Maplewood History: The (fill in the blank) Cabinetry of Harper’s Pharmacy

Think about it. There are a lot of adjectives that could be put in the blank. Such as Lost. Or how about Recently Removed? Vanished? Dislocated? I’m sure the reader can think of a few as well.

Rumor has it that the cabinetry is still in the building. Let’s hope so. How about the assorted pieces that were shown in the photographs accompanying my first post on the subject? Are they being stored or have they been discarded? Mr. Schlafly your response to those questions would be greatly appreciated.

I’d like to be clear that I regard David Schlafly who I’ve been told is the owner of the Cape-Harper Building and John Hickey, the director of the Eastern Missouri Group of the Sierra Club, as honorable gentlemen with whom those of us who care about the historic fabric of Maplewood have a disagreement. In my discussion with Mr. Hickey I mentioned that some kind of publicity is going to come from this campaign to return the cabinets to their original locations.

If the Sierra Club had agreed to incorporate the cabinetry into their new office plan, I believe very positive PR would have resulted. Maybe, “The Sierra Club doesn’t only care about live trees, our St. Louis office saved a forest of walnut (possibly mahogany or cherry) when they moved into their new/old historic space.” Unfortunately they disagreed and so far it looks like my line is going to have to be, “Does the Sierra Club only care about live trees?”

This is the message we’ll have to get to the Sierra Club membership. A number of who have already expressed their unhappiness with the local director’s office plan. Of course we don’t know what that plan is. We just know the cabinets supposedly won’t work in it.

If we don’t get a commitment shortly, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, This Old House magazine and others (I’m sure the readers will have some good suggestions) might think this an interesting enough story to give some national coverage.

The resulting PR about a community caring what happens to their historic fabric will be good for Maplewood. But for the Sierra Club…probably not.

This view of Harper's pharmacy and the first Bettendorf's store was taken in the 1940's judging by the automobiles.  I found this on the Facebook page called Vintage St. Louis.

This view of Harper’s pharmacy and the first Bettendorf’s store was taken in the 1940’s judging by the automobiles. I found this on the Facebook page called Vintage St. Louis.

5 thoughts on “Maplewood History: The (fill in the blank) Cabinetry of Harper’s Pharmacy

  1. I am nearly at a loss for words after reading this article. Mr. Hauser, in the “Spectacular Cabinetry” article, describes the space at 2818 as having “long been under-utilized” and having “deteriorate[d] a bit” under a “neglectful owner.”
    So why is the Sierra Club the ‘bad guy’ here? Because they’re going to utilize the space, clean those ‘dusty windows’ onto the time capsule? No, it appears that the problem is that the Sierra Club is guilty of recognizing that the cabinets are simply not suited to their needs, given that they are not a retail establishment but rather a nonprofit badly in need of space.
    Would it be preferable, instead, to have the space remain vacant and watch through the dusty windows as these beautiful cabinets break down under the stresses of extreme temperature and humidity variations?
    The way to preserve things is not to embalm them or turn them into museums. Buildings, like forests, rivers and air, are meant to be used and maintained.
    The cabinets are lovely. One day someone will find a proper use for them. In the meantime, the space will be well used and contribute to the vibrant business district of Maplewood.

    • As Maplewood came back from very bleak time, there were two positions with regard to spending SBD money.
      1. We will fix up the area after the tenants come .

      2. Lets spend the money to increase the curb appeal of Maplewood to attract desirable businesses.
      Thankfully #2 prevailed and the results are obvious.

      When I had to make the same decision to either wait for a tenant or make a substantial investment in my building, I chose #2 to attract the kind of desirable tenant that would be a credit to the direction of Sutton. I spent the money, and lots of it. My tenant, Sutton, and I have all benefited as a result.

      The Harper building property owner chose to take the route of #1. He had the money and could have made that space truly spectacular to attract at tenant far more suitable than the Sierra Club Office. All business on Sutton and Maplewood in general would have benefited as well as the property owner. Now we will have the possibilities that come with unique retail subdued by prime historic space being tied up for office use.

      So, yes, you are right. The Sierra club, although insensitive to Maplewood History is not totally to blame. It is a shame since so many other less unique spaces would have met their drywall office needs.

  2. This is the same city that watched with indifference, the demise of the Maplewood Historical Society.
    What the hell is the Maplewood Sustainability Commission for ?

  3. Thanks again Doug. I really hope the Sierra Club is reading and listening. There are many of us who may have had very positive opinions of the organization, but that can change rapidly.

  4. Great article, Doug. I hope all this discussion on 40SN results in mainstream media coverage, similar to what you mentioned. This issue is unfortunate, and the lack of communication from the Owner/tenant simply adds to this fact. Time will tell how this all pans out.