Aficionados of old houses have usually seen many strange things regarding the way these places have been assembled. Most often the structure one sees today is the product of innumerable alterations over its many decades of existence. Make that sixteen-and-a-half decades for Woodside which was constructed between 1848 and 1850. (For more information about the history of Woodside see my earlier blog titled, “The Rannells Family”).
The name, Woodside, has its origin in Mary Warder Rannells’ (she and husband Charles were the builders) family. The Warders had another home with the same name in Springfield, Ohio and if my memory is correct in England as well. Our Maplewood home is identified as “Woodside” in the 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis County.
Woodside remained in the Rannells family until 1922 when Judge Edward (Ned) Rannells, son of Charles and Mary, passed away. The interior was apparently remodeled at that time and a bathroom added to the second floor. Four sets of French doors leading to the exterior were also added but it is not known exactly when.
From 1922 to 1938 Woodside was used as a private residence and the office of a real estate development company. From 1938 until 1975 it was used as a nursing home. A descendant from the nursing home family lived there until 2000. Thus began a long effort to save Woodside, which resulted in it being purchased by the City of Maplewood in 2004. Since then Woodside has benefitted from a new copper-flashed 30 year roof and a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Remarkably much of Woodside’s original fabric remains. It is a balloon-framed (google it) structure set on top of hand-hewn-on-site first floor joists. Based on evidence visible in the basement it appears to have been built on the site of an earlier, smaller house. It is roughly 1,000 sq. ft. per floor with three floors and a full basement. A little more than half of the cherry balustrade remains as do early doors, some early windows, wallpaper, clapboard, mantels and a gazillion square nails.
Having spent many hours in this building I can attest that Woodside seems to neither suffer nor benefit (depending on your point of view) from paranormal activity.
What Woodside needs most of all is a new historically sensitive owner. According to Maplewood Councilman Tim Dunn parties interested should contact the City Hall, which has some very attractive terms in mind.