Maplewood History: The Maplewood Hippodrome

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?

Maplewood History: Billy Jones Unadorned

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.

Maplewood History: The End of a Dry Spell

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.

Maplewood History: Historic Transportation Photograph Available Tonight!

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.

Maplewood History: 4 Buildings, 3 City Halls and 1 Case of Mistaken Identity

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.

Maplewood History: What Was In That Building On The Corner?

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.

Maplewood History: By Request – The Five and Dimes

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”.

Maplewood History: Dinky Streetcar by Billy Jones, Followed by a Veritable Cornucopia of Maplewood Streetcar Photos

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.

Maplewood History: White Castle and Saratoga Lanes

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.

Maplewood History: Yale Loop Fire

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.

Maplewood History: Night of the Cobras

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?

Resident finds1901 Maplewood license plate in backyard

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.

Maplewood History: Where The Clean Air Is—Maplewood!

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).

Maplewood History: Photoshop in the Service of Historic Preservation

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.

Woman shares Maplewood memories

Joan Carollo, who grew up in Maplewood, emailed some remembrances to 40 South. Her grandparents lived in a house that now borders the MRH Early Childhood Center, according to Google Maps. From Joan Carollo:

My grandparents lived on 2816 Burgess Avenue in Maplewood, and raised four children (my mom, one sister and two brothers). They owned a business on Manchester west of Laclede Station Road. My mom was born February 5, 1912.

Maplewood History: Live! This Thursday, the 15th at 6:30 at the Maplewood Public Library

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.

Maplewood History: Tales of the Harper’s Pharmacy by Bill Jones

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?

Maplewood History: The Magnificent Cabinetry of the Harper’s Pharmacy… While We’re on the Subject

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.

Maplewood History: The Magnificent Cabinetry of the Harper’s Pharmacy Saved!

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.