Maplewood History: What Became of Bartold’s Painting of Erastus Wells?

William Lyman Thomas’ The History of St. Louis County contains an unknown but large number of very interesting details about this area we live in.  By accident I discovered another one while looking for something else. Interesting that this article should pop up right after the last post about the painting of the Bartold Inn that Larry Giles has been kind enough to give us.

Wow.  How about that?  A very old oil painting of a two-and-a-half story house on Broadway with clothing in the south end, groceries in the north end, a barbershop and a saloon kept by Frederick Bartold.  Sounds like a commercial building with maybe four storefronts.  The painting also depicts a newspaper carrier and a two horse omnibus driven by Erastus Wells.  What a cool painting.  My first thought was to wonder if the History Museum has this painting in their collection?  I would love to see it.  Wouldn’t you?

Often when you read of something like this, the object of interest has completely disappeared.  No one has any idea of where it might be or what could have happened to it.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 31, 1904


What a drag.  We know what happened to this painting.  Lucky accident that I discovered both of these articles.  It is interesting that this reporter refers to the Bartold Inn as a mansion.  It caused me to wonder if there was another building on the property besides the inn.  The 1909 map doesn’t show anything that is obviously their home other than the inn  which is labeled saloon.

In my last post I included the obituary for William Bartold which appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1890.  The last line read, “Mr. Bartold’s funeral was one of the largest ever held in the county…”  This caused me to wonder why.  So I turned to the often reliable  After quite a bit of searching I still don’t know.

Wouldn’t you think that someone that well known must have had his name in the paper quite a lot.  Not this time.  I’ll let you know if I ever find a reason why so many folks apparently held this man in such high regard.

Well, spring is upon us.  But unfortunately so is the corona virus.  Please take this seriously.  Do everything the doctors and scientists are telling us to do.  Hopefully by social distancing and ramped up hand hygiene we can get through this with as few people becoming ill as possible.

Stay healthy.

Doug Houser     April 2, 2020

8 thoughts on “Maplewood History: What Became of Bartold’s Painting of Erastus Wells?

  1. Hi Doug, Doing just a small amount of research on Bartold’s Inn, I was able to see it’s exact location with the Historical Aerial View from 1955 and 2019 with the split screen option. I believe the 2nd black lamp post with 2 maple leaves hanging on it, north side of Manchester from Hanley Road is the edge of where the building was. The split screen clearly shows it there. I’m not sure if you have already done this, but I thought I’d share this. I did a printscreen of it but can’t insert a file here.
    My guess is you have already done this, but I had nothing else to do today anyway! LOL
    My Dad, who grew up in Maplewood in the house on Hanley Road (end of Folk Ave) that used to sit smack in the middle of Hanley Road when it was still separated lanes before the building of the Walmart, etc. He was born in 1929 and grew up here and went to MRH. He told me he had his first taste of beer at Bartold’s when he went there with his Dad. He said he was about 12 years old and his Dad let him have a couple of sips but he didn’t like the taste back then. He remembered Bartold’s well. He passed in 2017 still living in Maplewood.

    • Dear Readers, Michele emailed me the images that she mentions in her comment. I had not thought to do what she did with them. They are very interesting and I plan to include them in an upcoming post so you all can have a look at them.
      Michele, Thank you very much for all of the information you provided for us in your very interesting comment. I hope you’ll elaborate further when I post the images you sent. Sorry you had trouble with our interface. It sometimes behaves in ways that neither Editor Miner nor myself understand.

    • Well, Karen, I know you and you are way too young to have gotten into any trouble at Bartold’s. Not that you would have anyway but there were plenty of folks who did. I’ll have to have a post including a few of those articles. Good to hear from you. Thanks for your comment.

    • My pleasure, Pickett. I agree. This story is very interesting. There was so much going on at Bartold’s and now it’s completely erased. Shouldn’t be that way.