Maplewood History: Historic Immaculate Conception Church building is Threatened with Demolition!

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Please note that the location and time of the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on Thursday May 9, have both been changed.  The meeting will now be at 7:30 in the Maplewood Firehouse just west of the city hall.

Folks, 7240 Anna is not just some rundown commercial building.  It is a bona fide historic building, erected in 1905, three years before Maplewood was chartered as a city.  It is not rundown either.  In fact, it is rented and has many tenants.  The gymnasium that was added to the east end of the building is in very good condition as well.

This structure served as both church and school to many area Catholics for about 20 years until the larger church was completed on the corner of Marshall and Moller.  This building is as much a part of the historic fabric of our community as any other!

In this 1953 aerial photograph by Syl Beletz, the original family homes that once existed on the north side of Anna Ave. can be seen.  Ditto just east of the first church building.  Sadly, the majority of these homes have been replaced by apartment buildings.  We do not need to lose any more historic buildings on Anna.

It is very easy to see in this image that the Immaculate Conception campus is part of the historic Fraser Park subdivision, one of our oldest.

The 1910 Immaculate Conception grade school class.

Some years back our former community development director, Rachelle L’ecuyer and I worked to develop new ways to capitalize on the fact that the first alignment of Route 66 ran straight through the heart of our town on Manchester.  I joined the Route 66 Association of Missouri at that time.  For awhile I attended their meetings.

There I learned of their effort to catalog attractions that may not have been directly adjacent to the roadway but rather could be considered features of the corridor.  A good example would be our high school and pool (now library) buildings.  They are a good distance from the roadway but close enough to be of interest to travelers on the historic corridor.

I believe the Immaculate Conception campus would qualify as well.  Although it is not necessary for an attraction to be visible from the 66 roadway, the big church certainly is.

We have a chance now to save the historic first church of the Immaculate Conception.  I realize the difficulties encountered when we preserve historic buildings.  Still, we shouldn’t lose any of the good ones.  When they are gone, it’s forever.

Doug Houser    May 6, 2024

 

 

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Doug,
    What is the other big church in the picture? What do they use this building in danger for right now?

    • Laura, the church in danger is the original Immaculate Conception church and school building. The big church is the later IC church built in 1925. The congregation of the big church has been “subsumed” (church word, hope I got it right) into other parishes. From a parishioner, the big church will still be used for weddings and funerals. The building in danger is rented to a variety of tenants, some artists, I am told and an Irish Arts group.

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