If you have not seen the outstanding socko boffo exhibition of panoramic photographs at the Missouri History Museum (5700 Lindell Blvd.) get on over there! Called “Panoramas of the City” it has been up for nearly a year so don’t wait because once it’s over, it’s over. You’ll never have another chance.
Vintage photographs are a large part of what drew me into this retirement hobby of mine. I love them. As I’ve mentioned before, I took a couple of semesters of Photoshop at Meramec Community College in order to be able to digitally restore and preserve these images in a proper manner. Boy, did that work! Today I subscribe to Photoshop so I always have the very latest features. It is impossible to keep up with them all.
After I had retired at the end of 2001, I was a founding member of the Maplewood Historical Society. We were meeting in a building owned by Sunnen that also held the Chamber of Commerce and the Maplewood Community Betterment Foundation (MacBeef). One day Mary Harper Hall of the Harper’s Pharmacy family stopped in and donated some items for our collection. One standout item was a 1930 panoramic photograph of the intersection of Sutton and Maple. This was the location of the Harper’s Pharmacy and later photography supply business. This photograph is included in the exhibition at MHS.
That photograph blew me away. It was the first item of any substance that we had for our collection. I was so enamored of it that I made a cherrywood box to store it in. (Don’t worry it’s not touching the wood anywhere.) It and the box are now in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.
Not only is it a panoramic photograph but it a 360 degree panoramic photograph. The same building, a home, can be seen at both ends. I don’t have any way to prove it but I believe the 360 degree photos are much rarer than the 180 degree ones, for example. There was a photographer working in Maplewood at that time, Tony Deck (I think), was his name. He photographed it for me with his Hasselblad camera and gave me the negative (It, too, is now in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library). I digitized it and Professor Eric Hoffman of Wash U printed an 8 foot long version of it for our history hikes so it has been preserved in several different ways.
Finally there is one more reason to visit the “Panoramas of the City” exhibition. It was curated by a Maplewoodian, my neighbor the very talented Adam Kloppe.
PS. I don’t know where the socko boffo in the first sentence came from. I was just trying to get everyone to read that first paragraph.