Maplewood History: 7401 Hazel – The Building with a Turret – Part One

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If Maplewood, Missouri had a town square it would be Sutton Loop Park.  It occupies the site of an early streetcar turnaround that was known as the Maplewood Loop.  Over time the streetcars were replaced by buses.  For many decades this property was a bus loop…off limits to Maplewoodians.  When the bus line moved to the newly completed MetroLink light rail line, ownership of this land was transferred to the city of Maplewood.

Hearings were held to decide what the best use of this property would be.  The citizenry overwhelmingly wanted green space.  That’s what we got.  The new name was the Sutton Loop Park, not historically accurate but more useful to denote the park’s location.

On the high northeast corner of the Sutton Loop Park sits one of my favorite commercial buildings in our town.  It is known only as 7401 Hazel or the turreted building.  Built in 1898, I believe it is the earliest of our commercial buildings.

When I first started paying attention to this building, it and its 6 immediate neighbors were in desperate condition.  Decades of little or no maintenance had taken their toll.  The Sutton Ave. side of 7401 Hazel had to be taken down and relaid brick by brick.  This expensive repair was done by the owner at the time, Marty Fischer.

As mentioned, 7401 Hazel is also called the turreted building.   7298 Manchester, the former Foundation Grounds now Maplewood Deli, once had a turret that has been removed.  Barry and Deni Greenberg’s lovely home on the NW corner of Vine and Marshall, was deturreted as well.  The turret on 7401 Hazel is the only turret to survive in Maplewood.  That’s a shame.

I love the small town look this building has.  It has long been a favorite photographic subject of mine.  It was also a favorite subject for one of the best artists to come from Maplewood, Stan Masters.  He did at least 6 different watercolor paintings of it.  More recently a very talented artist, Bob Thomas, has produced a wonderful painting of it as well.

This building should have a name.  Many folks have mistakenly thought that it was our first city hall. It wasn’t.  I wrote a blog about that.  You can read it here.

Let’s have a look at this early survivor.

This is an early, undated image of the Maplewood Loop (now Sutton Loop Park).  7401 Hazel can be seen just to the left of the streetcar depot.  The 1895 church, on the NE corner of Hazel and Sutton still exists.  Dr. Cape’s house, just to the right of the church, does not.  The site is now the parking lot for our popular Living Room restaurant.  The image is courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

No date on this one either.  There is a dentist in the upstairs room with the turret.  Barely visible is a horse and wagon in the middle of the unpaved Sutton Avenue.  The title of this one reads, “circa 1900” but that might just be a guess.  It’s a good shot of the Congregational church.  The image is courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

The church as it looks today.  Dr. Cape’s home and office Photoshopically reinserted on the site they once occupied.  Composite by Doug Houser.

Dr. Cape, who built 7401 Hazel and the 5 connected buildings along Sutton Ave. which included Maplewood’s first city hall and fire house. The image is courtesy of Mary Harper Hall.  Read much more about Dr. Cape!

The streetcar depot is in the foreground of this image which was made in 1930.  This is just one section of a very rare 360 degree panoramic photograph.  The image was the gift of Mary Harper Hall.  It is now in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.  You can find my post about this stunning image here.

Another undated photograph of 7401 Hazel, on the NW corner of Sutton and Hazel.  Dr. Cape’s son-in-law, William Harper, opened his pharmacy in this building.  I’m not sure of exactly what years he was here.  Judging by the automobiles, the date of this image is sometime in the late 1930s.  This image is also courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

 

I believe this is an image of William Harper. Courtesy of Alice Harper.

A view of the Congregational church taken from the front of Dr. Cape’s home.  Again courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

One fellow who always had plenty to say about Harper’s Pharmacy was Bill Jones.  He is no longer with us.  I haven’t heard any news about his lovely wife, Barb, for quite awhile so I hope she is still doing well.

I’ll close this one out with a link to Tales of the Harper’s Pharmacy by Bill Jones and, remember, they were typed by Barb.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Doug Houser       November 22, 2023

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. It would be a great addition to the Sutton Loop (Maplewood Loop) park to add an informational sign with the history of the loop and maybe these exact pictures. I’m thinking something similar to what I’ve seen at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, where they have interesting metal signage. I’m not sure how to go about getting something like this going, but it could be a nice addition to our city.

    • I agree, Travis. A few of us have talked about something like that but so far nothing has happened. We’ll have to see if our community development director, Laura Miller, can keep one more ball in the air?

    • Indeed you can, Scott. I hadn’t noticed that detail until you mentioned it. Scott Blood is a descendant of the Blood family who built and operated the Maplewood Mill for many decades. Four of the buildings built by the Bloods still exist. What was once the headquarters building is now home to Pitzman’s Surveyors and is still home to the Saratoga Lanes “upstairzer” bowling alley, in business continuously sine 1916!! The building housing Bolyard’s restaurant and custom meat shop was once a Kroger store. Just behind it is the second mill building to be on the site. The first was wood frame and covered in tarpaper. Behind the Saratoga building is the “Mule Palace” whose name was given by the jealous mill workers because it was made of brick when the mill was just wood. Thanks, Scott, for your comment.

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