Maplewood History: What The Heck Is An AFAC?

You’ll soon find out.  It still is ultra modern even though it was made in Maplewood quite a long time ago.

From the STL Post-Dispatch, Sept. 30, 1961.

From the Chicago Tribune, May 31, 1964.

When I made the first Maplewood history book in 2008, I put a couple of pages at the rear about our heavy industry, mainly Sunnen, Cupples, and Mississippi Valley Structural Steel.  MVSS and Cupples were gone by then.  I always regretted that I couldn’t find anyone to interview who had worked at either one of them.  So if you’re out there (or know someone who is), I’d still like to talk to you.

Speaking of that first book, The First One Hundred Years, Maplewood MO – Volume One, it is now on its third printing. Our C of C recently had another 250 copies printed bringing the total to about 1500. If you would like one give them a call at 314-781-8588.  I’m sure they can arrange a safe way for you to pick up your copy at their headquarters, 7326A Manchester, just west of the hardware store.  If you haven’t been in Scheidt Hardware for awhile, why not?  It’s always a good time and they have something you need.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that a fresh copy of Maplewood History – Volume Two, hygienically wrapped in plastic, can be had at the hardware store for such a low price you’ll feel guilty about it.

Much thanks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Chicago Tribune.

I feel pretty good about things these days.  Biggest reason, I suppose, is that my wife and I are now vaccinated.  No worries.

Doug Houser      April 8, 2021

This nice photograph was sent after the initial post. Mary Piles was the sender. Where did you get this, Mary? We ought to give them credit.

10 thoughts on “Maplewood History: What The Heck Is An AFAC?

  1. I just found your site on Maplewood history and was pleased to see all the streetcar pictures. We lived on Marion Ct. until 1940 just north of Cartan where the streetcar ran. Cartan only ran from Big Bend to Bartold and the name was changed to Flora sometime in the 40’s. The streetcars were not the streamliners that you show in the pictures. I think the streetcars were replaced about 1940. I remember Ted’s Corner at Big Bend and Cartan, you could get both ice cream and beer there, although the kids could not go into the bar. Next to Ted’s on the north side was the Powhattan theater. I remember hiding behind the seat during a lot of horror movies. During the hot Summer months when the Sun went down they would interrupt the movie and move outside to get some cooler air and to finish it there. I can’t remember what the charge was but we would go on a weekly basis even though my dad did not have a big income from his construction business. In fact he augmented it by producing custom archery equipment in our basement. Dee Mudd used Dad’s equipment to win an international archery tournament in Toronto.

    Cousin Hugo’s was a tavern on Laclede Station Rd. south of the train tracks where my folks would stop for a beer after visiting with the Mudds in Webster Groves. I believe it was still there about 1998 because I recall (??) that the class of ’48 had their 50th reunion there. I don’t know when it was taken down.

  2. Amazing to see a tetrahedron in action, my geometry teacher was right ” you’ll use it more that you think.

    • I don’t know, Mary. They lost me somewhere after pie are square. We all know it ain’t. It are round.

      • LOL, I googled the Chapel to see how it turned out. Thanks Doug, always love the story.

  3. Interesting. When I was a kid back in the 70s I always wondered what was made in that place.

    • I did, too, Todd. Not that I was a kid in the 70s. Maybe compared to now I was? I’ll have more on Cupples later. I talked to an interesting man who used to work there. I need to do a bit more research. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Larry and Tom both called the partial airplane “the Maplewood Air Force.” Very funny. I’ve never heard that term before. I remember seeing the half of an airplane sitting in Cupples yard many times when I went by. Cupples made curtain walls for some of the largest buildings in the world. The Sears Tower and the Hancock buildings in Chicago are two that I recall. When you look at one of those buildings, the curtain wall is everything you see that isn’t glass is what I’ve been told. I believe they collaborated with Mississippi Valley Structural Steel on many projects.

  5. Back in January, by email, Larry McDaniel sent this: Could you dig up any information on the airplane that was on Hanley Rd. and belonged to Cupples? I remember hearing the beast start up and run even though I lived several blocks away. I believe it was a WW2 Corsair. I lived in Maplewood from 1960-1974.

  6. By email from Tom Bakersmith: Cupples Manufacturing was the home to the “Maplewood Air Force”. It was the fuselage and engine with the propeller of a surplus WW2 airplane, I think it was a Corsair. They used it to stir up a torrent of wind to drive a spray of water against window panels to test their weather proofness. I saw it from Manchester road many times.