Maplewood is a bustling inner-ring suburb with 8,000 residents and over 215 years of history to its name. The city acted as a major hub for westward travel due to its location along the famed Route 66. The historic Maplewood business district is the oldest developed area in St. Louis, acting as a center of commerce even before downtown St. Louis was open for business. Once St. Louis’ city center became crowded, Maplewood emerged as a premier suburban development. The municipality has retained an eclectic mix of suburban and urban development. Residential subdivisions are home to traditional, Victorian homes and modern townhouses. Maplewood’s business districts are some of the most walkable areas in St. Louis County. While Maplewood has sizable suburban residential developments, it has not abandoned the urban activity that has made the city noteworthy.
Maplewood was founded by Charles Gratiot, a merchant who left Lausanne, Switzerland and travelled to America in 1777. In 1798, he petitioned the controlling Spanish government for 5,440 acres of farmland which included much of western St. Louis and present-day Maplewood. In 1876, St. Louis’ city limits were drawn and Maplewood was placed just west of the city, separated by Limit Avenue. Electric trolley service allowed Maplewood to thrive as a commuter town before businesses moved to Maplewood in order to escape downtown congestion but remain in a convenient, easily-accessible location. So many businessmen moved to Maplewood that the community became famous for its annual baseball game of the Fats and Leans, pitting larger businessmen against their slimmer counterparts. The Business and Civic Club, the group in charge of organizing the event, is still present in the community and remains active with endeavors such as Grow Maplewood, which ensures that the municipality’s businesses continue to prosper.
In 2016, detached, residential homes in Maplewood sold for a median price of $182,500. This represents an increase of over $60,100 and a remarkable 49% over the last 5 years when compared with the 2011 median price of $122,400. While the median home price reflects Maplewood’s affordability and accessibility, this steep price increase shows that housing in Maplewood is a sought-after commodity. Homes in Maplewood are known for their old-world charm. This is apparent when traveling down streets with names such as ‘Piccadilly,’ ‘Oxford,’ and ‘Cambridge,’ which bring to mind the type of Tudor architecture common in Maplewood.
Maplewood is widely known as a vibrant, active city. Its historic business district provides a walkable commercial experience that is unique to St. Louis County. Maplewood is home to more than 600 businesses, none more famous than Saratoga Lanes and Schlafly Bottleworks. In line with Maplewood’s proud history, Saratoga Lanes is the oldest bowling alley west of the Mississippi River. It features eight lanes, five pool tables, and vintage décor that makes present-day bowlers think that they have stepped into the past. Schlafly is Missouri’s largest locally-owned, independent brewery. Their Bottleworks features an acclaimed restaurant that emphasizes traditional Midwestern fare. On site, Schlafly offers free tours of the brewery and bottling plant, as well as tastings. For those seeking outdoor adventures, the Maplewood-Richmond Heights Parks and Recreation Department oversees over 23 acres of parkland, as well as the Maplewood Family Aquatic Center. The Taste of Maplewood Street Festival offers patrons access to the best food, drinks, and atmosphere that Maplewood has to offer, and the Maplewood Music Festival draws visitors to Maplewood’s scenic parks every year.
Students in Maplewood are served by the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District. In 2015, Maplewood Richmond Heights High School was awarded the National Excellence in Urban Education Award from the National Center for Urban Transformation. Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School was the only High School to win the “gold” award in 2015, a remarkable feat that underscores the quality of the district. Those seeking private or faith-based options have access to Nerinx Hall, Little Flower Catholic School, and The Waldorf School St. Louis.