Maplewood History: Kalb Electric – Since 1909

Given their primo location in Maplewood just south of the intersection of Big Bend and Manchester most Maplewoodians are familiar with the Kalb building regardless of whether or not they’ve been customers. Kalb Electric AKA KECO is one of our earliest and longest running continuous businesses.

Ralph T. Kalb was the founder and a very active personality in the community as you’re about to learn. This trove of photos, documents and artifacts are all from the collection of Martin Fischer. And what a collection it is! Frankly I’ve been overwhelmed.

The Kalb family recently had some tough times. I understand the business was sold and I’ve not yet met the new owners. I intend to and I think we should all get behind these folks, give them our business and welcome them to our community.

Here is the first installment on the history of Kalb Electric. I’m not sure how many there will ultimately be but there will be more. Nearly every Maplewoodian and thousands of folks who pass by every day can tell you exactly how long Kalb Electric has been here.

“Since 1909”.

The first location at 7323 Manchester about the same spot occupied today by Citizen's Bank.

The first location at 7323 Manchester, about the same spot occupied today by Citizen’s Bank.

Courtesy of Martin Fischer

Is this Ralph T. Kalb?

This is from a newspaper clipping that did not have information as to which paper or the identity of the author.

This is from a newspaper clipping that did not have information as to which paper or the identity of the author. From what I can glean the address given as in the 7700 block of Manchester is incorrect.

A shot of the well-stocked inventory at 7323 Manchester.

A shot of the well-stocked inventory at 7323 Manchester.

What a great image of this very early, probably 19 teens delivery truck!

What a great image of this very early, probably 19 teens delivery truck!

Going by the wheels for on thing I'd say this is a different truck outfitted for display. A ceiling fixture that appears to be the same as the one to the left of the one with three bulbs hangs in my hallway.

Going by the wheels for one thing I’d say this is a different truck outfitted for display. A ceiling fixture that appears to be the same as the one to the right of the one with three bulbs hangs in my hallway today.

This photo is very interesting and scarce. Not only does it record this great little truck some of early Maplewood can be seen in the background. this view is from ellis ave and Big Bend looking NE. Behind the tree on the right is the Masonic Temple. Behing the steering wheel is the second building to contain the City Hall, Library and Fire Department. and just in front of the windshield is a building that must have once been on the NE corner of big Bend and Manchester that I have never seen another photo of.

This photo is very interesting and scarce. Not only does it record this great little truck, some of early Maplewood can be seen in the background. This view is from Ellis Ave and Big Bend looking NE. Behind the tree on the right is the Masonic Temple. Behind the steering wheel is the second building to contain the City Hall, Library and Fire Department. and just in front of the windshield is a building that must have once been on the NE corner of Big Bend and Manchester that I have never seen another photo of. Much thanks to Martin Fischer for all of these images and info.

 

3 thoughts on “Maplewood History: Kalb Electric – Since 1909

  1. It disappeared early, Wanda. I have another image from Martin’s collection that I’ll run in my next post probably from the 1920’s. That building had already disappeared replaced by-one could probably guess- a gas station. Shape of things to come.

  2. Wow — I love that last picture in particular! I’m with you, Doug — I don’t recognize the building in front of the windshield. Fascinating.