Don’t it always seem to go
You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone? From “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell
The history of Freemasonry (whose practitioners call themselves Masons) is long and complicated. Google it. The list of famous members is also long and mostly male since the Masons were fraternal organizations for most of their history. George Washington was a Mason as were Mark Twain (in St.
If you’re like me and get more emails than you can possibly read, then I want to say in this first sentence if you haven’t eaten yet at Toasty Subs, you need to get over there. I don’t know how unusual it is but the menu includes toasty subs and sushi. This suits my wife and I just fine. On our recent visits the food has been excellent. You can find the menu online very easily.
Thinking back to my own high school years which all fell in the 1960’s, those were some pretty rough times. Kids are cruel to each other. If you had the typical teenage short sightedness which I certainly did, it can be tough to see past it. I hadn’t realized it until I started thinking about this latest information from our memoirist, Bill Jones, but back then regardless of age the women always wore skirts and dresses. I think.
Bill, Billy, Will Jones, our premier memoirist, searched his memory bank and was able to withdraw another new/old Maplewood tale just in time for Christmas. I hope you enjoy his:
1939 Christmas at Harper’s Drugs
In November, Alice Harper taught me to gift wrap our large display of “Evening in Paris” perfume and cologne products. She insisted perfection in the results and we first did about a half-dozen “dummy displays” using empty boxes from the pharmacy but really beautiful gift “samples” for display. The “For My One and Only” combination looked beautiful. Our doctor from upstairs came down and carefully examined each Evening in Paris” selection. He picked out the most expensive set marked to “My One and Only”.
With apologies to Wallace Stegner, crossing to safety or more accurately, crossing safely as been an area of concern for railroad communities for a long while. Generations have lived in close proximity to the railroad tracks. Very many have lived right next to them and still do with unfenced yards. Though all sorts of constructions and devices have been created to protect folks from locomotives, now and then the unthinkable occurs. I have been aware of numerous near misses and catastrophes during the time I have lived just a half block or so from the tracks.
A follower of 40 South News, Dave Mell, recently shared four views of the Maplewood Theater — obviously from at least a couple decades — possibly from the 1950s and 1970s. Editor’s note: At least three of these photos — shared on Facebook by Dave Mell last week — were gleaned from previous Doug Houser posts in 40 South News. See also: Maplewood History: A Surprising Discovery About Our Long Forgotten Theater District
OK, you’ve had a long day at work. You’re hot, tired and the crowded, polluted city is getting on your nerves. You need a break so what can you do? You can choose the balm that a large number of your fellow city dwellers regularly do. That is head out to Maplewood, that leafy, shaded, cool suburb that’s only a nickel ride away on the electric car line.
Those two words together, Maplewood and Hippodrome, just seem crazy, don’t they? From Merriam-Webster, a hippodrome is an oval stadium for horse and chariot races in ancient Greece or an arena for equestrian performances. These folks also state that the first known usage of the word was from 1585. If this is true then I have to wonder what did the ancient Greeks call it? Never mind. This is one of those subjects that I have meant to do a bit more research on but haven’t gotten around to it. So let me just put it out here and perhaps one of my hipster readers may be able to add some information to this Maplewood mystery. As you read this article from a 1914 issue of the Maplewood Champion newspaper pay attention to the construction details. This was a very substantial building. I am curious as to how this came to be built in Maplewood and what happened to it?
Well, it is not the actual Maplewood memoirist Billy Jones who is unadorned here. It is his latest story which he has been kind enough to send to us. It is unadorned with photos because I can’t think of any that may relate that you haven’t already seen. After you’ve read the story I’ll provide a few links to the buildings he has mentioned. I hope you are not too disappointed by the misleading title.
I hope. It’s past time for me to put out another blog post of Maplewood History. I have had three in mind, two of which are going to require some research that I can’t seem to get around to doing. The third is a sort of loose idea I’ve had for quite awhile. It needs more work as well.
It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the last Dinner Auction & Awards Ceremony given by our Chamber of Commerce.
As most of you know the Maplewood Chamber and the Richmond Heights Chamber have merged. They’re now the Mid County Chamber and they have put together an event that promises to be a lot of fun. They’re calling it their Superstition Ball since it’s happening on Friday the 13th. They have a very large number of really “hip” items that you can bid on and by buying know you are supporting an organization that helps our community. It’s a great way to give something back. As has been my habit for the last eight or so years (truly I don’t know how long I’ve been doing this) I have created a composite photo from my digital archive. The theme this year is transportation in historic Maplewood. Once again the wonderful folks at Frame of Mind picture framing have agreed to enhance my photograph with their top notch skills at their art. And their practice definitely is an art. Just take a look at how Mark’s skill put the finishing touch to this donation of ours to the chamber’s auction. These guys at Frame of Mind are good. The professionals use them and they know a good frame can make or break a photo, painting, map or what-have-you. You should use them too. They’re at 2900 South Big Bend in our fair city. Their phone number is 314-644-4466. And they are in an historic building! The Parison Bakery.
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me about our first city hall at the NW corner of Hazel and Sutton, I would probably have 20 or maybe 25 cents by now. 7401 Hazel is a lovely building and one of our oldest commercial ones but it was never our city hall. It was put up in 1898 by Dr. Cape who lived across the street. To refresh your memory you might like to take a look at this previous post. Cape, Koester and our First City Hall
We are currently using city hall building #3. I have sifted through my digital archive for what information I can find to answer any questions you may have about our city halls once and for all. Or at least for a year or so until everyone including me has completely forgotten the contents of this post. To sum it all up, we used city hall #1 for 14 years, city hall #2 for 40 and city hall #3 for 53 and counting.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from reader Meredith. She said, “I am looking for some historical information on a building. I’m a big fan of the historic Maplewood blog posts and I’m curious about the building at 7376 Manchester, on the SE corner of Manchester and Sutton. Do you have any information on its original purpose or other history of the building throughout the years? Meredith, I do and here it is.
Last post reader Michelle lamented that she had seen a lot of old Maplewood photos but strangely enough none of the images were of J.J.Newberry’s or Woolworth’s 5 and 10 Cent stores. Then she asked the question, “Doug?”
OK, Michelle, I’ll admit I don’t think I’ve run any images of those two stores. Not on this blog anyhow. I put a couple of Woolworth- themed photos in “the First 100 years, Maplewood MO” (The title of the 2008 book co-authored by Joyce Cheney and myself contains no typos, blame the cover designer.) So I will run those photos again here for those of you who are not lucky enough to have one of the 1,000+ copies that have been sold and will someday soon be available again through our C of C.
Also, Michelle you are doubly lucky because the well-known and highly regarded Maplewood memoirist Billy Jones somehow channeled this effort and unsolicited provided the following manuscript. Music and Maplewood – 1935
We had Newberry’s and Woolworth Dime Stores at Sutton across Manchester from our “Bank of Maplewood”.
In Maplewood, we youngsters from Lyndover Elementary School once monthly took our tour on our “Dinky” streetcar. Where Lindbergh now meets Big Bend were streetcar tracks and a trolley wire over Big Bend. Big trucks did not drive on Big Bend. Our yellow “Dinky” streetcar stopped for us on the east side of Big Bend and our conductor manually took the fare box from the front to the back pole. He then engaged the rear trolley wire and tied down the front trolley wire.
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?
A Maplewood resident on Marietta Avenue has been searching his yard with a metal detector, and recently found an old license tag and two quarters from the early 1900s. Greg Lappin found a 1901 Maplewood license tag and the quarters in a corner of his yard, where he said a “Model A garage” once stood. He said it can be seen in a 1955 aerial photograph, found on the St. Louis County website. The quarters are: a 1917 Standing Liberty Quarter, and a 1903 Barber Quarter, named after the department of treasury designer who designed it.