Maplewood History: First There Were Horses – Part 2

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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.

Well these animals belonging to the Banner Lumber company aren't horses but they're closely related. they are mules and were probably used to haul lumber up Sutton from the railroad. A hellacious fire at Banner Lumber is thought to have been a catalyst to incorporate the City of Maplewood and thus enjoy the benefit of a fire department. Banner Lumber was located eihter the NW or SW corner of sutton and Manchester. I seem to remember evidence that would suggest both. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
Well these animals belonging to the Banner Lumber Company aren’t horses but they’re closely related. They are mules and were probably used to haul lumber up Sutton from the railroad. A hellacious fire at Banner Lumber is thought to have been a catalyst to incorporate the City of Maplewood and thus enjoy the benefit of a fire department. Banner Lumber was located on either the NW or SW corner of Sutton and Manchester. I seem to remember evidence that would suggest both. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
Speaking of the fire department, here is another early photo of those fine fellows. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
Speaking of the fire department, here is another early photo of those fine fellows. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
I believe that this photo was amongst the few very early ones that attracted my attention. It is a postcard owned by Donna Ratkowski which she was kind enough to let me copy. the building on the right is the long gone first Maplewood Bank building. The cupola on the left would be on the Foundation Grounds building today. The next building on the left has completely disappeared. that is now the site of Citizen's Park at Sutton and Marshall.
I believe that this photo was amongst the few very early ones that first attracted my attention. It is a postcard owned by Donna Ratkowski which she was kind enough to let me copy. The building on the right is the long gone first Maplewood Bank building. The building behind the carriage is probably the first Kalb Electric building.  The cupola on the left would be on the Foundation Grounds building today. The next building on the left has completely disappeared. That is now the site of Citizen’s Park at Sutton and Marshall.
Speaking of Kalb electric this photo is from the Kalb electric collection owned by Martin fisched who was kind enough to let me copy much from it.
Speaking of Kalb Electric this photo is from the Kalb Electric collection owned by Martin Fischer who was kind enough to let me copy much from it.
This photograph was a slide collected by the defunct Renaissance Society for their celebration of the 75th anniversary of our town in 1983. some of the images were reversed which is easy to do with slides. this can be maddening when you are trying to figure out where they might have been taken. I got lucky with this one when I recognized the house on Laclede Station Road in the 2800 block I believe. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
This photograph was a slide collected by the defunct Renaissance Society for their celebration of the 75th anniversary of our town in 1983. Some of the images were reversed which is easy to do with slides. This can be maddening when you are trying to figure out where they might have been taken. I got lucky with this one when I recognized the house on Laclede Station Road in the 2800 block. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
I beleive this one of a man and three horses at Cambridge and big Bend is also from the Renaissance Society collection. I made a note that it may be part of a Lauretson family collection. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
This one of a man and three horses at Cambridge and Big Bend is also from the Renaissance Society collection. I made a note that it may be part of a Lauretson family collection. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
Another image from the Lauretson family. the information with this photo is Jim Lauretson on the left and Henry Knochelman on the right. The fellow in the middle will have to remain nameless. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
Another image from the Lauretson family. The information with this photo is Jim Lauretson on the left and Henry Knochelman on the right. The fellow in the middle will have to remain nameless. (The reader’s comment below indicates that the correct spelling is most likely Lauritson.) Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
The gentleman in this photo are identified as Fennell and Carpenter. The Fennell family are related to our councilman Fred Wolf. I was allowed to copy this and the next two images by Katy Schuh.
The gentlemen in this photo are identified as Fennell and Carpenter. The Fennell family are related to our councilman Fred Wolf. I was allowed to copy this and the next two images by Katie Schuch.
I consider this and the folowing image to be two of the most valuable in our collection. Floyd Fennell had a landscaping business. these African-American gentleman were employed by him. African-Americans are under represented in historic photographs. Their contributions to the building of this country were (and are) enormous. these photographs that document their role are especially valuable.
I consider this and the following image to be two of the most valuable in our collection. Floyd Fennell had a landscaping business. These African-American gentlemen were employed by him. African-Americans are under represented in historic photographs. Their contributions to the building of this country were (and are) enormous. The photographs that document their role are especially valuable.  It is regrettable that none of the men are identified by name.
Floyd Fennell and employees at his landscaping business at Rannells and Laclede Station Road. An apartment building now occupies the site. The house may still exist. Floyd would die in an accident involving that motorcycle in 1923. Much thanks to ms. schuh for allowing us to copy these for our collection.
Floyd Fennell, his family and employees at his landscaping business at Rannells and Laclede Station Road. An apartment building now occupies the site. The house may still exist. Floyd would die in an accident involving that motorcycle in 1923. Much thanks to Ms. Schuch for allowing us to copy these for our collection.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing these pics Doug. Floyd Alonso Fennell was my great grandpa. My grandma Kate shared many colorful and interesting stories about her family life and childhood in Maplewood including the night her mom came home from the hospital after Floyd’s accident – collapsing onto a wooden chair just inside the door shaking her head and saying “What am I gonna do…. “

    • Kris, thanks so much for your contribution. The Fennell-Wolf photos are some of the most interesting in the library’s collection. Any more out there?

  2. I grew up in Brentwood and honestly never came over to Maplewood until my high school years and then it was to get belly bombers at White Castle after a night of drinking. Just being honest.
    Got a job at Mid County YMCA after high school and did Summer Fun at West Richmond and Valley School.
    Later got an apartment over on Sutton and returned years later to buy a house on Jerome.
    LOVE THE AREA and glad I am a member of this community!

    • Dear community member, I appreciate you sharing your memory. If I were a higher up at White Castle, I’d patent the term “belly bomber” immediately. They didn’t do it with “sliders” and now everyone has their own version. It is always curious to me that we folks who have no early history here like this fairly nondescript area as well. Must be the architecture. I do have some opinions on that. A woman engaged in historic research of our area once told me of finding evidence of an African-American cemetery near Jerome. From memory she said it was on a street called Rex, I think. It’s location would have been somewhere near the two antique malls on Big Bend today. I’d sure like to know more about that.

    • Well whichever ones you liked the most were put there just for you, Brenna. As always thank you for your cheerful enthusiasm.

  3. Thanks for sharing these old pictures, Doug. Jim Lauritson was my great great grandfather and our family has been apart of the Maplewood community from the beginning. I will share these with my family!

    • It is my pleasure, Karen. It is always great when a connection like this is made. I have more photos which may be from the Lauritson collection. I’ll try and get those to you. Remind me if I forget. Thanks for your input.

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