Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 5

Although I named this series Whole Lotta Terra Cotta, we really don’t have a whole lot of it here in Maplewood.  We’ve seen that we have some very nice examples.  I’ll include many of the remaining ones in this post. Hopefully the readers will conclude that they are worth protecting and require close attention so they don’t disappear.

Our buildings are a part of Maplewood that can survive. We won’t. Owners of commercial property can die or just lose interest and move on.  The changes they make to our buildings endure. Part of this mission that I have set for myself is to let you folks see what we have that is worth preserving.

We can tighten up a bit on what we expect of owners of historic properties. It worked in Soulard. Strict controls on historic buildings have completely turned a failing community around. We are no second class city. We have a wonderful location and property values have begun to reflect that.

We don’t have to become a museum but if we don’t figure out how to protect our historic resources we can expect another debacle like the Harper Pharmacy cabinetry destruction. Generations of Maplewoodians knew and appreciated that historic interior. Now only pieces remain due to a dunderheaded decision by a couple of folks who should know better.

This is just a very nice, attractively proportioned building on Sutton at Marietta. It doesn't have a lot of terra cotta but what it does have is pleasing to the eye.

This is just a very nice, attractively proportioned building on Sutton at Marietta. It doesn’t have a lot of terra cotta but what it does have is pleasing to the eye.

If one looks closely at this piece over the entry to the second floor, we can see some familar elements shared with other pieces around town. Specifically the scrolls on either side of the sort of sash covered egg (or maybe in this case, apple) shape.

If one looks closely at this piece over the entry to the second floor, we can see some familiar elements shared with other pieces around town. Specifically the scrolls on either side of the sort of sash-covered egg (or maybe in this case, apple) shape and, of course, a couple more scrolls leaning up against either end.

Here is another very nice looking building at 7187 Manchester. Nothing flamboyant, just terra cotta trim very well done. I've always liked the looks of this building. The blue art glass window has disappeared.

Here is another very nice looking, decidedly Art Deco building at 7187 Manchester. Nothing flamboyant, just terra cotta trim very well done. I’ve always liked the looks of this building. The blue art glass windows have disappeared.

This atop the parapet of our first City Hall building on Sutton. the baby has wings so it must be a cherub, I suppose. I haven't the faintest idea what an ornament like this could signify. cherubs have been around at least since the baroque period (look it up. I can't do everything for you).

This atop the parapet of our first City Hall building on Sutton. The baby has wings so it must be a cherub, I suppose. I haven’t the faintest idea what an ornament like this could signify. Cherubs have been around at least since the baroque period (look it up. I can’t do everything for you).  While I’m not much a fan of cherubs, I do like the two examples of egg-and-dart molding seen here.  Egg-and-dart molding has been used as an architectural ornament for at least 2,000 years.  That’s popular!  There are many examples on our buildings. It has been thought to represent at its most basic, feminine and masculine.  That’s cool.  Others believe it represents peace and war.  Whichever, its origin is lost in time.  Or at least I haven’t found record of the earliest known example.

Here is an art Deco example of egg-and-dart molding on a building in the 7100 block of Manchester.

Here is an Art Deco example of egg-and-dart molding on a building in the 7100 block of Manchester.

Our first City Hall building on Sutton.

Our first City Hall building on Sutton.

The Warring furniture store building in the 7400 block of manchester has some nice terra cotta trim remaining on the upper stories.

The Warring furniture store building in the 7400 block of Manchester has some nice terra cotta trim remaining on the upper stories.

this ad from the 1915 Maplewood champion newspaer suggests that the store was once on the corner in the same building as the Tiffany Diner is now.

This ad from the 1915 Maplewood Champion newspaper suggests that the store was once on the corner in the same building as the Tiffany Diner is now.

this close up of the terra cotta on the parapet reveals ...surprise...egg-and-dart molding again.

This close up of the terra cotta on the parapet reveals… surprise… egg-and-dart molding again.

Our Bell Telephone building on Lanham appears to have been a pretty neat building that must have had an upper not-so-neat story added. Even so it's worth saving.

Our Bell Telephone building on Lanham is a pretty neat building.  Should AT&T or whoever owns it now ever lose interest in it, it is definitely worth saving.  The ornamental entry is especially cool.

Have a look at this exuberant, over-the-top piece of sculpture. The central egg sports the old familiar Bell Telephone logo. What's happening on either side of it? It must have been a case of scroll sculptor gone wild. He's got so many scrolls on there they appear to be spawning. With that in mind I get a laugh from this every time I look at it. Keep an eye on it. Even though corporations are people you've got to watch them. they've been known to do things that most people wouldn't. Hope you enjoyed the terra cotta series. I'm ready to change the subject for awhile.

Have a look at this exuberant, over-the-top piece of sculpture. The central egg sports the old familiar Bell Telephone logo. What’s happening on either side of it? It must have been a case of scroll sculptor gone wild. He’s got so many scrolls on there that they appear to be spawning. With that in mind I get a laugh from this every time I look at it. Keep an eye on it. Even though corporations are people you’ve got to watch them. They’ve been known to do things that most people wouldn’t. Hope you enjoyed the terra cotta series. I’m ready to change the subject for awhile.  PS. I know you caught the egg-and dart molding just below the scroll work pileup.

 

14 thoughts on “Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 5

  1. The last building photographed also has interesting brick work that is rare in St. Louis County.

    • I can’t say how rare it is, A.Agne but it sure is pretty. You and another reader awhile back have both commented on brickwork so perhaps that’s the direction my next posts should go. Thanks for taking the time to make that observation.

    • Likely a good deal. Maplewood must have the largest collection of this beautiful architectural detail in all of St. Louis. We need to protect what is left from the next Starbucks, CVS, or chicken shack…

      • Uncle Jedd, We certainly have some interesting pieces of terra cotta as I have tried to show. I don’t actually know how Maplewood would stack up compared with other areas that have buildings of about the same age. It would be an interesting (and time consuming) study to make. I completely agree with your last statement. Thanks for weighing in.

  2. Not that it matters, some of these photos of ‘Maplewood today’ are several years old. What’s that One Canole? business that was in the old city hall? And Archangel’s Gift Shop must have closed some 10 years ago. Just wonderin’.

    • Max, You’re exactly right. The photos were taken sometime in the last 10 or 11 years. You ask about the age of these photos of “Maplewood today” as if that’s a quote from my article. You won’t find that term anywhere. The titles of most all my posts begin with “Maplewood History”. For that reason I use old photos if I have them. Some folks comment on all the different businesses these buildings have housed. If they want to see what they look like today, they should take a walk. Not to say I’ll never use new photos, I do when appropriate. The sign you referred to reads “One Candle” but I like your idea better. Change just one letter and it would read “One Canoli”. Thank you for your observations.

  3. Doug,

    The cherub atop the old city hall building gets more interesting the longer I look at it.. At the cherub’s sides are what appear to be great waves of water and his torso melts into the water. He is holding on to the water in each hand.. At the corners of the roof line are two globes, each with a belt around it. Could this be symbolic of the two great oceans that border our country?

  4. Great job as usual Doug. You always seem to point out something that I have never noticed, like the deco building at 7187 Manchester. Perhaps I never notice it because 3 out of 4 seasons it is hidden by trees. I always wonder what is behind the corrugated Smith/Lee facade. Do you a photo of that. I know Smith/Lee has been in Maplewood for a very long time, which is commendable, but that corrugated facade is far from the most likely timeless style behind it.

    • Sorry, Luke. I don’t have a photo of the building prior to the facade on the first story being covered. I’d like to see what it originally looked like. It has a very interesting tin ceiling and staircase on the interior.