Maplewood History: A Thatched Roof On Big Bend

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Quite a while ago, ( I have forgotten the year), a thatched roof was added to a fairly plain commercial building on Big Bend (next to Mr. Wizard’s Ice Cream Place).  It was added by the owner of the building who, as far as I know, was a woman with a shop there that sold high quality things from Ireland.  I imagine that she added the thatched roof to make her nondescript building more charming for her customers.

One day, attracted by the novelty of this, I stopped by with my camera to take a few photos and find out just what the heck was going on.  This was in the pre-internet days.  I really had nowhere to go with the photographs.  This is just the sort of thing I liked to do so I did.

The thatcher was a cheerful fellow from New Zealand.  The thatch (reeds, I think he called them), were from Turkey.  He said they could be found growing in many parts of the world but somewhere in Turkey they grew in such abundance that they were regularly harvested and shipped apparently all over the world.

We didn’t get much farther than that in conversation when the woman, who I assume owned the building/shop, came out and made it clear to both of us that the thatcher had a job he needed to concentrate on and that my conversation with him was keeping that from happening.  I forget exactly how she put it but that is what she meant.  We both got the message.

At that time I had not retired yet. I took these few pictures that day but never made it back to talk more with the thatcher which I would have liked to do very much.  I remember that he told me the roof would last about 30 years.  Maybe it did.  It’s gone now.  I just thought that my readers might like to see those pictures.

I think this man was a helper. I don’t know if he came from New Zealand, too.

The New Zealander was a very congenial sort.  I hope everything went well for him.

Doug Houser           January 23, 2023

18 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, everyone. The Kerry Cottage. For some reason I could not remember that name. I am sorry to learn that the original owner and her daughter have both passed away. It was a beautiful roof. I suppose we were lucky to have it as long as we did. Thanks to everyone for your responses.

  2. The owner died. Then her daughter took it over. After the daughter died it closed. The grandchildren of the owner are still around.
    It was called Kerry Cottage.

  3. There was also a delightful little tea room on one side that opened into the shop. Had delicious food and the best chicken salad I have ever eaten. All the recipes were from the owners mother. I think her name was Mary. It was quite successful for a few years and had all authentic Irish goods.

  4. Maura was her name, I put the kitchen in when she started serving food … she passed away several years ago … Craig

  5. Doug, the woman who owned the shop, Kerry Cottage, was Mary Lawlor. Mary was from Ireland and she and her daughter Maura made annual buying trips to Ireland stock the store.
    Maura Lawlor ran the shop with her and after Mary’s death Maura took over. I believe she had a couple of women investors who also worked in the shop. Maura died tragically young in her late 40s or early 50s and the other partners were not able to keep it going. There is a smaller version of The Kerry Cottage in Kirkwood. Joellen

  6. That’s neat, Doug! Glad you got those photos. I always assumed that that thatched roof was only decorative. But it was the real deal!

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