One of Maplewood’s most attractive commercial buildings has been home to Scheidt Hardware for about 96 years! That’s a pretty incredible story but even more so when you know that the building at 7320 Manchester was first constructed to house the Maplewood Theater complete with sloping floors and theater seating.
Built about 1910 by W.B. Powhatan (I think. He’s listed as either the owner or proprietor in the 1912 Maplewood business directory) for whatever reasons he sold it in 1916 to Emil L. Scheidt. Emil had started doing business in 1905 at 7277 Manchester (now demolished) as Wohlwend Hardware. Wohlwend was his wife, Rosa’s maiden name. The business was named after her father who provided the start-up capital.
In 1916 the business moved to its current location as Scheidt Hardware and settled in to become one of the most venerable of Maplewood institutions. First item on the agenda for Emil was leveling the sloping floor. This involved cutting most of the floor joists at the brick wall, jacking the whole floor level and then installing new structural members to support everything. The seats were removed but the screw holes they left behind are still visible. The floor is in very good shape after over 100 years of commercial use. That’s quality material.
Another detail Emil accomplished was the remodeling of the front of the building with the entry set back twenty feet from the sidewalk in order to lure passersby with the generous amount of space devoted to display windows. The remodel was done by the prominent St. Louis architect, T.R.Barnett whose wife was a friend of Rosa’s.
Alas the decline of walk-in customers caused Emil’s grandson and current owner Bob Scheidt to remodel the front of the building once again. Completed a few years ago to the very high standards of the original, I’m sure Emil would approve. Customers can still see the outline of the original display windows on the ceiling.
Bob Scheidt’s genius has been to pack the store with high quality merchandise. Scheidt Hardware today has much more to offer than at any time in the past. If you’re walking, downtown Maplewood is an interesting stroll. If you’re driving, you can usually park a few feet from the front door and be in and out with your purchase in less time than it’d take to get to the light bulb section in your average big box store.
Take a look at these photos and then get on down there where Bob and long-time associate Roger have got just about everything you need. If you go only for the fresh locally grown eggs, you’ll have arm space to carry home a copy of “Maplewood, the first one hundred years” which contains many of these photos.