Some of you music fans, provided you didn’t follow his advice too often, may remember that Let’s Go Get Stoned was a hit song for Ray Charles. I don’t want to worry you but the year was 1966. Yes, I remember the song. This musical connection got me thinking about another popular song much earlier than Ray’s.
The St. Louis (not Louie) Blues was written by W.C. Handy in 1914. According to Google, Handy was still making $25,000 per year in royalties in 1958. Amazing but it’s a great song.
Some of Handy’s lyrics are sort of appropriate to my latest series of articles on stone. I’m thinking, of course, of the following:
I’ve got the St. Louis blues, I’m as blue as I can be,
That man’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea,
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from me.
I imagine that rock was white St. Louie limestone and if W.C. had been a bit more hip he could have substituted Mississippi for sea. Why not? It would still rhyme and we all know there ain’t no sea around St. Louis.
Enough of this. Here are more photos for all you hard rock fans.
Just look at this beautiful stonework that we once had but don’t have any longer. Where was it? See the next photo. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
This is the back of the previous photo. The location is that of the current day underpass at Maple, Arbor, Marshall, and Canterbury. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
This has got to be it from the other side. Don’t ask me which is which. Curiously it seems little used. Wouldn’t you expect there to be more visible wagon tracks in this photo? Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
Here is the underpass we have today a little the worse for wear. This undated photo was taken on an unforgettable day for the poor driver. Courtesy of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz.
This is a sturdy stone wall you might encounter if you take a stroll through the Greenwood neighborhood.
Chiseled into the cornerstone is the address 3658 Commonwealth ( or Oxford, I forget which) and the year the wall was built. Cool.
The remaining photos document a remarkable event that occurred at Lohmeyer and Bredell. This beautiful, crenelated stone wall had a twin on the south side of Lohmeyer. Unfortunately they weren’t really far enough apart for modern traffic.
It became necessary to remove the twin. Here is where the story gets interesting.
The south twin (we’ll call it) was dismantled. The rocks were cleaned and stacked on pallets. They might have been sold or like the Harper’s cabinets allowed to disappear but they weren’t.
Instead of allowing this important piece of our historic fabric to vanish, some enlightened souls at our City Hall arranged for the stone wall to be rebuilt allowing for a wider passage. (BTW: That house on Bredell in the background has charming vernacular stonework on the front porch.)
The outcome is this now completed crenelated compliment to the original on the north side. It is not exactly the same but close enough. The evolution of neighborhoods and single buildings can sometimes be seen in the slight variations in their stonework. With a little weathering this wall will settle right in for hopefully another couple hundred or more years. I don’t have any details on who was behind this project but I know there was city staff and most likely the council because this work is expensive. My hat is off to them for making this investment in stone in our community.