Maplewood History: A Thrilling New Discovery Leaves Just One More Station To Go

When I first started digging in the dusty piles of Maplewood history I had no clear idea of what I was after and certainly no idea at all of where the search might eventually take me.  I was just helping to put together a physical display for our fledgling historical society.  I dug through a lot of records and then later retained a dim memory of reading about certain things or events without actually remembering exactly where I had seen the information.

One of those foggy, dream-like memories had to do with the Maplewood Depot. Old maps show that the building was once on the Greenwood side of the tracks.  The only photos I had found show it on the Arbor side. Many Maplewoodians know where it was because the stone wall and stairs that once led to the depot still exist where Marshall, Arbor and Maple end at Canterbury.   One might conclude that an earlier depot had been demolished and a new one built opposite it.  But my dim memory seemed to recall that the building itself had once been moved from the Greenwood side of the tracks to the Arbor side.

I can now say that is indeed what happened.  Thanks to some most excellent research by Luke Havel who has located the article in the Post-Dispatch that specifically describes this event. Not only did he find the article he managed to locate an image of what was our second depot in its original location.  This has been something of a holy grail for me.  It is very exciting to have this gap filled.

Our first depot (called Sutton) was located just west of where Sutton crosses the railroad tracks.  I have never found a photo of it either but I have a line drawing of it in 1885.  This leaves just one more station image to be discovered.  Laclede Station.  The namesake of Laclede Station Road.  The new holy grail.  Have at it, Luke.

This 1919 Missouri Pacific map shows the location of our first station. By 1919 I think it was being used as a freight depot. Courtesy of the Museum of Transportation.

These drawings of the first depot are all we have. No photographs are known. This is from a publication of the Terminal Railroad Association in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.

The 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis County clearly shows the location of our second depot exactly where Commonwealth meets Greenwood.

Yet the old depot stairs that most Maplewoodians are familiar with at Arbor and Maple are on the other side of the tracks?

A few of our long time residents may recall this depot that they believe was at the top of those stairs. But look closely at those dormer windows. From the publication of the Terminal Railroad Association.

In this photo of the depot showing its relationship to the home that still exists, the dormer windows are no longer there. Depot image courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

Now we know the whole story thanks to the research of Luke Havel. Luke located this Post-Dispatch article from 1930.

This is what the original site looks like today.

And finally here is the long lost image of our second depot in its original location. Notice the windows in the dormer. The drawing was of this building. It was probably remodeled somewhat about the time it was moved. Luke found this image as well on a website called, Missouri Depots. The owner, William Bunch, was kind enough to let me have a high resolution image. One will notice that the two buildings seen past either end of the depot still exist today. Great job, Luke for solving this Maplewood mystery.

19 thoughts on “Maplewood History: A Thrilling New Discovery Leaves Just One More Station To Go

    • Very interesting information, Luke. Those of you interested in the location of these stations should take a look at the website Luke has posted. Now let’s track down an image.

  1. Thank you for posting this story. What a great, rich history Maplewood has. Always fun to hear about these long lost parts of a wonderful town. I am proud to have grown up here and still live in Maplewood today. I grew up on Flora just up from the tracks and my friends and I played on those steps and by the tracks a lot so seeing these old photographs of how it looked many moons ago is a real treat. Thanks!!

  2. Doug, my Father was born in 1920, he used to talk about the black day when you could not see the hand in front of your face from the coal smoke. He worked downtown back then and lived in the Central West End.
    He also was a victim of the 1927 Tornado which tore through the CWE, he told a story of opening the windows to equalize the pressure when the storm was bearing down, and the window being torn out of the wall. Their home was badly damaged, lost the roof and some windows. The ended up living with the Dr Robert Hyland family while the home was being repaired. Robert Hyland Jr’s name is well know in STL.

    • That is a very interesting story, Margaret. You are right about many, many of us remembering Robert Hyland from his time running KMOX radio.

  3. Thank you Doug for keeping us all in the know!
    Your 40 South News is always the first thing I actually open when my email is up.

    • You are very welcome, Melemai. You know there are two Dougs here at 40 South News. I am just the history broker known as Doug the minor. The other Doug whose last name is Miner is the owner of the site and the author of nearly everything else. I call him Doug Major.

  4. We always wondered why those stairs were there. Considering so many people took the Train to get to work downtown back then it makes sense.
    Thank you for keeping the History of Maplewood alive!

    • It absolutely does make sense, Margaret. Having a nice home close to the depot in a clean air suburb like Maplewood was highly desirable. Downtown was very polluted mostly from the burning of coal but a lot of other things as well. My mother now 95 remembers the pollution well. She and my father escaped to a home in the country in 1950. By the time I moved into the city 20 years later those sort of things were pretty much in the past. You are welcome. It is my pleasure to share this hobby of mine with all of you very fine folks

    • Tim, I don’t know how long you’ve been following my blog but there are (I’m guessing) 270 something posts floating around out there in the ether. All on Maplewood. All with photos. Some that used to be on the Maplewood Patch website might be found by searching for Maplewood-specific names, such as Rannells, Bartold or Sutton. I am glad you enjoy our history. I’m still enjoying putting it out there. Thanks for your comment.

    • “Don’t be confused!” Tom, if you’ve been around here as long as I have you’ll recognize that statement as a direct quote from a once well known St. Louisan, Steve Mizerany. Steve’s TV commercials for his appliance business transcended tastelessness. I tended to think of them more as performance art. He was an original and I miss him but that doesn’t fulfill your need for a timeline. I’d like one too. I have a bit more on the subject and I’ll try to assemble another post on it soon. Thanks as always for your input.

  5. Good job, Doug and Luke! I have been trying to figure this out since I moved to Maplewood over 10 years ago and you, Doug, got me interested in the history of this place. I am going to take a closer look at these photos and the background buildings because I still have questions about the dimensions, windows, etc., of the buildings in thsee photos. I’ll discuss with you off-line. Thanks for putting this together in one place!