Maplewood History: 7396 Flora Avenue – continued

Here are a few more images of the results of the disastrous fire that spelled the end of 7396 Flora Avenue. You can link to the first post here.

An elegant half newel post at the top of the stairs.  The spindles of the balustrade are slender and well done.

I have forgotten the name of this gentleman standing at the top of the stairs on the second floor. He’s not me in case you are wondering.

The stairs to the attic.

Collapsed roof.

Front bedroom bedlam.

Antique furniture gone to rack and ruin.


Antique dresser splintered.

Front bedroom with view of the church.

A rolltop desk can be glimpsed through the debris.

The bottom of an antique cupboard.

The side of the same cupboard.

The top of the same cupboard.

I started to describe this scene as carnage but then thought I better look that one up. Sure enough, awful as it is, it’s not carnage. Thankfully no people or animals were lost in this fire.

A push button wall switch.

A very nice walnut table inside the enclosed sleeping porch.

Another look at that beautiful staircase.

In the basement.


The fuel tank that may have contributed to the conflagration.

I’ll end with a few items that turned up during the research. Here is the first. In 1918, Alfred Weidmer’s car was stolen.

In 1932, the Weidmer’s daughter was married. The Weidmers had moved from 7396 Flora sometime prior to 1922 when the first Dr. Clifford bought it.

Although Alfred had passed in 1937, Mary Weidmer lived until 1961.

What is the takeaway from all of these pictures of destruction? I suppose it is don’t take the threat of a fire lightly.  Proper fire safety precautions should be adopted by us all.  There was no coming back for 7396 Flora after this conflagration.  Be thankful for and protective of our historic buildings.

As always thanks to everyone who has commented on the posts and sent tips, suggestions, etc. by email or otherwise. I appreciate your support.

Doug Houser          March 9, 2020

5 thoughts on “Maplewood History: 7396 Flora Avenue – continued

  1. Thanks for your post. I’ve been thinking about writing a very comparable post over the last couple of weeks I’ll probably keep it short and sweet and link to this instead if thats cool. Thanks.

  2. Were they able to salvage any antiques or any other possessions? It’s sad to think what was lost.

    • I don’t know, Gary. I was in touch with a member of the Clifford family before the fire. The Clifford family still owned the home. This particular gentleman lived in Florida. We intended to look at some of the Clifford family memorabilia that was in the attic. This was going to occur the next time he was in town. I don’t know what all it consisted of but I imagine the usual, photographs, documents, letters, cards, etc. Pains me to think about it. It truly is a sad loss to all of us.

  3. Doug, Gary here, I walked over the grounds of the destroyed house and found a slightly soggy and dirty stack of baseball cards. I knew the owner was a dentist and had a large baseball collection. I cleaned and dried the cards. Finally I located the owner at his new site at the end of Watson Rd. and presented him with the cards.

    • Gary, this is just one more reason why myself and many others feel very lucky to have you as a friend. That was an extraordinarily nice thing for you to have done. Now how about the staircase? I hope someone cleaned and dried it and took it home with them. After many years of doing that sort of architectural salvage myself, I swore that I was going to quit. Every time I look at the photos of that beautiful staircase I can’t bear to think of it going into a landfill. We truly don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone.
      You haven’t heard me mention the Harper’s Pharmacy cabinetry for awhile. We are coming up on the sixth anniversary of that fiasco. I have a chapter about the cabinets in my new book which will be out soon. I’ll do a post about the book as soon as I have the hard copies in hand.