Maplewood History: Where The Clean Air Is—Maplewood!


By now Bill Jones should need no introduction.  He is very good at supplying me with these short sketches from his experiences here in Maplewood.  I’ve been less good at getting them posted.  I know you’ll enjoy this one titled:

Where The Clean Air Is–Maplewood!

In 1934, we moved to Maplewood because mother had a lung condition (indicating possible TB).  The air in Maplewood was clean and pure.  Mother reacted well to the new environment.  The use of bituminous coal in St. Louis was evident.  When we drove west beside Forest Park (on the Express Highway), we felt we had driven out of a night-like cloud at Hi-Point and that Express Highway was like nightfall at noon.

We moved to 7566 Weaver and loved Maplewood.  I went to Valley School.  My dad, a supervisor and paymaster at the railroad was still a “country boy” at heart.  He researched and had his employees make him a series of “chicken cages” so he could raise baby chicks in our cellar.  He raised the chicks on wire screen and kept them off the ground (his research).

Everything was wonderful.  I had lots of playmates and new friends.  Doc Roberts, our next-door neighbor (a fellow deacon of Dad’s at Maplewood Baptist) came to my father and said that our great neighbors were hearing derogatory conversations about my Dad raising chicks in our neighborhood!  My father always had solutions.  On Saturday, Dad brought home a case of eggs and bags.  He had me put 12 eggs in each bag and he and I carried the eggs to each neighbor and made an enormous hit with all our neighbors!  Years later, Doc Roberts was my high school teacher and he asked me how much those eggs cost.  I told him a nickel a dozen.  He laughed for an hour!

In the 1930’s, Maplewood had enormous pits beside Bredell where our swimming pools and library now exist.  My friends and I really enjoyed sliding down into the pits (sand and mud) but our mothers punished us (for the mud).

Dad drove us up to Manchester and showed us Scullin Steel where enormous clouds of black smoke arose.  We all asked, “Why does the wind blow the smoke to the east and to St. Louis?”  Dad laughed and said “Maplewood may have an ordinance against it.”  We all loved Maplewood’s clean air!

Billy Jones

From The Observer, September 10, 1958. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.
A postcard of the first Baptist church building located on the NW corner of Marshall and Marietta. Either from the Maplewood Public Library or possibly the collection of Donna Ratkowski.
The second Baptist church building to occupy the corner at Marshall and Marietta. Photo by Yours Truly.
The same building only this time with pigeons. This photo was made after the building had been sold to the advertising company, Moosylvania. Their banner can be seen on the front. The congregation of the church moved across the street, Marshall, into another building that they owned. They are there today. Photo by Yours Truly.





  1. When “Moosylvania” wanted to buy the Baptist Church building at Marshall and Marietta and to use it as office space, they needed a rezoning. At the P&Z hearing, they said that they would preserve the churchlike atmosphere. About a year later, I was curious, so I walked in and asked if I could look around. They did in fact essentially preserve it. It still has a churchlike look and feel. Thank you Moosylvania.

  2. YEs – when I was researching for Kennedy Music, I noticed more than one newspaper article stating people appreciated Maplewood for the clean air and for the greenery, as opposed to St Louis City.


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