The original Maplewood Pool and bath house opened in 1938. This was also the first year of the Maplewood Swimming Carnival and Beauty Pageant. The folks in charge obviously got right down to business. Known today as the Maplewood Family Aquatic Center, it is the place to be on these steamy summer days. Perhaps if I’d spend a bit less time there I’d be able to get more of these history posts out. Nah.
A business owner with an office at Manchester and Bellevue, where MSD is installing new underground pipes, noticed some old streetcar tracks a few inches below street level, and took a photo. MSD spokesperson Sean Hadley says the work is on schedule — it’s set to take about a month. On streetcars: by author of newly-published “Kennedy Music”
Maplewood History: Edgebrook Bridge – Maplewood’s Lost Engineering Marvel
What in the world could our second train depot have to do with our pioneer settler, James C. Sutton’s cabin in the woods? Thanks to a couple of old maps and Luke Havel’s newly discovered photograph we now know almost exactly where the second depot was located. (See my previous post). I imagine by now you’re beginning to think that Luke’s photograph was from 1906 and James Sutton bought his property and built a cabin on it in 1826. 80 years apart.
When I first started digging in the dusty piles of Maplewood history I had no clear idea of what I was after and certainly no idea at all of where the search might eventually take me. I was just helping to put together a physical display for our fledgling historical society. I dug through a lot of records and then later retained a dim memory of reading about certain things or events without actually remembering exactly where I had seen the information. Maplewood History: Our Second Train Depot and James Sutton’s Cabin in the Woods
One of those foggy, dream-like memories had to do with the Maplewood Depot. Old maps show that the building was once on the Greenwood side of the tracks. The only photos I had found show it on the Arbor side. Many Maplewoodians know where it was because the stone wall and stairs that once led to the depot still exist where Marshall, Arbor and Maple end at Canterbury. One might conclude that an earlier depot had been demolished and a new one built opposite it. But my dim memory seemed to recall that the building itself had once been moved from the Greenwood side of the tracks to the Arbor side. I can now say that is indeed what happened. Thanks to some most excellent research by Luke Havel who has located the article in the Post-Dispatch that specifically describes this event.
For the first seven years of Route 66 — from 1926 to 1933 — the road went through Maplewood’s business district, the Missouri History Museum wrote in its blog recently. From the Missouri History Museum:
In 1853 the Missouri Pacific Railroad began running between St. Louis and Webster Groves, with a stop at Maplewood (then described as “[at] the River des Peres, a little beyond the Sutton’s”). The town’s main thoroughfare, Manchester Avenue (now Manchester Road), was also heavily traveled because it served as the connector between St. Louis and Jefferson City.
If the title of this post makes you think of the recently past New Year’s Eve, I understand. There was a time when I would have thought the same thing. But this post has nothing to do with Cousin Hugo’s or Schlafly’s or Foley’s or the Crow’s Nest or the Side Project or any of the other fine Maplewood establishments where you may have spent last Saturday evening.
I am making a joke because had any of the customers of the above seemed headed in the direction the title implies, I’m reasonably certain the proprietors would have gently counseled them before putting them in a cab and sending them home. That’s awfully wordy but I’ve gotta get this thing out. Imagine that you live in Maplewood and the year is 1912. You have the new Maplewood Business Directory and you want to get plastered.
My corralling of Maplewood’s historic photos began early in 2002. Barry Greenberg, now a councilman, had issued a call for persons interested in starting an historical society. Recently retired I showed up along with a fair number of like-minded souls. I don’t recall how many were at that first meeting but I know we had around twenty show up for a few of the later meetings. I didn’t know it then but that was a number that proved difficult to eclipse. Such is the fate of an historical society I would find out later. Possibly the first event we planned was a physical display of historic photographs and items set up in one of the empty store fronts on Sutton. There were several to choose from. Our event took place in one that is now the Maya Café or very close to it.
On a warm weekend in the middle of last September and in the middle of Sutton Avenue, the theater department of St. Louis University presented their Maplewood/Shakespeare adaptation play, “Remember Me”.
The very large audience (I heard 1700 on just Saturday night) was charmed by an all Maplewood cast and the many ghosts of Maplewood portrayed by giant puppets and conjured by the playwright, Nancy Bell. A couple of my favorite ethereal personalities, the Maplewood Spectre (she of the variable height of whom I have written several times) and the ghost of Charles Rannells, the builder of our most historic piece of property, Woodside, were among the spirits roaming the stage those nights. Nancy also borrowed details from a tragic story concerning a very old St. Louis family, the Clamorgans. Some of them including a young woman named Clara once lived just beyond our border in the City of St.
Maplewood resident Eileen Duggan’s father, Les Duggan Jr., a B-17 co-pilot in World War II, was scheduled to fly a combat mission to Germany, but another pilot took his place. The bomber was shot down, and Lt. Duggan was spared. Les Duggan and his two brothers who served were residents of Richmond Heights, nephews of the long-running mayor Lee Duggan. Eileen Duggan wrote about it recently in a piece entitled, The Crew — Dec. 1, 1943, in her blog, Versatiliosity.
It is these old photographs and old buildings that have gotten me into this history business. I’ve been called by others the Maplewood historian and have introduced myself that way. Truth is I’m a history broker. If you have pictured me spending long hours in dusty basements of public buildings or hour after hour in our fine libraries, well I’m afraid I don’t do enough of that. Nine years ago I did a massive amount of research for our Maplewood community history book that I produced for the 100th anniversary of our fair city which was 2008.
It’s stories like these that are true historical treasures of our community. Rarely recorded, they are usually lost when the eyewitnesses to history pass on. Thank you, Mr. Jones for sharing this with us. I’d encourage anyone else with interesting stories or anecdotes to do the same. DH
DECEMBER 7, 1941
I had been a “soda jerk” and cashier at the drug counter at Harper’s Drugs since I was 12 in 1939. In the fall of 1941, Mr. Harper and his son had a discussion and called me over. Bill Harper said the bandages and adhesive tape boxes really looked “shop worn” and, although still sterile, they were several years old.
One part of this job that I haven’t been very good at is creating headlines that will attract attention. Could be just the subjects but Miner’s articles are always clicked on more than mine. I’m thinking his headlines may have something to do with it. For instance would you be attracted to an article titled, “Changes Throughout the Years at 2541 Big Bend”? I don’t think so. It’s boring! Or how about, “EIFS and Historic Buildings.
Maplewood History: You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down or Remember James Sutton? He’s Baaack and He’s Not Alone.
Special Halloween Edition
Once again it’s the time of year when many of our neighbors are dressing themselves in costumes designed to scare you witless. The distraction is disrupting to those of us who are trying to prepare for the zombie apocalypse that we know is coming. All sizes of ghouls and goblins will inhabit our streets and living rooms tonight. Most are in search of candy and treats or just a good time. The supernatural to them…ain’t. Be alert if you’ll be out roaming the streets in one of our historic neighborhoods. Was that a face or just a reflection at that unlighted second story window? The following story is not a work of fiction. A few years ago I received this email:
This is going to sound a little off the wall, but here it goes anyway. I live at (here she provided her address that I have removed due to concern for her privacy) and have lived there for about 17 years. We have 2 ghosts, a man and a woman, that reside in our home.