Maplewood History: Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Stertzing and the Building They Left Behind

The Stertzing Building, at the corner of Manchester and what is now Southwest avenues, was once home to W.W. Stertzing’s floral business. According to the 1904 Suburban Journal he also had five greenhouses at the same location.

Mr. Stertzing and wife in the greenhouse that was once attached to their building.

Mr. Stertzing and wife in the greenhouse that was once attached to their building.  Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.

 

From the 1904 Suburban Journal. Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.

From the 1904 Suburban Journal. Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.

 

From the 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis Co.

From the 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis Co.

 

Advertisement (probably 1915 but I'm not finding my source at the moment).

Advertisement (probably 1915 but I’m not finding my source at the moment).

 

The Stertzing buildings elaborate facade has long been a favorite of Maplewoodians. In this photo from 2006 the metal canopy over the center door and the terra cotta ornament above it can be seen.

The elaborate facade of the Stertzing Building has long been a favorite of Maplewoodians. In this photo from 2006, the metal canopy over the center door and the terra cotta ornament above it can be seen.

 

 

One will notice in this view of one of the two balconies how the circular metal canopy fir the pattern of the terra cotta facade. Some spalling can be seen on the white glazed brick above. spalling is usually caused by the use of a mortar that is too hard.

One will notice in this view of one of the two balconies how the circular metal canopy fit the pattern of the terra cotta facade. Some spalling can be seen on the white glazed brick above. Spalling is usually caused by the use of a mortar that is too hard.

 

The building retains the plaque with the name of the first owner and builder. I would bet that the building once had a parapet with coping most likely removed during a modernization (should be called a mutilation).

The building retains the plaque with the name of the first owner and builder. I would bet that the building once had a parapet with coping most likely removed during a modernization (should be called a mutilation).

 

The basket weave field with a checkerboard border backed up by a nice piece of serpentine marble make for a very attractive entryway.

The basket weave (or herringbone?) field with a checkerboard border backed up by a nice piece of serpentine marble makes for a very attractive entryway.

 

A closeup of the green glazed brick with paired with a glaze that looks to me like mortadella (or am I just hungry?).

A closeup of the green-glazed brick paired with a glaze that looks to me like mortadella (or am I just hungry?).

 

Pretty cool Art Deco doorknob and escutcheon on the door leading to the upstairs. Zillow gives a construction date of 1928 on this building.

Pretty cool Art Deco doorknob and escutcheon on the door leading to the upstairs. Zillow gives a construction date of 1928 on this building.

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “Maplewood History: Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Stertzing and the Building They Left Behind

  1. Thank-you so much for the information listed here. I am a decendent of the Vazis family and I vaguly remember the camera shop but reading this brings back memories.

    • Rachel, Thanks for your comment. Can you see any of the photos? They are not loading when I pull up this old post.

  2. Sure would like to see the photographs! Right now they are all missing — nothing but little question marks where the photos should be. What’s up with that?

  3. Doug these presentations are great and wouldn’t it be great if the gardens and greenhouses were still there. You made what was an impersonal, but beautiful architectural gem, personal to me, Gary Tash

    • Gary, thanks so much for your compliment and comments. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I’ll confess that I hope when folks see what we used to have they’ll be a lot more careful about protecting the good pieces of architecture that still remain. The Stertzing building is a perfect example. Whether through ignorance or carelessness the facade has suffered a great deal during the past owner’s tenure.
      These buildings last longer than we do. We all need to insist that they’re maintained.

  4. Thanks for the post Doug. My wife used to mention Stertzing’s flower shop and Vazis Camera.
    Can you verify the story I have heard several times about a nest of German spies being discovered in Maplewood during WWII ?

    • Tom, you’re welcome. I’ve lived in Maplewood since 1975. At that time, Vazi’s Camera was in the Brownsom Hotel building (I don’t think the building was still called by that name) on the NE corner of Manchester and Yale. I have no memory of a florist in the Stertzing building. I do remember, as a lot of Maplewoodians will, the Chopsticks House next door.
      The spy story you mentioned as I heard it went something like this. A spy/s for Germany (I don’t know if he/they were German or not) somehow used the Tulip Box Restaurant (located at the intersection of Greenwood and Big Bend in the pre-viaduct days) to spy on railroad traffic. He/they may have rented a room above the restaurant but I’m foggy on that point. I’ve never seen anything that would verify the story. Doesn’t mean it’s not out there because I’ve never searched specifically for that. Hope that helps.

      • Hi, Doug — I came across your research on the WW Stertzing building while looking up information on Kennedy Music Store and School, which was in Maplewood roughly between 1934 and 1979. My parents owned the business, and the store was in 4-5 buildings in the 7100 – 7400 blocks of Manchester. During my days of working there, I remember hearing about the Toll House restaurant prior to the Chopsticks House. I also remember eating in a McCoy’s diner-type restaurant a little east of that. Any ideas on how to research historical Maplewood would be greatly appreciated.

      • The original Vazi’s Camera shop, owned by Adolph Vazi was on a corner on Sutton across from the Maplewood bus loop. He moved to the Bronson Hotel Building sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s. I used to shop in both with my father, a professional photographer in Maplewood and my uncle, owner of Kennedy Music store. I remember well, also the Stertzing Florist shop in the space just left of the beautiful entrance you pictured. On the other side of the entrance was the Toll House, later Tellhorst (not sure of spelling), and later Chopsticks House. I ate in all three. Sorry, know nothing of the German spy ring.

        • Good to hear from you, Chuck! Yes, it was Bill Harper there (Harper’s Drug Store?) at Sutton and Maple across from the bus loop, at least in the 1960’s. Chuck, do you also remember a Paul Morton Banjo Studio at Sutton and Lohmeyer ? I found that in a 1934 newspaper which would have been long before you were born, but perhaps you heard about it? Also, do you remember dad speaking about the Lyric Conservatory on Olive Street (the Lorelei Building)? And do you remember the Firestone building being located on Sutton — very early on it was. Perhaps the ‘Gold Block’ dad spoke about was the 7400 block of Manchester near Sutton.

          • Wanda and Chuck, I’m sure the readers of this space appreciate as much as I do all of the information you’ve both just contributed. Thank you very much. For the record and from memory the name of the hotel was the Brownsom. If you insist on the name having been Bronson, I’ll have to dig up my source from where ever the heck it was that I got that info.

          • I do not remember the Banjo Studio, may have been gone before I lived on Lohmeyer in the late 40’s. Your Dad did talk about the Lyric Conservatory in the Lorelei Building, but I do not remember the details except I think he taught trumpet there. The Firestone store that I remember was on the corner of Manchester and Oakview Terrace with our music school on the second floor. They later moved across Oakview Terrace on the other corner where Citizens bank later took over. The Gold Block was a failed new project in the 50’s on the north side of Manchester from Sutton (Katz Drug Store), to Marietta (Kennedy’s Music Store). I think that must have been the 7400 block. The music school was across Marietta behind a store that faced Manchester.

            Doug, you are correct in the spelling of the Hotel. My confusion is in the fact that we pronounced it Bronson back in the day. My uncle, Wanda’s father played trumpet with an orchestra in the lobby of that Hotel in the late 30’s or early 40’s in better years. By my time in the mid 50’s, it was an apartment building I think.

            • Chuck, marietta is parallel to manchester and it’s where we used to park behind the store. Marshall is the intersecting street where one of the schools (the last one) was located, around the corner from the store. I don’t think the Gold Block extended east of from sutton, did it? That marshall intersection is the start of the 7300 block. Sutton starts the 7400 block.

      • My bad. It was not Marietta, it was Margaretta (spelling may not be correct). Yes it was the 7400 block on the North side of Manchester.

  5. My pleasure, Gary. I have photos of those three buildings. I’ll put them all in an upcoming post. From memory, the road we now know as Southwest was first called the Ozark Trail and was the route to the capitol. It was later known as Manchester, then Old Manchester and finally Southwest. If you think about it the new and old Manchesters both intersect at what is now the intersection of Vandeventer and Manchester.

  6. Thank you. I love this article. It answered some questions I had–one was about the exact location of the first Concordia Lutheran Church building (from a picture I thought I recognized the house on the corner of Southwest and Bellevue) and I had wondered whether Southwest used to have a different name. FYI–I am a member (only since 2008) of Concordia Lutheran Church now in its third church building built in the 1950s.