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.

Maplewood History: Rare Photograph Will Be Offered At The Chamber’s Auction Tonight

Tonight is the night of the Maplewood Chamber’s Annual Gala and Auction. It certainly doesn’t seem like a year since the last one. This year’s celebration will be held at the recently restored Majorette event space at 7150 Manchester. If you haven’t been there yet, you should definitely check it out. It’s a wonderful addition to the Maplewood business district even though technically it’s just a bit over the border.

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.

Maplewood History: Back By Popular Demand – Reller Chevrolet

We aim to please so I went back almost three years and reworked this previous blog post about Reller Chevrolet.  Hope you enjoy it. From Doug Houser’s previous post: In my previous post about EJ Tire, parts of the Reller Chevrolet building can be seen in several of the historic photos.  I became curious to know just how long the building was before it lost its western end.  So I combined the two historic photos using Photoshop. Read his full post from 2013.

Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 4

For part 4 in this series I’d like to feature the Stertzing Building.  The problem is I’d already done a post on it back in 2013. Further complicating the problem was that all of the images I’d posted back then had disappeared. Ignoring the Orwellian overtones I went back in time and repaired the original post. I posted a few additional images as well. All you need to do to visit is click on the link below.

Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 3

If it seems familiar I think I wrote the text below for either our centennial walking tour guide or an earlier post or maybe both. Whimsical, Exuberant and Arabian?  What in Maplewood could possibly qualify? All of those adjectives could be used to describe The Browne building at 7156-60 Manchester which has my vote for the most flamboyant façade in the Maplewood business district. Built about 1922 it was named for Theodore Browne, “Floral Artist”.  His building is bisected by the boundary with the City of St. Louis with one storefront paying taxes to the same and the other paying taxes to Maplewood.

Shakespeare play is ghostly, that’s not new to Maplewood

The Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production this weekend in Maplewood, Remember Me, revolves around ghosts. Maplewood historian Doug Houser wrote in 2013 about a spectre that grew to 10 feet tall as it floated down Sutton Boulevard. Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, told St.

Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 2

Here at 40 South News we care about our readers. When the subject is terra cotta, you don’t have to go to the terra cotta…we bring it to you. So sit back in your comfortable chair and prepare to have another digital armload of terra cotta dumped right in your lap. We are lucky in Maplewood to have several outstanding historic commercial buildings.  A few of these like the subject of the last post, 3101-03 Sutton, are fortunate to have survived with much of their original details intact. The Maplewood Theater/Scheidt Hardware building is another one.

Maplewood History: Whole Lotta Terra Cotta – Part 1

For much of recorded history it would have been inconceivable to build an important building and not include sculpture, relief carvings, and artistic paintings in the design.  This started to change early in the 20th century when buildings began to be created with little or no exterior ornament. I call this the crime of no ornament. Many Art Deco (about 1920 – 40) buildings had interesting exterior sculpture-in-the-round (statues) and relief sculpture but the tide had turned.  By the end of WWII most new buildings had little or no ornament. A tremendous loss in my mind.  Architecture is a perfect place to display art.  I’d bet many folks would have little contact with sculpture if it weren’t staring down on them from some of our historic structures. The type of ornament many of Maplewood’s historic buildings have is known as terra cotta.  It means cooked earth.  It’s made pretty much the same way as a brick.  Packed into a mold to form the shape, then removed from the mold and fired.

Maplewood History: A Mysterious Long Lost Building

As one might expect after after many years of looking at historic images of our community I’ve become familiar with many of the names of families and businesses that once populated our town.  Many of their names occur over and over through out the decades. 

Chronologically the largest property owners would begin with Gratiot who appeared sometime in the late 1700’s.  James Sutton arrived in 1826 and Charles Rannells came on the scene in 1848. Sutton and Rannells both died in 1877.  Sutton’s property was divided amongst his children into portions some of which we easily recognize today.  John seems to have inherited the mansion once located where Dobb’s Tire is today.  Sarah built a home that is now part of J.B.Smith Funeral Parlor. Kay or Kate (she appears in the historic record both ways) built a home that still exists on Roseland Terrace.  Mary had a home on the SE quadrant of Sutton and Manchester. These Sutton homes are each located on one of the quadrants of the aforementioned intersection. I have photographs of all of them.  I mention this because sometime ago I found a photo in a St.

Maplewood History: First There Were Horses – Part 3

You may have been wondering if I could find enough material to support a third “First There Were Horses” post.  Well, so was I.  A few times in the past I’ve made guesses as to how many posts I could get on a certain subject and I’m usually wrong.  But this time I think I’ve just about exhausted the horse material in my digital collection. I’m more of a car guy but this horse stuff is interesting too, don’t you think?  I hope you enjoy this latest and probably last post on the subject…at least for awhile. Maplewood History: First There Were Horses
Maplewood History: First There Were Horses – Part 2


Maplewood History: First There Were Horses – Part 2

Horses were very much a part of life in the area that would eventually become Maplewood from who-can-guess-when until the early 20th century. I recall hearing (from my father, I think) about a prediction that must have been made in the late 19th century.  It went something like this.  If the population of New York City continues to increase at the present rate, they will be knee deep in horse manure by sometime late in the 20th century. Of course that didn’t happen.  Who could have dreamed at the time that someday carriages would be able to operate just fine without horses (but not without horse power)?  It would have been harder for folks back then to imagine than it is for us to foresee a time when the carriages will be able to operate just fine without us drivers as well. Here is another post on the horse era in Maplewood. I’ll concentrate on the horseless carriages in upcoming posts.