According to Rosemary Davison’s 1982 community profile of Maplewood, in 1913 Harper's Pharmacy first opened for business in the turreted building on the NW corner of Sutton and Hazel. In 1912, Will. H. Harper was listed as living at 7373 Flora. The pictured ad is from a 1916 Maplewood Champion newspaper.
The present Cape/ Harper building, 2618 Sutton at Maple was constructed between 1924 and 1927. Will’s grandson also William was the last operator of the business which had morphed into a photography supply store and was still operating in 1982.
In 1929, Joe Bettendorf who is credited with bringing the supermarket concept to the St. Louis area opened his first store at 2616 Sutton. Unfortunately his desire to create ample parking space for his customer’s cars caused the demolition of Dr. Cape’s graceful home on the SE corner of Sutton and Hazel.
The Cape/Harper/Bettendorf complex is empty once again. There is a For Sale sign on the northernmost building of the two which once held Bettendorf’s. The Harper’s Pharmacy portion of the buildings still contains an amazing amount of the original cabinetry. The interior was most recently opened for viewing during the Let Them Eat Art event July 13th. If you missed that, go press your nose up against glass. This interior is a step back in time. Maplewood residents who care about this sort of thing and there are many of us should hope that the next tenants will be respectful of this beautiful relic from our past.