Maplewood History: On A Roll – A House, That Is.

Or more accurately “That Was.”  A comment from reader and county historian Esley Hamilton in my last post started me thinking that I could generate another post with a minimum of struggle by elaborating on his comment some. 

Esley said, “I have seen pictures of the twin-gabled house now at 7430 Flora being moved, but never one of its original location. The postcard showing the house in its original spot on Oakview Terrace is the kind of evidence that historians rarely find.”  I agree Esley. I got lucky on that one.

I photographed the event that Mr. Hamilton is referring to.  I even had a couple of pages on it in my first book, Our First One Hundred Years, Maplewood, MO, which was published for our centennial in 2008.  I believe the second printing of that book has sold out once again. Michelle at the Book House may still have some copies but Scheidt Hardware (True Value to you newcomers) was down to two copies when I was in a few days ago.  The Chamber has none.   I am in the process of getting quotes from a couple of printers so hopefully we’ll have some more copies in the future.

I’ll kick this one off with those two pages from the book.  Then I’ll throw in everything else that I have about that exciting day.  I think you will find this a moving experience.

 

This is page 100 from my first book.

This is page 101 which also displays the first and only house moving joke I ever thought of.

In this image the home is only a short distance from its original location on Oakview Terrace.

Having already made the 90 degree turn from Oakview Terrace on to Manchester, the hulking Victorian is making its ponderous way down the 7300 block.  The much reviled KMart complex is on the left.

She’s just about directly in front of Scheidt Hardware in this image. The landmarked mid-century modern Paramount Jewelers sign can be seen at right. By the way those are just two of the many excellent businesses we have here in Maplewood. If you haven’t been in either in awhile you owe it to yourself to check them out.

Here she is passing beneath a couple of the old cobra headed streetlights. At the risk of offending the mid-century modern preservationists, I’m happy to see those gone too.

The wandering Victorian would be right in front of the Boogaloo restaurant if this image were made today.  Check out the window air conditioner.  That Frontenac Engineering is something, too.  They are a Maplewood company located directly beneath Saratoga Lanes.  These guys do a lot of stuff.  Too much to list here but see for yourself.  Frontenac Engineering. 

Headed towards the second 90 degree turn onto Sutton.

Contrasting architecture here. The timelessness of the Victorian compared to the nothingness of the KMart complex. I might be wrong but that sure looks like our future mayor, Barry Greenberg, staring directly at the camera.

Remember Bobby’s? What a great restaurant that was! I truly wish we had never lost them. Bob and Barb Suberi took a big risk opening their very large restaurant in Maplewood. It paid off for them and for us as well.

This is very nearly the same shot as that last one except that it’s not.

Take a careful look. Just to the right of the Maplewood Municipal Parking sign are the three ceramic columns that I was trying to remember a few posts ago. Rob Birnbaum, who has no problems with his memory, identified the artist whose name I have once again forgotten.  I did look at her website though and thought it very interesting.

Here the home has made the turn onto Sutton and is right in front of the Saratoga Lanes and Frontenac Engineering building.

Passing Saratoga Lanes.

At Hazel and Sutton.

Passing the Sutton Loop. This shot is a favorite. I like the way the telephoto lens compresses distance. It makes us aware of the grade changes that you can live with for years and not notice.

The big house made it through several tight spots…just barely. It was necessary for the ends of some of the cross bars on the utility poles to be sawn off in order for her to pass.  They were never replaced that I know of.  But I haven’t checked in quite awhile.

Turning onto Flora. William Koester’s home can be seen in the background.  For more on Koester read, A Maplewood Mystery and Part Two and Part Three.

Just who was responsible for this blatant act of preservation? There’s one of them, the recently-retired, long-serving councilman and friend, Tim Dunn (in the hat).  Tim, along with other members of the council and the city staff pulled off this very admirable transfer of our historic fabric from a site where it was not wanted to a new site where a home of the same vintage had burned.

And there’s another one of them. Recently-retired, long-serving, city manager Marty Corcoran checks the fit as the home is eased into its new location.

Here she has been placed upon the wood cribbing prior to having a new concrete basement poured.

This is my final shot. If you’d like to see what she looks like today, beautifully restored, you can find her on the south side of the 7400 block of Flora. Look for the twin gables.

 

That was a day to remember.  I hope you enjoyed seeing these images.  They were made from slides.  I didn’t switch to digital until 2005.

I had said I was going to get right to work on some of the William Lyman Thomas material and I have been.  It is progressing rather slowly but I hope to have something to show you is a week or so.

Meanwhile, try to stay warm.  It is hard to do some of these days but the light is hanging around longer.  That’s not nothing.

Take care.

Doug Houser     January 22, 2020

 

 

33 thoughts on “Maplewood History: On A Roll – A House, That Is.

  1. I might have not seen it in the posting here but what year was this house moved? I remember being there it was a great thing to see.

    • It was in July of 1997, Lori. I agree with you. It was a great thing to see. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Great seeing this unusual event from multiple spots thanks to your photos, because I only saw it briefly from one spot during the move! Thanks, Doug

  3. I grew up at 7454 and left there in 1962 when I enlisted in the Army.
    We used to call the house that was there “Chickees” because I think they were the owners at one time. It was a rooming house and split up into several “apartments” and there was also an apartment in back in what used to be the garage.
    This house looks so much nicer.

  4. Hey Doug, great post as usual. In the original location picture, am I right that neither of those other homes survived?

      • Doug, do you have any information on the church that is pictured? I always knew the church that is there now so when did the old church get torn down and replaced? Or any other pictures of the church. It really looks like another house to me rather than a church but it sure is a nice looking place. Too bad it had to go.

  5. Hello this is Phillip ..Iam deaf…I used to lived on flora ave long times ago around 35 years ago .. I can’t believe that times fly to go fast ! Lol .. I remember this day I saw your house moved … I never forget this day .. Anyway I moved out ..then now I live in highridge , mo .. Glad that your house successful made it and perfect ! Beautiful house ! God bless ! 🙏

    • Hey Phillip, I probably saw you that day of the move and didn’t know it. I’m glad you saw the post even though you now live in High Ridge. I lived out there when I was growing up. We lived on a road with four ridges named (as I know you can guess) Four Ridge Road. Thank you for your kind words.

  6. I can not believe it was that long ago. You know you can not tell which house is not original to the block now. I am glad the house was not torn down. I love all the old homes in Maplewood, especially my 1914 home.

  7. I remember further west on Manchester Road when they moved that Historic white house. It was east of McKnight on the south side of Manchester. I believe they moved it TWICE. It now sits useless just north of the gas station on the corner. Find out about it would ya?

    • I was in the house a couple of times before it was moved. I did a few odds and ends for the owner. His name was Ralph but cannot remember the last name. He used to sit on his front porch swing several hours a day and watch traffic go by.

      As for the wiring I would not doubt it being knob and tube. Once I was asked to come and change some light bulbs in one of his ceiling fans. He had one bulb that broke off in the socket. As I was working to get the base out he came in and decided to turn the light switch on since it was dark in the room. Just a little jolt but enough I remembered it for a long time.

      • Sorry but this reply ended up in the wrong place. Supposed to be in response to Doug’s response to me.

    • OK, Joan. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry on the home, Fairfax. https://bit.ly/30ZbjgW The article contains an inaccuracy. It says, “Because the home was on the National Register of Historic Places it could not be destroyed…” Unfortunately this is not true. A listing on the National Register will only prevent federal money from being used in the demolition of a building or structure. It has no power to stop a demolition otherwise. Many folks don’t realize that fact. Here is a link to the 52 page listing on the National Register. It makes for some very interesting reading. https://bit.ly/3aRHSSr

  8. I was there for that day. I remember holding my breath as it started down the hill by Citizen’s National Bank. Wondered if it was going to fall over and down the hill. I still think of that hill somedays when it is wet or snowy. I had my son with me as I recall and he soon got bored with the thing moving so slowly. Although neither of us had seen a house moved before he was not happy with the long time it took to move it and I think we only watched it make the turn onto Sutton and then went on to things that he felt were more important. I still remember it but wonder if he does? I will have to send him this article and ask him

    • Hi Mark, I think I pretty much trusted the guys doing the moving. After all, they had “Expert” painted on their truck. That Mack truck was pretty impressive to be able to pull that house off of its lot and into the street. The house must have still had some of its knob-and-tube wiring. I remember there was a very old basement light that was swinging beneath the building. It was one of those single bulb ancient fixtures that hung down on about a foot of wire.

      • From Mark: I was in the house a couple of times before it was moved. I did a few odds and ends for the owner. His name was Ralph but cannot remember the last name. He used to sit on his front porch swing several hours a day and watch traffic go by.

        As for the wiring I would not doubt it being knob and tube. Once I was asked to come and change some light bulbs in one of his ceiling fans. He had one bulb that broke off in the socket. As I was working to get the base out he came in and decided to turn the light switch on since it was dark in the room. Just a little jolt but enough I remembered it for a long time.

        • Sitting on the front porch watching the traffic go by ain’t all bad. I wonder what Ralph’s story was. Do you think he probably passed away, church bought the house for the lot, then somehow the idea to move the house instead of demolish it came up. Interesting.

          • Doug, I am sad to say I don’t know what happened to Ralph. He had a routine of eating at Steak and Shake I think every weekday for either breakfast or lunch. He was very proud of his being able to drive for as long as I can recall. And he mowed his own yard for a long time. My kids were quite young and so I know that they took up some of my time but I tried to help out Ralph with a few things around his place. I remember us working with him on some fallen tree limbs once and maybe raking some leaves for him with my kids. They came along mostly to jump in the piles we raked up.

            Since the church and bank have gone thru several years of changes I don’t know if anyone at either place remembers the exact sequence of events that allowed the city to buy the property and move it. I am guessing either Tim Dunn or Marty Corchran might have the answers to those questions.

    • Hey Mike, I bet a lot of other folks do too. If you ever find them, I’d love to take a look at them.

    • Thank you, Gary. You’re right. That was a crazy day. I was shooting Kodachrome 64 slide film. Every 36 photos cost me $10. As you can imagine I was trying not to waste many shots. If I had had a digital camera back then I probably would have taken a couple hundred. Maybe it’s for the better. I am swamped in digital photos as I speak. Thanks for your comment.