Maplewood History: 7309 Maple Avenue


Let’s try this again.  The first post has evaporated somehow.  I’m thankful that it was just this one.  Most of my posts I have copied and pasted into PDFs but I am way behind.  Hopefully having to redo this one will inspire me to keep up with the task.

A Detailed Examination of One of Maplewood’s Great Homes

A purely serendipitous encounter with Sam Rainwater recently has resulted in this post.  Sam and her husband, Doug Nickrent, live at 7309 Maple Avenue.  They’ve been there for 27 years.  Sam mentioned that she had a descriptive letter from a former owner and would I be interested in seeing it.  I was and did.

In my experience, letters like this one of Sam’s are extremely rare.  I have only found a few in the 20 years I’ve been examining the history of our town.

There is a historic connection between Sam and Doug’s house at 7309 Maple and their next door neighbor’s at 7305 which is on the corner of Maple and Marshall.  Let’s look at Sam’s home first.

This image is of Sam and Doug’s home at 7309 Maple Ave. when they bought it. Courtesy of Sam Rainwater.

The next image is of their neighbor’s home at 7305 Maple.

7305 Maple Ave. From Google.

The following is excerpted from Rosemary Davison’s 1982 Community Survey of Maplewood.  This was done as a prelude to the creation of a historic district.  I have been told that it was undone by unfounded fears of some of the residents.  The area it would have helped was the original Maplewood subdivision immediately south of the 7300 block of Manchester.

Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

According to Rosemary’s research, Mary and Robert Mackey purchased 7305 Maple in 1899. Note than Rosemary mentions the carriage house. Then in 1904 they built 7309 Maple to be their residence.

What Rosemary couldn’t have known, because she didn’t have, was that for reasons unknown the Mackeys (I assume) listed both of these homes for sale on July 23, 1905.


Notice this advertisement mentions the “fine stable” that goes with 7305 Maple.  Well, call it what you will, stable, carriage house, or city barn, it was a picturesque building that we just recently lost.  7309 Maple was for sale. $5,000.

It pains me to look at these pictures.  There it is just as Rosemary described it.  Frame, high central gable, vertical boards.

City barn images by Doug Houser. April 14, 2013

The above image could be a painting.  It was a pole barn.  The poles had most likely rotted off at the ground.  This would not have been a death sentence in the rural areas I was familiar with when I was young.  The replacement poles, eastern red cedars, could be found just about everywhere.  With these and plenty of sweat, this barn would have been good for another 100 years.

The owner of this property at the time had apparently inquired about rebuilding the barn but the estimates were too high.  It’s a shame.  This was a significant loss of our historic fabric so pardon me if I rail on about it for awhile.

7309 Maple was for sale again in August of 1910.

And sold later that year for $6,500.  This was a substantial increase from the 5K that was asked in 1905.

For sale again in 1912.  Same price, $6,500.

About 9 months later, she is still for sale but this time one could also rent this beautiful home for just $39.  Note the “Manchester cars: 5c fare.”  This home was only a long block away from the depot at Maplewood Loop (Now called Sutton Loop Park).  Perhaps you are wondering just what did the Maplewood Loop look like in those early days?  Wonder no longer.

Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

The depot is in the foreground.  The turreted building at Hazel and Sutton still exists as does the church directly across Sutton from it.  Just to the left of the church is Dr, Cape’s home, now the location of the parking lot and outdoor dining area of The Living Room restaurant. The homes on the far right were on Maple Avenue.

Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

This view of the depot is very close to what one might have seen standing at the intersection of Maple and Sutton looking west.  The homes on the left still exist.  They are on the 7400 block of Maple.  I have more of these very old images but I don’t want to get too far off the subject.  They haven’t been aired in awhile so I’ll have to make a post about them.  I have never seen the originals but I suspect they belonged to the church at Hazel and Sutton.

She was still for sale in May of 1914.

This very weird article appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on February 6, 1915.  Mr. Stephenson, the “supreme scrivenoter of the Concatenated Order of Hoo Hoo” disappeared and lost his memory or vice versa.  It seems funny but it’s a serious article?  LSD hadn’t been invented.

Less than a month later, Lizzie Fisher needs a housegirl.  Go figure.  The variety of surnames may be an indicator that the home is being used as a boarding house as very many of the larger homes were.

One year later, this ad appears.  I love an ad like this with all of the detail it provides.  Could be rented for $45 a month.  “Convenient to steam and electric cars.”  The electric cars would have been the ones at the Maplewood Loop.  The location of this home was also very convenient to steam cars at the Maplewood Station of the Missouri Pacific railroad.  Though, I don’t understand why a commuter might not occasionally have to “strap hang” on either one of those.

Lest I wander too far from the subject again, I’ll provide this link to an earlier post of my research on the various buildings used as Maplewood Stations by the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

Images of the Maplewood Stations on the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

I guess they finally sold it after this last ad was posted in 1917.

In 1918, she’s listed again for rent for $40.  Seems like a good deal.

In 1920, she was for sale for $5K.  That’s down quite a bit from the $6,500 that she brought in 1912.  But apparently she stayed sold to the same owner for quite awhile this time.  Nothing shows up between 1920 and this next strange article that appeared in 1942.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 30, 1942.

That’s the second really strange article.  $798K was a king’s ransom in those days.

So in 1942 and ’46, someone sold two rural farms from 7309 Maple.  Then the papers go silent until 1966 when the Farris girls wed.

I’m reasonably certain that Nolan Bruce is the man that Bruce School was named after.  The Bruce School was located on Cambridge on the site of the earlier Sutton School.  It has since been demolished and replaced with condominiums.

When I saw this I thought what the heck?  The Farris daughters, Linda and Sandra Jo, both got married in the same year?

At the beginning, I mentioned a letter that the current owner Sam Rainwater had gotten from the former owner.  Here is the letter.  I regret that I neglected to get the person’s name who wrote it.



7309 Maple Avenue as it looks today.  I have always admired this place.  Now that we know a good bit more about what went on there just makes it more interesting.

Much thanks to Sam Rainwater and Doug Nickrent for allowing us this look at their beautiful home.

Doug Houser     November 4, 2022




  1. Minor typo: In the main article I am sure you mean that 7305 Maple is at the intersection of Maple and Marshall, not Sutton and Marshall.

    Overall impression I get is that the houses finally got more respect when they reached a certain age. At that point I guess people realized they were irreplaceable.

    • Thanks, Hammerhead. That one got by me. I think your overall impression is correct. We need to protect the best of our historic buildings. When they are gone, they’re lost forever.

  2. That is so interesting Doug!! And the house is just beautiful now. I wish my Grandmother Fennell’s home on 2400 Laclede Station Road had been saved. And further that we had more information on that home. We had always been told that it was built by Grandmother’s brothers, the Carpenter boys. Don’t know if that is true or not. Thanks for all you do to help remember Maplewood. I loved growing up there on Valley Avenue. It was the best of times.

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