Woodside: ‘time is running short’


A recent post by Doug Houser, recommending that the city ‘mothball’ Woodside, the historic house at the corner of Folk and Breddell, was lost to 40 South News, due to an error, along with other articles.

Houser’s article garnered almost 40 comments, many supporting renovation but so far no one or group has put up the funds to make that possible.

Maplewood Ward 3 Councilman Barry Greenberg commented on the site since then, saying he’d like to see it renovated, and it needs to happen soon.

I was president of the Historic Preservation Commission when the permit required to demolish Woodside was denied. I felt then, as I do now that the building has both historical and architectural significance. However, 15 years has passed in which no viable use or owner has emerged and the two story residence is in need of repair and is a liability concern for the City of Maplewood.

As a current member of City Council, I would like to see the building renovated. For that to happen, an entity has to step up to the plate with an appropriate use, the necessary investment capital and an implementation plan, and it must happen soon.

I have personally shown the building to prospective buyers on several occasions. I know that the city manager has shown the building numerous times and has entered into negotiations more than once that have failed primarily due to the projected cost of repair and remodeling, not because of the asking price.

The city would not allow a private property to languish in this state of disrepair and I am of the opinion that it would be unwise to spend any more money on Woodside unless there was some reasonable expectation that building would be purchased and brought up to code, the exterior returned to its historic condition, and the interior renovated into a usable structure.

If Woodside is to be saved, talk will not be enough. Time is running short.


  1. I’m new to this subject but have always admired Woodside having driven past it on a daily basis. Someone please let me know….must a renovation be of a historic nature trying to preserve the outer structure in its original form? My assumption is the building has some sort of historic label on it, so renovations and repairs must follow strict historic guidelines. As Ian stated before, the only solutions shouldn’t be a) Tear it Down, or b) Fix it Up Majestically. I think we can assume after 15 years that Fix it Up Majestically isn’t going to happen, and while we wait, the building continues to fall into disrepair. The only people willing to renovate now are probably people who would like to get a return on their investment, and renovation of any kind will be very costly at this point. The question should be asked, Does Maplewood want to lose entirely it’s most historic home because of stringent guidelines making renovation too expensive, or is it time to find a compromise and maybe allow some sort of modernization of the home that, while not keeping it in its original state, at least preserves the essence of the home and what it means to the city.

  2. DC,

    Some of us are working on a plan present to the city. Hopefully we can get something done. The plan will most likely require a volunteer phase, let me know if you are interested in helping. If you are concerned about the broken fence boards, I believe that would be the Public Works departments responsibility to maintain, not an organization or potential investor. I will mention this to my council members as well.


  3. When there is a WILL there is a WAY!!! .We need do-gooders that have a lot of energy and time …What about the Chamber? The organizations in Maplewood? Churches in Maplewood? Businesses in Maplewood ? If they were to step up to the plate and do a few big fundraisers? If I remember right there was a city close by that accomplished close to this same situation and got it accomplished . This is evident that we can do also? Or why haven’t the do-gooders gotten together and formed a committee to get this rolling ? I would think everyone knows a business owner that could donate materials & labor and write them off as a tax deduction? Why cant a resident donate some materials per house hold that want to save this house ? When finished I think we could use it as a historical house to display all of our history such as pictures and memories . It doesn’t have to be sold it can still belong to OUR city. Prolonging this matter can only make it more dangerous and cost more money . If you are a do-gooder list your name and how you can be contacted so we can get the ball rolling. Maybe Berry can call a meeting to those that are interested ?

    • I live by the Woodside House and it is starting to fall apart. The windows are boarded up. A family of 5 raccoons live there. It’s time for this house to come down. Everybody wants to save it, but nobody wants to do anything about it. How would you feel if you looked at it every day? Let it go.

      • Well said, Bonnie. Talk is cheap. There will never be any action on saving it because the people interested in saving it are not doers. At least the city replaced the broken out gate boards. Hopefully that will prevent any child poking around in there from getting squashed when it inevitably falls down.

  4. Well said, Barry. I notice that no one in all these comments has stepped up to the plate to form an organization and collect money. I got pictures Sunday. It’s worse looking than I thought. A child could easily slip through the broken fence boards. And there are several broken out windows. The roof over the porch has caved in and mostly rotted off. The siding above the west addition is missing allowing for water inside. Bricks continue to fall from the west chimney. This is a terrible liability hazard and an insult to the neighborhood. The city has been extremely patient in waiting for someone to step up. Talking time is past.

  5. Since we’re moving stuff here.

    “For that to happen, an entity has to step up to the plate with an appropriate use, the necessary investment capital and an implementation plan, and it must happen soon.”

    Barry – As always, appreciate your participation here. Regarding Woodside, are we perhaps being too stringent, at the cost of losing this historic house forever? If someone buys Woodside and it takes 5 years to renovate, well, that is better than tearing the thing down. Or if someone buys it, redoes about half, and then goes broke, well, that is better than tearing the thing down. Someone else can step in and gets it half done! The only solutions shouldn’t be a) Tear it Down or b) Fix it Up Majestically.

    Along with this, I can think of multiple places around town with projects that are taking years to complete. Half done siding, perpetual ladders in place. How are those properties different?

    Lastly, regarding more money being spent, how much would it take to put some glass in the window upstairs? Or even board it up? Can we find 100 bucks in the City budget for that?

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