Perhaps the title of this post should be, “1970’s Era Redevelopment Plan Blasted A Huge Crater in the Middle of a Lovely, First-Quarter-of the-Twentieth-Century, Shopping District.” It’s more complicated than that, I know, but I’ve written about this a couple of times and I’ve got a limited amount of space here to get your attention.
The aerial image featured in this post was taken at the same time as the image in my previous post. It was made by Joseph Granich as well. He worked for the St. Louis County Observer newspaper which was located in Maplewood.
In the meantime, Thank you, Joe, wherever you are. Taking an aerial photo in the mid 1950’s must have been an expensive operation. I imagine you were in a small airplane rather than a helicopter. Since you were clever enough to not have your shadow in the photograph, we’ll just have to guess. The record you left for us is invaluable today.
The message of these images as I see it is: Look what you had. What is gone is mostly never coming back. Look at what you still have. Don’t Lose it.
If you are looking at this on your telephone, I hope you can make out the detail. This is Maplewood from the air, ca. 1955 or thereabouts. You are looking mainly at the intersection of Oakview Terrace and Manchester. A small part of Marshall Avenue is visible on the left.
This is the shocker. Every building within the red lines is gone. Completely gone! A small portion of the original Citizen’s Bank building may still be contained somewhere within the more modern current one. But there is nothing left of any of the many other buildings located within those lines. Absolutely nothing. As I think about it, that is not quite accurate. There is a stone fragment from the facade of the Maplewood Bank. It is the piece of stone that says, “Bank”. That is the only fragment from all of those buildings that I know to exist.
#1 in this detail from the larger image is the original Bank of Maplewood building. By the time this image was made it had been modernized and for awhile held the Western Auto Store. Much more information is available at this link: http://40southnews.com/maplewood-history-the-bank-of-maplewood-part-1/
#2 in the above photo was this attractive building. In 1907 it was the first home of Scheidt (now True Value) Hardware. Called Wohlwend Hardware at first, Emil and Rosa were there until 1916 when they bought the building at 7320 Manchester where the business has been ever since. Courtesy of Jessica Ernst. Want more info? http://40southnews.com/maplewood-history-scheidt-hardwares-roger-over-and-out/
Building #3 has survived. It is home to one of Maplewood’s most popular eating establishments – Foundation Grounds. That is it on the far left of this very early postcard view. It once had a turret. This either came from the Maplewood Public Library or Donna Ratkowski.
Building #4 survives as well. Since 1931 it has been the home of Empire Supply. Even the sign still exists under the more modern one currently in use. Cool or what? Empire Supply now sells high quality windows by several different manufacturers. I bought some made by the Crystal Co. in the USA. They are very good windows and the price was great. If you still have old windows in your home go in and talk to these folks. You’ll be glad you did. Courtesy of Don Loomstein.
Building #5 didn’t fare so well. This undated newspaper clipping is from the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.
At least the dog didn’t get burned.
I have a mind to run out all of the aerial photos I have in my upcoming blogs. Also I have some never before published images of the now missing buildings taken by Glenn Haley and sent by Mike Jones. These will let those of you who never knew them see what many of these places looked like. They will undoubtedly bring back many memories to those of you who were around back then.
Please support these local businesses who advertise with us. My wife and I try to shop local whenever we can. It is amazing the wide variety that is available within the borders of our own small community.
As always, I appreciate those of you who contribute to this effort. As I have said before any hard copies that are donated to me, I put in the Maplewood Public Library. Many folks have allowed me to digitize their collections. I appreciate that too. I have a free copy of my second Maplewood history book for everyone whose material I have used within. I still have to get the books from the printer, hopefully very soon.
The Maplewood swimming pool is now closed. Boo.
Doug Houser 9/4/2019