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.
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.
Doug Houser January 22, 2020