In 1934, Ray and Tom Kennedy opened the Kennedy Conservatory of Music in downtown Maplewood. They sold musical instruments and taught students how to play them. They and their instructors gave singing and dancing lessons. They also taught dramatics.
Tom Kennedy took an interest in photography and opened his own studio. Eventually he was hired by the St. Louis County Observer which was published on Sutton in Maplewood.
Ray met and married Edith Mae Heimburger in the late 1940’s. Together they would operate the Kennedy Music store until it closed in the 1970’s. While this was happening they managed to raise three very musical children – Wanda, Ray Jr. and Tom.
The three children were all gifted musically. They all possessed perfect pitch. When they were young they formed a trio. Later, while Wanda elected to stay close to her parents, both boys made their way to New York City. They became well known on the jazz circuits and worked with many famous musicians.
The musical Kennedy family is interesting enough to write a book about. In fact one has already been written by one of the most musical members of the family, Wanda Kennedy Kuntz. This is a very interesting book with many photographs. If you don’t have a copy, you really should get one.
Tom and Ray are just two of the Maplewoodians who became widely known and appreciated. Stay tuned. I’ll have posts on some others as well. I think you will all be in for some surprises
Wanda’s reading at the Book House.
Wanda on Kennedy Music’s origin.
About Ray Kennedy’s passing – includes a video of him performing
This building on the NE corner of Manchester and Oakview Terrace was the first location of the Bank of Maplewood before it became the first location of the Kennedy School of Music. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
Another view of the same building. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
The location is marked, “Bank”, on the 1909 map from the Plat Book of St. Louis County.
The building near collapse. Read Wanda’s book. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
Ditto. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
Believe it or not, the building was repaired and houses a Western Auto store in this 1967 photograph from the venerable Arteaga firm.
Until this happened. No date on this event. I don’t know if the building survived this conflagration. Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
Mae and Ray Kennedy Sr. This is either in the Bank of Maplewood Building or a small apartment they once had on Margarette. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
An early interior shot of Ray Sr. and brother, Tom, perhaps? Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
An exterior shot while the store was at the SW corner of Manchester and Marshall, I think. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
A parade obviously. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
Taken at the end of a short and economically disastrous move to the far end of the new “Gold Block”. This was at the corner of Manchester and Margarette. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
I believe this shot was taken in front of the last location of Kennedy Music, the building that houses The Larder today and formerly T. Rohan. That’s Ray Sr. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
From the Post-Dispatch September 4, 1997. There are quite a few notices such as this one in the Post archive.
Also from the archives of the Post-Dispatch. The year was 1997.
The second to last location of Kennedy Music in the mid 1970’s. The SW corner of Marshall and Manchester. The building was removed for an ill-fated redevelopment. Today this is the site of Citizen’s Park. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
Another look at the streetscape probably taken at the same time as the prior image. The GFC Loans sign is the location of the Foundation Grounds restaurant today. Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
The Marshall side of the building that once housed Kennedy Music. That is some beautiful brickwork. It even has this nice little cast iron storefront on this side. This one we shouldn’t have lost.
Much thanks to Wanda Kennedy Kuntz for letting me copy her images. I’m hoping she’ll see this and reply below. You folks who don’t have her book really ought to get a copy. Look for more famous Maplewoodians in my upcoming posts.