If the title of this post makes you think of the recently past New Year’s Eve, I understand. There was a time when I would have thought the same thing. But this post has nothing to do with Cousin Hugo’s or Schlafly’s or Foley’s or the Crow’s Nest or the Side Project or any of the other fine Maplewood establishments where you may have spent last Saturday evening.
I am making a joke because had any of the customers of the above seemed headed in the direction the title implies, I’m reasonably certain the proprietors would have gently counseled them before putting them in a cab and sending them home. That’s awfully wordy but I’ve gotta get this thing out.
Imagine that you live in Maplewood and the year is 1912. You have the new Maplewood Business Directory and you want to get plastered. Who would you call? I don’t know because the 1912 Maplewood Business Directory doesn’t list any plasterers. In which case you’d be perfectly justified going to any of the eight saloons listed. You’d have no other choice.
By 1915, it would be a different story. Jens (anglicized to James) Lauritson had set up shop and it wasn’t long before he and his son, Elmer John Lauritson were plastering for anyone who could afford their service. Anyone who has ever hung and taped drywall can understand how much more difficult it would be to plaster the same building. First in would be the lathers. They would nail the wooden lath over all the walls and ceilings. The plasterers came next. I believe a good plaster job consisted of three coats. The carpenters in those days seemed to be much less concerned with plumb and level than they are now. It was up to the plasters to compensate for slightly out of plumb walls.
Plastering was a difficult job. The Lauritsons were apparently very successful. A couple of their descendants (Opal Lauritson Andrews and more recently Ellen Bishop) have generously provided us with some of the photographs and records they left behind. Ladies, we thank you for sharing these with all of us.
Information with this photo says that Jim Lauritson is on the right and Henry Knochelman is on the left. From the Renaissance Society collection now at the Maplewood Public Library.
Sophie Lauritson and her daughter, Opal. Sophie lived to be 100 years and 3 weeks old. Her daughter became Mrs. Andrews. Ellen Bishop had this to say in an email, “I believe my Aunt Opal (Lauritson) Andrews gave the Renaissance Society those images in ’83. She is the baby in the image, with her mother, Sophie Lauritson. Opal and Elmer John were brother and sister. Sophie came from Germany at the age of 14 as a nanny. She lived with her nanny family in Lafayette Square in a house that was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Her husband, Jens Lauritson, came from Copenhagen, Denmark at the age of 19. He went by James. They later met and married here in St. Louis.” From the Renaissance Society collection now at the Maplewood Public Library.
The family car, I reckon. These first three photos are believed to have been provided to the Renaissance Society by Opal for the 75th anniversary of Maplewood in 1983. From the Renaissance Society collection now at the Maplewood Public Library.
Receipt for a Ford Roadster. I doubt that this receipt is for the car in the previous photo. It is interesting that the dealer was located in the 7400 block of Manchester. I suspect these are earlier owners of the dealership that came to be called Cavalier. Courtesy of Ellen Bishop.
Lauritson’s ad in the 1915 Maplewood Champion newspaper. Notice the top ad for the cigars. From the reference room at the Headquarters branch of the St. Louis County Library.
Ellen Bishop was kind enough to send photos of this cigar box where some of her family memorabilia had been stored. She pointed out to me that the box was from the advertiser just above the Laurtison ad in the Champion. Cool.
1919 bicycle license. Courtesy of Ellen Bishop.
The Apprentice card for Lauritson’s son, Elmer. Courtesy of Ellen Bishop.
Ellen was kind enough to send images like this one from 1924 of many of the Lauritson’s union cards. She said this in an email, “I have included the Union cards that I found in the cigar box. I found it interesting that the earlier cards were brightly colored and made out of a thick paper. The ones made in the late 30’s were on a much thinner paper and only one sided. Sadly, I don’t have any cards from the early 30’s. I also included the Apprentice Working Cards from the early 20’s that allowed Elmer to work in his dad’s shop. Elmer was born in 1906.” Courtesy of Ellen Bishop.