Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Last Word

Last post I said I was finished with this subject.  Wrong.  Here are a few more details that may interest you terra cotta heads out there.

Many of you may not be aware that Maplewood is only about a mile or so from an area that once was the location of at least two major producers of ornamental terra cotta.  Winkle Terra Cotta Company, a large national supplier, was located at 5739 Manchester which is very close to the old Central Hardware location just east of Hampton.  St. Louis Terra Cotta Company was apparently right next door at 5801-15 Manchester.

That area was once known as Cheltenham and was home to many other industries that produced items from the clay deposits found there. There are very many known mines in the area. Our Italian families who settled the Hill are some of the ancestors of the many immigrants who came to work in the clay mines. A large church, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, on the Hill had to be demolished fairly recently because it was sinking into a clay mine beneath.

In the area that would become Maplewood, Edward Rannells, son of Charles and Mary, builders of Woodside, mined clay on his own property.  Some of Edward’s records exist and are now housed at The State of Missouri Historical Society – St. Louis Center on the campus at UMSL, next to the Mercantile Library. I speculate the location of his mine was somewhere near the intersection of Rannells and Laclede Station Road.  Please note this is speculation and more research is needed.  Due to the generosity of Glenn and Elise Rannells Todd, we have photographs of two of the items that may have been produced by or for Edward Rannells.

A large collection of items made by Winkle Terra Cotta Co. and others are maintained at the amazing National Building Arts Center in Sauget, Illinois.  Founder Larry Giles and crew have saved the most important parts of the most important buildings that have been demolished in St. Louis in the last 40+ years.  If you have interest in this subject you absolutely must visit his incredible collection.

The small green vase is believed by the Rannells family to have been made on the Woodside property. Courtesy of Glenn and Elise Rannells Todd.

The small green vase is believed by the Rannells family to have been made on the Woodside property. The photo is of Elinor Cartmell Rannells, wife of Edward.  The plates belonged to her and possibly her mother-in-law, Mary Warder Rannells. Courtesy of Glenn and Elise Rannells Todd.

Hard to see in this photo but the bottom of the vase is signed "Rannells." Courtesy of Glenn and Elise Rannells Todd.

Hard to see in this photo but the bottom of the vase is signed “Rannells.” Courtesy of Glenn and Elise Rannells Todd.

This large vase also owned by the Rannells family is believed to have been made at Woodside as well. It obviously has the same green glaze as the smaller vase. These are the only known examples of Rannells pottery. Courtesy of Greg Rannells.

This large vase also owned by the Rannells family is believed to have been made at Woodside as well. It obviously has the same green glaze as the smaller vase. These are the only known examples of Rannells pottery. Courtesy of Greg Rannells.

This fabulous photograph of some of the workers and possibly Winkle himself on the left is from the collection of the National Building Arts Museum.

This fabulous photograph of the workers of the Joseph Winkle Terra Cotta Works and possibly Joseph Winkle himself on the left is from the collection of the National Building Arts Museum.

The Maplewood Masonic Temple once stood where CVS Pharmacy does today. The building faced Manchester. This photograph of its demolition was taken in 1984 by Yours Truly. this has nothing to do with terra cotta but it does concern the National Building Arts Museum where important parts of the building are preserved today.

The Maplewood Masonic Temple once stood where CVS Pharmacy does today. The building faced Manchester. This photograph of its demolition was taken in 1984 by Yours Truly. This has nothing to do with terra cotta but it does concern the National Building Arts Museum where important parts of the building are preserved today.

Pieces such as this cornerstone and what appears to be coping.

Pieces such as this cornerstone and what appears to be coping.

The other side of the cornerstone displays the signature of William B. Ittner. The firm was famous for their advanced school designs.

The other side of the cornerstone displays the signature of William B. Ittner. His firm was famous for their advanced school designs.

This ornamental cut stone from the parapet can be seen laying on the ground in the first photo of the building.

This ornamental cut stone from the parapet can be seen laying on the ground in the first photo of the building.

You may be familiar with the street named Lyndover but did you know there was once a school by that name located where Ryan Hummert park is today?

You may be familiar with the street named Lyndover but did you know there was once a school by that name located where Ryan Hummert park is today?

Here it is. It was Maplewood's first hgih school and then later was used as a junior high. Demolished in the 1970's, I believe. The aforementioned Larry Giles of the National Building arts Museum was foreman on the job is I remember correctly.

Here it is. It was Maplewood’s first high school and then later was used as a junior high. Demolished in the 1970’s, I believe. The aforementioned Larry Giles of the National Building Arts Museum was foreman on the job if I remember correctly.

The collection also includes this arched window donated by Citizen Bank's, Dan Walper and myself.

The collection also includes this arched window donated by Citizen Bank’s, Dan Walper and myself.

 

14 thoughts on “Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Last Word

  1. I remember going to the Masons building to get shots in the 50s. Didn’t do very well with those. Oh well, much better now with shots.

  2. Thank you to all of the folks that shared stories from their lives. These really bring the past to life especially for those of us who make Maplewood our home but didn’t grow up here. Keep them coming!

  3. I remember going there during the summer. They had lots of things to do there like dodgeball in the gym or crafts in other rooms. Used to play East Richmond and Valley schools softball teams also.

  4. I grew up at Lyndover School…it was a beautiful old building, a wonderful way to grow up, we lived on Zephyr and I walked two blocks to school …my friends were within blocks from me… One of my grade school friends was Sherri, she is the grand daughter to Bob’s Market which is now Stone Spiral. The home next door to Stone Spiral on Lyndover belonged to the Ray family who owned a beauty shop in downtown Maplewood. I still look to my left to see if Mr. or Mrs. Ray are sitting on their front porch out of habit. I would love to see if someone has a pic of the east side of the building, we watched the Arch being built in my grade school class from the building. The downtown view was incredible. The stone work that Doug has posted previously along the pool and Lohmeyer was also on the small terrace on the east side of the building.

    • I attended Lyndover, one grade behind Mrs. Basta, and also two more years of Jr. High in the same building. It always felt like home. We lived on Gayola Place, just a short two-block walk to school. My friends and I used to play pickup ball games on the field/playground on the east side of the school.
      It will always be near and dear to my heart.

  5. My Grandpa belonged to the Masons there and I was briefly in the Rainbow Girls that met there. I think my mother went to high school at that old high school. She lived right down the street on Sutton (where Shop and Save is now)

  6. Great stuff, Doug….!!! Maplewood greatly benefits from your talent and interest in historic preservation.

  7. Thank you, we need to be reminded of the past, they don’t make them like they used too … Maplewood was a destination in my time…

  8. It’s cool to see all the artifacts saved from these buildings…..I remember all of them. I lived on Lyle Ave in the 60’s and 70’s ….. near the Masonic Building, and my children started school in that school building on Lyndover……grade school and Jr. high school. We moved to Fenton in 1977 and I moved back to Maplewood in 2004…..

    • Only fragments remain, Pat. They were two very fine buildings. It seems a shame. Thanks for your comment.