When James Sutton passed away in 1877 his children quickly observed a time-honored tradition. They divided his property amongst themselves and began to sell it off. Ellendale Home Place is the name given by his daughter Kay Sutton Thomas to her inherited slice of Dad’s farm.
Kay and her husband Judge Lyman Thomas built a beautiful home also known as Ellendale Home Place that still exists. Although today the home is just a few buildings north of Manchester on Roseland Terrace when it was new its front lawn extended all the way to Manchester road.
Judge Thomas is well known to local history buffs. His book “The History of St. Louis County” published in 1911 is still much in demand. Maplewoodians would do well to read his section on the City of Maplewood. He makes no secret of his belief that the true name of our town should be “Sutton”. After all that’s the name of the first depot and what the area was called before the developers came up with the name “Maplewood”.
A few years after Thomas’ book came out the front lawn of Ellendale Home Place underwent some dramatic changes. A developer called J.L.Swink built a nice looking block of commercial buildings known accurately enough as the Swink block. He also built himself a very substantial home in the next block west of his new retail spaces.
Swink’s block survived until the early 1970’s when a desperate plan to try and save our retail businesses caused a large number of buildings to be razed. Unfortunately Swink’s home was also in the path of the redevelopment and our inventory of historic buildings lost it as well.
Today the front lawn of Ellendale Home Place holds a parking lot and a modern building with a variety of retail businesses. Passersby never notice the elegant Thomas home just a few hundred feet away.