Maplewood History: Fennell Trove Contains Some Extraordinary Images – Part Four


The Fennell Trove of historic images and documents has been providing us with a very interesting glimpse into the past of our community.  Nancy Fennell Hawkins left Maplewood in 1954. Yet still she feels connected to this small plot of turf. Just what is it that makes some folks feel most connected to the planet when they are within the city boundaries?

I’ve thought about this.  I don’t know the answer. I’m one of the connected, I suppose.  I have been 44 years in the same house. Even as I write this, I wonder how could this be?  My wife and I have long been able to afford to move somewhere else. Truth is we’ve never really seriously looked anywhere else.

Homes have come up for sale within a few blocks of where I live.  Some have larger kitchens which my wife would like. Some have a bedroom and a bathroom on the first floor, which we both would like.  Some have a large two-car garage which I would like. But so far we’re staying firmly planted.

The sun is on my home until it sinks below the horizon…all year long.  It doesn’t disappear behind a home on the other side of the street because there isn’t one.  It doesn’t set early because my home is not on the eastern side of a hill as some others are.  We have adapted almost perfectly to living where we do. Many of our neighbors have as well. They have been on the block for decades.

Nancy Fennell left when she was 18 in 1954.  She still treasures her memories of growing up here and her family connection to Maplewood.  And why not? It’s a pretty good place to live.

I think it might be helpful to run this information of Nancy’s again.  She did send her father’s diary detailing his and his buddy’s 1930 road trip.  Also she transcribed it in the back of her personal history book, I Remember When – Memories of Growing Up in Maplewood, Missouri  1936-1954.  This will soon be at our library.  I encourage you to take a look at it.  It is very well done.
If I understand her right this photo ID, allowing entrance to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, belonged to Nancy’s grandfather, Floyd Alonzo Fennell.
He certainly looks the dapper fellow in this image.  I wonder what the badge was for?  He was a deputy sheriff in St. Louis County.  Perhaps that is the reason.
A page listing some of the expenses for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. It seems to me that Floyd delivered an astounding number of yards of sod (5477) considering he was using his teams of horses and wagons.
This was probably a good idea for two young fellows planning to hitchhike halfway across the country.
Nancy’s father, Robert W., was looking for work when this letter of introduction and recommendation was written on March 14, 1936. Nancy was born on June 7th of that year.
From the following year, 1937, another letter of recommendation.
In this image from 1938, Nancy is the baby and her brother, Bob, is in the sailor suit. The location of the photo is not known but might be somewhere in that neighborhood where they lived…Rannells and Laclede Station Road.
Written on the back of the previous photo.
Looking for work again in 1941.
Sometime before March 12, 1944, Robert W. Fennell was hired by Emerson Electric to work on their security force.  Can you spot him?  Why did I use that date?  See the next image.
This image was made on Mar. 12, 1944. Bob Fennell is in the middle. See the next image.
This is the back of the previous image.  Emerson’s Championship Team!  Way to go, Bob!  That is some artistic penmanship by Jerry who didn’t want to be forgotten.
Nancy’s sister and brother, Bob and Sandy. Probably in 1946 unless Bob competed more than once in the Globe-Democrat’s Soap Box Derby.  The concrete faux stone building still exists.

Robert Fennell is registered under Class A.
About 1950, Bob got a job with the Maplewood Police Force. That’s him on the bottom row, far right.
At home with the kids.
With his cruiser.
On the side he did landscaping like his father before him. This image is undated. In the background is the Fennell home at 2605 Valley Ave.
Bob and Dot Fennell on their 50th Anniversary in 1981. Bob lived his whole life in Maplewood and his whole married life at 2605 Valley Ave.  Bob passed away in 1986.  He was 77.  Dot made it to almost 97 years of age passing in 2007.


I have an advantage over the reader because I have had Nancy’s excellent book, I Remember When – Memories of Growing Up in Maplewood, Missouri  1936-1954, at my side the whole time I’ve been constructing these posts.  She has included an incredible amount of detail about what life in Maplewood was like during her time here.  Not only that she is a good writer.  Take a look at her book at the Maplewood Public Library.  I should be done with it in another week or so.  I guarantee you won’t regret it.

I will have one more post from this pile of artifacts that Nancy has lent us.  It will consist of loosely connected addenda to her family story.  There are some very interesting items still unseen.  I think you’ll like them.

Doug Houser  11/20/2019   My Mother’s 98th birthday.






  1. Thanks Doug, The picture above with me and my brother, Bobby, in the sailor suit was taken by Fred and Ruth Wolf’s home on Laclede Station Rd. Their house was directly behind our home and a gate allowed us to just walk back to see them. Along with us in the picture are Evelyn, Fred Jr., and Richard Wolf. Ruth often sat by the window facing our back yard and hollered for me to come fix her hair. They were wonderful neighbors.

    • Thank you, Nancy for providing us with the location of that image. I’m going to assume that Fred Jr. grew up to become the long time Maplewood councilman.

  2. Dear Doug, Outstanding!! I have enjoyed your articles so very much. And thank you for including that information from the newspaper about the Soap Box Derby. I hadn’t seen that before. Just one note – our address was 2605 Valley Avenue. I think of that little home so often and remember our good times there. I can’t express how thankful I am that you have included all this information in your 40 South News. I hope many others have enjoyed going back as we Remember When.

    • Well, your reaction is the reward, Nancy. As for getting your address wrong when the correct one was just an inch or two away in the photograph, I’ve missed more obvious ones than that before. I just tried to correct it and the interface we use wasn’t having it but I will as soon as it lets me. Let me assure there are very many others who have enjoyed the material you have provided. Thank you again.


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