My last post featured a story from 1910 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that told of a serious yet completely forgotten explosion in Maplewood. It came to light from the furious digging of Maplewood history aficionado, Luke Havel. Commenting on that post, Luke pointed out that there was another very interesting Maplewood related story on the opposite side of that front page. I agreed.
Some posts are easier than others. This is one of the easiest of all. For me it is like shooting fish in a barrel even though I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to do that. For those of you who may be young enough to be unfamiliar with the phrase, like shooting fish in a barrel implies that something is as easy as taking candy from a baby even though I can’t imagine why anyone would do that either. Enough of this.
My co-author, Joyce Cheney, did a good job describing these events in our book, “The First 100 Years, Maplewood, MO.” Writing from her own research, she had this to say. Attention K-Mart Shoppers
James O. Holton, president of Citizen’s National Bank in Maplewood decided to take redevelopment into his own hands. Holton gathered fifty-seven local businessmen at The St. Louis Club and presented his vision for redevelopment: a six-block stretch of Manchester Avenue and surrounding streets, from Oakview Terrace to Big Bend would be rebuilt with retail venues in a park-like setting.
If you’ve been following the action here at Maplewood History you already know that Jim Fischer, whose family had early connections to Maplewood, gifted us with a good-sized box of crumbling, brown newspapers and other items that had once belonged to his parents.
He also threw in a small box of interesting old pamphlets that have nothing at all to do with Maplewood. They once belonged to a neighbor. I’ll have to get her story from Jim once more. I’ll post some of the more interesting of those possibly under a title such as, “Completely Unrelated Stuff Found While Looking for Maplewood History”.
First exhibited on Dec. 4, 2013 all of the photos that accompanied this blog post then had somehow dissipated into nothingness. Given the recent interest in the Wedge and EJ Tire I decided to reload it. Or perhaps since this is an article about a tire seller I should call this post a retread of the original. For those of you who know nothing about retreads, I can tell you I had a few.
Resurrected refers to the blog post not the building. Sorry. Several folks had asked about the history of the Wedge but when I went back to link to this earlier post all of the photos had evaporated into cyberspace.
So here it is again…back by popular demand. I’ll have more to add in a subsequent post thanks to information gained from the soon-to-be-legendary box of Jim Fischer’s.
Dogs are wonderful creatures. My wife and I have had four during our time here in Maplewood. The last two lived to be over sixteen years old. No dog lover would be unhappy with that but now they’re gone and we still feel the loss. Dogs are fairly unique among pets in that they are very good at getting the owners out of the house and around the block.
What in the world could our second train depot have to do with our pioneer settler, James C. Sutton’s cabin in the woods? Thanks to a couple of old maps and Luke Havel’s newly discovered photograph we now know almost exactly where the second depot was located. (See my previous post). I imagine by now you’re beginning to think that Luke’s photograph was from 1906 and James Sutton bought his property and built a cabin on it in 1826. 80 years apart.
My corralling of Maplewood’s historic photos began early in 2002. Barry Greenberg, now a councilman, had issued a call for persons interested in starting an historical society. Recently retired I showed up along with a fair number of like-minded souls. I don’t recall how many were at that first meeting but I know we had around twenty show up for a few of the later meetings. I didn’t know it then but that was a number that proved difficult to eclipse. Such is the fate of an historical society I would find out later. Possibly the first event we planned was a physical display of historic photographs and items set up in one of the empty store fronts on Sutton. There were several to choose from. Our event took place in one that is now the Maya Café or very close to it.
On a warm weekend in the middle of last September and in the middle of Sutton Avenue, the theater department of St. Louis University presented their Maplewood/Shakespeare adaptation play, “Remember Me”.
The very large audience (I heard 1700 on just Saturday night) was charmed by an all Maplewood cast and the many ghosts of Maplewood portrayed by giant puppets and conjured by the playwright, Nancy Bell. A couple of my favorite ethereal personalities, the Maplewood Spectre (she of the variable height of whom I have written several times) and the ghost of Charles Rannells, the builder of our most historic piece of property, Woodside, were among the spirits roaming the stage those nights. Nancy also borrowed details from a tragic story concerning a very old St. Louis family, the Clamorgans. Some of them including a young woman named Clara once lived just beyond our border in the City of St.
It is these old photographs and old buildings that have gotten me into this history business. I’ve been called by others the Maplewood historian and have introduced myself that way. Truth is I’m a history broker. If you have pictured me spending long hours in dusty basements of public buildings or hour after hour in our fine libraries, well I’m afraid I don’t do enough of that. Nine years ago I did a massive amount of research for our Maplewood community history book that I produced for the 100th anniversary of our fair city which was 2008.
It’s stories like these that are true historical treasures of our community. Rarely recorded, they are usually lost when the eyewitnesses to history pass on. Thank you, Mr. Jones for sharing this with us. I’d encourage anyone else with interesting stories or anecdotes to do the same. DH
DECEMBER 7, 1941
I had been a “soda jerk” and cashier at the drug counter at Harper’s Drugs since I was 12 in 1939. In the fall of 1941, Mr. Harper and his son had a discussion and called me over. Bill Harper said the bandages and adhesive tape boxes really looked “shop worn” and, although still sterile, they were several years old.