Whoever built the small home that was once located at 2533 Big Bend may have been looking for an affordable escape from the stinking, cacophonic mess that the big city a few miles east had become. I have no information as to when the little house was built. But I have always thought that little houses are as important to a well-rounded community as big ones. Some folks just don’t need a big house. Small house, small mortgage also makes a lot of sense.
My guess, knowing the history of some of the surrounding landscape, is that this home was built in the 20th century but very early. I think some of the details are what one might find on a dwelling from the 1890s.
On our old reliable map from the 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis County, Big Bend, north of Manchester, is still shown as Pennsylvania. Searching for 2533 Pennsylvania on Newspapers.com turned up nothing. I suppose it is possible that the address changed at some time but I’m not sure how to find out.
My curiosity got the better of me on March 13, 2006 when, knowing the little house was not long for this world, I decided to stop by and have a look. I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the construction and some of the materials used in this tiny home.
What follows is self explanatory. It’s everything I found on Newspapers.com about the folks who once lived here.
There you have it. A detailed look at a physical part of our historic fabric that exists no longer. How many of you that were here in 2006 even noticed that little house?
Thanksgiving is over and we’re headed for Christmas. The older I get, the faster everything seems to happen. Only good thing about that is maybe winters will seem much shorter too.
As always, I appreciate your interest in and support of this effort.
Doug Houser November 28, 2021
Greg Smith kindly provided this information too late to make the comments section. I appreciate it and wanted to make sure it is included. DH 7/29/2022
Hi Doug, my name is Greg Smith. I just read the article you published in November 2021 about the house at 2533 Big Bend. That house was built in approx. 1890-1894 and I believe was in the Geisler family most, if not all of that time. I was born in 1954 and lived in the house until 1957 when my Dad built a house on Rannells where many of the Geisler’s lived. “Grandma Geisler” owned a lot of the land there around the turn of the century and “gave” a house to each of the kids. Geisler is my mother’s maiden name, her father and mother, William and Agnes Geisler died, William in 1961, Agnes in 1991, my mother and father inherited it. It was sold in 2005 because it was sited by the fine officials of Maplewood for over 50 code violations and it simply would have been too expensive to bring up to code. The commercial building next door to the north, desperately needed parking and brought the code issues to the city’s finest attention which ultimately resulted in the sale. Over the 110 year history there were members of the Geisler family that lived there and if not, it was used as rental property. To the best of my knowledge, it was always a one family residence and likely was built with no indoor plumbing, the bathroom and kitchen were added later, certainly the bathroom. There was a long driveway that went from Big Bend to Martini Drive to the west. The 2 car garage was likely built in the 1940’s, it was there when I lived there. Ironically, the commercial property to the north was built much later than the house, but it was built at least a foot across the property line encroaching on 2533 Big Bend.