Maplewood History: Gerry Vazis’ Red Album of Photographs – Part One

Gerry’s Red Album survived the conflagration that destroyed the Golde’s department store and the Citizens Bank in 1966.  It had been stored in the bank vault.  It contains 21 images spanning from 1949 until 1962. All of the images are dated.  That’s handy.  Nearly all of them have some information with them such as the location or a title. Once you have seen these images, perhaps you can tell me why this album was kept in the vault.

Gerry’s last name was Vazis.  Maybe the title should read “Vazis’s?”  And I said “was” because I am assuming she (see comment below) is no longer with us but I don’t know that for sure.

We are indebted to Mary Piles, the curator of the historic images at Citizens National Bank in Maplewood and Greater St. Louis (6 locations), for allowing me to copy this album.  Thanks, Mary!

This is the mind blowing first image in the album. If you missed the two posts about it, here are the links.  A Glimpse of a Stertzing Past and Shearer Hudson.

Gerry didn’t provide us with a location for this image.  Thankfully he provided the date.  I know someone who would really like to see this one. John Openlander, our former assistant city manager. If anyone knows John’s whereabouts, please forward this image to him.

Gerry snapped this image on April 29, 1951. He gave the location as “@ City Limits – Blendon/Manchester.”

Here is that last building on fire. This image and the next one are not from Vazis album but rather are courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library. They are both undated.

This image was obviously made at the same time as the one prior.

“1951 Garner Music – old Roeper Danz location (Manchester/ Margarette).”  The image was captured on June 25th.

“1952 The Maplewood Show – Showing My Friend Irma (Next to Davidson’s restaurant).”  Taken on March 17th.  For more on the Maplewood Theater.

“1952 Zimmerman’s Dept. Store – The People’s Bank (Zimmerman’s later becomes a Drive In bank for People’s Bank.” Say what? Stay tuned. The image was made on August 2. The Maplewood Theater is on the far right. The marquee is not visible but the diagonal rods supporting it are.

“1952 Mayor Davidson’s Oath of Office (Mr. Davidson of Davidson’s Restaurant)”

“1952 Mayor Davidson is crowning the queen at the Maplewood High School.”

Now here we go. This is a good one. “1952 The Christmas Parade down Manchester – Starring Texas Bruce.” I used to watch that guy on TV.  Gerry indicates the image was made in November. Tex and company have just passed the intersection of Roseland Terrace and Manchester.   The buildings to the left of Tex were part of the Swink block.  They were demolished sometime during the 1970’s.  A 1915 image of them follows.  Note the distinctive keystone lintels above the windows.

This image is from the 1915 Maplewood directory. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library. Unfortunately this directory is not online but the 1912 one is. You can find it here.

This image was made sometime during the 1970’s. It may have been made shortly before demolition commenced. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

This is the same intersection in 2010. Something’s lost, eh?


This is just about one half of Vazis” red album.  There are many more interesting images in the second half.  I should have it posted in a few days.  Thanks again to Mary Piles.

The virus is still very dangerous.  It is surging again and there are many hot spots around the country.  Be very careful, stay safe and wear your mask.

Doug Houser         August 7, 2020.




20 thoughts on “Maplewood History: Gerry Vazis’ Red Album of Photographs – Part One

  1. I took my Mother to Katz for a hot fudge sundae and we sat at the counter…..she always talked about it. The Maplewood show brings back a LOT of memories. Thanks for the pictures

  2. Wow, I remember the Korean Karate studio. Thanks for posting, Doug.
    These pictures from the 70s and 80s are great.

  3. I am Dean Vazis, great nephew of Adolf Vazis who was one of 5 Vazis brothers, including my grandpa Louis. Gerry was Adolf’s wife. My guess is that Adolf took these pictures as he was a photographer. I remember the store well. Thanks for sharing the pictures, Doug and Mary. Am looking forward to Part 2.

    • Awfully good to hear from you, Dean. I was an infrequent customer of your family’s business in Maplewood and also when they moved to Watson Road. I would have liked to have been more frequent but taking photographs was expensive. I didn’t have much money back then. Thank you for providing Gerry’s identity. I don’t know why I assumed it was a male. If you have any images captured by your great uncle, my readers and I would love to see them.

  4. I was born in December 1952 and lived at 3037 Laclede was I understand is a bus terminal now! I rember Katz store on the corner of Manchester & Flora ? Or Big Bend road with the soda fountain along the wall Cherry Cokes. Bus terminals on each end of town one across from a drug store with the Dentist office above it !

  5. I was a big fan of the cowboy shows like the Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers shows but do not recall Texas Bruce. Was he a local show or had local ties that we could get him to show up at Maplewood for a parade?

    In another shot there is a great picture of a woody panel wagon. Always thought those cars were cool but cannot think of my ever seeing one in person.

    • You are probably just too young, Mark. I remember his show but I was a child in the 1950’s. A quick search on the internet turned up quite a bit of info on Texas Bruce.
      I hadn’t noticed the woody in front of the Zimmerman’s department store. Pretty snazzy with the wide whitewall tires, too. Thanks for pointing it out.

  6. I worked with the daughter of the Zimmermans. I remember she told me that her Father would carry toys for Christmas time. She said that on Christmas Eve he would open the store and give away toys free to the people who needed them.

    • A big hearted guy. We need more of them. That’s a great story, Margaret. Thank you for sharing it.

    • I’m Stuart Zimmerman, son of Jack and Ida Zimmerman who owned and ran Zimmerman’s. Sounds like something my dad would do. My sister Jane, who was 9 years older than me, certainly worked in the store and would know those stories.

      • Welcome, Stuart. It is always nice to hear from people such as your self who are actual descendants of the families that once populated Maplewood or had connections to the many businesses that once thrived here. I appreciate your comments.

  7. This brings back a lot of memories. The Davidson restaurant next to the Maplewood Theater had those juke box terminals on each booth. Neat place.
    Wonder if the Vazis were any relation to Adolph who ran Vazis photo at Manchester on the northeast corner of the city limits loop?

    • I was never in the Davidson restaurant, Don, but I remember those juke box terminals from other places.
      No doubt Gerry and Adolph were family although I don’t know what places in it each of them occupied. Vazis photography store occupied a corner of the Brownsom Hotel for very many years. Vazis store appears in a couple of images in my next post. Their store was almost directly across the street from Zimmerman’s Department store. Zimmerman’s also occupied the building on the SE corner of Sutton and Manchester. I don’t know in what order. I’ll link to a post I once did about a family of Zimmermans. I have no idea if they were connected to the store. Thank you for your comment.

    • I bet you were, Nancy. I would have been as well but the event happened about 23 years before I got here. I always appreciate your input. Thank you for it.

  8. Doug you have done it again, you have made a few photos jump off the page and given a story to flat celluloid. Great seeing these locations as they became. Thank you for educating and entertaining us.

    • There would be nothing without the images that you have very kindly shared with us. Much thanks, Mary.