The photographs of Maplewood’s business district that I have been running for the last four or five blogs have generated a lot of interest and a few requests. This post is what amounts to a file dump. Due to the difficulty most readers would have searching my old posts, I am posting some images that I have used before and some that I haven’t. To be honest, I’m not absolutely sure which is which.
And I found the text below in the same file with the photographs. I wrote it at some time in the past but I don’t think I ever used it. A cursory search turned up nothing. So I’m taking the easy way out and just reposting everything. I hope you enjoy:
A Look at Downtown Shortly Before the Demolitions Began
In the 1960s and 70s, Maplewood and many older inner-ring suburbs were declining. Sprawl and increased reliance by the populace on car travel had lured away most of the customers who once supported their retail districts.
In a move to return the Maplewood retail district to profitability several plans were floated that would make one wince today. The first plan led by the president of Citizens Bank, James Holton, was called “A Return to the Maple Leaf” and would have torn down nearly everything between Manchester and Lohmeyer and from Oakview Terrace to Big Bend. After “The Wedge” and a few homes were razed, outraged citizens launched a referendum and managed to halt the project.
Then another group of citizens started a petition drive to allow a vote on the project and “A Return to the Maple Leaf” was on again. A short time later following the withdrawal of an important anchor it collapsed for the second and final time.
A few months after this, Mr. Holton and supporters had another slightly smaller plan. This one which involved bringing a K-Mart store to downtown Maplewood would see completion.
I believe the accompanying photos were most likely taken by a concerned citizen shortly before the demolitions began.
Thanks to everyone who turned out for my talk at the library on the 19th. That is something I always enjoy doing.
My finished book, Maplewood History – Volume Two, is now facing another delay. The Printing Source which had already reprinted Volume One and furnished me with the proof pages to Volume Two has gone out of business. I am looking for someone in the area who prints short runs of books. Know of anyone?
As always, I appreciate everyone who contributes comments, emails, suggestions, tips or what-have-you. The amount of very old artifacts and information that have come to light during this now 17 year old investigation is truly amazing.
Even though you can’t tell it today, summer is almost over. Cool weather will be here before we know it. I know there are many fans of cool weather. I kind of understand that.
Doug Houser 9/29/2019