As mentioned in my previous post, The Wedge in Maplewood referred not only to the triangular piece of land located at the intersection of present day Manchester and Southwest. The building located on that site was also known as the Wedge. In fact it was wedge-shaped and covered most of its lot except for the sidewalks.
Elmer Wind Jr. , the son of one of the founders of EJ Tire, told me that the customers joked that every time they got gas they blocked both of the sidewalks.
We are able to view the remarkable photographs presented here due to Elmer’s generosity. Many of the photos were taken during the visit of a promotional limousine pulling a giant Goodyear tire.
In two of the photos, on a utility pole nearby, can be seen (at a higher magnification on my computer screen) two signs, one designating Manchester as Route 50 and the other, the now legendary Route 66.
Manchester through downtown Maplewood was designated Route 66 from its inception in 1926 until 1933. Ours was the very first alignment (as they’re called) of Route 66. The alignment on Watson Road was created later at least in part to resolve traffic congestion in downtown Maplewood.
These are the only two photos I have ever found of Route 66 signs in downtown Maplewood.
Also of interest is the view they afford of the Reller Chevrolet building on the north side of Manchester. Unfortunately at some point the western showroom end was remodeled into what we have today and much detail was lost. The eastern five bays still look very similar.
Elmer Wind Jr. has been a tireless lobbyist for Route 66 promotion in our community. His efforts and that of others such as Doug Smith caught the attention of our Community Development director, Rachelle L’Ecuyer. She responded by creating the colorful banners and sidewalk plaques that inform viewers of this important part of our past.
This post was partially rewritten and expanded on 4/17/2017 DH