Maplewood History: The Wedge, Route 66 and Reller Chevrolet

As mentioned in my previous post, The Wedge in Maplewood referred not only to the triangular piece of land located at the intersection of present day Manchester and Southwest. The building located on that site was also known as the Wedge. In fact it was wedge-shaped and covered most of its lot except for the sidewalks.

Elmer Wind Jr. , the son of one of the founders of EJ Tire, told me that the customers joked that every time they got gas they blocked both of the sidewalks.

We are able to view the remarkable photographs presented here due to Elmer’s generosity. Many of the photos were taken during the visit of a promotional limousine pulling a giant Goodyear tire.

In two of the photos, on a utility pole nearby, can be seen (at a higher magnification on my computer screen) two signs, one designating Manchester as Route 50 and the other, the now legendary Route 66.

Manchester through downtown Maplewood was designated Route 66 from its inception in 1926 until 1933. Ours was the very first alignment (as they’re called) of Route 66. The alignment on Watson Road was created later at least in part to resolve traffic congestion in downtown Maplewood.

These are the only two photos I have ever found of Route 66 signs in downtown Maplewood.

Also of interest is the view they afford of the Reller Chevrolet building on the north side of Manchester. Unfortunately at some point the western showroom end was remodeled into what we have today and much detail was lost. The eastern five bays still look very similar.

Elmer Wind Jr. has been a tireless lobbyist for Route 66 promotion in our community. His efforts and that of others such as Doug Smith caught the attention of our Community Development director, Rachelle L’Ecuyer. She responded by creating the colorful banners and sidewalk plaques that inform viewers of this important part of our past.

This post was partially rewritten and expanded on 4/17/2017  DH

In this very interesting photo the eastern end of the Reller Chevrolet building can be seen on the north side of Manchester. Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.

I’m not sure what those boys were up to. Looks like they’re comparing the length of the EJ Tire Service car/truck to that giant wheel pulling limo. From this angle the western end of Reller Chevrolet is visible. Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.

The Reller Chevrolet building in 2010. For whatever reason(s) the western end has been completely remodeled and not for the better unfortunately. May have been a fire, I’m guessing.

If you have trouble visualizing some of this in your mind, well there’s help. Photoshop. That original Reller Chevrolet building was ten bays long!

This photograph is the prize winner. On the telephone pole can be seen the sign designating our strip of Manchester as the now mythical Route 66. This image was in a stack of photos that Elmer was kind enough to let me copy. Neither of us noticed the 66 sign with our naked eyes. It showed up under magnification on my computer. Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.

Detail from the previous photo.

Have a closer look at the EJ Tire Service car/truck. Is this cool or what? Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.

If you were wondering who these fellow are, wonder no more.

From the air looking towards the northeast. Easy to see why it was called the Wedge. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

This issue of the Standard Oil magazine contained an interesting story about the origin of EJ Tire. Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.

And here it is. if you think that this must be the last word on EJ Tire, you’re wrong. There’s more. Next blog post… from Jim Fischer’s box. This image courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.

 

 

10 thoughts on “Maplewood History: The Wedge, Route 66 and Reller Chevrolet

  1. Pingback: Model trains again chug through Citizens National Bank | 40 South News

  2. Wow! I really enjoyed reading your post, and the pictures were interesting to look at. Thank you!

  3. Doug, I always look forward to your outstanding retrospectives of Maplewood’s history. …… and thanks for the mention on the promotion of Route 66 in Maplewood.

  4. Interesting, if you pull up street veiw on Google Earth, you can match up the car ‘bays’ of the Old Reller Chevy building and see that it’s the current buidling, still standing, “modernized” and for sale…

    • Barbara, I did as you suggested. The photos on Google Earth make the building look pretty rough. The Flying Tigers Motorcycles business has since done a very nice job of repairing and repainting the building. I don’t know if it is still for sale. I’ll expand a bit more on the building and site in an upcoming post. Thanks for your input.

  5. Excellent job, Doug!! I don’t care what anyone else says, You’re the Best!!