Maplewood History: What Was In That Building On The Corner?


A couple of weeks ago I got an email from reader Meredith.  She said, “I am looking for some historical information on a building. I’m a big fan of the historic Maplewood blog posts and I’m curious about the building at 7376 Manchester, on the SE corner of Manchester and Sutton. Do you have any information on its original purpose or other history of the building throughout the years?

Meredith, I do and here it is.

First I’d suggest that you take a look at this previous post.  It has some information on what was at the SE corner of Manchester and Sutton before the building that you are interested in was there.

Now that you have read the earlier post the question will be is that building (from the 1909 map) on the corner of Sutton and Marshall the same one that is there today?  I’d have to say that I can’t be sure.  Compare the footprint on the map to the aerial photo below.  The building we have today is a trapezoid not a rectangle.  Parts of the original building may still be there and what we see today may be the result of an extensive remodel.

Zerman’s Department Store is advertised in the 1912 Maplewood directory as being at 7312-14 Manchester.  That is towards the eastern end of the block.  The business at that address today is Vom Fass.  By 1915, Zerman’s had relocated to our building in question.

I was surprised at how much information existed in my digital archive on this one particular building.  I truly doubt if I have this much on any other single building.  Congratulations, Meredith, you picked the right one.

I should also mention that I dimly recall receiving an email from a lady or perhaps a couple of ladies who worked in the building during the tenure of one of the jivers or wailers or perhaps the burlesque show (I can’t remember which) wondering if I had any information on paranormal activity there.  Even though I firmly believe that a community can not have too many ghosts I reluctantly answered that I did not.  It seems that several of the folks working there had seen an apparition that resembled a man.  I’d love to find that email.  If anyone reading this has any information regarding this apparition, I’d love to talk to you.

In this excerpt from the 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis County, notice how the footprint of the building on the SE corner is a rectangle that leaves a tringular space between the building and Sutton Ave. Compare that to the aerial view that follows.
The shape of the building has changed dramatically from what was shown on the 1909 map. This aerial view is of the building we have there today which leaves no space between the sidewalk and the building. Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
Ad from the 1912 Directory of the City of Maplewood. This address is currently the location of the  Vom Fass store.  Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
There are a couple of mentions of Zerman’s store on this page from the Maplewood Champion newspaper.  Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
Here is an enlargement if you’d like to read that article about Merritt Marshall.
This advertisement from the 1915 Directory of the City of Maplewood clearly shows the building we have today and that Zerman’s store is now located in it. Given the lead time necessary to publish book such as the directory I would think that this photo must have been taken in 1914. Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
Same photo straightened up a bit.
In this part of the panoramic photo that you’ve seen in the last post, a Walgreen’s store now occupies the location. The date of this photo is probably sometime in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s.  Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
The prior photo enlarged a bit.
This is from another panoramic photo that appears to have been made at the same time as the other. I either got this from the Maplewood Public Library or the American Legion Hall.  I believe they both had copies.
This newspaper clipping has some helpful information but not the year. Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.
Bingo! This one identifies the year and the newspaper. I have been told that the Zorenskys whose store can be seen on the north side of Manchester would go on to build Crestwood Mall.  I have also recently been told that the whole of that mall has now been demolished.  Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library. Thanks to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as well.
Another newspaper clipping. Walgreen’s is moving out and Woolworth’s is moving in.  Judging by that Studebaker Hawk by the curb, this clipping appears to be from the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.  Courtesy of Maplewood Public Library.


  1. Doug, there is an article in the both the Post and the Star from 1910 reporting that there was a fire at the Zerman’s 7314 address in March of 1910. One report suggests the building was destroyed, the other that $10,000 in good were destroyed. But in either case, it was probably that fire that stimulated the move to the corner building.

    Ida Zerman (wife? daughter?) was apparently big on the social scene; there are numerous accounts of various parties and engagements involving her and her friends…


  2. In the aerial view, what is that building west of Katz? Almost looks like some kind of small industrial plant I don’t remember it or the White Castle that was there.

    • Hey Don, I believe the building in the photo just to the west of Katz drugstore is the one that is still there today. Looking at the photograph on the computer at high magnification I can’t quite make out what the sign on the building says but it could be “Neisner’s”. As you’re probably aware I included a photo of the Neisner’s employees with my previous post.

    • The White Castle was still there when I was a little girl. My mother lived on Sutton and when she and my father were dating (in the 30s) he would come to see her and wait at the White Castle for a bus or street car to take him home.

      • Thanks for your recollection, Charlotte. It would be neat to find a photo of the White Castle in that location. It must have been fairly close to the corner.

    • Re: the question: “What was that building just west of Katz?
      I did a search on “Neisners, Maplewood” This came up. It was for a while a martial arts store.
      Darren Snow
      Neisner’s was a five-and-ten-cent store that had several locations in the St. Louis area. This one became a martial-arts-supply shop.

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