When I moved to Maplewood in 1975 from the Delmar Loop area, I wasn’t much impressed with the architecture. The Loop has the lion gates, the octagonal city hall, and stunning residential areas. In Maplewood our story is different but not less interesting.
We have a couple of great buildings, the High School and the former Pool (now Library) building. We have a number of pretty good historic commercial buildings and a fair inventory of historic residences. But not a lot of either.
Scheidt Hardware is a treasure. Building and business. Ditto for Saratoga Lanes. We have the Stertzing building with its completely glazed façade and the building at 3101-5 Sutton with wonderful terra cotta and iron work. The stunning Browne building in the 7100 block of Manchester is one half in Maplewood. We have the Greenwood Historic District as well as the Dr. Cape buildings and another historic district comprising the 7300 block of Manchester.
Many folks enjoy living here. Some are wild about it. Why? It is a complicated question with different answers for different people. But if you count yourself among those of us who are happy with this spot on the planet, ask yourself if the above buildings have anything to do with it. They do for me. Try and imagine the place without them.
Know then that one of our most interesting commercial buildings, the Cape-Harper building is being stripped of one of its original and exceedingly rare assets, the pharmacy cabinets that have been in place since the day the building opened in the mid 1920’s. What I am now being told is they will remain in the Cape-Harper building for the time being and be used by a different tenant. This is better than having them moved entirely from the premises but I will bet that the longer they are gone from their original positions, the less likely they are to ever be put back where they belong.
The point I’m trying to hammer home is that one of the most interesting and best features of our central historic area has just disappeared from view. If they are not returned soon, consider them gone.