Maplewood History: What the Heck Happened to the North Side of our Business District? Part 2

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The following aerial photos show the area that was cleared for the redevelopment project that ultimately brought Kmart to downtown Maplewood.¬† Though it may have been necessary for the revenue it provided, for us fans of historic buildings it’s hard to look at these and not want to turn back the hands of time.

The photo above was taken prior to the fire in Golde’s Department Store in 1966. All of the buildings within the yellow lines were demolished save one. The Citizen’s Bank building (surrounded by blue lines) was completely remodeled and expanded after the Golde’s fire. Golde’s was located immediately west of Citizen’s Bank. ¬†Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
This slightly different view was made after 1967 which was the year the new Citizen’s Bank building opened. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
The first photo again, this time showing two of the important historic buildings lost to the redevelopment. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library and Photoshop.
Wohlwend Hardware opened in 1907 at 7277 Manchester. Rosa Wohlwend married Emil Scheidt. Dad financed the young couples initial effort in the hardware business. Hence the name. By 1916 Scheidt Hardware was doing business in the same location they occupy today, 7320 Manchester. It was only while researching this article that I realized the original building survived until the 1970’s. Courtesy of Jessica Ernst.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I also remember the whole Kmart fiasco. As Tom said, shoppers really couldn’t see Kmart from Manchester. Golde’s Department Store fire was a major loss to the local businesses, and prior to that there were several fires which I have been reading about in the various local newspapers of the day. Kennedy Music needed to move at various times due to fires — in fact I have a picture of one of the buildings after it burned. I’m remembering something about a piano falling to the ground from the 2nd floor after the fire! I am so personally glad Maplewood is experiencing a ‘rebirth’ these days.

  2. The redevelopment resulted in that doubly ill-advised two level garage. In the first place, it was difficult to see from the street level that there was a Kmart at the top. Once when I went for a walk in the early evening, as I was just past the Citizens Bank, a car pulled up and the lady in the passengers seat said, ” Can you tell us where the Kmart is”. I swear, that is a true story.
    Secondly, the construction of the garage was faulty. The horizontal beams rested on Teflon pads on the vertical posts. The connections were supposed to be lightly bolted to allow for a sliding movement on the Teflon as the structure expanded and contracted with the heat of the day. The bolts were mistakenly pulled up so tight that the movement began to deform the vertical posts. The post in the Southeast corner near the bank was visibly twisted. A “fix” was installed using cross connectors between the top of one post and the bottom of the adjacent post. It didn’t work.
    Kmart left and the building was dark and vacant for years.

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