Maplewood History: A Powhatan Theatre Movie Guide and A Salvation Army Photograph

Often the reason there is a lot of time between my posts is that the length of the one in the works just keeps getting longer and longer. That is happening right now.  I’m working on a long one about bicycles which still is not ready.  Meantime former councilman Onis Harper dropped off photocopies of a couple of interesting things.  So let’s take a look at those.

First up is a copy of a 1939 guide to the movies at the Powhatan Theatre.  What interests me about a brochure such as this is that until now I never knew they existed.  When you think about it, probably most of the theaters had their own.  Still this is the only one I have ever seen.

Of course we all knew that the theaters advertised in the newspapers, but how many of you have seen a brochure like this before? It makes perfect sense that a movie fan could pick up one of these at the pharmacy or the hardware store or maybe the grocery store.  The Sutton-Elm Pharmacy advertised on the back was in the spot now occupied by the MauHaus, our cat cafe. This type of “Program Calendar” was undoubtedly very useful but not something one might save.  Who was it that once said the most common items of any civilization become the rarest because they are never preserved?

It’s good for the entire month of September plus a few days in October.  For those of you who might not be familiar with the term Air Dome it was simply an outdoor screen.  Necessary in the days before air conditioning.  I’m not sure where the term originated but it was widely used.  The Powhatan also had a large building adjacent to the Air Dome.  Records indicate the theater seated, variously, 850 persons, 1200 in 1937 and 954 in 1950.  See Maplewood History – Volume Two.

This is the other image that Onis was kind enough to share with us. I don’t know a thing about the Salvation Army. Maybe some readers can fill in the blanks for us.


Thank you, Mr. Harper, for sharing these with us.  Are you related to the Harper family of the Harper Pharmacy fame?  Harper is a surname well known in Maplewood since the beginning.

As always, thanks to everyone who contributes, tips, suggestions, or whatever.  Everything is appreciated.  And don’t forget to wear your mask.

Doug Houser     December 9, 2020


4 thoughts on “Maplewood History: A Powhatan Theatre Movie Guide and A Salvation Army Photograph

  1. Doug, My brother (or maybe now my nephew) own that building discussed here across the street from the Maplewood Salvation Army building…same side to the south. That building and the house just south of it were part of the same property…we just divided it at planning and zoning a few years ago. The house was sold to another party. He has owned it for many years. Don’t know if he knows anything of interest about it. (Maybe the basement?). It has been subdivided into apartments, also for some time.

  2. Great post as always Doug! I lived down the street from the Salvation Army on Rannells, we lived a few houses up from Laclede Station. Walked up the street to the Salvation Army to go roller skating inside the gym many times! Also loved to go to the vacation Bible School in the summer……….awesome little church..

  3. I always enjoy all your posts Doug. Each of them brings back a memory of some sort to me. I remember we went to the Salvation Army Church that was within walking distance from our house, maybe Rannells and Bredell, but I can’t remember for sure. My youngest sister, Sandy, was about 5 years old (1951) when my friends and I put on a “Toms Thumb Wedding” at that Church. I can’t believe it now, but it was a huge success. Probably in the 1940’s there was a tavern in the basement of a building right across the street from the Church. Can’t remember the name of it, but my Dad frequented that place often!! And my Mom always went to E.J’s pharmacy in Maplewood. She trusted E.J. for any of her concerns. I just love these old memories!! Thanks so much Doug

    • Thank you, Nancy, for again adding much to our understanding of what life was like here in the mid-20th century. Your memory as to the location of the Salvation Army Church is correct. Your father probably never knew that the father of E.J. Stark, the pharmacist, was John Stillwell Stark, the publisher of Scott Joplin’s music. I wonder if your father would have recognized Joplin’s name? Interest in Joplin was revived in the early 1970s with the movie, The Sting. I wonder if I would have recognized his name prior to that? Probably not. Thanks for your comment. Good to hear from you.