Maplewood History: Newly Discovered Early Images of the Maplewood School

Collecting (mostly copies of but some original) historic photos, documents and artifacts related to our fair city, Maplewood, has been my hobby for the past 13 years. Beginning in 2002 during the short life of the Maplewood Historical Society (which morphed into the even shorter lived Maplewood Historic Preservation Corporation), myself and others rounded up some of these items for temporary public displays.

In the pre-Internet days this was the most effective way to get them before the public. It took so much effort to get so few items before such a very small number of people, it’s a wonder that we bothered.

Then in 2007, Carol Klein, then director of the C of C called and asked if I would be interested in working on a community history book to be done under the auspices of the MCBF (pronounced, I assume, MacBeef, but actually stands for Maplewood Community Betterment Foundation). I was and did. The book was to commemorate our 100th anniversary in 2008.

The research done for the book, “the First one hundred years Maplewood, MO.” (that is the title and there are no mistakes in capitalization) — I have to get the book and look at it every time I type the title; needless to say the title and creative capitalization weren’t my idea — led to my first learning how to digitize photos (thank you Kathy Whipple). I then digitized nearly all of the historic photos in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.

I began putting those photos online almost exactly six years ago. The first two years were on the City of Maplewood’s Facebook page with the help of our community development director, Rachelle L’ecuyer. The next two years were on the now nearly dead AOL-owned Maplewood/Brentwood Patch website. The last two years have been on Doug Miner’s 40 South News site.

At this time there must be at least a thousand photos, historic Maplewood related, floating in the ether. As I have mentioned in the past, it is my goal to add all of the digitized images of historic photos, documents and artifacts to the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.

My “Maplewood History” blog now generates from the readers most of the newly discovered old images I post. In addition, Donna Ratkowski and I have formed what I call the Ratkowski-Houser Foundation. Works like this: She finds and buys original historic images of Maplewood, then I pay half and we donate them to our library. I have the easiest job. I’d have to ask Donna but I think so far we’ve found about eight. Here are some of the most recent ones.

Original ia a gift to the Maplewood Public Library from the Ratkowki-Houser Foundation.

Recently rediscovered, the original is a gift to the Maplewood Public Library from the Ratkowski-Houser Foundation.

Here is a close up of two boys that couldn't sit still long enough for the slow shutter speed on the early camera used to take the previous photo.

Here is a close up of two boys that couldn’t sit still long enough for the slow shutter speed on the early camera used to take the previous photo.

It is very helpful when the photos show a date such as this one does-May 1907. The original is a gift of the Ratkowski-Houser Foundation to the Maplewood Public Library

It is very helpful when the photos show a date such as this one does-May 1907. The original is a gift of the Ratkowski-Houser Foundation to the Maplewood Public Library.

The Maplewood School once located directly across from the present Maplewood City Hall on Manchester. The number is a stock number. The original is a gift of the Ratkowski-Houser Foundation to the Maplewood Public Library.

The Maplewood School once located directly across from the present Maplewood City Hall on Manchester. The number is a stock number. The original is a gift of the Ratkowski-Houser Foundation to the Maplewood Public Library.

For those of you who are curious.

For those of you who are curious.

Included in Donna's latest haul was this photo of a home in Richmond Heights. Handwriting on the back spells "O'Keefe" and" 7409 LaVeta". I have not yet been able to determine if this home still exists. My friend and able historian of richmond Heights, Joellen McDonald informs me that James O'Keefe was the first mayor.

Included in Donna’s latest haul was this photo of a home in Richmond Heights. The handwriting on the back spells “O’Keefe” and” 7409 LaVeta”. I have not yet been able to determine if this home still exists. My friend and able historian of Richmond Heights, Joellen McDonald, informs me that James O’Keefe was the first mayor. This photo will be a gift of the aforementioned foundation to the historic archives of Richmond Heights.

Thanks to the input of several readers I now feel fairly certain that this is the home in the previous photo. the address seemed to have changed from 7409 LaVeta to 7367 at some point in the past. This was most likely due to the fact that the 7400 block was extremely short with only a couple of homes on it. thanks to reader Paul, Editior Miner and Sherman Shewmaker (commenting from Australia) for helping to solve this riddle.

Thanks to the input of several readers I now feel fairly certain that this is the home in the previous photo. The address seemed to have changed from 7409 LaVeta to 7367 at some point in the past. This was most likely due to the fact that the 7400 block was extremely short with only a couple of homes on it. Thanks to reader Paul, Editor Miner and Sherman Shewmaker (commenting from Australia) for helping to solve this riddle.

4 thoughts on “Maplewood History: Newly Discovered Early Images of the Maplewood School

  1. I love these old pictures….Somewhere I have seen a picture of my grandparents old house at 2037 Bland Ave, Maplewood. My grandfather and grandmother built that house, but not sure when…my father was born in 1919, and he was old enough to write his name on the old garage, when it was built. Their names were Herman and Emma Wilken (He went by Mike) He used to be the night watchman (his last job) at Hampton Park. He always left the family dinners at the Holidays to go to work. I remember the house stood by it self, all alone, and I remember thinking, it must have been the first house built here. It still stands at the corner of Bland and Williams. We all grew up in Brentwood, but spent many happy hours at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, as children. Used to ride the old streetcar….the “Dinky” from Brentwood to their house….it stopped at West Bruno and the street west of Bland…and we walked up to Grandma’s. I’ll see if my sister might have that picture….she got all the Wilken Family pictures.

    • Perhaps you meant ‘does exist’, without the ‘not’. Porch simply got blown away and never replaced, seems to me.

    • Paul, I believe you are correct. I rode by a little while ago and took a photo of it. The address these days is 7367 LaVeta. I’ll amend my post to show the home today.