Posted on February 15th, 2007 48 comments
Lately, Overland is notorious as the township with the deluded, egoistic mayor who refuses to relinquish the burning castle. Aside from City Hall ineptitudes that have inspired so many of its citizens to blog, Overland is a nice town; completely suburban, yet old enough to have been formed to urban standards. There is a formal downtown nucleus that spreads out into little tract homes, and at Christmas the main drags are festooned with the exact same lighted decorations decade after decade. Overland retains so much of its original fabric that it often feels like touring a museum of post-World War 2 Baby Boom suburban expansion. Yet the place is alive, feisty and curious in a low-key manner, which keeps it off the hipsters and aggressive developers radars.
These photos are a fair sampling of the commercial buildings along Lackland Road, right in the immediate vicinity of Skeeter’s Frozen Custard. Generally, they were all built between the end of World War 2 and 1955.
This particular building has changed hands many times (it was an upholstery shop for the longest time), with each new owner never feeling the need to radically alter its appearance. And I’ve noticed that about this entire stretch of road: the commercial buildings don’t stay vacant for very long and they seldom get radically remodeled. Some may say that a lack of apparent progress is the sign of a stagnant city, but I see Overland’s constant, gentle ripples as a city finely balanced.
One of my favorite examples of Overland being satisfied with its resources is the above service station. Walking onto the parking lot is like swooshing back in time, with that time being kept by the very same clock that’s graced the building since it went up in 1954.
What year was this photo taken? The only thing that betrays 21st century is a package of blue M&Ms and Skittles in what is most likely the exact same vending machine the original owners plopped into that office 53 years ago.
Heading east on Lackland and crossing over Woodson Road (the city’s main drag), one can see the most curious of buildings. Some portion of the Knights of Columbus Hall was built in 1930, and dusty new additions have been plopped into the mix over the decades. The place is now massive, and appears dead to the world, but its ramshackle appearance always stays exactly the same (indicating regular upkeep), and its website shows a full roster of activities.
Just up the street, the YMCA sports the Deco Moderate look that was popular in new suburbs of the late 1940s. It gave new public buildings a sense of the modern urbanity but without all the drama. This style holds up well, as it never looks too dated (for those who require contemporary) or too radical (for those who like quaint). This YMCA building went up in 1948, is still in use, and still looks fabulous.
At the intersection of Lackland & Brown Road is this simple and handsome building, built in 1945. The curving corner, a ribbon of tiny windows and the dark brick pinstripes of the second floor give it a bit of a Steamliner Deco feel. There is always another business ready to take over any vacancies in this building, and it’s been this way since I first “met” the building in 1984. This intersection has businesses on 3 sides, but it’s a bit disconnected from the main commercial drags by houses. Meaning, it would have been a natural for this building – this intersection – to decay from natural suburban aging. But it hasn’t. What does Overland have going on that similar towns don’t?
Directly across the street is a building that always tickles me. I mentally refer to it as Googie Van Der Rohe because it looks like a Chicago Mies building accented with a Southern California roadside motel lobby. It was built in 1957 as a bank and remains so, and it looks like that!
The SoCal Googie looby was, obviously, the main entrance, meant to be accessed by foot, bus or car from the intersection. But in 1967 they moved the entrance to the opposite end of the building when they expanded that parking lot. The “new” entrance still has that afterthought look, and feels cramped because of the makeshift drive-through lanes crowding its scene.
I love that a bench was placed under the canopy, so that employees can lunch and smoke in Jetsons splendor, and that they have to walk quite a ways to get to it, as that door has a chain on it to make sure it stays shut.
So, the entrance is now useless as such, yet they’ve left it completely intact, with the “crazy man, crazy” light fixture hanging like it’s suspended in prehistoric amber. It’s such a queer thing to have so many different banks move in and out of this building, reconfiguring its guts and alley as banking needs change, yet they leave the essential Mod-ness of it alone. Is it a case of “out of sight, out of mind?” Or that no one bank is ever inside long enough to invest in remodeling the non-essential parts? Or does it cast some sort of 77 Sunset Strip spell over all inhabitants, rendering those who would vinyl side incapable of doing so?
By hanging a U-ey at Lackland & Brown, we drive back toward Woodson Road, hang a right and head straight into the thick of old fashioned Downtown Overland. And it really does seem to have gone out of its way to be old-fashioned from inception. County records show that most of this dense strip of buildings went up in the 10 years directly after WW2, so they built quickly during those last moments in time when pedestrian traffic still influenced how a commercial district was laid out.
The downtown strip has a few stalwart businesses, remainders from the old days. But, again, each time a storefront becomes available, it gets filled much quicker than these types of commercial districts usually do. And by quicker than usual, I mean that we can cruise the central commercial strips of, say, Normandy or Baden or Glasgow Village and see a chain of vacant storefronts. But not in Overland.
And they have never really had the room to renovate for expanded parking. Sure, they’ve taken down a building or 2 to squeeze in some blacktop spots, but overall, its street parking, and those spots are always filled and there’s always commerce taking place.
One of the liveliest spots in downtown is the diner, above. By keeping it tiny (572 square feet being a good definition of such) they were able to push the building up against the sidewalk and use the leftover space for parking, which was quickly becoming a bigger concern when the place was built in 1957.
Half of the building is decked out in Pseudo Deco, vaguely reminiscent of White Castles, while the other half is standard Corner Tavern Stone facade. That they were able to cram 2 distinct looks onto so little wall is most impressive.
And the interior has barely changed in 50 years.
What kills me is that one can easily walk from Paul Bros. service station (4th picture from the top of this entry) to this diner in about 10 minutes and somehow remain in a Leave It To Beaver world, untouched by the uglier aspects of modern time. And we’re not talking some retro homage; it’s the entire genuine article, unfussy and unconcerned that the diner reeks of decades worth of grease. It’s probably those ancient grease odors that makes the biscuits and gravey (spelled, my lord, with an “ey”) so damn great.
The Hacienda Mexican restaurant has long been a popular staple in the downtown strip, but it hasn’t always been this pink. It used to have a more traditional Northwest County Adobe look. I feel they updated the color to Flamingo Pink to better coordinate with the establishment behind it…
…which has spruced up its Lyndon B. Johnson congressional motel look with some hot sea foam green trim. Built in 1965, they were billed as “garden apartments,” for all doors faced into a central courtyard, much like in Southern California.
Every good downtown needs a dollop of seediness, so this place has become rather transient, in the most romantic sense of the word. The set-up is actually quite nice, but I couldn’t get in any closer for better shots, as the working girls crossing the tiny parking lot were real uptight about someone taking pictures of their place so early on a Saturday morning. I respect free enterprise, so I respectfully moved on.
Leaving downtown proper, we head back up Woodson Road, a couple of blocks south of Page Avenue, to one of my favorite buried MCM treasures. Overland is rather hilly, and note how this gem (above) plays with the topography by tapering a rectangle into the hillside. I love the feel of the windows melting into the ground, and the shades of blue springing out of green grass and blacktop.
This place was built in 1958, and it’s a perfect model of that year’s modern aesthetic. Tiny tiles of aquatic blues, the concrete block sun screen that throws polka dots amid the shadows, simple planes low to the ground, cool geometry in service to manufacturing prowess. If this building could have been erected next to the Googie Van Der Rohe bank, the story of 1950s American Progress would have been perfectly told in microcosm.
U.S Band & Orchestra Supplies now manufactures and wholesales instruments, and the building serves them well enough that they don’t think about it’s condition. This building needs some help. A good start would be to trim the hedges and kill the weeds, some waterproofing and paint on the faded surfaces.
Each time I pass this faded beauty, I have to fight the overwhelming urge to have at the tile with a bucket of Spic & Span and a water hose. Just imagine how those tiles gleam when clean, how this building must have impressed when it first came to the neighborhood. And it could do that once again, but the immediate commercial strip in which this building sits is heading toward the kind of decay that invites future developers to go for Big Box infiltration. Should this ever be the case, the one building that just might save the above gem is…
WOOFIE’S! Serving what has been called “the hot dog of the gods,” the building went up in 1955 and is only a dozen square feet bigger than the diner shown above. But this building was dedicated to the car from its inception, so the inside can now concentrate on being a tiny “shrine to the all-beef frankfurter.” It’s clean and bright, and on a brilliant sunny day, Woofie’s contrasted with my blue tile geo gem next door is a sight to break my heart. It speaks to me of all that’s good about America’s mid-century aspirations, and makes me proud that such a unique town like Overland is here for you and me.
48 Responses to “Overland, MO Mid-Century Modern”
Joe Thebeau February 15th, 2007 at 11:35 AM
The bank building in this piece is a sister building with one on Gravois, on the Affton side of the River Desperes. Seems like you did a piece on that one once, too, didn’t you?
Robert Powers February 15th, 2007 at 12:25 PM
HOLY CRAP THAT LAMP IS AWESOME
Beats the pants off of anything I’ve found.
JackIrons009 February 15th, 2007 at 12:32 PM
DJ Little Danny February 15th, 2007 at 1:15 PM
There are certain stretches of residential & light commercial neighborhoods in Texas where you can get this ephemeral experience of mid-century time transport, too. El Paso, for instance.
Just found your site; really fantastic pics & commentary! You’re doing God’s work.
Overland Sailor February 15th, 2007 at 5:43 PM
I really appreciate your optimism, and I share it for the most part. Also, I never complain about a free plugs for my blog.
I believe you might be mistaken about one thing. The YMCA, last I knew, was closed in favor of their newer facility in Maryland Heights. I would love to see someone do something with that building.
Thanks again! We can never have too much positive coverage (though lately it gets hard to find).
Thanks for sharing the great mid century mods. I haven’t seen the US bank before but I love it… I have an account there so I’ll have to sneak in for a look.
Woodson circa 2002?
Overland really has a pretty cool small towny kind of vibe as far as the ‘burbs go. You know that that diner’s name is actually “The Diner”?
suzyjax March 13th, 2007 at 6:48 PM
Thanks for the architecture tour of my city. I have always wondered if The Diner and Woofies were made from prefabbed buildings. The masonry at The Diner would lead one to believe that is not the case, but maybe it was there to support the building and make it seem more permanent.
Anonymous May 27th, 2007 at 1:56 PM
Just a coincidence that yesterday afternoon, we returned home from a hospital visit to a young, recovering family member via Kingshighway-Delmar-Skinker Parkway-Kienlen-Wellston Place–ML King Blvd. (Easton)–St. Charles Rock Road–Woodson–Page…and then west to 270. Which means we got to see the decimated Wellston business district, and especially that granite jewel of the 50s, State Bank of Wellston (Landmark Central…Union Planters…Regions Bank…whatever). It’s still standing but in far worse shape than was evident in your 2005 sweep of that beloved intersection. A new structure just north of King Blvd. on the east side of Kienlen now houses Regions Bank.
Driving west on the Rock Road out of Wellston was downright depressing, not helped in the least bit by all the cemeteries.
Crossing through Pagedale, Bel Ridge and St. John, the old Community Federal radio/TV commercial portfolio danced through my head: “…8944 St. Charles Road, HArrison 7-7400.”
Not to mention “our 5000 branches, the mailboxes, and 600,000 lines” (until SW Bell put a stop to that).
One omission from your low speed trek down Woodson was the once and mighty Overland Medical Center, built in the late 50s to capitalize on the rise of third party employer-based group medical insurance held by the critical mass of blue collar inner-ring north county residents, employees of the autos, MAC, Emerson, and others. That’s some relic of the 50s! Also, at Brown and Woodson stood the venerable Ralph Clark Pharmacy, home of a genuine early 20th century soda fountain and some of the best ice cream in town,
possibly of the Meadow Gold brand.
Nearby would have been the Rogers Hornsby TV store, where some of the
long gone Overland residents (and Charlack and Sycamore Hills…) scraped together the cash for their first Zenith Space Commander color TVs. Thanks for allowing me to take the passenger seat in your Delorean for another profoundly nostalgic trip through the bombed out and boarded up environs of “Greater St. Louis.” L
Cerelle August 27th, 2007 at 12:15 PM
What a great site! I was searching for some information on my Uncle’s Pharmacy in Overland..and yes, I remember that ice cream well! I was delighted to find that photo of it and wondered if there is a way I can submit some photos I have of it newly constructed in 1946? I would love to include a photo of Uncle Ralph along with it. Please let me know how to do this. Do you have an e-mail address where I can forward them? Cerelle in Arizona
Robert Powers January 25th, 2008 at 8:58 AM
You may already have this info, but: that bank with the awesome globe lamps was originally built as the Home Federal Savings and Loan Association of Overland, Rathert & Roth, Architects. Found it in a book at UMStL’s library, promoting the architectural profession circa 1965.
Anonymous May 17th, 2008 at 10:21 PM
I grew up in Overland, in the 50’s and the 60’s. My family moved there in 1955.
That diner was once called the Tip-Top Sandwich Shop early 60’s, and my big sister got in trouble for going in there to see a boy. Think ‘Back To The Future’.
The public library used to be on the second floor of what is now the City Hall. Near where the Hacienda is, there was a pool hall. Cool teens boys rolled up packs of cigarettes in their T-shirt sleeves, James Dean-style.
Overland Hardware didn’t change a bit for decades. You could still buy nails by the pound, and a little can of paint with personal attention.
Where Burns T’s into Lackland, there was a Ben Franklin 5 and 10.
Too many memories, and countless details about all those buildings, to even record. All those people, all those homes, the families, and the years gone by.
Anonymous August 4th, 2008 at 9:54 PM
does anyone know what happened to the mall that in the 1960's and 1970's was called Town & Country Mall?
The Town and Country Mall was at Page and Woodson, right? I live right by there. They basically halved it, and made it into a strip mall with a Schnuck’s as it’s focal point, about where the JC Penny used to be.
I would spend hours in that mall either at the fabric store with my mom, the book store, or Pantera’s Pizza playing video games.
Anonymous September 21st, 2008 at 9:39 AM
I’m glad someone else remembers it! I may be a little older than you. I spent time at the mall from around 1969-1973. There was a name-brand kids shoe store with a rocket ship that you sat in to get your feet measured. There was a Mavrakos candy store-all glass and beautiful displays! There was a little cafe in the middle of the mall with umbrellas on the tables. What wierd things stick in your mind as a kid. I grew up in St. John’s/Overland area. I grew up attending St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I have so many memories of growing up there. This is a good website. The St. Louis memories website is also good and will flood your mind with memories and make you feel so good to know other people remember some of the same whacky things from THEIR childhoods.
sharyn June 24th, 2009 at 10:37 PM
I grew up in Olivette and now live in my grandparents house just east of 170 and Page. Town and Country mall was great. I think at one time it was one of the first indoor malls in the country. Toby’s shoes was the shoe store a previous poster talked about(where my folks bought my shoes). There was a Kresge’s, JC Penney, Mavrakos candy,(which was like a little golden jewel box that my mom would not let me go in),downstairs was a dance studio or a beauty shop I think, and in the middle not only was there a cool sorta French looking (?) cafe that had great Pizza Burgers, but I also remember some small carnival rides. I also think there may have been a Woolworths in there. At one end was the Round Table restaraunt, which later became the Manderian House and the other end was anchored by an A&P grocery store. A free standing Central Hardware was to the east and further back behind A&P and I remember Rizzo’s fish market was on the part of the strip mall that faced west on the east end of the mall. I know there were other retailers in the mall but I can’t remember all of them. Going to the mall was always a good time!
Hacienda Mexican Restaurant is in a building that once was a Western Auto store, and next to one of the earliest Velvet Freeze (Adams Dairy Co.) stores in the STL area. Hacienda started as a storefront operation across the street, and moved later when the Western Auto closed. They have another location in Glendale.
Next to the Hacienda was the old Bank of Overland, which went through a number of acquisitions and finally closed. The building is one of the few vacant on this section of Woodson.
At the southwest corner of Woodson & Midland Blvd. there was once a large P.N. Hirsch department store, which burned in the early 70s, was razed and is now being developed as a city park. Other older establishments include the Overland Baptist Church, a half-block east of Woodson on Midland, which has occupied the property in a succession of buildings since 1916; and Baumann’s Funeral Home, which has been on Woodson since the 1880s.
Town & Country Mall was redeveloped in the early 1990s and is now Overland Mall, with a Schnucks Supermarket as its anchor and a number of clothing and variety stores and restaurants. No surprise; there’s no Wal-Mart in Overland. Overlanders are pretty loyal to local business.
Homes in Overland have been generally well-kept. Although there has been very little new construction in recent years, it would appear that housing and neighborhoods in the area hold their value, and in terms of real estate pricing, Overland seems to be a solidly mid-range suburb.
Having lived all over the STL area for 42 years, my rationale for this is that Overland provides quick and easy access to both the inner and outer metro area. This is accomplished via an immediate link to I-170 and by being 2 miles from either I-70 or I-270.
Here’s a bit of Overland trivia: Among Overland businesses, the Build-A-Bear Workshops have their corporate HQ in here; and the Dr Pepper/Snapple Co. has their concentrate manufacturing operations (including 7Up, A&W Root Beer and other flavors) in Overland. The concentrate is made without sweetening and shipped to bottler franchises all over the US. On a warm day, the smell is heavenly.
…to add to above: Anonymous mentioned atending St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The sanctuary building was torn down some 30 years ago to make room for Charter Communications’ building. St. Paul’s annex still stands and is now an office building. The city of Overland built a large recreational facility next to the two aforementioned properties, directly across Lackland Rd. from the KoC Hall shown in the photographs. By the way, Father Bernie Pearrson of St. Paul’s is still with us, retired to St. Charles county.
I mentioned Overland housing being mid-range…I left out Lake Sherwood, a gated community immediately east of the US Bank and the Ralph Clark Pharmacy buildings. The irrepressible River Des Peres was dammed around 1885, a manse was built and named Loch Lin. In the late ’50s, the land was divided into building lots for lakeside luxury homes. The mansion still stands, and a trip down East or West Sherwood Drive takes you into another world.
Another bit of history: The Creve Coeur Lake line of the St. Louis streetcar system ran down what is now the median of Midland Blvd. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the cars, tracks and overhead cables.
Correction to above; the Charter Communications building is directly across Verona Ave. from where St. Paul’s stood. The Overland Community Center building takes up part of the old St. Paul’s property. Also, to further correct my historical errors, Loch Lin (for the owner’s name, “Laughlin”) was dammed in 1894. The lake is spring fed, and the spill from the dam forms the headwaters of the River Des Peres. The area was actually developed earlier, in 1877, when the Laughlin mansion was built.
One of the oldest bars in Overland is still open- The SanBar- an old spaghetti house at one time. Go by and see crazy Kay the owner- she may run you off or she may hug ya. Either way she will remember your name if you go back. Just make sure to note that the restrooms are for paying customers only (exactly as the hand-written sign reads on the front window).Crowd range is typically 21-70 years of age. The music there is like taking a visit to the Chess records recording studio. Also it is the only bar I know of in town where you can bring your beer out back and play a game of horseshoes.
As far as residential architecture goes, Overland is not hurting for variety. Much of Overland’s residential property in the northwest area of town was developed by Ed Gocke between 1900 and the 1950s (the Gocke Real Estate Co. still manages a large holding of rental homes). Gocke, himself, lived in a mini-mansion built in 1910 from plans drawn by Frank Lloyd Wright. The dwelling, which makes the claim of being fireproof, is located on Poe Avenue just north of Midland Blvd.
Several other historic residences grace the city; among them, the Dennis Lackland House, built in 1844 and still in use as a private residence, and the nearby Grossenbacher Home, built in the early 1900s. Both of these well-kept homes feature unique architecture for time and place.
I know the Gocke house. It’s a simple and stately home, but not kept in the best of shape. Does he still live there?
For fun as a kid, There was always, Hubbards GoKart track on Woodson Rd, just south of Town & Country mall.. After riding the karts, you could walk right next door to Bowl A Rama, bowl a few games or shoot some pool. Or you could head west on Page from Woodson Rd, stop at A&W for a Poppa Burger basket with a cold frosted off the tap rootbeer, then head a block farther west and hit the PuttPutt/Driving range in front of the Central Hardware, sink a ball into the clowns nose for a extra free game… just before heading another block up for the double feature at Holiday Drive Inn .. good times… can ya smell them cookies yet ???
What about Norman Meyers Fair every summer that was a must do/see! The crab apple trees in the center of Midland they would let you pick them and Grandma Ann made Jelly out of them. What about the famous and still on going FISH FRY AT THE VFW Hall. The outside swimming pool behind the VFW Hall that is now sadly closed. Who went to Holiday Hills for fun! All Souls Church is one of the most beautiful Churches in town! What beautiful homes too! Now we have the Overland Community Center!!
Norman Meyers Fair, VFW famous Fish Fry, the old outdoor POOL which is now gone, Hacienda was my first job! Lots of good memories!
Fun place to grow up!!!
Janet B September 29th, 2011 at 1:01 AM
My Grandparents families were founders of Overland. My Grandfather had Will Abram Bricklaying Co. located at 2345 Woodson Rd, the house still stands. He built many homes, & businesses, the Pete Ranft Bldg. at the corner of Woodson & Midland for instance,and many of the churches in Overland. My Great Grandmother, Laura Abram, was an original member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She also was a mid-wife & helped the two Dr.s deliver many babies in Overland. I remember as a very young child walking to “Fritz’s Market”, the Knights of Columbus building, for a dime’s worth of bologna, etc. My great Aunt & Uncle, Joe and Teena Kist, had a candy store at the corner of Woodson & Lackland, it later became the Police Department and my Mother, Evelyn Abram Marshall, was the City Clerk there. I remember going to “Old Overland Grade School” before it became school district offices…. Also, where the downtown parking area is was the “Old” Overland Show” on Woodson Rd. They changed film features on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and could get in for ten cents, a quarter bought you a large bag of popcorn & a soda. I wish drug stores today smelled as good as Clark’s Drug Store. This is a wonderful site & sure brought back some wonderful memories for me. For that I thank you.
Jack Arnold October 11th, 2011 at 9:52 AM
I worked for Guild Craftsmen Inc. in the building at 1933 Woodson (the blue tiled one).It was built in 1954 or 1955 when we moved from St. Louis at Beaumont and Washington Sts.
Wayne Brasler May 12th, 2012 at 3:28 PM
I grew up in the area and worked in the area and many evenings would shop on Woodson Road. There was a fabulous record shop there where I amazingly found rare records I never dreamt still existed anywhere. They were there because the owners evidently never returned unsold records but kept them on sale. All the business owners along the strip were friendly and helpul and shopping in downtown Overland on a spring or summer evening was a great treat. As for the streetcar line, my dad was a motorman so I rode it quite a bit and knew it by heart, my most particular memories being the hectic intersection of Midland and Woodson and the Crow’s Nest loop at what is now Midland just east of Bruno, where cars not going all the way to Lake turned back. A portable substation stood at Crow’s Nest and cars being demolished were burned there. One more memory. I remember one, around 1963 or 1964, being taken to a gay par in Overland! On Woodson! I think it was called the International and the bartender was a fellow graduate of Normandy High. I had no idea where we were going and the hour or so I was there certainly proved dislocating. It was in fact a very cheerful, bright place with nice people. Maybe it was sort of gay or semi-gay.
It was my only visit.
Wayne Brasler May 12th, 2012 at 3:32 PM
I grew up in the area and worked in the area and many evenings would shop on Woodson Road. There was a fabulous record shop there where I amazingly found rare records I never dreamt still existed anywhere. They were there because the owners evidently never returned unsold records but kept them on sale. All the business owners along the strip were friendly and helpul and shopping in downtown Overland on a spring or summer evening was a great treat. As for the streetcar line, my dad was a motorman so I rode it quite a bit and knew it by heart, my most particular memories being the hectic intersection of Midland and Woodson and the Crow’s Nest loop at what is now Midland just east of Bruno, where cars not going all the way to Lake turned back. A portable substation stood at Crow’s Nest and cars being demolished were burned there. One more memory. I remember, around 1963 or 1964, being taken to a gay bar in Overland! On Woodson! I think it was called the International and the bartender to my surprise was a fellow graduate of Normandy High. I had no idea where my friends and I were going and the hour or so I was there certainly proved dislocating. It was in fact a very cheerful, bright place with nice people. Nothing sinister or exotic about it. Maybe it was sort of gay or semi-gay. It was my only visit. P.S. You can find an article about the Creve Coeur Lake streetcar line by me on the internet by googling for it.
My home town. I’ll always cherish the memories and adore it.
I moved far from it more than three years ago. Biggest regret of my life. Hope to return very soon someday.
Jim Middleton May 17th, 2013 at 3:49 PM
I am looking for a picture of Bessie Buerky, music teacher at Ritenour Jr. High, 1945-1970. We did not have a yearbook when I was there (1957), but I’m thinking there might have been one published later on. Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks for all the pictures! And everyone’s pieces of history comments.
@ admin – the Gocke-Vance House, as it is called, was built in 1910 from a Frank Lloyd Wright design.
Ed Gocke, the son of German immigrants who landed in southern Illinois, began developing much of the residential areas of Overland, St. Ann, Breckenridge Hills and Charlack in 1905. He also planned and developed Midland Valley Country Club, which was redeveloped in 1959 as the more modern residential part of Overland.
Gocke’s real estate company was located for many years in a building at the wedge of Midland-Woodson and E. Milton. When that building was razed around 1969 to give way to a Burger Chef, Gocke’s offices moved to their current location next to City Hall on Lackland Road (Gocke and his wife Adele had long since passed).
Gocke was an entrepreneur whose vast real estate holdings included a great deal of residential rental property in Overland, Breckenridge Hills and St. Ann. The company still manages these properties. He negotiated for the land for the first Ritenour High School (now Ritenour Middle School) in 1919.
Speaking of Ritenour – the administration offices on Woodson (across from where Hacienda Restaurant was located) hearken back to 1867. The original, one-room brick Overland School was built there, and a series of additions progressed over the next 100 years.
Interesting that the old Ritenour building has survived, and New Overland School, built in 1929, was closed in 1976 and later razed. A US Post Office now stands in its place.
The pool hall,Cue & Cushion is still there,drove by to see if the Surry Inn,was still there,site of my first job,alas its gone.Record store was called Turners,I believe ,they had a speaker over the door that played when they were open.I went to school with Dan Paul,of Paul bros.
Over Lander July 2nd, 2013 at 6:07 PM
Mrs. Turner would let you sample any record in the place. During 1970s, my brother and I would listen to 45s all afternoon during summer break. Even though we only had a quarter between us, she would play anything we asked to hear for as long as we wanted to hear it and it would blast through the speaker over the door.
I also remeber Kimler Drug store at Lake and Lackland. Sandros, Chix Shop, Tucker-Madden, the Alchemist Shop, Lyman’S, the Midwood, Your Store, Paul & Mary’s, Taylor Paint & Hardware, Red Goose Shoes, Robyn-Lee Frame&Body, Lackland Florist, Lackland Inn, Lion’s Hall, the Curve Inn and, of couse, Cosmo’s Corner.
Norma Turner Gerst July 25th, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Hello – I am the daughter of Paul and Lillian Turner. I am so excited to see all the comments about my parents and their record shop. The shop was my mother’s life after my father died in 1956. She kept that little shop going even when the big box stores started coming in. The first that I remember was Venture on Page. The chain stores could buy the records cheaper because they were buying in bulk (sounds like WalMart today). Hard for the little mom and pop stores to compete. The store was surviving at the end because she was able to provide the older records. She passed away in 1981 at the age of 80 – that morning she was getting ready to go to work at the store. Devoted to the shop until the end.
Jenn M August 19th, 2013 at 9:44 PM
So glad I found this site. I grew up in Overland in the 60’s & 70’s. My parents lived there since the early ’40’s until my Mom’s passing in 2003 & raised 9 kids in a 2 bedroom & 1 bathroom then added on to have a 3 bedroom but still 1 bathroom house. The house is on Lackland & was built in 1912, an old farmhouse. I love hearing all of everyone’s reminising & remembering along with everyone. I recall the Arlan’s store at Town & Country Mall & the A&P grocery store. Originally Schnucks was on Lackland where Walgreens is now, or was the last time I was by there. Lots of memories of Overland like Bernice at the Chix Shop & getting school uniforms there. Brockmann’s store where my parents bought there 1st non-cabinet TV. I think they called it a portable TV at the time because you could put it on one of those carts & move it around, it was still heavy. Does anyone remember a mansion home on Lackland where the old Post Office is now?
Jack Mooney August 20th, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Thank you so much for the memories. I was born in 1944 and lived at Lackland and Charlack for 18 years of me life. At Lackland and Brown was Clarks Drug store where I worked when I was 14 years old.Across the street before the bank or any houses were built was a big field that we used to have Easter egg hunts there every year. This lot went along Brown rd. all the way to Lakeside Golf course.which was about 1/2 mile down the steet. This was a grand place to be as an adventerous lad. Caddied at the golf course for a few years where I learned to love the game of golf which I still play with me son. Down the street on Lackland was Barclays bakery where me sisters worked for years. Across the street was the Y where I learned to swim and later lifeguarded at the Legion pool on Midland. Ortmans funeral is still there and buried me mum from there. Hacienda resturant used to be a Western Auto store and across the street was the A & P grocery store.
Across the street from A & P was the Overland show which burned down and is now a parking lot. Downtown Overland was a magical place and all the various shop were your kingdom. From the A & W next to the diner to the clothing store where the owner was always singing to his customers. Things have changed a lot in me 68 years but oh the memories will always be with me. Me mom died in 2003 and at that time she was the longest Overland resident of 57 years. I was irritated the the city could not acknowledge her long time residency in Overland having raised 9 children at Lasckland and Charlack. I don’t know how they would have known this or if they would have even cared but it just seemed a shame. Jack Mooney 9005 Lacland Rd. OVERLAND, MO.
X-Huskey September 3rd, 2013 at 2:11 PM
Thoroughly enjoyed the article but, since I was there in the very early 1960’s. I knew some of the building as something other than what they were in the 1980’s and ’90’s. And I wish the author would have said their 1960 names. Also, what about Town and Country Mall at the corner of Woodson and Page? I grew up hearing that was the oldest covered mall in the St. Louis area! Could this be true! Which one came next Crestwood or my beloved Northwest Plaza who went the way of River Roads Plaza? Thanks again.
Norma Turner Gerst September 19th, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Thanks everyone so much for the comments concerning your remembrances of my parents record store..
@ Jack Mooney – your mother was ignored by the city when she passed. I am sorry they did that – but I can relate. When my mother passed in 1981 she had been in business for over 47 years at the same location and was also ignored by the city. I felt that some sort of tribute should have been given to her. Finally I mde a comment to someone who relayed it to the mayor and he did stop by at the visitation. Obviously things have not changed much in all these years.
Sue Edwards November 15th, 2013 at 8:47 PM
I grew up on Tennyson Ave south of Midland.It was the perfect spot for a kid, a small city park one house down,Marion school a block away! American a Legion pool and fish fry also a block away and best of all Spencer’s confectionary at the north corner of Tennyson and Midland .Man did we buy some candy there not to mention the cold Dr Peppers on a hot summers day.Walking down Midland with my Mom to go to Woolworth’s where I fell in love with my first Barbie! Then later by myself with friends to go get the latest 45 from Turners my first being Love Potion No.9.I remember Mrs Turner fondly she was always so nice.I live in Bridgeton now and drive through Overland frequently and am so happy there’s been minimal change.Thanks for the site and the memories shared!
Sue, I grew up on Tennyson Ave. south of Midland too! Our house was the brick house on the corner of Midland and Tennyson. I remember walking to “downtown Overland”
robert davidson February 5th, 2014 at 2:48 PM
I live in my childhood home on lackland near charlack, been in overland since 1961. I would very much appreciate it if someone could send me some photos of the old town and country mall, inside and out. I have so many memories of that place. Bob at email@example.com
A little more history about the building at 1933 Woodson Rd. The Blue tiled one that you admired . It was designed and built by Architect Meyer Loomstein , an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright . Mr. Loomstein also built and owned , the Guild Building , the Colony Hotel in clayton …now the Holiday , and the Carondelet east and west buildings all in Clayton ,mo. He also designed many other modern buildings and residences in Ladue .I worked in that building for twenty years . the concrete addition to the south was added many years later .It was originally a cabinet business making fixtures for Savings and Loan companies .The new owners have removed the tile and tastefully painted the exterior .The decorative round concrete block wall extended to the end of the building but half was knocked down by an out of control car in the seventies .
laura willis July 4th, 2014 at 1:46 AM
great information it really made me smile. i have some iformation if interested.
laura willis July 4th, 2014 at 1:53 AM
best 4th of july’s ever sitting on he big R waiting to see my dad or grandpa helping to make sure everything was ok before the fireworks started.Mom always made sure we had our bug spray on and a big blanket and chairs.We were taught to oohh and aahh and boy did we a great memory
Chris Eller July 20th, 2014 at 7:45 AM
@Sue Edwards and Mary Trapp or anyone else…I lived on Holtwood and we are trying to find out information about that little city park on Tennyson and would love to find any pictures of it. It is now a residence and we can’t find any info even from City officials. ..they’re telling us it never even existed. We/us are me and some neighborhood kids that used to play baseball there and have such great childhood memories. ..any help would be appreciated! Thanks!