Maplewood History: Pre-Restoration Images of Woodside


In June of 2004, Maplewoodian Greg Rannells, a direct descendant of Charles and Mary, was allowed inside the old family home.  He took the images featured in this post and was kind enough to let me copy them.  Before receiving these from Greg neither I nor anyone else involved with the effort to save Woodside had seen the inside of it.

As the reader can see it was in rough shape but surprising to those of us who love old houses was how much of the original fabric remained.  The years spent as a nursing home had caused a few modifications to be made, of course.  But beneath the later year add-ons much of the 1848 home remained.

Readers unfamiliar with this story can find out much more about it from the following links.

Woodside and the Rannells Family

Edward “Ned” Rannells of Woodside

The Historic Papers of Woodside 1838-1914

On Edward “Ned” Rannells

Jeremiah and Ann Aston Warder

Or by purchasing one of my books.  Maplewood History, Volume Two is available at Scheidt Hardware at 7320 Manchester.  Volume One is available at the Chamber of Commerce just a few doors west at 7326A, 314-781-8588. There is a steep flight of stairs inside but you probably need the exercise.  It’ll be worth it.  If you’re not up to the stairs, just holler and I’m sure they will toss down a copy for you provided you leave the correct amount of cash or I imagine they may have one of those other much more modern ways of exchanging money which I don’t know anything about but I can’t say for sure.  Let me know.

Woodside at Folk and Bredell in 2004. The combination carport and 2nd floor porch was a relic of Woodside’s nursing home years. Ditto for the door on the third floor.
There were a pair of these French doors on both the eastern and western ends of the first floor of the home.
The main entrance to the first floor. The door was late Victorian remounted to open outward.
The kitchen was in a one story addition to the back (north side) of the house.  It has since been demolished and rebuilt.
Still in the kitchen looking towards the main house.
Some built-in cabinets between the kitchen and the main house.
The center room on the first floor, looking north.  Entrance to the kitchen is on the right.
Eastern room, first floor. Fireplace is later than the home, probably from the 1920s.
Western room, first floor. Crown molding, possibly from a more elegant time, survives here.
The basement needed a little TLC. The iron I beam replaced an earlier masonry wall.
Many of the first floor joists are logs, hewn on the top and bottom, still having bark on the sides.
The newel post and balustrade from the first floor all the way to the attic (third floor) were also survivors from the age of elegance. Solid cherry and very well done. Unfortunately much of it was missing, between the first and second floors, having been removed to create a firewall.
Only this very elegant curve remained on the second floor. However the boss, seen at the upper right, was part of a complete original balustrade leading from the second floor to the attic. It had been hidden behind a wall.
The landing on the second floor.
Same landing, opposite direction (east).
Center room, second floor. Looking south.
Western room, second floor. This, I suspect, is an original fireplace mantel.
Just off of the western room was this sun room. This was not part of the original house. It was a porch that had been enclosed.
On the western end of the house, in the attic, was this curious little door. It led to the attic space above the enclosed porch. Next to it was this little handmade window that had been added to light this dark space. This was the only craftsman made window in the house. I wonder what happened to it?  Someone stole the little door while the home was in the possession of the City of Maplewood.
The view looking south from the center room on the third floor.
The eastern most room on the third floor.
This image was made by looking straight up through the ceiling access hole to the attic.  The charred rafters and decking are evidence of a fire.  The unburnt boards on the left are obvious replacements different from the original decking.  The Rannells family descendants knew there had once been a fire.  They had seen photographs that showed much of the furniture had been carried out on the lawn.  Possibly to dry out?  The location of those images today is still a mystery.


Greg Rannells is a nationally known photographer who once lived and worked in Los Angeles.  He was raised in southern Missouri but had been told of the family connection to Maplewood.  When circumstances of life caused him to look for a home in the St. Louis area, he naturally thought of Maplewood.  He bought a home here with no knowledge of where his great-great-grandparents home or farm had been.

Then one day, as he was driving by, he recognized Woodside from the historic photos kept by his family.  He had unknowingly purchased a home just a few blocks from his family’s ancestral one and was living on what had once been their land!  Greg is a direct descendant of Edward “Ned” Rannells, son of Charles and Mary.

Greg is just one of the many members of the Rannells family that I was fortunate to meet during this project.  All were very friendly and cooperative, sharing whatever documents and images they had.  The Rannells family were the first Maplewood family to donate nearly all of their historic material to the State Historical Society of Missouri at UMSL.

Doug Houser    September 15, 2021


  1. I was in the building once and remembered the basement and the beams. It was pretty scary when I saw it, I think maybe part of the stone foundation had caved in somewhat. I think the attic roof joists were also logs although much smaller and had bark on some edges. I also remember kicking some stuff around and seeing a racoon living behind a pile of debris up there somewhere. I backed out of that room pretty quickly.

    I have not looked for quite a while but the new owners used to have a blog about their work there. It would be nice to see how the place has turned out on the inside. I think the outside looks good.

  2. Thank you so much, Doug! I will be sharing with my cousins and their families. My line is Charles & Mary- John Warder Rannells – John Paul Rannells – Betsy Wood – Me (Rachel Wood P0tter)

  3. I noticed 2 fireplaces that look like the same era, also another fireplace ( how many chimneys does the house have?) and is that a witch window ( a window turned on its point to confuse witches trying to enter a house) more common in the Northeastern U.S. ?
    Also the old wheelchair, many great older architectural features remain. Is there any progress on restoring this treasure? Thanks Doug

    • Hey Mary, Woodside had two large chimneys at either end of the house. The two fireplaces of the same era (probably 1920s) are on the first floor. The wooden mantel was the only one still remaining on the upper floors. Most likely there would have been stoves burning different forms of fuel, wood, coal, fuel oil, attached to those same chimneys in the rooms with no fireplace. The exception would be the kitchen which probably had a separate flue for the cooking stove.
      The City of Maplewood sold Woodside in 2016 to a private family. From the exterior Woodside appears to have been completely renovated.
      I have never heard of a witches window. Perhaps Woodside had one of those. I’ll have to read up on those.
      You’re welcome. Thanks for your comments.

  4. What every house needs: Tires in the kitchen!
    The basement beams, the banisters, and the sloping floors and ceilings remind me of the house I grew up in back in PA. Thanks for sharing these images.

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