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.
- Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 1
- Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 2
- Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 3
- Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 4
- Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 5
- Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Last Word
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.