The amount of interest in the first Let’s Go Get Stoned article is amazing and gratifying. I hadn’t realized how many stoners there are amongst us. Many of you have asked questions. I hope this post and the next one (or possibly two) will answer most of them.
One question I had awhile back concerned a type of limestone called St. Louis. I thought that surely this must be the white limestone that we see everywhere in foundations, walls, stairs, columns and houses etc. here in St. Louis. I recall looking on the internet for an answer but couldn’t find a conclusive one.
I had been given an opinion earlier that the highly visible white limestone is not St. Louis limestone. The limestone known by that name is of a lower grade than this favorite of ours. This might be true. If it is I propose we switch names with whatever the white limestone is called now and the lower grade. I’d love to be able to brag to visitors and guests that the beautiful stonework they see everywhere is made from St. Louis limestone. Maybe I’ll do it anyway.
So where did all of this limestone come from? Well, here is the source of part of the limestone in our community. This is the filled in former Big Bend Quarry. Photos in our library show that the quarry was mostly filled by the mid-1950’s. The top of this photo is east. Big Bend Blvd can be seen at the top. South is to the right. The quarry was located in this corner between the railroad tracks and the old Laclede Station Road (no longer exists). Now the MetroLink tracks skirt the westernmost edge of the quarry immediately after they head south from Sunnen Station. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
So how did the stone get from the quarry to the building site? Same way it does now – trucks. This advertisement is from the Post-Dispatch archives, August the 29, 1917. Sometime earlier the stone would have been transported with horses or mules and wagons.
These beautiful stone walls border our Early Childhood Center (ECC) on the northern and eastern sides.
Directly across Oakland from the ECC one will find this wall and gate of a very high quality of ashlar.
The stonework in the two previous photos can be found in this photo probably taken in the early 1950’s. The walls once surrounded Valley School. The name is a shortened version of the original – Bartold Valley School. Bartold Valley may have been the location of an early post office. The valley itself is at the intersection of Hanley and Manchester. Bartold’s Grove, a popular resort in the mid 1800’s and later was where the present day Sunnen plant is located. This photo and the next one are courtesy of Millie Durban’s son whose name unfortunately I can’t locate at the moment.
Valley School from a slightly different angle. The school was razed probably not long after these photos were taken. The new Valley school was built where the ECC is now. The oldest parts of the ECC are that school. It was still called Valley when my son attended in the late 1970’s. An apartment complex which still exists was built on the site of the Valley school in the photo.
These very attractive stone columns, walls and steps are on the western side of the ECC property.
Most Maplewoodians are familiar with and appreciate this stone wall that is on Flora just west of Big Bend. The wall is rubble, of course. The thin flat stones used for the top of the wall (called coping) and in the squat columns I have heard referred to as flagstones. The walls surrounding the ECC on the north and east are also flagstones laid flat over rubble.
Another view of this landmark wall of ours. These should belong to the citizens of Maplewood. The owners of any of these landmarks are just temporary. The landmarks be they of stone or wood must be protected. What would our community be without them? (Don’t you get it Sierra Club?)
In this photo which I found on a Facebook page called Vintage St. Louis, a streetcar passes in front of a restaurant and bar called Ted’s Corner. The beginning of the wall in the previous two photos can be seen at the left. Right behind the streetcar and across Big Bend can be seen the Parison Bakery building which now houses our friends at Frame of Mind picture framing shop. Thanks very much to the steward of the Vintage St. Louis FB page. I’d love to get a hi res version of this photo but got no answer when I inquired as to the location of the original.
This photo was clearly taken at the same time as the one prior but it came from Dan Walper at Citizen’s National Bank who very generously allowed me to copy all of their historic photos. Here the wall can clearly be seen bordering Ted’s parking lot. The filling station that became Claude’s Auto Repair can be seen to the right of the streetcar. The house still exists as well. (I have been corrected by keener observers than I. This home does not exist. Most likely it was removed to increase the size of the business’ lot). I have no dates on these last two photos. The two cars that are the most visible look to be very late 1930’s or possibly from the 1940’s. From memory automobiles were produced I know in 1940 but stopped shortly after that due to WWII. Auto production didn’t resume until 46 or 7. (Look it up. I can’t do everything.) The streetcars stopped running on this line in 1949. The photos are earlier than that is all I can say. It is possible that these photos were taken because the line was going to cease running in a very short time. I have a couple more posts of stonework coming so be patient if you haven’t seen your favorite yet.