Maplewood History: The Bank of Maplewood-Part 2

In my previous post we were able to get a good look at the Bank of Maplewood building in its early years.  Unfortunately just like us humans as the building aged there were some surprises.

If the folks living in the building when this photo was taken hadn't moved the china out yet, it would probably be a good idea to do so.  I sure appreciate Wanda kennedy Kuntz allowing me to post this photo of hers and the next one.

If the folks living in the building when this photo was taken hadn’t moved the china out yet, it would probably be a good idea to get on with it. I sure appreciate Wanda Kennedy Kuntz allowing me to post this photo of hers and the next one.

As this photo clearly shows things just got worse.  The following was sent by Wanda in an email.  "The Kennedys opened the music school in 1934.  During the 1940’s both of my parents lived upstairs, my dad’s mother had her own apartment there, and my uncle’s family lived there (large space with multiple rooms).  The dance studio was upstairs as well, and my grandfather Kennedy built a performance stage.  Then, about 1949 the outside west wall collapsed, and Kennedy Music School moved downstairs.  My grandmother Kennedy continued to live upstairs after 1949 so PART of the upstairs was still okay and livable.  I confirmed this researching the various mailing addresses.  Johnny Ray did move across Manchester at that point."

As this photo clearly shows things just got worse. The following was sent by Wanda in an email. “The Kennedys opened the music school in 1934. During the 1940’s both of my parents lived upstairs, my dad’s mother had her own apartment there, and my uncle’s family lived there (large space with multiple rooms). The dance studio was upstairs as well, and my grandfather Kennedy built a performance stage. Then, about 1949 the outside west wall collapsed, and Kennedy Music School moved downstairs. My grandmother Kennedy continued to live upstairs after 1949 so PART of the upstairs was still okay and livable. I confirmed this researching the various mailing addresses. Johnny Ray did move across Manchester at that point.”

The west wall of the Bank of Maplewood collapsed in 1949 so what became of the building one might ask.  Be patient you'll soon know.  This composite photo was made from two in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.  Judging by the cars, the year was about 1955.  this is the NW corner of Oakview Terrace and Manchester.

The west wall of the Bank of Maplewood collapsed in 1949 so what became of the building one might ask. Be patient you’ll soon know. This composite photo was made from two in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library. Judging by the cars, the year was about 1955. This is the NW corner of Oakview Terrace and Manchester just across the street from the Bank of Maplewood building.  The second building from the corner is the original Citizen’s National Bank building.

By the time this aerial photo was taken in 1967, Citizen's Bank has expanded to the corner and western auto has moved across the street into the spot once occupied by the Bank of Maplewood.  But what happened to the original building?  I would have never made the connection without the answer provided by Wanda.  That is the original building with a new facade.

By the time this aerial photo was taken in 1967, Citizen’s Bank has expanded to the corner and Western Auto has moved across the street into the spot once occupied by the Bank of Maplewood. But what happened to the original building? I would have never made the connection without the answer provided by Wanda. That is the original building with a new facade.  That chamfered corner and the placement of the windows is the giveaway.

All's well that ends well but the end didn't go very well for the fine old building that once housed the Bank of Maplewood.  I assume that this undated fire photo shows the building in its last days.

All’s well that ends well but the end didn’t go very well for the fine old building that once housed the Bank of Maplewood. I assume that this undated fire photo shows the building in its last days.

Here’s Wanda on the subject.  “The Kennedys didn’t move until 1951 or thereabouts, and it was because the rent got higher and higher with the improvements being made.  The facade was redone over the years, and remained at the corner into the 1960’s, when it finally burned to the ground.

See also: Maplewood History: The Bank of Maplewood-Part 1, Maplewood History: The Bank of Maplewood-Part 2, Maplewood History: Bank of Maplewood-Part 3, Maplewood History: The Bank of Maplewood-Part 3 (continued)

Much thanks to Wanda Kennedy Kuntz for the photos and information.  I’m fairly certain I copied the fire photo from an image in the Maplewood Public Library’s collection.  Wanda mentions that there is a greatly enlarged version hanging inside the Citizen’s Bank as well.

 

 

 

17 thoughts on “Maplewood History: The Bank of Maplewood-Part 2

  1. Hi Doug, very interesting as always. Say, I remember Western Auto having a small store on the west side of Sutton and it was later occupied by a plumbing supply store. Gary

    • Gary, That must have been before I moved to Maplewood. I do remember Al Greathouse’s plumbing supply company being in that building in 1980. It is the same building now occupied by the Hoffman-LaChance Art Gallery, just north of Strange Donuts. Thanks for adding your recollection.

  2. How wonderful to hear this story! I came to St. Louis right out of college to teach at M-RH. Oh, the stories I heard! That of the Kennedy’s and their Music School was a highlight, and I knew Ray Kennedy and enjoyed his amazing piano playing. Thank you for piecing the story together; I look forward to Wanda’s book. I arrived after Golde’s left, though I have met the owner. I met the founder of Laurie’s shoes as well; Laurie has been a good friend. Maplewood holds a pivotal position in the story of St. Louis, the region, and the country. We are indeed “the heart of the heart of the country.”

  3. Some folks have asked why did the west wall collapse. It is hard to say. Might have been built on unstable soil but that seems unlikely. The wall stood for about 45 years before it collapsed. In the earlier photos posted on this subject, it seems in fine shape.
    In the first two photos of this post, the building is being prepared for its new facade. One can tell by the way all projecting bricks have been broken off around the windows and doors. Yet in the first photo the wall is still standing though damaged. In the second photo the wall has collapsed.
    I can’t imagine how the preparation of this building for its new facade could have caused that wall to collapse but perhaps it did.

  4. Doug, I do know that the “Goldie’s” building was rebuilt and housed at least two more businesses, Golmans and PN Hirsh, before its final demise to build the K-Mart.

    • Thanks, Chuck. That answers Ian’s question. The wholesale demolition that many of us wish had never happened apparently didn’t start until a number of years later.

  5. Isn’t that interesting? A little detective work on your part. I love the word “chamfered”. Hope you’ve had a nice weekend.
    Margaret

    • Thanks, Margaret. Chamfered is a woodworking term so I’m not sure it applies to buildings. Does now.

    • All that and more. The Kennedy’s alone were a very interesting family that had a lot going on. Thanks for your comment, Gary.

  6. Doug, i’ve just completed the writing of my book, ‘Kennedy Music,’ and plan to publish around christmas this year. Those interested in Maplewood history will find a few clues, and beautiful pictures, regarding the changing business district. My family lived through a lot of this Maplewood history, and we’re excited about sharing it with current Maplewoodians! Please stay tuned to Doug’s blog for more info.

    • Wanda, thanks for the news about your new book. Your family, the Kennedy’s of Maplewood, certainly had an interesting and colorful history. I will be very pleased to announce the release of your book when that occurs.

  7. In the picture of the Western Auto located next to Citizen’s Bank, there is a building in the background that appears to be a masonry, International Style building with several string courses of brick. Any idea on what that could have been?

    • Barry, the building to which you refer was the drive up window facility of Citizen’s Bank. Built about 1949 it was said (by the bank’s PR) to be the first of its kind in the midwest. I did a post about it and the bank on the Patch website but I’m not sure it can still be pulled up. I’ll do another soon on that and the Golde’s fire as soon as I get the Bank of Maplewood out of my system.

  8. Thanks Doug, love the pictures. From the picture in 1967, with the demo ongoing next to Citizens Bank, was there parking behind the whole strip on that side? And was that demo the beginning of the end for the entire north side?

    • Ian, the big hole just west of Citizen’s Bank was left by the removal of the Golde’s department store building after its destruction by fire in 1966. I’m not certain if that was the beginning of the plan that led to demolition of much of the business district but that plan was not far off.