Maplewood History: The 1970’s

For the tiny town of Maplewood, the 1970’s were a very turbulent era.  I moved here in December of 1975. Due to the naivete of youth (I was 26) and the demands of full time employment in an automobile factory, I was blissfully unaware of most of the drama that was playing out just a few blocks away.

The following pages are lifted directly from my first Maplewood History book – “The First Hundred Years, Maplewood MO”.  They were researched and written by my co-author Joyce Cheney (no relation to Dick). Shortly after the book was published the very talented Joyce moved to Colorado where I believe she is still.  Joyce is the author of several books including Aprons: A Celebration, Aprons: Icons of the American Home and All Our Lives: A Women’s Songbook.

Many of my readers are still making do without owning a copy of this first book which I have recently rebranded as “Second Printing – Volume One”.  There is no need to deprive yourselves any longer for the book is readily available at the reliable Scheidt Hardware (known to newcomers as True Value) where I am still the best selling author.  Or the book can be obtained at the Mid County Chamber of Commerce just a few more steps west at 7326A Manchester. At both of those places you will need a twenty dollar bill or something of equal value.

As you might suspect, reprinting these pages from my first book is taking the easy way out as far as blog posts are concerned.  I’d have to agree. These sultry St. Louis summer days are personal favorites. Sweat? You bet! Being retired is wonderful. I’m outside or in the Maplewood pool as much as possible.  The computer screen simply can’t compete with the glorious, too short, summer in Maplewood!

This was too easy.  I’ll have to remember in the future to just cannibalize the book whenever I’ve spent too much time in the sun.

By the Way:  My second book is very close to becoming a reality in the physical world. I have proof copies in my possession and have finished the tweaking  process.  Next I will receive a fully bound hardcover copy and a soft cover copy as well.  If they are OK, it will be full speed ahead.  Right now for the first 100 copies, I’m planning a collector’s edition printed on high quality paper with a dust jacket commemorating 112 years of Scheidt Hardware.  Do I have to say it?  Be the first on your block!

Doug Houser  8/15/2019

21 thoughts on “Maplewood History: The 1970’s

  1. My apologies to everyone for not responding to these comments sooner. My wife and I have been on a driving vacation, winding up near Cincinnati by way of Chicago, Traverse City and Grand Rapids. Visiting friends and family. It really wasn’t too bad. I don’t care much for long drives but we managed this with 5 or 6 hours a day driving time. Anyhow I posted this on the day we left. We just got back today (Sunday). I need my big computer to properly respond to some of these comments.

  2. The K-Mart development, with the creepy, dark, below ground garage, removed an entire street: Arthur Avenue, where I grew up. It was sad to see the neat old shops torn down with their interesting facades, similar to what are still seen on the south side of Manchester. I hope the Schnucks store is consistently kept clean inside and out. Despite those negatives, Maplewood has bounced back beautifully and is now an ultra cool place to live, shop, eat, drink, hear music and play.

    • You are welcome, Kathy but don’t you have a copy of my first book? Next time I see you I’ll give you one.

  3. My grandparents ‘ house on Sutton and flat next store were demolished to make way for K Mart

  4. Doug, I sent you an email with offerings for future history reports, with no response. Wondering if you received it?

    • I did receive that email, Doug. I apologize for taking so long to answer. For the reader: Doug Smith is a professional photographer and commercial property owner in Maplewood. Doug has generously offered to share photographs that he made of all of the buildings in the 7300 block of Manchester some decades ago. These he had printed and mounted to make a panoramic photo that was, I’m guessing, 10 feet long. For many years it was located in the office of our Chamber of Commerce. It’s whereabouts today are unknown. I think most of my readers would find those images very interesting today, Doug. It is nice of you to offer to share them.

  5. A huge loss in the K-Mart disaster was the Maplewood Savings and Loan. The marble interior was amazing and could never be recreated in today’s world.

  6. Glad to see a picture of the old parking garage structure. There are folks who have no knowledge of the thing, never saw it, never went to K Mart. It really was an eyesore it seemed to me. However somedays when I go the the parking lot for Schnucks or when it was Shop N Save I am surprised at the amount of trash on the parking lot. I don’t know how often the parking lot gets swept but it seems to be just about as much of an eyesore as the old parking garage.

    • Right you are. I don’t remember seeing junkies shoot up, hookers and other assorted petty crimes in the old K-mart parking structure that we have recently experienced with the SnS/Schnucks store. So much for progress….

      • Jedd: You didn’t look hard enough in the old K-Mart garage and lot back in the day. My business (Drum Headquarters) and my wife’s (Disc-Connection) were in front of the garage (i.e., connected to it) from 1984-93, so I was there about 3,000 days during that period (plus, I was in and out of the garage thousands of times) and we observed many “interesting” activities then (in the garage, on the lot and on Manchester Road). Additionally, I have been in downtown Maplewood virtually every single day since 1984. As for what might occur at the Schnucks lot today, it is my opinion that it is no different from what happens at gathering places in many parts of St. Louis City and County and throughout the country, for that matter. And as for the “progress” you suggest has not occurred in downtown Maplewood, there has been a TON of it in the past 30 years! You seem to be suggesting that things are worse (or the same) now and that is clearly not the reality.

        • You are absolutely correct Rob. A lot has happened, and it’s called great progress. Thanks for being a major part of it.

        • Yes, quite right Rob! My 65 year association with Maplewood is only trumped by your “on the scene” experiences. Your experience there is bar none. Thank you for setting this straight!

    • Oh, no Mark. The old K-Mart parking garage was dark, dank and poorly build. Everything shook with car movement. You could even feel it in the store. The cracks in it were just plain scary. Terribly ugly and unsafe in many, many ways. A true eyesore Friday m early on. Even with a bit of litter here or there, the current parking lot is SO much better!!

  7. Really enjoyed reading this Doug. Brought back lots of memories for me. I worked at Citizens National Bank in 1953-54 and my Mom, Dorothy Fennell, was the switchboard operator there for several years. If I’m not mistaken Mr. Holton was bank president at that time.

    • I am glad you liked it, Nancy. I appreciate you sharing your memories. I have the stack of material you loaned me about your family, the Fennells, sitting right behind me. I’m certain my readers are going to find much of interest there. I’ve got to get those items scanned. Thank you for your patience.