If you are today as I once was, which is nearly totally ignorant of things Stertzing, then this post is for you. Six-and-a-half years ago, I created a post titled, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Stertzing and the Building They Left Behind. If you read the comments, I think you’d say it was well received. Of course, we couldn’t have known then how much more there is to this story.
There are mainly two reasons we didn’t know more about this story. One is I hadn’t yet subscribed to Newspapers.com. The other is that Mary Piles, generous curator of the historic images at the Citizens National Bank of Maplewood and Greater St. Louis (6 locations), had not yet provided us with what is, without a doubt, so far, the most mind blowing (and the oldest known) vintage image of the Stertzing building to come to light.
Take a look.
I’ll start this off with this photograph I made in 2006 of the Art Deco escutcheon and glass door knob on the Stertzing door leading to the second floor apartments. The escutcheon is definitely Art Deco. I’m not sure about the glass knob. We had them on the house I grew up in which was built by my father in the early 1950’s.
The Stertzing building (7266-68 Manchester at Southwest) in 2010.
In this 1899 ad posted in the St. Louis Globe Democrat, Waldemar advertises for an assistant. Today’s Southwest Avenue was once Manchester Road. It was known for some years as Old Manchester. So with this as evidence, Stertzing was at the location as early as 1899. Notice he calls the town Ellendale. It wasn’t located in Ellendale but that was prior to Maplewood’s birth in 1908.
In this help wanted ad from 1900, he lists the location as Maplewood. The original Maplewood subdivision is directly south of the 7300 block of Manchester. It is bounded by Sutton on the west, Marshall on the east, and Flora or possibly Elm on the south. I need to look that one up.
He bought some property in 1901. I’m guessing it may have been adjacent to some he already owned. Notice he purchased it from another fellow who lived in the area long before it became Maplewood. John L. Sutton. One of James’ boys.
In 1904, he added another lot to his holdings.
Also in 1904, this photograph of Waldemar and his wife (I guess) appeared in the Christmas issue of the Suburban Journal. It was an issue devoted exclusively to Maplewood. I was given copies by Joellen McDonald, Richmond Heights formidable historian and Jim Fischer of Jim Fischer’s Box fame. These are now in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library. They are fascinating. So if you get a chance, after this virus is over, give them a look.
Also in 1904, Stertzing placed this help wanted ad. Maplewood had a station by then.
He was a judge at a flower show in 1910. 500 bucks was serious money back then. It was worth $13,494.42 in today’s money according to the online inflation calculator.
Business must have been good. Good enough to pay for this very expensive new sign. This newspaper clipping is from October 1927. That 1,000 dollars in today’s money would be $14,581.31. How do I know the date of this newspaper clipping? Have look at the flip side in the following image.
It was just one of the many items that was preserved by the Grumley family descendants.
Now here is something I can relate to. He sold a Dodge truck in 1929. I spent many years making Dodge trucks and driving them. I’m on number five right now.
William Maddock’s passing is important. You’ll see why in just a bit. This was printed on September 13, 1930.
In 1932, just a year-and-a-half after the death of Mr. Madden, Waldemar’s wife passes.
About 6 months after his wife had passed, Stertzing adopts Mrs. Madden and they leave on a European tour. This article was from the Globe-Democrat. The Post-Dispatch article follows.
Well, it certainly seems like he was a nice old guy. I don’t mean that sarcastically. He was getting old and apparently had no heirs. In 1934, he contracted to have a new building built. Is this the one we see today at 7266-68 Manchester?
This appeared December 30, 1934 in the Post-Dispatch.
What is curious is the building as we know it today has only two storefronts.
Here is a photograph I took in 2010. Does this building look like it is 99 feet wide? Nope. What is going on? What happened to 7262 Manchester mentioned in the article? I don’t know. Now look at this building closely. The next one will blow your mind.
This image is from a photo album with photos provided by Gerry Vazis. It survived the conflagration that destroyed the Golde’s Department store and the Citizen’s Bank in 1966. It had been stored in the bank vault. Mary Piles, the curator of the historic images at the bank, kindly let me copy the album. Shearer Hudson once had a sharp looking Art Deco dealership that has completely disappeared today. The west end of Schlafly’s parking lot now occupies that space. Look closely at the building on the right.
This is the only image I have ever found that shows what the facade of the Stertzing building once looked like. What a magnificent parapet that has now been completely shorn away. I think it was certainly the best facade in our business district with the exception of one other, the Browne building in the 7100 block.
As usual I’m running late again. It is now 10 after one in the morning and I’ve got to close this down. I’ll check the punctuation and spelling some time tomorrow. If you find any mistakes let me know.
Finding an image like this is a sort of holy grail to what I do. I hope you find this as exciting as I do.
Wear your masks.
Doug Houser July 17, 2020