A little over 11 months ago I created a post entitled, “A Serendipitous Encounter with the McGregor Family Home and History.” It turned out to be very popular. 46 comments. Wish they all got that sort of attention.
One of the very positive things that came about was that contact was made with some of the descendants of the Maplewood McGregors. Through their family historian, Doug McGregor, and with input from other family members more information and historic photographs were gained.
The task of an editor is deciding what to pass on and what “to leave on the cutting room floor” as Doug McGregor put it. In a perfect world every family would have their own history in book form. In this world, the McGregors are getting 12 pages in my next book and two more posts on my blog.
George Albert McGregor was born in Brunswick, Canada in 1872. He met and (despite his in-laws considering him a low-life Canadian) married Evelyn Whitcomb in Boston on Jan. 1, 1900. After a store he owned there burned, they moved to Maplewood where he quickly established the McGregor Baking Company at 3107 Sutton. Historic images and information throughout this article are courtesy of Doug McGregor and the McGregor family.
His ca.1900 bakery building at 3107 Sutton later housed the Powhatan Theater. As of this writing in 2018, his building still stands.
According to an unidentified newspaper clipping business was good. Perhaps this is why the 1912 Maplewood Business directory gives 7303 Picadilly Ave as the address of the bakery. The directory also lists the McGregor residence as being at 3406 Greenwood boul (Boulevard). Directory is courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
In the background of this 1917 photograph of two of their six children can be seen a house with a shingled round turret. This is the only one of their historic images in which this building is seen. I wondered if this may have been their home at 3406 Greenwood. A good bit of checking revealed that it wasn’t. It was their neighbor’s.
Sometimes I get lucky. Their home at 3406 Greenwood Boulevard was built in 1906. I would be curious to know if it was built for them. This postcard clearly shows that Fran and John are seated in their own front yard with the neighbor’s turreted house in the background. The number 7286 is a stock number of the postcard, not a street address. Thanks to Andrew Rochman for the vintage postcard, Zillow for the image of 3342 Greenwood & Google maps for the image of 3406. The 3348-50 photo is by Yours truly.
Willard, Francis, George and Donald McGregor. While the family was living at 3406 Greenwood Boulevard tragedy struck! In 1916, their eleven year old son, Donald, chasing a baseball into the street was struck by a truck and fatally injured. They moved to 7380 Flora in 1922.
Dorothy, John, Francis and Evelyn lined up in the side yard just to the east of their new home at 7380 Flora. The side yard no longer exists. An infill home was built there. The neighbors homes in the background are still there.
Dorothy McGregor again-1922
And here’s Dorothy one more time, up a tree, also in 1922.
This one is of Francis in 1924 standing behind the porch on the east side. The second story is a sleeping porch.
Evelyn’s father, a veteran of the American Civil War, Augustus Whitcomb relaxing in the yard. Doug McGregor had this to say about him. “He was a clerk for the railroad in Boxborough, MA, where the Whitcombs had lived since just after the Mayflower. He was transferred to Boston, which is where his daughter met my grandfather. He moved to St. Louis to live out his final days after his wife died.” Not bad. This has to be our first known direct Maplewood connection to the Mayflower.
Gus’ war stuff. Courtesy of Doug McGregor.
Please stay tuned. I have one more post about the McGregor family. It will follow as soon as I can get it worked up. Additionally, Billy Jones, Maplewood’s favorite memoirist, who has been lauded* for the “Norman Rockwell” type of scenarios that he keeps turning out, has three, yes that’s 3 more that are in the bag. I just have to get them out. That alone should be enough to keep you watching this space. C’mon, spring! DH
*by Gary Tash