No history of Maplewood would be complete without mention of the pie slice-shaped piece of land at the very heart of the community.
The Wedge still survives where the public transportation line once intersected with Manchester Road. Sounds awfully modern but this was the late 1880s that I’m referring to. The public transportation was powered by horses and what was then called Manchester Road is now called Southwest.
The Wedge was a turnaround for trolleys pulled by horses, the end of the line. It was also the name of the sawdust-on-the-floor saloon located on that spot. This information was given to Globe-Democrat reporter, Deborah Mann by Anna Blase Deustchmann whose family, the Blases, owned the saloon. The resulting article was published in the 1970s after the building had been razed.
In 1921, Elmer Wind and his brother Eddie began a tire repair and battery rental business in the Wedge building. Shortly thereafter they became dealers of the products of Standard Oil. They chose their site well for their business lasted over 50 years.
Elmer Wind Jr. was born in the Wedge as was Anna Blase. Elmer, I’ve gotten to know quite well, and am grateful for having had the opportunity. He is a true Maplewood original; a type of personality that once was described as being “a pistol.” I haven’t talked to him in a while so I hope he’s still doing well.
Elmer has generously allowed me to copy many photos and a painting of EJ Tire from his large collection of memorabilia.
This is the earliest known photograph of the “Wedge” from the aforementioned article. I tried to track the original photograph down going so far to as to sift through Blase family photos with a member of that family, Vicky. No luck. Thanks to Deborah Mann and the Globe-Democrat for this one, not to mention the Maplewood Public Library where I found this clipping.
This photograph appears to date from very close to the opening of EJ Tire in the Wedge in 1921. The “Wedge” was first used to denote the building and then later meant the piece of land after the building had been lost. Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.
Another early photo, this one from 1922 complete with the names of the individuals shown. Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.
This 1939 photograph was most likely taken for an article that ran in the Stanolind Record, a magazine published by the Standard Oil Company that same year, which featured an article about the origin of EJ Tire. Courtesy of Elmer Wind Jr.
An original oil painting of the Wedge from Mr. Wind’s collection. The artist signed the painting “R.Wind 1970”.
An image of Elmer Wind Jr. himself in 2003 by the obviously talented photographer and former Maplewood resident, Michael Miles. Thank you, Michael wherever you are.
Thankfully we didn’t wind up with this. If we had the whole world would be different and I probably would not be sitting here writing this. This is from the same newspaper article as the very first photo, probably 1973, but the exact date was not included with the clipping.