things historic at our town’s former Citizens National Bank of Maplewood known more recently as CNB St. Louis Bank.  

Thanks again to Mary Piles.  Still much more to come. Be safe, everyone.  Wear your mask.

Maplewood History: The 1929 Robbery of Citizen’s National Bank

This article was discovered during the research Ms. Mary Piles has done uncovering the history of her long term employer, Citizen’s National Bank of Maplewood, now CNB St. Louis Bank.  This article appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Mary provided me with a followup to this article which unfortunately I am unable to lay a hand on at the moment.  From memory the robbers were later captured during an attempted robbery of a bank in another state.  Mary, if you would like to add more to this, please do. Thanks again to Mary for the large amount of interesting stuff that she has laid upon us.  Much more to come.

Maplewood History: More from Mary Piles (continued)

A couple of weeks ago I began having difficulty uploading images to the internet.   I suspected my computer because it had acted up before by freezing up. Back then the guys at the Micro Center told me they could fix it but I’d lose everything stored in it.  I declined.  This time I spent quite a while downloading everything to an external hard drive.  Took the computer down to the store where they said it was all right.  While I was there I bought a new router.  Wasn’t anything wrong with the old one but I just figured I’d replace it because it was 4 or 5 years old. A couple of days later an 18 year old friend of mine got the new router working and connected to the thermostat which I had not been able to figure out.  But the computer still could not upload photographs to the internet.  After an hour on the phone with a Spectrum representative who had me connecting and reconnecting the router, modem and computer in every conceivable way, she determined that I needed a new modem. The next day I drove down to the Spectrum store on Manchester.  I drive by there fairly often and have noticed their trucks parked out front.

Maplewood History: More from Mary Piles of Citizens’ Bank

If you are a regular follower of this space you should definitely recognize Mary Piles’ name by now.  I should not have to tell you she is the in-house curator of the historic images and documents at our town’s Citizens’ National Bank of Maplewood and St. Louis (6 locations).  Recently Mary shared with us the fascinating images within Gerry Vazis’ Red Album of Photographs, (Parts I and Part 2) stored these many years in the bank vault.

All the while Mary has been working on a history of her bank.  There was an epic flood in 1915, the same year that the bank was founded.  Mary was curious if the flood had any connection with the beginning of the bank.  I am not sure what her thinking is on this at present.  She can give us an update in the comments section below. She has been kind enough to share with me the results of her research as she has progressed.  Here is some of what she has found.  

Mary has shared much more with us than is contained in this article.  I’m sorry to report that I am still having great difficulty loading images.  Editor Miner had our interface updated but something is still wrong.  I’m going to try a program my grandson has sent and see if it will help.  Keep your fingers crossed. Hope you all are enjoying this weather.  Missouri is a hot spot for Covid as you all probably know.  So wear your masks.

Maplewood History: Citizens Bank of Maplewood

Just when you think you know everything, one like this comes along.  Quite a while ago I did a series of posts about the Bank of Maplewood.  Matter of fact here are the links if you’d like to take a look at them again. Bank of Maplewood – Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Three (continued). If you didn’t look at any of those links at least look at Part Three, will ya?  In Part Three an image from the 1915 Maplewood Directory and a letterhead are shown that make it clear the bank was not still in its original location at the NE corner of Oakview Terrace and Manchester. This story is actually about the Citizens Bank of Maplewood.  Notice that the name is almost the same as the Bank of Maplewood.  Just one word was added.  Just why was this new bank formed is a question that one of the banks longest serving members, Mary Piles, is trying to solve.  I’m curious, too.  Why did these folks feel like they needed another bank only one block away from the one they already had?  What about the Swinks?  John was the president of the Bank of Maplewood and the owner of the building in 1904.  Robert was involved in the start up of Citizens Bank.  Were those guys brothers?  Were the banks competitors? Those are a few of the unknowns to us.  Perhaps some of my readers will be able to shed some light on this?

Maplewood History: Walter, Charles and Assorted Notters

Walter Notter lived in what would one day be Maplewood as early as 1892. He lived with his parents at 7516 (or possibly 7511) Woodland. His WWI draft induction notice says Woodlawn but other records show Woodland. In 1930, Walter and Lillian bought a house at 7237 Bruno for ten dollars.  A handwritten deed seems to attest to this fact.  They raised four sons, Charles, Edward, Joseph and Donald, all of whom served in the military.  Charles, the oldest, served during  WWII. (Correction: Should read, He served immediately after WWII.)  His son, Edward, has very kindly shared these images with us. I would like to thank Ed Notter and the Notter family for sharing these items with us.  It is very hard to imagine what it must have been like to live in our community in the past.  These images make it a bit easier. We are in to September already.  This fact causes this summer person to worry.  Soon we’ll again be inflicted with the annoying coolness.  I know, I know, a lot of you claim to enjoy it including one very close member of my own family.  Just keep it to yourself and wear your masks.

Maplewood History: Where was the Laclede Station?

Most of us in this area are very used to hearing the three words – Laclede Station Road – always together. How many of you ever stopped to think just what and where was this Laclede Station? Laclede was an early property development in what is now the western part of Maplewood. The Laclede Station appears to have been one of the original stops on the Pacific Railroad (later called MoPac) which was completed through what would become Maplewood in 1853. The search for a photograph of the Laclede Station is another Holy Grail of Maplewood history that I’ve been searching for.  From my research thus far I know that Laclede Station was in existence as early as 1855.  This is no doubt why images of it are hard to come by.  Photographs were extremely scarce that long ago.  I suspect that all evidence of the original location was wiped out when Hanley Road was extended south of Manchester and joined to Laclede Station Road just north of Cousin Hugo’s.

Maplewood History: Loose Lips Sink Ships

The words in the title of this post are familiar to many of us boomers who had parents who lived through WWII.  It was the slogan on a war era (1942-45) poster cautioning the Americans at home not to discuss things related to the ongoing battles in Europe and in the Pacific with anyone.  The enemy has ears everywhere was the message. I suppose if I thought about this at all, I thought that sure you’d have to be careful in big cities, on the coasts, if you lived near any military installations or factories that supplied the military or especially if you had family members serving in different parts of the world that you communicated with.  If anything I suspect I thought that the government overemphasized this threat in order to impress it on the few people who might be in a position to make this mistake. There was a rumor of Nazi spies here in Maplewood that I had heard from several folks, notably Tom Bakersmith.  I hadn’t found any evidence of this kind of activity but I had made a post about it and it occupies a short chapter in my new book, Maplewood History – Volume Two.  What follows is the first page from that chapter.  

I wanted a few examples of posters that had carried warnings of situations like this one for this post. I was surprised at how many of them could be easily found.  The National Archives has a huge collection.

Maplewood History: Gerry Vazis’ Red Album of Photographs – Part Two

The occasionally unruly crowd that follows this space has reacted very positively to the first installment of Gerry Vazis’ images from her red album.  There are many more to take a look at so let’s try it again. I don’t need to remind my regular readers that we are seeing these images courtesy of Mary Piles, who curates a large collection of historic images for her employer, Citizens National Bank of Maplewood and Greater St. Louis (6 locations).  Thank you, Mary. I have about nine more images of this 1936 fire but I’m getting off the subject which is the Vazis Red Album.  I think I’ve run all of these images of this frozen disaster in the past but I’m not exactly sure under what title.  If I find it later, I’ll link to it here. There is just one more image from the Red Album that you haven’t seen.  Here it is.

Maplewood History: Gerry Vazis’ Red Album of Photographs – Part One

Gerry’s Red Album survived the conflagration that destroyed the Golde’s department store and the Citizens Bank in 1966.  It had been stored in the bank vault.  It contains 21 images spanning from 1949 until 1962. All of the images are dated.  That’s handy.  Nearly all of them have some information with them such as the location or a title. Once you have seen these images, perhaps you can tell me why this album was kept in the vault.

Gerry’s last name was Vazis.  Maybe the title should read “Vazis’s?”  And I said “was” because I am assuming she (see comment below) is no longer with us but I don’t know that for sure. We are indebted to Mary Piles, the curator of the historic images at Citizens National Bank in Maplewood and Greater St. Louis (6 locations), for allowing me to copy this album.  Thanks, Mary!