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Historic St. Louis: 250 Years Exploring New Frontiers

An Illustrated history of St. Louis, Missouri, paired with profiles of local companies and organizations that make the city great.

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HISTORIC<br />

ST. LOUIS<br />

<strong>250</strong> <strong>Years</strong> <strong>Exploring</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Frontiers</strong><br />

by J. Frederick Fausz, Ph.D.<br />

A publication of the University of Missouri–<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>


Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication. For more information about other<br />

HPNbooks publications, or information about producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.


HISTORIC ST. LOUIS<br />

<strong>250</strong> <strong>Years</strong> <strong>Exploring</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Frontiers</strong><br />

by J. Frederick Fausz, Ph.D.<br />

A publication of the<br />

University of Missouri–<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

HPNbooks<br />

A division of Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas


DEDICATION<br />

To the memory of James Neal Primm<br />

and to the UMSL students who inspired us both.<br />

First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2014 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing<br />

from the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-939300-61-4<br />

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 2014938682<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

2<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>: <strong>250</strong> <strong>Years</strong> <strong>Exploring</strong> <strong>New</strong> <strong>Frontiers</strong><br />

author: J. Frederick Fausz, Ph.D.<br />

contributing writer for sharing the heritage: Joe Goodpasture<br />

HPNbooks<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project managers: Roxanne Landman, Bob Sadoski,<br />

Larry Sunderland, Michael Swengrosh<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata, Melissa G. Quinn<br />

book sales: Dee <strong>St</strong>eidle<br />

production: Colin Hart, Evelyn Hart, Glenda Tarazon Krouse,<br />

Christopher Mitchell, Tony Quinn


CONTENTS<br />

5 INTRODUCTION by UMSL Chancellor Thomas F. George<br />

6 FOREWORD Reflections by <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Mayor Francis G. Slay<br />

7 PROLOGUE <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>: Where the Past is Present for the Future<br />

12 CHAPTER 1 <strong>Exploring</strong> the Confluence of Cultures and Rivers<br />

32 CHAPTER 2 <strong>Exploring</strong> <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as Capital of the American West<br />

49 CHAPTER 3 <strong>Exploring</strong> a <strong>St</strong>eamboat City of Expanding Commerce<br />

80 CHAPTER 4 <strong>Exploring</strong> the World’s Fair City in a Railroad Era<br />

106 CHAPTER 5 <strong>Exploring</strong> Urban Challenges in an Automobile Age<br />

142 EPILOGUE Inspiring Community Spirit in the <strong>New</strong> Millennium<br />

164 SHARING THE HERITAGE<br />

310 SPONSORS<br />

312 ABOUT THE AUTHOR<br />

C O N T E N T S<br />

3


<strong>St</strong>atue of King <strong>Louis</strong> IX of France.<br />

Known as the Apotheosis of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

the statue by Charles H. Niehaus was<br />

unveiled at the 1904 World’s Fair.<br />

Two years later, the city had it cast in<br />

bronze and placed in front of the Saint<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> Art Museum, where it remains a<br />

beloved landmark.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FAUSZ FAMILY, 2010.<br />

“We shall not cease from exploration,<br />

And the end of all our exploring<br />

Will be to arrive where we started,<br />

And know the place for the first time.”<br />

–<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> native, T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets, “No. 4” (1942).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

4


INTRODUCTION<br />

The history of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> is one of opportunity and dreams coming true.<br />

That’s apparent in the pages of this outstanding book chronicling the birth and<br />

development of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> over the past <strong>250</strong> years. It’s a story of individuals seeking<br />

better lives for themselves and their families. It’s a story of individuals coming<br />

together to create great communities, companies and institutions. It’s our story.<br />

I am especially proud of this publication as the University of Missouri–<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

is a primary sponsor and many of the individuals mentioned in the book have<br />

strong associations with our campus—either as graduates or supporters. I also<br />

was delighted that one of our faculty members, Dr. J Frederick Fausz, oversaw<br />

editorial direction and content creation. He’s a natural storyteller and an<br />

outstanding historian whose knowledge of Western American history makes him<br />

one of our favorite professors.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has a rich history. It has experienced much growth and change over<br />

the past <strong>250</strong> years. It has seen success and failure—many times over. For many,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was a gateway to somewhere else. For others, like me, it became a home.<br />

I consider us the fortunate ones.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> will continue to grow and change. And, while I like to read about<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’ rich, historic past, it’s working for a better future that inspires and<br />

excites us at the University of Missouri–<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

We’re in the business of making dreams come true.<br />

Thomas F. George<br />

Chancellor<br />

University of Missouri–<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

I N T R O D U C T I O N<br />

5


FOREWORD<br />

Above: Mayor Francis Slay, City of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Below: Official anniversary logo of the<br />

stl<strong>250</strong> Committee; used with permission as a<br />

registered Signature Event.<br />

The brilliance of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s celebration of its <strong>250</strong>th anniversary year is that only the barest<br />

attention is being paid to the actual details of our foundation as a fur trading post by Pierre Laclede<br />

and Auguste Chouteau.<br />

Instead, our civic focus will be on other things: the river itself; the immigrants who found their<br />

way here; the buildings and neighborhoods in which they settled; the churches and civic<br />

cathedrals in which they congregated; the sports they adored; the great public spaces they built;<br />

the foods they popularized; the strength with which they struggled with the injustices of slavery<br />

and segregation, the ravages of Depression; and the mistakes they made.<br />

Like most <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans, I am the descendent of immigrants. I was raised on a block in which<br />

I knew everyone. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint <strong>Louis</strong> is my idea of a church and the Eads is my<br />

idea of a bridge. I have never lived farther than a half mile from a park. I bleed red and blue for<br />

the Cardinals, Blues, and Rams. I have a taste for provel, in quantity.<br />

I have long thought that the Great Divorce of 1876, in which the city of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> separated<br />

itself from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> County, was our biggest civic misjudgment. From it can be traced the roots<br />

of a dozen other consequences that continue to vex us.<br />

The year in which we celebrate our founding is our most recent best opportunity to reflect<br />

on the courage and ingenuity of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans who faced flood, fire, discrimination, and violence;<br />

kept faith in their home; and built—if not yet a Shining City Upon a Hill, at least a vibrant and<br />

diverse city perched on the bank of a great river, where all are welcome.<br />

–Mayor Francis Slay, City of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

6


PROLOGUE<br />

A C I T Y W H E R E<br />

T H E P A S T I S P R E S E N T F O R T H E F U T U R E<br />

“In joyful homes where the happy dwell,<br />

Where life is in gladness led,<br />

It cometh the heart with sighs to swell,<br />

The memory of the Dead.”<br />

–<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> poet Ethel Grey, The Memory of the Dead, 1850.<br />

In recent years, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has faced its greatest socio-economic crises since the Great Depression,<br />

with a dramatically diminished population and declining stature among American cities. In a<br />

Time magazine essay on Bastille Day, 2008, David von Drehle wondered if “Poor <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>”—a<br />

“Midwestern city with an Athenian heart”—could ever reclaim the global prestige of 1904,<br />

when it was the only city ever to host a world’s fair and Olympic games simultaneously. Would<br />

retaining local ownership of the iconic Anheuser-Busch Brewery, von Drehle queried, “be enough<br />

to give this city a few more years of dignity”?<br />

The new Saint <strong>Louis</strong> Art Museum East<br />

Building at sunset on June 6, 2013,<br />

reflecting the <strong>St</strong>atue of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT COHEN,<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

P R O L O G U E<br />

7


The iconic Clydesdales remain a popular<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> treasure. Copyright @ Anheuser-<br />

Busch, LLC. Used with permission of<br />

Anheuser-Busch, LLC. All rights reserved.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> will never regain the international<br />

acclaim of that spectacular summer over a<br />

century ago, when, as America’s fourth largest<br />

city, with the nation’s biggest brewery, it<br />

welcomed the world as a gracious host.<br />

But it takes more than one event or a<br />

single business to nurture the civic pride<br />

and community spirit that are essential in<br />

determining a city’s true “dignity.” Residents<br />

are the key shapers of urban reputations,<br />

for by embracing and sharing an accurate<br />

knowledge of a city’s entire history, they<br />

create connections through time and well<br />

into the future among all people who<br />

have lived there. That reinforces the reality<br />

that everyone occupies the “same boat” and<br />

must tap all talents and share all sacrifices<br />

to keep the fragile craft of community<br />

from sinking.<br />

Remembering is the greatest honor and<br />

highest compliment that anyone can bestow<br />

on ancestors who created the society we live<br />

in. Respect for the debts owed to that local,<br />

familiar past is why people buy tombstones,<br />

publish obituaries, and name children after<br />

relatives. When a city honors famous citizens<br />

with street names, plaques, or monuments, it<br />

enhances the relevance of history, validating<br />

the shared humanity between the living<br />

and the dead and ensuring that our labors<br />

have created legacies that will last long after<br />

our passing.<br />

The site of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> resembles an<br />

“amphitheater” and on that natural “stage”<br />

our city has played major roles in historical<br />

dramas for two-and-a-half centuries. Only<br />

three dozen U.S. cities are as old as <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

and our “City of the Sainted King” has<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

8


achieved national fame that is deserving of<br />

remembrance, recognition, and respect:<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the first permanent European<br />

settlement closest to the strategic confluence<br />

of America’s two longest rivers—one<br />

of the best city sites on the continent.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the last permanent French<br />

city created in the present limits of the<br />

United <strong>St</strong>ates, and it perpetuated that<br />

special culture following France’s loss of<br />

its American empire in 1763.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> did not displace a Native American<br />

population and pioneered innovative,<br />

alternative frontier policies of peace and<br />

prosperity as a hospitable “Indian capital”<br />

of diplomacy and trade.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was a true city by design, function,<br />

and significance from its earliest days,<br />

thanks to civic-minded businessmen, whose<br />

profits from global commerce developed<br />

a consumer culture of affluence, civility,<br />

and philanthropy.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> became a “refuge” for French<br />

colonists from all areas of North America;<br />

served as Spain’s northernmost regional<br />

capital in its <strong>New</strong> World empire; and was<br />

the first capital of the American West after<br />

the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the last home of the Corps of<br />

Discovery commanders, Meriwether Lewis<br />

and William Clark, and their influence<br />

made the city a “Gateway to the West” for<br />

generations of American entrepreneurs and<br />

European immigrants.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> served as the “Mother City” of<br />

the West, whose citizens promoted many<br />

“daughter settlements” that became future<br />

towns in Missouri and several other states.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the Union capital west of<br />

the Mississippi and the only southern<br />

city to support Lincoln, playing key<br />

roles in winning the Civil War and<br />

emancipating slaves.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was a major commercial hub<br />

of the heartland, connecting eastern,<br />

western, northern, and southern regions<br />

via steamboats and railroads.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> became a large industrial center<br />

and America’s fourth largest city by 1900,<br />

promoted as the possible future capital of<br />

the United <strong>St</strong>ates.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was a popular destination for<br />

international immigrants and tourists long<br />

before it achieved fame for the World’s Fair<br />

and Olympic Games in 1904.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has played a major role in aviation<br />

history for over a century, before and<br />

after Charles Lindbergh’s famous transatlantic<br />

flight in a plane named for the city.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> achieved international prominence<br />

for its architecture, represented by the<br />

Eads Bridge, its early skyscrapers, Lambert<br />

Airport Terminal, and the Gateway Arch.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has been a leading city in proposing<br />

progressive civic solutions to serious<br />

problems of urban decline since 1900.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has world-class universities, free<br />

cultural institutions, and notable parks,<br />

historic sites, medical facilities, musical<br />

traditions, museums, and research libraries,<br />

with unparalleled archives on the history<br />

of the American West.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has an incomparable heritage of<br />

baseball excellence, winning eleven World<br />

Series championships as the first National<br />

League city west of the Mississippi.<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has harnessed the potential of<br />

the new millennium most aggressively, by<br />

supporting innovative new businesses,<br />

improving the attractions of inner city living,<br />

revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding job<br />

opportunities, welcoming immigrants, and<br />

creating new options for popular entertainment<br />

and cultural refinement.<br />

That small sample of accomplishments<br />

should provide encouragement to the 3,000,000<br />

people who live in the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Metropolitan<br />

Map of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1892, from Shewey’s<br />

Pictorial <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, Past and Present<br />

(<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1892), p. 17.<br />

P R O L O G U E<br />

9


T H E U N F U L F I L L E D P R O M I S E S<br />

O F A N N I V E R S A R I E S<br />

Major public anniversary celebrations represent the best and worst aspects of history.<br />

They attract broad interest and temporarily make information about the past more popular,<br />

but such popularity often encourages fleeting entertainment over lasting enlightenment<br />

and the marketing of silly souvenirs instead of respect for serious research. Anniversaries<br />

highlight the difference between popular heritage—often flawed personal memories,<br />

mere rumors, and sheer fantasies about the past—and professional history, the disciplined<br />

accumulation of accurate, verifiable evidence about events that no one remembers. The<br />

arrival of the new millennium illustrated those differences. The many millions of people<br />

who participated in that massive global revelry celebrated the wrong year—revealing an<br />

astonishing level of ignorance about chronology in a commemoration that should have<br />

been all about chronology.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans have long had their own problems with chronology and seem incapable of<br />

reaching a consensus about the correct founding date of their city. The Official Bicentennial<br />

Celebration in 1964 honored the wrong “birth date” of February 14, and it has been<br />

virtually impossible to alter erroneous personal memories with professional research ever<br />

since. A popular publication recently proclaimed that “an actual date of the city’s<br />

founding…is unknown due to the lack of documents from 1764 and inconsistencies of<br />

these papers.” That is a lie fabricated by a PR promoter pretending to know history.<br />

Historians, like lawyers, give far more credence to written records than hearsay<br />

accounts, and the only founding date in a surviving manuscript written by an eyewitness<br />

(the city’s eminent co-founder, Auguste Chouteau) is February 15, 1764, which he<br />

consistently confirmed several times between 1804 and 1825—including testimony<br />

under oath. All of the earliest historians of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> accepted and repeated that date,<br />

and the city’s first official public celebration of its founding was held on Monday,<br />

February 15, 1847. But flawed English translations of Chouteau’s Narrative of the Founding<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in 1858 and 1911 misread his “5” for an inaccurate “4”—and all of the leading<br />

city historians in 1964 were too careless to note that discrepancy. That error proliferated<br />

like a computer virus. As more and more citizens celebrated the wrong date in the past<br />

fifty years (unfortunately made more popular due to its association with Valentine’s Day),<br />

flawed memories became resistant to verified, irrefutable evidence from experts.<br />

Once the mistakes of the early translators became widely known, however, all recent<br />

scholarly historians have agreed that February 15 is correct. And national, neutral<br />

commentators cannot fathom the local dispute, as when Charlie Rose on the CBS Morning<br />

<strong>New</strong>s wished <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> a happy birthday on February 15, 2013. Unless <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans stop<br />

trivializing historical dating as a personal whim, they will continue to perpetuate fictitious<br />

heritage instead of factual history. How can we expect young students to respect history if<br />

our most mature citizens disregard that most basic fact about their hometown? And how<br />

many other of our biased beliefs defy accuracy and honesty?<br />

Area, reminding them that human potential<br />

and commercial capital for <strong>250</strong> years have<br />

resolved crises far worse than those of today.<br />

Sadly, however, few residents appreciate those<br />

major milestones of impressive leadership<br />

that stimulated civic loyalty in past generations.<br />

The most relevant, resonating history is<br />

usually local and personal, starting with an<br />

awareness of family genealogy, progressing<br />

to an appreciation of one’s unique neighborhood,<br />

and resulting in a broader, advanced<br />

understanding of the hometown and what it<br />

has contributed to the state, the nation, and<br />

the world.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

10


But for decades, public schools have<br />

almost entirely replaced local history with<br />

global “social studies”—while making all<br />

courses dealing with humanity subordinate<br />

to “STEM” subjects (science, technology,<br />

engineering, and math). The failure to excite<br />

young minds about the history of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> is<br />

an inexplicably missed opportunity, since the<br />

city was co-founded by a teenager whose<br />

exciting frontier experiences with French,<br />

Spanish, British, American, and Indian populations<br />

over sixty-five years could serve as an<br />

engaging multicultural “textbook” by themselves.<br />

Reading any history for pleasure and<br />

enlightenment has also declined dramatically<br />

in our era of proliferating electronic devices<br />

and the quick, short, and misspelled text<br />

messages they facilitate. History would probably<br />

be more popular and palatable if it were<br />

marketed as “social networking with the dead.”<br />

History is the memory of an entire society,<br />

and amnesia about the events that predated<br />

one’s birth is akin to the confusion experienced<br />

when someone overhears only a partial<br />

conversation without knowing the topic or<br />

how it began. A knowledge of history is<br />

required for a meaningful patriotism that<br />

goes beyond mere flag-waving, because it<br />

provides details about the sacrifices of<br />

earlier generations in solving social crises.<br />

History also promotes citizenship and a wellfunctioning<br />

democratic government. People<br />

who live only in a self-absorbed present will<br />

never be able to differentiate between old<br />

trends and new ideas, lacking the wisdom of<br />

historical context when they enter the voting<br />

booth with no direction for improving the<br />

future. Finally, an intensive knowledge of the<br />

past is the best preparation for understanding<br />

the present. The study of history requires<br />

broad reading, a commitment to understanding<br />

all sorts of people and their motives for<br />

making decisions in a variety of contexts, and,<br />

especially, a commitment to factual accuracy.<br />

Throughout world history, cities have been<br />

special centers of multicultural convergence,<br />

where a rich mix of intellectual, technological,<br />

political, and commercial “explorers” advanced<br />

progress with new ideas and innovative<br />

solutions. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> emerged as a great<br />

metropolis because of its urban entrepreneurs.<br />

In every century, its business leaders<br />

have invested in risky enterprises and used<br />

their expertise as political leaders, civic<br />

planners, and generous philanthropists to<br />

improve the lives of fellow citizens. The<br />

organizational profiles in the “Sharing the<br />

Heritage” section showcase the considerable<br />

accomplishments of major corporations,<br />

small businesses, important non-profit<br />

groups, and venerable cultural institutions.<br />

Taken together, their stories serve as an<br />

enduring time capsule of 2014, which future<br />

generations can use to measure the progress<br />

of their ancestral explorers in years to come.<br />

This book chronicles <strong>250</strong> years of the most<br />

significant “explorations”—physical, political,<br />

intellectual, commercial, cultural, and social—<br />

that made the City of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> famous in<br />

American history. The depth of coverage<br />

required, enhanced by a vast number of rare<br />

illustrations, precluded information on events<br />

beyond the city’s boundaries. But everyone<br />

in the entire metropolitan region should recognize<br />

that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> is a special place where<br />

the past is still present for shaping a future<br />

filled with pride and dignity. What <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an<br />

William Vincent Byars wrote about his ancestors<br />

over a century ago still holds true today:<br />

Aerial View of the downtown core of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on November 19, 2008.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BRIAN HOLSCLAW;<br />

PERMISSION FOR USE GRANTED THROUGH<br />

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.<br />

“Their deeds, their thoughts, each brave word bravely said,<br />

Live past the grave and master it, to give<br />

The living help and strength when life is fraught<br />

With sorest need of courage.”<br />

–J. Frederick Fausz<br />

P R O L O G U E<br />

1 1


“Indians live much better than men under tyranny and arbitrary government….<br />

Nature has given them a soul which…condemns dishonesty, petty fraud,<br />

and all…vices which are daily practiced…in refined life.”<br />

–John Dunn Hunter, Osage captive (1823)<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

EXPLORING THE CONFLUENCE<br />

OF CULTURES AND RIVERS<br />

Above: Detail of the Mississippi-Missouri<br />

River Confluence, 1997.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BOB SRENCO<br />

(BOB@SRENCOAERIALPHOTO.COM) AND USED<br />

WITH PERMISSION.<br />

Right: Purported Portrait of Pierre de<br />

Laclede Liguest. The sailing ship in the<br />

background symbolized Laclede’s voyage to<br />

<strong>New</strong> Orleans in 1755, and his expensive<br />

clothing may have been a family gift to a<br />

second son as he began a commercial career<br />

in America. For the complex details about<br />

Laclede portraiture, see J. Frederick Fausz,<br />

Founding <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>: First City of the<br />

<strong>New</strong> West (Charleston: The History Press,<br />

2011), 207.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS<br />

(OBJ: 1916 024 001); PERHAPS COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL<br />

IN THE FAMILY’S BEDOUS MANSION.<br />

While the crusader king, <strong>Louis</strong> IX of France, was killing Muslims in the thirteenth century,<br />

some 10,000 Native Americans were living at the future site of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, then a suburb of the<br />

impressive Mississippian metropolis of Cahokia. Five hundred years later, French colonists<br />

founded the first—and final—town here since those Indian mound-builders. Although they<br />

named it to honor the only French monarch to achieve sainthood, the popular nickname<br />

of “Mound City” was more appropriate, since two dozen of those man-made landmarks gave<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> a distinctive appearance for another century and<br />

imparted a special connection with Indians ever since.<br />

In his 1974 historical novel, Centennial, James Michener<br />

wondered why, of all the frontier towns founded near the<br />

same time, “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> alone should grow into one of the<br />

world’s great cities.” His answer was “Brains”—referring<br />

to the many wise decisions made by the intelligent,<br />

well-educated city founder, Pierre de Laclede Liguest.<br />

That gentleman merchant was uniquely qualified to be<br />

a successful frontier entrepreneur, city planner, and<br />

Indian diplomat, given his multilingual abilities,<br />

commercial ambitions, military training, and tolerant,<br />

liberal attitudes derived from the French Enlightenment.<br />

Above all, he was an explorer who founded a city<br />

of explorers.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

12


W H A T ’ S I N A N A M E ?<br />

Pierre de Laclede Liguest is the full correct name of the founder. As a native of the French<br />

Pyrenees province of Bearn, he learned the local Occitan-Gascon language from infancy and<br />

had to study French as a second (and foreign) language. He never used diacritical marks in<br />

signing his name, and to do so retroactively is inaccurate with regard to proper non-French pronunciation.<br />

In his native dialect, Laclede was pronounced as “Laclayed”—neither the “Lacled” of<br />

proper French nor the anglicized “Lacleed” of the local <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> gas company. Laclede also<br />

insisted on attaching Liguest—a Bearnais word meaning “willow tree(s)”—to his surname,<br />

because as a second son who could not inherit his father’s estate, he was entitled to revenues<br />

from a family forest along the Aspe River. Liguest also functioned like “junior” or “younger”<br />

in distinguishing Pierre from his father of the same name. Liguest appeared only as an addon<br />

to the signature of his surname, and he was always addressed as “Laclede” in conversation.<br />

Laclede was born on November 22, 1729,<br />

into one of the “most distinguished” gentry<br />

families in the beautiful Aspe Valley of<br />

Bearn—a small but fiercely independent<br />

province of “free shepherds” nurtured by<br />

the rugged peaks of the French Pyrenees<br />

along the Spanish border. His surname<br />

means “gate” in the unique Bearnais dialect—<br />

most appropriate for someone who founded<br />

the “Gateway to the West.” His mother,<br />

Magdeleine d’Espoey d’Arance, was a noblewoman,<br />

and his father, Pierre de Laclede, was<br />

a wealthy landowner and university-educated<br />

attorney serving the judicial parliament of<br />

Navarre in the provincial capital of Pau.<br />

Young Pierre was born in a seventeenthcentury<br />

stone mansion at Bedous, then a<br />

village of 2,000 residents. He was remarkably<br />

independent at an early age, since his mother<br />

died when he was only four, after bearing<br />

seven children in seven years—twice delivering<br />

babies only eleven months apart. As a child,<br />

Pierre was tutored in a home filled with books,<br />

cultural refinement, and scholarly conversation,<br />

learning that the sterling reputation of one’s<br />

family was the “truest measure of wealth.”<br />

Above: “Maison Laclede,” the founder’s birth<br />

home in Bedous, remains in use today as a<br />

special holiday rental property.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH AND PERMISSION TO PUBLISH<br />

COURTESY OF THE PROPRIETOR, CECILE TEISSEIRE.<br />

Below: Panorama of the Monumental<br />

Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley,<br />

by John J. Egan, c. 1850. This portrayal<br />

of Mississippian Indian mounds was one<br />

of twenty-five vignettes in a massive<br />

panoramic painting measuring 7’ high<br />

and nearly 350’ long, recently restored.<br />

COURTESY OF THE SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM;<br />

ELIZA MCMILLAN TRUST (34:1953).<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

1 3


Lush “Garden of Bearn” landscape near<br />

Bedous, 2011.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PHOTOGRAPHER IAN STOKES<br />

OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

14<br />

Generations of Lacledes had enough property<br />

to qualify as landed gentry or even<br />

aristocrats, but they achieved greater local<br />

distinction as industrious and talented public<br />

servants, scholars, physicians, lawyers, merchants,<br />

and priests. Laclede’s paternal grandfather<br />

was a merchant and royal officeholder<br />

under <strong>Louis</strong> XIV, who was respected for his<br />

personal integrity and public generosity.<br />

Pierre’s uncle, Jean Joseph Laclede, was a<br />

celebrated author and close friend of Voltaire,<br />

the famous philosopher. And Pierre’s older<br />

brother, Jean (heir to the family fortune) was<br />

an attorney and pioneering botanist, named<br />

by King <strong>Louis</strong> XV as the “Master of Waters<br />

and Forests in Bearn.”<br />

The Lacledes of Bedous lived in a fertile<br />

farming region known as the “garden of<br />

Bearn,” where numerous conical mounds and<br />

surrounding mountains made the landscape<br />

distinctive. It was a region as productive as<br />

it was picturesque, where the main food<br />

crop was maize, farmed by women as in<br />

Native America. Pierre grew up eating<br />

“Indian corn” and learned how his family’s<br />

water mill operated long before he owned<br />

one in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. Most importantly, Laclede<br />

lived along rivers his entire life and feared<br />

devastating floods in deep mountain gorges<br />

before he built <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on a limestone ledge<br />

high above the “American Nile.” His boyhood<br />

also may have influenced his insistence on<br />

living in the first stone home built in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

then very rare in that region, because it was<br />

the traditional housing material for all classes<br />

in Bearn.<br />

Six other small villages within a few miles<br />

of Bedous offered additional lessons for a<br />

curious boy. In Accous, the popular pastoral<br />

poet, Cyprien Despourrins, wrote verses<br />

during Laclede’s lifetime that praised poor<br />

shepherds who valued personal pride above<br />

wealth. In Osse, Calvinism had flourished<br />

since the 1500s, and the Catholic Lacledes<br />

were notably tolerant in respecting and<br />

protecting those Protestants during frequent<br />

religious wars. Across the river from Bedous,<br />

the Laclede family forest supplied masts<br />

for the French Navy. Jean-Jacques Blaise<br />

d’Abbadie, a Bearnais nobleman and naval<br />

official, met young Pierre in the 1740s when<br />

he came to select the trees he needed. They<br />

would meet again—in 1763 <strong>New</strong> Orleans—<br />

when d’Abbadie, as the new Director-General<br />

of <strong>Louis</strong>iana, confirmed Laclede’s fur trading<br />

monopoly that helped get <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> started.


As a teenager, Pierre enrolled at the 140-<br />

year-old Jesuit College in Pau, some sixty<br />

miles from his home. There, he marveled at<br />

the magnificent palace of King Henri IV,<br />

a direct descendant of Saint <strong>Louis</strong> and first<br />

monarch of the Bourbon dynasty, who ruled<br />

Bearn prior to reigning over France. Laclede<br />

later moved to Toulouse, attending a military<br />

academy to expand his interests beyond<br />

book-learning. Active and athletic, he was<br />

awarded an ornate sword as a champion<br />

fencer and soon after joined the provincial<br />

militia. Patrolling the high Pyrenees passes<br />

between France and Spain, only thirty miles<br />

from Bedous, Pierre gained proficiency in<br />

Spanish and became a keen observer of<br />

cultural differences in that borderland of<br />

mixed populations.<br />

When he turned twenty-five, Laclede<br />

decided to pursue a merchant career in a<br />

transatlantic world of greater opportunities.<br />

With no prospects of inheriting his father’s<br />

fortune, he became a self-made entrepreneur,<br />

embracing the traditional Bearnais belief that<br />

every man had “wealth and power within<br />

himself,” but only “unremitting activity”<br />

would bring success and satisfaction. On<br />

June 7, 1755, the talented, multilingual<br />

swordsmen sailed from La Rochelle, exchanging<br />

the “grandeur and sublimity” of the<br />

Pyrenees Mountains for the steamy lowlands<br />

of <strong>Louis</strong>iana. Laclede departed from that<br />

port, rather than the closer City of Bordeaux,<br />

because the powerful, Protestant Rasteau<br />

family of La Rochelle had a dominant<br />

economic influence in <strong>New</strong> Orleans. Those<br />

transatlantic merchants were allied with<br />

Laclede’s future business partner and his<br />

attorney in <strong>Louis</strong>iana, and La Rochelle<br />

supplied the merchandise for the expedition<br />

that founded <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Laclede arrived in <strong>New</strong> Orleans as the<br />

French and Indian War began, and he became<br />

Left: The royal palace at Pau, birthplace<br />

and home of King Henri III of Bearn,<br />

who became Henri IV, King of France, as<br />

the first monarch of the Bourbon dynasty.<br />

Laclede studied nearby in the Jesuit<br />

school he founded, and his knowledge that<br />

Henri was a direct descendant of Saint <strong>Louis</strong><br />

may have influenced the naming of his<br />

new settlement; nineteenth-century print in<br />

the author’s collection.<br />

Below: “Plan et Projet de la Nouvelle<br />

Orleans, August 9th, 1763”—dated one day<br />

before Laclede and Chouteau departed on<br />

the voyage to found <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>; nineteenthcentury<br />

facsimile in the author’s collection.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

1 5


Map of French Illinois settlements in the<br />

mid-1760s by British military surveyor/<br />

cartographer Thomas Hutchins; from a<br />

1904 facsimile of his 1778 book in the<br />

author’s collection.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

16<br />

a business partner of Colonel Gilbert Antoine<br />

de <strong>St</strong>. Maxent, his commander in the <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

Militia. Maxent was a leading merchant and<br />

the government’s supplier of diplomatic<br />

gifts to dozens of allied native nations.<br />

He probably introduced Laclede to his Conti<br />

<strong>St</strong>reet neighbor—Marie Thérèse Bourgeois<br />

Chouteau—whose husband had abandoned<br />

her and their young son, Auguste. Under the<br />

laws of Catholic France, she could neither<br />

divorce an absent husband nor remarry until<br />

his death. Considering herself “widowed,”<br />

she began a twenty-year liaison with Laclede<br />

that produced four children, all baptized with<br />

the Chouteau name for propriety’s sake.<br />

After the fall of Quebec and the surrender<br />

of Montreal, by 1760 <strong>New</strong> Orleans was<br />

France’s last unconquered capital in mainland<br />

North America. Officials there knew that<br />

Great Britain was certain to win the French<br />

and Indian War and control all lands east<br />

of the Mississippi River—including several<br />

French Illinois villages and the administrative<br />

capital at Fort de Chartres. Count Kerlérec,<br />

the Governor-General of <strong>Louis</strong>iana, had built<br />

that huge fortress and installed his brotherin-law,<br />

Major Pierre-Joseph Neyon de Villiers<br />

as Commandant of Illinois. Those two military<br />

heroes, who wore the coveted medal of<br />

the Royal and Military Order of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

along with leading <strong>New</strong> Orleans merchants<br />

and Director-General d’Abbadie, planned to<br />

build a new French regional capital on<br />

the west bank of the Mississippi to replace<br />

Fort de Chartres. The company of Maxent and<br />

Laclede received an official six-year monopoly<br />

on the furs of the Upper Mississippi and<br />

Missouri River valleys for privately funding<br />

several public projects at the new settlement.<br />

With a quarter share in that daring venture<br />

1,200 miles upriver, Laclede promoted Indian<br />

trade alliances to obtain the furs that would<br />

alleviate an economic depression in <strong>New</strong><br />

Orleans; provided a new home for the<br />

Illinois French who refused to live under<br />

a military occupation by British Protestants;<br />

and protected the trans-Mississippi West<br />

from English invasion.<br />

Laclede headed upriver from <strong>New</strong> Orleans<br />

on August 10, 1763, with his teenaged<br />

stepson, Auguste Chouteau, while pro-French<br />

Indians were still battling British troops in<br />

Pontiac’s War. The partnership of the affluent,<br />

intellectual 34-year-old European and the<br />

poor, barely-educated 14-year-old <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

Creole represented a complementary convergence<br />

of different backgrounds and varying<br />

generations that provided unbroken continuity<br />

in the successful development of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> until<br />

Chouteau died sixty-five years later! Those<br />

entrepreneurs did not take other residents of<br />

<strong>New</strong> Orleans with them as potential settlers,<br />

since the ideal founding families of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

already lived in Illinois—veteran Canadians


and French Creoles acclimated to the region<br />

and used to daily interactions with African<br />

Americans, Indians, and metis in multicultural<br />

frontier communities.<br />

Reaching Illinois in early November after<br />

a voyage of eighty-five days, Laclede and<br />

Chouteau established a temporary home and<br />

company headquarters in the village adjoining<br />

Fort de Chartres. Just a few weeks later,<br />

in bone-chilling December weather, they<br />

explored the west bank of the Mississippi<br />

up to the mouth of the Missouri River,<br />

seeking an ideal site for Laclede’s new<br />

settlement. Fifteen miles south of that<br />

muddy convergence, they spotted a great<br />

mound rising thirty-two feet above a twomile-long<br />

limestone bluff. That strategic,<br />

flood-free site near the confluence of<br />

America’s two longest rivers (and close<br />

to the Illinois and Ohio Rivers, as well)<br />

was ideal for shipping heavy cargoes a<br />

thousand miles in every direction. That<br />

location also contained ample trees and<br />

abundant limestone for building, fresh<br />

water springs, and an extensive prairie<br />

for farming and pasturing livestock.<br />

Additional geological gifts nearby—salt<br />

for preserving animal skins, lead for<br />

making musket balls, iron for forging<br />

tools, surface coal for fuel, extensive clay<br />

pits for brick-making, and huge caves for<br />

cold storage—made Laclede’s location<br />

the best on the continent for contented<br />

residents pursuing large-scale, longrange<br />

fur trading. Such incomparable<br />

natural advantages allegedly caused<br />

Laclede to declare that his town “might<br />

eventually become one of the finest<br />

cities in America,” with the commercial<br />

clout and central location for “creating<br />

[other] settlements.”<br />

The most indispensable resource,<br />

however, was human: talented and loyal<br />

Osage hunters eager to trade for desirable<br />

European products of metal, cloth, and<br />

glass. Laclede could not have started or<br />

sustained a fur trade without a critical<br />

commercial alliance with that cooperative<br />

native nation. Long renowned by<br />

French Canadians as the “Masters of the<br />

Hunting Country” west of the Mississippi<br />

River, some 10,000 Osages possessed a huge<br />

animal empire of 100,000 square miles; a<br />

superior fighting force of some 2,000 mounted<br />

warriors to defend it; and expertise in procuring<br />

and processing all of the marketable mammals<br />

most desired in Europe. Historian Kathleen<br />

DuVal observed that the Osages were “far<br />

more successful than either France or Spain at<br />

building a mid-continental empire,” which<br />

encompassed most of present-day Missouri<br />

and large portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and<br />

Above: The Big or Great Mound—<br />

La Grange de Terre (“barn of the<br />

earth”)—photographed by <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an<br />

Thomas M. Easterly in the 1860s before<br />

it was destroyed.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS.<br />

Below: Osage Warrior, painted from life<br />

in 1806 by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret<br />

de Saint-Mémin when this Indian visited<br />

President Jefferson in Washington, D.C.<br />

He wears a “crown” of vulture beaks and<br />

a deer-and-porcupine quill “roach,”<br />

but his other adornments were imported<br />

trade goods: the metal armband and brooch<br />

around his ear, Delft spotted beads, a long<br />

white “hair pipe” of French porcelain, black<br />

silk from Detroit, and red vermilion body<br />

paint from China. In addition, European<br />

razors, knives, and scissors would have<br />

allowed him to remove all body hair<br />

(including eyebrows), as was traditional<br />

with Osage warriors.<br />

COURTESY OF THE WINTERTHUR MUSEUM.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

1 7


Above: Laclede Landing at Present Site<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> (detail), by Oscar Edward<br />

Berninghaus, c. 1914.<br />

COURTESY OF THE SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM;<br />

GIFT OF AUGUST A. BUSCH, JR.<br />

Below: Vincent Voiture [posing as]<br />

Saint <strong>Louis</strong>, by French painter Philippe<br />

de Champaigne, mid-seventeenth-century.<br />

Poet Voiture portrayed <strong>Louis</strong> IX, featuring<br />

items associated with the thirteenth-century<br />

crusading king: royal crown, fleur-de-lis<br />

scepter, ermine skin mantle, and Jesus<br />

Christ’s crown of thorns, remnants of which<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> allegedly brought from the Holy Land.<br />

COURTESY OF THE SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM;<br />

FRIENDS FUND (719:1961).<br />

Arkansas. Thomas Jefferson and other credible<br />

eyewitnesses described Osage warriors as<br />

“most gigantic”—averaging about 6’6” in<br />

height. They were ruthless foes of rival tribes<br />

but reliable friends of the French, who made<br />

them “free men” able to make a living by<br />

providing European muskets over several<br />

decades. In 1725, an Osage chief was the<br />

honored guest of King <strong>Louis</strong> XV—Onontio,<br />

the “Great Father” in France—and his visit to<br />

the “other side of the sun” represented the<br />

mutual respect among devoted allies.<br />

The French and Indian War had curtailed<br />

shipments of new weapons, however, and the<br />

Osages welcomed Laclede because he could<br />

export their backlog of valuable furs to the<br />

best markets for guns and other premium<br />

products. That European gentleman with business<br />

acumen—a rare founder of a colonial<br />

American city who was not a nobleman, missionary,<br />

military leader, or buckskin-wearing<br />

hunter—succeeded in forging one of the<br />

longest, strongest, and most lucrative multi-<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

18


ethnic commercial alliances ever. Fur trading<br />

was the only frontier enterprise that united<br />

Indians and Europeans in a mutually-desired<br />

peaceful partnership. Colonial <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were<br />

richly rewarded for befriending the Osages,<br />

earning their trust, valuing their talents,<br />

supplying their needs, and protecting their<br />

lands, liberties, and life-ways from hostile<br />

competitors that threatened financial ruin<br />

for everyone. The “English, Anglo-Americans,<br />

and Spanish nations have succeeded only in<br />

inspiring fear and alienation” among Indians,<br />

wrote a Parisian visiting Missouri in 1800,<br />

while the French nurtured their “affection.”<br />

Their “proximity to the Indians, the ease of<br />

communicating with them, [and] the need to<br />

…live in their villages in order to trade…<br />

had no small influence on the character of<br />

the colonists.”<br />

“Towns were the spearheads of the frontier,”<br />

wrote historian Richard Wade, and the “story<br />

of Western urbanism begins at <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.”<br />

But Laclede and Chouteau were successful<br />

city founders because they recognized that<br />

“Western urbanism” really began with Indian<br />

mound-builders and that Native American<br />

towns were the sustaining sources of economic<br />

development before Europeans ever arrived.<br />

When Chouteau and thirty laborers from<br />

Illinois began building <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on Wednesday,<br />

February 15, 1764, they did not displace any<br />

resident Indians. But the Osages identified<br />

with the familiar, welcoming symbolism of the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> site because of the many Mississippian<br />

mounds. The Osages were known as “elevated<br />

mound people” and lived on high hilltops at<br />

their capital of Marais des Cygnes (“Swamp of<br />

Swans”) in southwestern Missouri. Claiming<br />

cultural connections with ancient moundbuilding<br />

societies, the Osage Nation in 2009<br />

purchased “Sugar Loaf” on Ohio Avenue—the<br />

last surviving Indian mound in the city limits<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—as the future site of an interpretive<br />

center about their heritage.<br />

The ambitious new town that was taking<br />

shape on a strategic section of the mighty<br />

Mississippi did not have a name for three<br />

months. While Chouteau’s construction crew<br />

cleared the land, Laclede had stayed in Illinois<br />

protecting his merchandise and recruiting<br />

new settlers. But he returned in the Spring,<br />

and according to Chouteau’s written recollections,<br />

on or near April 25, 1764—the 550th<br />

birthday of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>—Laclede named his<br />

town in honor of that crusading medieval<br />

monarch. The forty-three-year reign of<br />

King <strong>Louis</strong> IX was a golden age of art and<br />

architecture, education and charity, but Pope<br />

Boniface VIII canonized him because he led<br />

two crusades in the Holy Land and died there<br />

on August 25, 1270 (his Feast Day). Laclede<br />

hoped to flatter the current King <strong>Louis</strong> XV<br />

by honoring his patron saint, even though<br />

the medieval monarch’s killing of cultural<br />

aliens was incompatible with the goals of his<br />

namesake town in America.<br />

But Laclede wasted that self-serving<br />

compliment to the reigning French monarch<br />

because he had given western <strong>Louis</strong>iana,<br />

including the site of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, to his Bourbon<br />

cousin, King Carlos III of Spain, in November<br />

1762. The transaction was so secret that not<br />

even royal officials in <strong>New</strong> Orleans knew of<br />

it for twenty-two months, and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

only learned about that shocking situation in<br />

December 1764. Realizing that the Kingdom<br />

of France did not now protect its countrymen<br />

on either side of the Mississippi River, the<br />

twice-“orphaned” Illinois French reconciled<br />

themselves to the fact that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was built<br />

International boundaries following the<br />

French and Indian War, showing <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

in an imperial setting. “File: North America,<br />

1762-83” created by Jon Platek in 2008 and<br />

reproduced under the free use policy of<br />

Wikimedia Commons.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

1 9


First <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Courthouse, built in 1770<br />

and used for a century; shown here in the<br />

1890s at Third and Plum <strong>St</strong>reets. Typical<br />

of most buildings in eighteenth-century<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was Colonial French vertical log<br />

construction clearly seen here. Logs were<br />

hewn flat and either set directly in the<br />

ground or placed on sills. The spaces<br />

between the timbers were filled with clay<br />

and grass (bouzillage) or rubble stone and<br />

clay (pierrotage). Flat boards could then<br />

be applied, but most residences would be<br />

plastered and whitewashed, giving a more<br />

refined appearance for town living than the<br />

crude, horizontal-log cabins of frontier<br />

Americans in a forest.<br />

FROM A PRINT IN THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

on a legal bluff more gigantic than the city’s<br />

limestone one, and that they had to rely on<br />

one another to protect their property and<br />

livelihoods. <strong>New</strong> settlers continued to arrive<br />

steadily until late 1765, after Great Britain’s<br />

“Black Watch” regiment had reached Fort<br />

de Chartres. For almost two years, dozens of<br />

French Illinois families had dismantled their<br />

houses, salvaging “the boards, windows, and<br />

door frames, and everything else they could<br />

transport” and crossed the international<br />

boundary line of the Mississippi River to<br />

begin new lives in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. They brought<br />

something much more valuable than building<br />

materials—a heritage of multiethnic toleration<br />

living in racially-mixed societies.<br />

The “sensible and clever” Laclede was<br />

a pragmatic problem-solver who fashioned<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> into a true city by design, function,<br />

and significance, despite its small population.<br />

He laid out streets on a grid pattern like <strong>New</strong><br />

Orleans, already conceiving his city as a thriving<br />

port serving a vast inland empire. By<br />

investing heavily in a grist mill and other<br />

buildings for the benefit of the community,<br />

Laclede enhanced the reputation of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

as imaginatively conceived, innovatively<br />

developed, and immediately populated.<br />

But Laclede’s greatest legacy was encouraging<br />

his colonists, who already lived on free<br />

riverfront home sites, to govern themselves.<br />

The first Spanish lieutenant governor would<br />

not take up permanent residency in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

until late 1770, giving Laclede’s colonists six<br />

years to design the society they desired—<br />

without an intrusive national government,<br />

a meddlesome local bureaucracy, a coercive<br />

military, or judgmental priests. As perhaps the<br />

freest European population anywhere in<br />

North America, early <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans enjoyed<br />

unprecedented liberties, self-governance, and<br />

financial success, without the need for a<br />

constitution, a legislature, an army, police,<br />

judges, juries, jails, or lawyers to live<br />

comfortably, safely, and compatibly in Indian<br />

Country. The customary laws of Paris,<br />

Catholic teachings, peer pressure from closeknit<br />

families, and Creole traditions of neighborliness<br />

and camaraderie restrained serious<br />

violence among liquor-loving residents who<br />

built billiard parlors many years before they<br />

constructed a church.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

20


S T . L O U I S ’ S F O U N D I N G F A M I L I E S<br />

Beaugenou<br />

Becquet/Bequette<br />

Chancellier<br />

Chouteau<br />

Cotté<br />

Delin<br />

Dodier<br />

Gamache<br />

Hervieux<br />

Kierserau/Kiercerau dit (“known as”) Renaud<br />

Labrosse<br />

Laclede<br />

La Grain/La Grange<br />

Mainville dit Dechenes<br />

Marcheteau dit Desnoyers<br />

Martiqné/Martigny<br />

Mercier<br />

Picard<br />

Pichet<br />

Pothier<br />

Prunet dit La Giroflee<br />

Ride<br />

Rivière dit Bacuné<br />

Roi<br />

Salé dit La Joie<br />

Taillon/Tayon<br />

Laclede’s colonists maintained good relations<br />

with, and were actually protected by,<br />

some of the most feared Indian warriors<br />

in the West, because they were business<br />

partners who rejected the punitive European<br />

heritage of military conquest and coerced<br />

conversion of native nations. Created solely<br />

to make money, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> represented an<br />

admirable, alternative western frontier of<br />

tolerant trade and tender ties with friendly<br />

“savages” in a civilized “wilderness” more<br />

profitable than dangerous. Even the town’s<br />

derogatory nickname of “Pain Court” (“meager<br />

bread”) became a badge of honor, since<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans chose to cultivate good relations<br />

with Indians rather than to cultivate native<br />

lands that produced conflict and intruded on<br />

animal habitats. While farming gave the<br />

colonists “little or no gain,” commerce made<br />

“them rich”—but also dependent upon<br />

Indian hunters for the type, size, condition,<br />

and timely delivery of fur harvests.<br />

French residents and Spanish rulers used<br />

to different monarchs decided to respect a<br />

single king—the fur trade. As early as 1766,<br />

rival British merchants complained that<br />

Laclede’s town already dominated the “whole<br />

trade of the Missouri, of the Mississippi<br />

northwards, and of the Indian Nations near<br />

Lake Michigan”—far exceeding the profits<br />

expected by the <strong>New</strong> Orleans planners.<br />

Demonstrating the value of the Missouri<br />

Valley that the royal courts of Europe had<br />

discounted, the Osages and other Indians<br />

supplied Laclede with 625,000 pounds of<br />

furs between 1772-1775, including 215,000<br />

pounds of shaved, brain-tanned deer leather<br />

expertly manufactured by Osage women and<br />

<strong>St</strong>atue of Laclede by Jonathan Scott Hartley,<br />

1904, modeled on facial features of his<br />

nineteenth-century Chouteau descendants.<br />

Described by contemporaries as having a<br />

“commanding presence,” Laclede probably<br />

stood about 5’ 9”—short for Bearn—but a<br />

height that made him up to a foot taller<br />

than most of the French troops stationed at<br />

<strong>New</strong> Orleans in the mid-eighteenth century.<br />

PRINT FROM THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

2 1


Right: Portrait of York by Michael Haynes<br />

(www.mhaynesart.com); used with<br />

permission of the artist. William Clark’s<br />

slave, York, made vital contributions to the<br />

Corps of Discovery and then spent several<br />

years in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. The author used this<br />

image to represent African Americans in<br />

colonial <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, both slave and free,<br />

who worked in the fur trade as traders,<br />

voyageurs, or hunters.<br />

Opposite: Furs, Indian weapons, and<br />

European metal imports associated with<br />

French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s commercial alliances with<br />

native nations; author photograph of objects<br />

in his collection. On the front cloth are an<br />

Indian trade musket and an early version of<br />

the “Missouri War Ax,” both from<br />

the 1790s.<br />

133,000 pounds of raw skins. Everyone knew<br />

that the Osages were the true “bankers” of<br />

the region, because their “buck”-skins served<br />

as <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s currency for decades. Until the<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase in 1803, the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

fur trade averaged $220,000 per year in<br />

wholesale prices (half of the London retail<br />

price and equal to many millions today),<br />

with profit margins reaching 80 percent.<br />

The governor in <strong>New</strong> Orleans compared<br />

such vast wealth from furs to the gold and<br />

silver mines of Spanish America and declared<br />

that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was “one of the most populous,<br />

extensive, well-managed, and respectable of<br />

all settlements that have been established.”<br />

Spanish officials praised French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

as the most “modern settlement” in all of<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana, and they were delighted to discover<br />

that collecting dead mammals was “very<br />

advantageous” in providing full employment;<br />

nurturing “the affection of the natives;” and<br />

preserving “Public Security.” A 1779 military<br />

census revealed that fur trading provided<br />

the sole livelihood for 67 percent of all<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> men—22 merchants, 17 traders,<br />

84 boatmen, and 24 hunters—not including<br />

a silversmith and a tailor who made items<br />

for Indians. Those who profited indirectly<br />

from the Indian trade included two bakers,<br />

two cobblers, a butcher, and a “musician.”<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

22


The frequent presence of Osage hunterwarriors<br />

was nothing to fear, and since<br />

they preserved the peace and promoted the<br />

prosperity of their <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> partners, the<br />

young frontier town became famous as a most<br />

desirable “refuge of all the French,” especially<br />

those from traditional fur trading regions.<br />

As of 1780, 63 percent of adult males in the<br />

town had been born in Canada (137); 21<br />

percent (46) originated in the “Illinois Country,”<br />

including native-born <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans; and a<br />

surprising 13 percent (29 men) emigrated<br />

from France—including wealthy, well-educated<br />

merchants known to Laclede.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

2 3


A C O L O R F U L C O L O N I A L C A P I T A L<br />

Americans today can appreciate the “modern” racial diversity in eighteenth-century<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, inhabited by people of many hues, multiple heritages, and mixed bloodlines.<br />

In a 1787 Spanish census, analyzed by historian Peter K. Johnson, the small city contained<br />

896 whites, 188 blacks, and 83 “tan or colored” mixed bloods.<br />

A F R I C A N<br />

A M E R I C A N S<br />

One or more highly-respected and talented black pilots skillfully navigated the boat that<br />

brought Laclede and Chouteau from <strong>New</strong> Orleans in 1763, and eight years later, their new<br />

settlement had at least 124 African American slaves (74 males, 50 females)—totaling 25<br />

percent of the population. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans adhered to the 1724 French Code Noir [“Black Code”],<br />

as liberalized by Spanish officials. Those slave laws were more humane than racial policies<br />

in most Anglo-American colonies. Masters were required to feed and clothe their slaves<br />

properly and to care for those who were old, infirm, or sick. Officials encouraged the<br />

Catholic conversion of blacks and enduring slave marriages. It was illegal to split up slave<br />

spouses and their young children in separate sales. Slaves could attain their freedom, after<br />

which they enjoyed the same rights and privileges of other residents. “Slave tutors” were<br />

automatically considered “freemen.”<br />

Seven African Americans were slain and thirteen captured defending <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> from<br />

the British-Indian attack in May 1780. By 1800 the town had 269 black slaves and 67 free<br />

blacks, up from 37 in only nine years. Free African Americans included Joseph Neptune;<br />

Esther, a former slave who received a Spanish land grant; and the famous Jeanette Forchet,<br />

who owned a house and farm and married two black men, including Valentin, a gunsmith<br />

and Indian trader.<br />

N A T I V E<br />

A M E R I C A N S<br />

Indians from twenty different cultures, including Osages, Pawnees, Sioux, Omahas,<br />

Mesquakis, and at least one Mohawk, also lived in colonial <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. In 1770 Indians<br />

comprised about 17 percent of the town’s population, with 69 (12 percent) being highlyvalued<br />

household slaves. In the late 1760s and early 1770s, 14 Native American slaves lived<br />

in the Laclede-Chouteau home alone. One of them, Therese, managed Madame Chouteau’s<br />

household for forty-six years before being freed in 1814. According to Johnson, in the<br />

1780s, about 10 percent of European households contained at least one Indian slave, and<br />

at least 15 white men had Indian wives. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans baptized 103 Native Americans in<br />

the 1770s alone, a third of all Indians baptized there until 1821. Historian Tanis Thorne has<br />

estimated that by 1800, at least one adult in 80 percent of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> households may have<br />

had some Indian ancestry.<br />

As early as 1765, Laclede’s thriving town also<br />

became the mid-continental center of Indian<br />

diplomacy. That coincided with the arrival of<br />

Captain <strong>Louis</strong> Saint Ange de Bellerive, the last<br />

French commander at Fort de Chartres, who<br />

transferred his flag and the last twenty royal<br />

marines to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> after surrendering that<br />

stone citadel to British troops. A Montreal<br />

native and a close friend of Chief Pontiac, Saint<br />

Ange had vast experience negotiating with<br />

many native nations. As the only French commandant<br />

in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> history, Saint Ange worked<br />

with Laclede to create a hospitable, centrallylocated<br />

site where “red men could walk the<br />

white road” in the “clean earth” of a friendly<br />

village not “dirtied by bloodshed.” In most<br />

years, thirty-two tribes from the Siouan plains,<br />

Caddoan prairies, and Algonquian lakes sent<br />

diplomatic delegations to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—and stayed<br />

to shop, drink, and dance with residents—<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

24


without any serious violence. In 1781, 130<br />

tribes from both sides of the Mississippi<br />

gathered in that “Indian Capital” to discuss the<br />

dire consequences of the successful American<br />

Revolution. In 1769, Saint Ange further solidified<br />

the special, Indian-friendly “spirit of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>” by retrieving the corpse of Chief<br />

Pontiac, who had been murdered across the<br />

river. He had him buried in a French officer’s<br />

uniform coat under one of today’s major downtown<br />

intersections. That popular legend can<br />

neither be confirmed nor refuted, but it has long<br />

symbolized yet another pro-Indian connection<br />

among early <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans, who like Pontiac,<br />

also hated, defied, and battled the British.<br />

In 1778, Laclede died suddenly and prematurely<br />

at the age of forty-nine. His fortune had<br />

diminished over the years, as he spent large<br />

sums improving his town and loaning money<br />

to residents. But he bequeathed a legacy of<br />

lifelong learning and talented leadership to<br />

his trusted stepson, Auguste Chouteau, and<br />

his only birth son, Jean Pierre Chouteau. With<br />

support from the Osages and two merchant<br />

in-laws from southwestern France—Sylvestre<br />

Labbadie and John Cabanné—the Chouteau<br />

brothers succeeded admirably as Indian traders<br />

and city fathers for decades to come. Auguste<br />

advised his accomplished descendants in the<br />

“Royal Family of the Wilderness” that the<br />

fur trade “requires…a complete knowledge of<br />

Indian customs, characters, habits, ways of<br />

living, [and] hunting, …without which one<br />

will always…fall from errors to errors.”<br />

“Trade Territory of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in the Late<br />

18th Century,” a map by James B. Musick<br />

in his <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as a Fortified Town<br />

(self-published, 1941), between pp. 78-79.<br />

Author long deceased and copyright<br />

not renewed.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

2 5


H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

26


L A C L E D E ’ S<br />

B O O K S H E L F<br />

Laclede imparted a legacy of cultural refinement to his little city, derived from his formative<br />

years when Enlightenment rationalism was a dominant influence in France. He was<br />

described as “very well educated,” and he used profits from dead animals to buy books to<br />

satisfy his curious mind. While living in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, he purchased 215 imported volumes in<br />

only fourteen years. His library included an impressive range of subjects: dictionaries in<br />

French, Spanish, and English; French, Spanish, and British histories; military codes and<br />

tactics; French, international, and maritime commerce; business finance and accounting; law<br />

and judicial studies; geography and geometry; theology and philosophy; anatomy, medicine,<br />

and surgery: engineering and hydrology; agronomy and botany; ancient histories of the<br />

Holy Land, Greece, and Rome; biographies of the Roman emperors; classic philosophical<br />

treatises by Bacon, Descartes, Locke, and Rousseau; political commentary by Addison and<br />

<strong>St</strong>eele; a surprisingly large number of plays and dramatic criticism; and a 1751 London<br />

edition of Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity!<br />

The Chouteau brothers faced the most<br />

serious threat to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> just two years after<br />

Laclede’s death. At the “Battle of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>”<br />

on Friday, May 26, 1780, several hundred<br />

British-led Great Lakes Indians attacked the<br />

town of only 700 people. Suffering casualties<br />

of 7.5 percent (21 residents killed, 7 wounded,<br />

and 25 captured), <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans drove off the<br />

jealous fur rivals to win the westernmost<br />

conflict of the American Revolution for Spain<br />

and its U.S. allies. That victory also prevented<br />

Great Britain from gaining control of the<br />

Mississippi River. With tempers flaring and<br />

spirits undaunted, some 147 French kin and<br />

neighbors, plus dozens of Indian allies,<br />

launched two successful revenge raids against<br />

British outposts along Lake Michigan in the<br />

winter of 1780-1781.<br />

Following its wartime triumphs, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

emerged stronger than ever, enjoying enhanced<br />

prestige and greater prosperity as a maturing<br />

regional capital. By its twenty-fifth birthday<br />

in 1789, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the oldest permanent<br />

French town on its original site in Upper<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana, thanks to Laclede’s ideal placement<br />

high above the river. The town of <strong>St</strong>e. Genevieve<br />

had been destroyed in the Great Flood of<br />

1785, which forced a total evacuation and<br />

rebuilding miles away. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was also<br />

the largest French town in Upper <strong>Louis</strong>iana,<br />

with a population of 1,168 (200 more than<br />

“<strong>New</strong>” <strong>St</strong>e. Genevieve). Its residents were<br />

“more wealthy” than other colonists, living<br />

in “200 Houses, most of…<strong>St</strong>one,” that were<br />

“better built than [at] any Town on the<br />

Mississippi.” Even Anglo-Americans described<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as “the handsomest and genteelist<br />

village” in Upper <strong>Louis</strong>iana and perhaps “the<br />

happiest on earth.”<br />

Opposite: Vintage volumes and antique<br />

spectacles (Laclede wore glasses in his<br />

later years).<br />

PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE AUTHOR FROM OBJECTS IN<br />

HIS COLLECTION.<br />

Below: Troops of the Spanish <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

Regiment in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1804, an<br />

original painting by Michael Haynes<br />

(www.mhaynesart.com) and used with<br />

permission. The captain, sergeant,<br />

drummer, and fusilier (with a 1757 musket)<br />

shown here in uniforms “almost identical to<br />

the way they had looked in 1769”—as well<br />

as 1780, when 34 troops from this regiment<br />

helped militiamen and civilians defend<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> against a British and Indian attack<br />

in “The Battle of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.”<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

2 7


Above: The Mansion of Auguste Chouteau<br />

(c. 1794-1841), the grandest early house<br />

in the West, a view “engraved expressly” for<br />

[Richard] Edwards’s Great West and Her<br />

Commercial Metropolis, Embracing…<br />

A Complete History of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>…<br />

(<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1860), 534.<br />

Below: Bourbon <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, with a French<br />

population but a Spanish commandant from<br />

1770 to 1804, is represented by these two<br />

coins from the 1760s—the larger one from<br />

France with the profile of King <strong>Louis</strong> XV,<br />

and the smaller one from Spain, issued<br />

by Carlos III.<br />

PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE AUTHOR FROM OBJECTS IN<br />

HIS COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

28<br />

In terms of colonial French architecture,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> by 1795 was older than its mother<br />

city of <strong>New</strong> Orleans, due to two huge fires and<br />

three hurricanes that recently destroyed over<br />

a thousand buildings in the southern capital.<br />

Preserving the style of former French <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

plantation homes was the magnificent mansion<br />

of Auguste Chouteau. In the 1790s, he had<br />

thoroughly remodeled and dramatically<br />

expanded the original stone home he had<br />

built for Laclede in 1764. That showpiece of<br />

merchant affluence occupied an entire block in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s city center, with large dimensions<br />

that were nearly identical to those of George<br />

Washington’s impressive “Mount Vernon.”<br />

Chouteau’s imposing “castle” served as a<br />

community hospitality center for visiting<br />

European nobles, Indian chiefs, and prominent<br />

American dignitaries for decades. The mansion<br />

had floors of black walnut; a crystal chandelier;<br />

a dining room with three large tables, 46 chairs,<br />

40 tablecloths, and 42 pounds of sterling silver<br />

eating utensils; 11 landscape paintings; framed<br />

portraits of Napoleon; a 600-volume library;<br />

and a fancy clock with a bust of Voltaire on top.<br />

Auguste shared the Laclede family’s affinity for<br />

that famous French philosopher, as well as his<br />

stepfather’s commitment to living well.<br />

Chouteau was able to afford that expensive<br />

lifestyle because of vastly increased fur profits<br />

in the 1790s, which the Spanish Bourbon<br />

regime facilitated. In building the trading outpost<br />

of Fort Carondelet (named for the Spanish<br />

governor) exclusively for the Osages in southwestern<br />

Missouri, Auguste and Pierre curtailed<br />

Indian raids on white farms and averted a<br />

Spanish war against their Osage friends and<br />

relatives. As a reward, the Chouteaus received<br />

an eight-year royal monopoly on all Osage furs,<br />

which amounted to nearly 60 percent of the<br />

entire Missouri Valley trade annually. In order<br />

to provide Osage customers and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> consumers<br />

with luxurious products from London,<br />

the Chouteaus shipped the most expensive furs<br />

up the Illinois River and Lake Michigan to<br />

Michilimackinac. From there, British merchants<br />

took them to Montreal’s coffee house auctions.


Thanks to lax Spanish enforcement of<br />

smuggling laws, in 1794 alone the Chouteaus<br />

brought their Indian allies dozens of new<br />

muskets, 10,000 European-knapped gunflints,<br />

2,160 knives, 2,160 awls, 4,300 rings,<br />

70,000 trade beads, 670 virgin wool blankets,<br />

and 200 pounds of vermilion (mercuric<br />

sulfide red body pigment). <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

enjoyed 2,000 pounds of Canadian maple<br />

sugar, 30 gallons of rum, 27 gallons of<br />

Madeira wine, 50 pounds of chocolate,<br />

30 pounds of Chinese tea, 108 pairs of<br />

Moroccan leather shoes; silk stockings;<br />

and fancy cloth products made in England,<br />

Ireland, Russia, Holland, and India. Pierre<br />

Chouteau purchased a custom-made saddle<br />

from Sam Beazley of London, with tacking,<br />

stirrups, and his initials all in sterling silver.<br />

The Chouteau brothers were true internationalists<br />

well in advance of modern globalization.<br />

Those French Creoles living under<br />

a Spanish flag used a German agent in<br />

London to procure trade goods from Europe<br />

and Asia; had them shipped to Scottish,<br />

Irish, Jewish, English, and French merchants<br />

in Canada; transported those cargoes to<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> by Algonquian birch-bark canoes;<br />

and engaged traders and voyageurs from<br />

many ethnic origins to deliver imported<br />

merchandise to a vast variety of native<br />

nations up to a thousand miles from<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. The success of the Chouteaus also<br />

stimulated explorations far up the Missouri<br />

River by envious <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> competitors,<br />

such as Jacques Clamorgan, Manuel Lisa,<br />

James Mackay, and John Evans.<br />

The late 1790s represented the zenith of<br />

Bourbon <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s global commerce, as the<br />

wealth of the world poured into that tiny<br />

town suddenly grown to almost 2,500<br />

residents (a 78 percent increase). Flush<br />

with desirable consumer goods but<br />

needing to buy food for its non-farming<br />

business elites, the capital city of Upper<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana resembled the “hub” of a<br />

large wheel, with “spokes” connecting<br />

it to several surrounding agricultural<br />

villages that provided sustenance. The<br />

international fur trade stimulated a<br />

flourishing, diversified regional economy<br />

involving 3,300 residents, who,<br />

F O R E I G N E L I T E S I N A F R O N T I E R C I T Y<br />

“<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was always remarkable,” observed a nineteenth-century American,<br />

“for the degree of gentility among the better sort of its inhabitants.” Among<br />

European-born notables who settled in late eighteenth-century <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> were:<br />

Gabriel Cerre, a wealthy Montreal-born merchant with London connections.<br />

Jacques Ceran de <strong>St</strong>. Vrain, the merchant brother of the Spanish commandant.<br />

Charles de Hault de Lassus, a Flanders-born Frenchman, who was Spain’s last<br />

Lieutenant Governor of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Pierre Francois de Volsay, Paris-born army officer and member of the Royal and<br />

Military Order of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Father Pierre Joseph Didier, procurator of the Abbey Church of <strong>St</strong>. Denis, Paris.<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> Chauvet Dubreuil, French merchant son of a La Rochelle attorney.<br />

Charles Gratiot, Swiss-born French Huguenot trading with London and Canada.<br />

Joseph Hortiz, a well-educated Spanish native; secretary to lieutenant governors.<br />

Sylvestre Labbadie from Tarbes near Bearn, the richest <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> merchant by 1794.<br />

Marie Philippe Leduc, Paris-born officeholder with extensive legal expertise.<br />

Dr. Claude Mercier, a physician and surgeon from France.<br />

Charles Sanguinet, son of a Quebec notary and avid book collector.<br />

Dr. Antoine Francois Saugrain, a Paris surgeon related to Guillotine who knew<br />

Jefferson and Franklin and introduced smallpox vaccinations in the West.<br />

Antoine Soulard, a French navy veteran and the royal surveyor in Upper <strong>Louis</strong>iana.<br />

Benito Vasquez, an army adjutant and merchant from Galicia, Spain.<br />

Giuseppe Maria Francesco (Francis) Vigo, an Italian-born Spanish fur trader who<br />

helped fund the American Revolutionary expeditions of George Rogers Clark.<br />

in 1796, produced 75,000 bushels of maize,<br />

35,000 bushels of wheat, 25,000 pounds<br />

of tobacco, 219,000 pounds of lead, and<br />

6,000 bushels of salt, while pasturing<br />

4,000 cattle and 600 horses. Laclede’s<br />

original prediction that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s “central<br />

position” would stimulate other settlements<br />

had come true, and his foresight was<br />

reflected in the late twentieth-century motto<br />

of the Regional Chamber and Growth<br />

Association: “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, Perfectly Centered,<br />

Remarkably Connected.”<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in 1796; detail of the map,<br />

“Plan de la Ville de <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Des Illinois,”<br />

by Georges de Maillard de Bois Saint Lys to<br />

accompany the published journals of French<br />

General Victor Collot in that year.<br />

REPRODUCED WITH PICTORIAL EDITING FROM<br />

A 1907 PRINT IN THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

2 9


L A C L E D E ’ S L A S T I N G L E G A C I E S<br />

He was an entrepreneur and an explorer who made business the priority of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

He co-founded the Chouteau Dynasty that remained influential for many generations<br />

He commanded the expedition that founded <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

He selected an incomparably strategic town site, significant for commerce ever since<br />

He gave his town a name of fame, which has never changed<br />

He laid out a grid system of streets considered “modern” in 1764<br />

He linked the destinies of <strong>New</strong> Orleans and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as river capitals<br />

He established a very successful, long-term fur trade for economic stability<br />

He was a master of Indian diplomacy, achieving a key and long-lasting Osage alliance<br />

He created a tolerant, enlightened “Indian Capital” for multi-tribal diplomacy<br />

He helped keep the British out of the trans-Mississippi West<br />

He assisted Spanish officials, earning their trust by speaking their language<br />

He recruited the perfect settlers for a multicultural trading town<br />

He promoted unprecedented freedoms and self-governance among residents<br />

He recruited diverse immigrants, while making <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> a “refuge of all the French”<br />

He promoted French culture, civility, literacy, and affluent consumerism<br />

He made <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> a bookish, intellectual frontier city of great libraries and avid readers<br />

He invested a fortune in city buildings, amenities, merchandise, and loans to residents<br />

He encouraged confidence by his steady, consistent, and rational decision-making<br />

Walnut Armoire made in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

c. 1765 to 1790, by Jean Baptiste Ortes<br />

(from Laclede’s hometown of Bedous).<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY CARY HORTON; COURTESY OF<br />

THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS<br />

(OBJ:1905 013 0001).<br />

The highly successful boom town of buckskins<br />

disproved the Jeffersonians’ belief that<br />

“primitive” Indian hunting “only afforded a precarious<br />

subsistence” and could never support<br />

a sophisticated society. The alliance between<br />

astute merchants and accomplished Indian<br />

allies had made <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> the most prosperous,<br />

peaceful frontier city in America long before the<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase. That “center of manners,<br />

urbanity, and elegance” supported full employment<br />

and even cultivated “the fine arts,” as<br />

a Parisian intellectual noted. The affluence of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s consumer society in the last decade of<br />

the eighteenth century challenged the frontier<br />

stereotypes of crude cabins, deficient diets,<br />

and scarce schooling, as increasing numbers of<br />

distinguished Europeans, with excellent educations,<br />

expensive tastes, and enormous talents,<br />

moved to that remote little center of “refinement<br />

and fashion” funded by mammal skins.<br />

Increasing numbers of Anglo-American<br />

backwoodsmen also moved near the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

area in the late 1700s, including Daniel Boone<br />

and his extended family. They came from a<br />

violent trans-Appalachian frontier that contradicted<br />

the tolerant, Indian-friendly conduct of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans. Elite French families feared<br />

“brawling” Kentuckians, as “too Numerous<br />

[and] too Lawless…ever to be restrained”—<br />

loathing that “plague of locusts” determined<br />

to “gain all the vast continent occupied by the<br />

Indians.” But Anglo-Americans have always<br />

loved their frontier fighters. A hero-worshipping<br />

writer in 1829 characterized Boone as<br />

one of the prominent “riflemen of the west,<br />

the daring sons of the forest, to whom danger<br />

was sport, hardship was pastime, death was<br />

nothing, and glory everything.” Such mythmaking<br />

has never died. Historian R. Douglas<br />

Hurt recently wrote that Boone “epitomized<br />

the frontiersman” as “an excellent hunter<br />

and trapper,” who led western pioneers to<br />

“a dangerous frontier” and protected them<br />

with “his rifle, courage, and leadership.”<br />

But killing Indians was a cruel and uncreative<br />

solution to intercultural conflicts, compared<br />

to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s alternative frontier policies<br />

that generated lucrative exports in partnership<br />

with Indians, while never profiting from<br />

genocide. Laclede and other Catholic businessmen<br />

demonstrated all of the capitalistic<br />

achievements erroneously believed to be<br />

exclusive to the “Protestant Ethic.” They also<br />

shared the stereotypical “frontier traits” of<br />

Anglo-Americans—self-reliance, individualism,<br />

and personal freedom—without slaughtering<br />

their native neighbors. Rather than venerating<br />

buckskin-wearing baby-killers of the backwoods<br />

as national heroes, citizens in today’s<br />

complex and increasingly dangerous multicultural<br />

world could learn some lessons<br />

from Laclede. He may have been the ideal<br />

frontiersman, because he promoted interethnic<br />

commerce while rejecting blood-thirsty<br />

prejudices that destroyed Indians and dispossessed<br />

them of their homelands. That talented,<br />

tolerant French explorer was more insightful,<br />

progressive, and compassionate than the<br />

“American heroes” who practiced “wilderness<br />

savagery” from sea to sea. While Americans<br />

then and now have typically ranked the success<br />

of our society based on its victories, colonial<br />

French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans took a more humane<br />

approach and judged a society by its victims.<br />

While Boone’s brawn epitomized the heritage<br />

of rural Missouri, Laclede’s brain created<br />

a civilized, non-violent, and economically<br />

advanced city in his century that remains a<br />

marvel of creativity and compassion to this day.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

30


The 1914 <strong>St</strong>atue of Laclede by George<br />

Julian Zolnay, photographed with the Civil<br />

Courts Building and The Bell Telephone<br />

Building in the background; no date.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY<br />

MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS.<br />

C H A P T E R 1<br />

3 1


Detail from the John Mitchell Map of 1755,<br />

one of several versions in the Library of<br />

Congress; pictorial editing of a reprint in the<br />

author’s collection. That British cartographer<br />

anticipated the Paris treaties of 1763, 1783,<br />

and 1803 in which “Greater Virginia”<br />

expanded aggressively westward into<br />

French and Spanish territory according to<br />

its early seventeenth-century sea-to-sea<br />

royal charters.<br />

“The time is not far distant…when the uncultivated wilds of the interior part of the continent,<br />

which is now only inhabited by the tawny sons of the forest, …will be exchanged for…<br />

agriculture…[and] turn those sterile wildernesses into rich, cultivated…fields.”<br />

–American William Fisher, 1812<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

EXPLORING ST. LOUIS AS<br />

CAPITAL OF THE AMERICAN WEST<br />

On the evening of August 6, 1803, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans received sudden and shocking news when an<br />

American courier arrived from Vincennes and delivered a dispatch to Carlos Dehault Delassus,<br />

the last Spanish lieutenant governor of Upper <strong>Louis</strong>iana. It was a note from General William<br />

Henry Harrison, the Virginia-born governor of the Indiana Territory, announcing “the entire<br />

cession of <strong>New</strong> Orleans and the whole of <strong>Louis</strong>iana to the United <strong>St</strong>ates.” As darkness descended<br />

on that distressful evening, the Chouteau clan feared that their extensive fortune and expansive<br />

family had reached the twilight of their dominance under Bourbon administrators.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

32


The bitter disappointment of being sold<br />

to the Americans was considerably magnified<br />

because French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans had spent<br />

the previous nine months anticipating a<br />

“golden age” of cultural rebirth and expanded<br />

commerce under Emperor Napoleon. He had<br />

reclaimed the <strong>Louis</strong>iana territory from Spain<br />

in 1800, but his ambitious plans for a new<br />

French-American empire were dashed by a<br />

successful slave revolution in Haiti and war<br />

with Great Britain. Those <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans who<br />

remembered being abandoned by France in<br />

1763 especially resented Napoleon’s insincere<br />

“regret” in not reuniting with “those who<br />

have been Frenchmen.” When U.S. officials<br />

replaced the national banners of Spain and<br />

France with the stars and stripes in the March<br />

1804 “Three Flags Ceremony,” it seemed like<br />

a final, bitter surrender to Anglo-Americans.<br />

An eyewitness reported that “the cheers of<br />

the [French] crowd were faint and few, as<br />

many, many of the people shed bitter tears of<br />

regret at being transferred…to a strange<br />

government, with whose manners, habits,<br />

language, and laws they were not familiar.”<br />

It was Captain Amos <strong>St</strong>oddard, the first U.S.<br />

commandant in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—not Napoleon—<br />

who expressed his delight with <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in<br />

1804: “The town contains about 200 houses,<br />

mostly very large and built of stone; it is<br />

elevated and healthy, and the people are<br />

rich and hospitable; they live in a style equal<br />

to those in the large seaport towns, and I<br />

find no want of education among them.”<br />

Despite an anti-Indian prejudice that refused<br />

to credit the Osages for <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s success,<br />

<strong>St</strong>oddard predicted that the city would<br />

“soon become a star of no<br />

inconsiderable magnitude in<br />

the American constellation.”<br />

And he was right. Even<br />

though American officials<br />

originally regarded <strong>New</strong><br />

Orleans as the most desirable<br />

city in the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase<br />

Territory, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> would<br />

prove far more influential<br />

in developing the potential<br />

of that gift from Napoleon.<br />

The <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase<br />

was a transformative event<br />

that quickly revolutionized and completely<br />

traumatized French and Indian populations in<br />

the West. The acquisition and initial, partial<br />

exploration of those 828,000 square miles<br />

Left: Portion of the “Town Layout in 1804,”<br />

by Dr. Robert Moore of the National Park<br />

Service at the Gateway Arch.<br />

USED WITH PERMISSION.<br />

Below: Nineteenth-century portrait of<br />

Auguste Chouteau.<br />

COURTESY, MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (1869 001 0001).<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

3 3


Meeting the Cajaux, June 8, 1804,<br />

painting by Michael Haynes<br />

(www.mhaynesart.com) and used with<br />

permission. As Lewis and Clark headed up<br />

the Missouri River, they passed several<br />

French fur convoys on their way to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

in a variety of vessels, including the lashed<br />

together canoes seen here and another boat<br />

paddled by an Indian woman—all loaded<br />

with animal skins from a thousand<br />

miles away.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

34<br />

were accomplished by Virginians to benefit<br />

Virginia, which claimed sea-to-sea sovereignty<br />

via royal English charters to the Jamestown<br />

founders. Two centuries of westward expansion<br />

followed, as land-hungry Virginia frontiersmen<br />

invaded Indian homelands and created terrortories<br />

of terrible atrocities to procure the<br />

fresh, fertile lands needed to grow their soildestroying<br />

tobacco. By 1774, Spanish <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

was already called the “Western Parts of<br />

Virginia,” and after George Rogers Clark’s<br />

invasion of British Illinois four years later,<br />

there was a “Fort Jefferson” on the Ohio River<br />

and a Randolph County (named for the family<br />

of Jefferson’s mother) across from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Despite old animosities and continuing<br />

misgivings, Auguste and Pierre Chouteau were<br />

determined to remain rich and relevant by<br />

demonstrating their usefulness to President<br />

Jefferson and his fellow Virginia “Sovereigns<br />

of the Country” who administered <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

By 1803, Virginia was being called a “new<br />

Rome.” It was already the largest state in area<br />

(117,000 square miles) and population, with<br />

514,000 whites and 346,000 black slaves,<br />

and its leading aristocratic revolutionaries<br />

were on their way to monopolizing the U.S.<br />

presidency for 32 of the first 36 years of the<br />

new nation.<br />

Accepting the reality that numerical<br />

superiority, military supremacy, and commercial<br />

indispensability had shifted from the Osages<br />

to the Americans, Laclede’s heirs volunteered<br />

their services as city leaders, political advisors,<br />

multilingual diplomats, treaty negotiators,<br />

and liaisons with other French residents.<br />

The potential to exert greater influence on<br />

a grander scale convinced the pragmatic<br />

capitalist, Auguste Chouteau, to write his<br />

famous “Narrative of the Founding of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>” in 1804—informing U.S. officials<br />

about the indispensable role his founding<br />

family should continue to play. According to<br />

historian Jay Gitlin, those “French founders<br />

are still celebrated today,” because they<br />

literally “earned a place in the city they had<br />

created,” allowing <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to avoid “the<br />

marginalization that was the fate of other<br />

non-Anglo communities” taken over by the<br />

United <strong>St</strong>ates.


The Lewis and Clark Expedition broke the<br />

ice with formerly resentful French merchants,<br />

who supplied the Corps of Discovery with<br />

several skilled boatmen, essential merchandise,<br />

valuable advice, and even maps of the<br />

Missouri River made a decade earlier. But<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans did not condone the prejudicial<br />

attitudes and hostile actions of the Expedition<br />

commanders toward Indians that reflected<br />

Virginia’s traditional frontier bellicosity. The<br />

Corps of Discovery killed two Indians<br />

and threatened countless others. Lewis<br />

and Clark expected “Father” Jefferson’s<br />

dependent “red children” to “Demean<br />

themselves towards our government”<br />

and “readily yield their exclusive<br />

friendship to those whose Power<br />

they Dread.” Those commanders, who<br />

carried special surveyors’ compasses<br />

that Indians called “land stealers,”<br />

forged the “future path of civilization”<br />

that would all too soon “receive…<br />

the overflowing tide of our own<br />

population.” The one million words<br />

that Lewis and Clark wrote in their<br />

travel journals encouraged generations<br />

of Americans to exploit a future white<br />

West after it was emptied of native<br />

populations and traditions that had<br />

made French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> so successful.<br />

After traveling over 8,000 miles<br />

in twenty-eight months, the Corps<br />

of Discovery ended triumphantly at<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on September 23, 1806.<br />

Acknowledging Laclede’s ideal town<br />

location, Lewis and Clark made<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> the first capital of the<br />

American West—and their new home.<br />

Lewis became territorial governor,<br />

while Clark was chief of Indian affairs,<br />

and together they altered the traditional<br />

trade and native relations of French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Most of present-day Missouri was to be<br />

cleared of Indians to make room for voting<br />

American farmers, while fur trading beyond<br />

its borders was permitted for the time being<br />

with more stringent bureaucratic regulations.<br />

President Jefferson viewed Indian commerce<br />

as a coercive means to deprive native nations<br />

of their homelands. He planned to have<br />

“good and influential” Indians “run into debt”<br />

with white traders, forcing them to surrender<br />

tribal territories to eliminate those obligations.<br />

Once native territories were too small for<br />

productive hunting, Indian males would<br />

have to become “civilized” plow- farmers—or<br />

starve. Historian Woody Holton observed<br />

that Jefferson’s “Empire of Liberty” was<br />

designed to benefit whites, and “there could<br />

be no empire without the extermination of<br />

Indians that blocked its path.”<br />

Lewis and Clark’s revolutionary policies<br />

for the Far West encouraged white trappers<br />

to harvest beavers in the Rocky Mountains—<br />

stealing those valuable resources without<br />

sharing the profits with native hunters. The<br />

Corps commanders had discovered prime<br />

beaver pelts in those high altitudes of the<br />

U.S. West that finally matched the quality of<br />

Canadian ones in northern latitudes, and<br />

they created a beaver boom upon their return<br />

Beaver pelts in every size and color from the<br />

Fausz family collection.<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

3 5


The expulsion of all Indians by 1830 from<br />

the new <strong>St</strong>ate of Missouri was represented<br />

in this illustration from Ballou’s Pictorial<br />

newspaper of Boston on July 28, 1855.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. In 1807, Clark and Lewis’s<br />

brother became partners with Manual Lisa,<br />

Pierre Chouteau, Sr., and other investors, in<br />

the new “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Missouri Fur Company.”<br />

Governor Lewis procured a $7,000 federal<br />

grant to fund one upriver trapping<br />

expedition, and that conflict of interest in<br />

using his public office to enhance the private<br />

profits of friends would ultimately doom<br />

the Osages.<br />

Even though Osage furs were still<br />

lucrative, deerskins could not compete with<br />

beaver pelts in profitability. As both explorers<br />

and administrators, Lewis and Clark made<br />

the Osages expendable, because their<br />

territory—“immense tracts of fine Country”<br />

that were “much more fertile” than Virginia—<br />

now had greater value than their trade.<br />

The Osages were victims of their own<br />

success in making French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> a<br />

profitable town that proved so appealing<br />

to land-hungry Anglo-Americans. The<br />

native allies of Laclede and Chouteau<br />

generously shared their precious wisdom of<br />

the West with President Jefferson’s fellow<br />

Virginians, who used that knowledge to<br />

undermine Osage hegemony and to diminish<br />

their legacy.<br />

Jefferson was determined to make the<br />

United <strong>St</strong>ates the supreme power beyond<br />

the Mississippi, but he could not risk<br />

an immediate confrontation with the<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

36


A M O T L E Y M I X O F M I G R A N T S<br />

While the Americans forced out native populations, the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase encouraged an influx of new white residents from<br />

across the country, which perpetuated a different type of multiculturalism than colonial <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

U.S. General James Wilkinson arrived at <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in July 1805 as governor of Upper <strong>Louis</strong>iana. Theodore Roosevelt wrote that<br />

“in all our history, there is no more despicable character.” He was already controversial, having been implicated in army plots against<br />

General Mad Anthony Wayne and even George Washington and would survive several courts martial. In September 1805, Aaron Burr,<br />

Jefferson’s former vice president, met with Wilkinson at <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, allegedly to discuss the treasonous plot to create their own western<br />

empire. General Wilkinson’s controversial and contentious tenure as governor ended in August 1806, after which it was revealed that<br />

he had been a well-paid Spanish spy for years and plotted to destroy the Lewis and Clark Expedition!<br />

Sacagawea came to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to visit her Shoshone-French son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (“Pomp”), being raised by William Clark.<br />

Baptized by a Trappist monk in 1809, with Auguste Chouteau serving as his godfather, Pomp studied at the Catholic academy that<br />

evolved into Saint <strong>Louis</strong> University. At nineteen, he accompanied the Duke of Wurttemberg on his western travels and lived in Europe<br />

from 1823 to 1829. He spent the next four decades as a valued western guide, conversant in English, French, Spanish, German, and<br />

several native languages.<br />

Clark’s slave, York, lived in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> after his valuable contributions as the only African American member of the Lewis and<br />

Clark Expedition.<br />

Captain Joseph Conway, a friend of Daniel Boone, had fought Indians in Ohio, where he had been shot three times and scalped<br />

three times but killed seven warriors.<br />

Judge James Hawkins Peck from Tennessee literally delivered “blind justice” by conducting court while wearing a blindfold.<br />

Massachusetts-born fur trader Russell Farnham took the longest route to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, traveling from the Columbia River by way of<br />

the Bering <strong>St</strong>rait, <strong>St</strong>. Petersburg, Paris, and an Atlantic crossing, to deliver British bank drafts to John Jacob Astor in <strong>New</strong> York City<br />

before arriving here as a suspected British spy captured in the Great Lakes.<br />

“great nation” of the populous Osages. The<br />

president was respectful in his 1804 meeting<br />

with Osage chiefs—the first Indians in the<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase Territory to visit him.<br />

But he grew more aggressive by 1806, after<br />

they had obeyed him by not retaliating<br />

against the vicious attacks of tribal enemies.<br />

Once the Osages began behaving like<br />

“Quakers,” the emboldened president<br />

demanded that they abandon their traditional<br />

homeland—or else. Americans, he threatened,<br />

“are strong, we are numerous as the stars<br />

in the heavens, and we are all gun-men”<br />

who “do not fear any nation.”<br />

Indian artifacts representative of those in<br />

Clark’s Indian Museum on Main <strong>St</strong>reet,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

3 7


U.S. government gifts to Indians.<br />

As Superintendent of Indian Affairs in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, William Clark chose this cotton<br />

fabric and other designs, as official gifts<br />

to native delegations. The tomahawk is<br />

marked “USID” (Indian Department)<br />

and was given to tribes as a treaty gift.<br />

Author’s photograph of his artifacts.<br />

In 1808, Governor Lewis suddenly<br />

suspended trade with the Osages, falsely<br />

accusing them of killing white settlers. He<br />

threatened a war of extermination using their<br />

many Indian enemies unless they signed the<br />

controversial Treaty of Fort Osage. Several<br />

intimidated Osage chiefs ceded 52,480,000<br />

acres of their traditional territory to the U.S.<br />

government, receiving only a fraction of a<br />

cent per acre. Having never warred with the<br />

Americans, the Osages were shocked to be<br />

the first western Indians dispossessed of their<br />

homelands and the only ones forced to<br />

abandon a still-profitable fur trade. In the<br />

Second Treaty of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in June 1825,<br />

Clark took the last 40,000 square miles of<br />

Osage lands and soon forced them to leave<br />

the state they had helped create.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> under the Americans remained<br />

the center of Indian diplomacy in the West.<br />

An eyewitness in the 1820s described how<br />

Indians, “a hundred or more at a time” would<br />

“promenade down our Main <strong>St</strong>reet in Indian<br />

file,” including bare-legged chiefs wearing<br />

U.S. army officer coats and “military hats<br />

with plumes,” while warriors, draped in<br />

“Mackinaw blankets,” each carried “a flaming<br />

scarlet umbrella…in one hand and…a palm<br />

leaf fan in the other.” They headed for<br />

William Clark’s Indian Council Chamber<br />

and museum of Indian curiosities on North<br />

Main <strong>St</strong>reet. The museum was described as<br />

“the most complete” collection of Native<br />

American artifacts and portraits in white<br />

hands “anywhere in the United <strong>St</strong>ates” that<br />

early. In 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette was<br />

very impressed by what he saw—especially<br />

the grizzly claw necklace—as were other<br />

European elites of the era who were<br />

fascinated by Native American cultures.<br />

Although the Indian items collected by “Red-<br />

Headed Chief” Clark honored indigenous<br />

cultures in one sense, his filing cabinets<br />

were filled with treaties documenting the<br />

419,000,000 acres he wrested from the<br />

homelands of many western tribes.<br />

Clark’s rapidly rising career symbolized<br />

the new opportunities for U.S. army officers<br />

in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. The town’s strategic site made it<br />

an ideal launching point for new explorations.<br />

In 1805, Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike left<br />

there in an unsuccessful attempt to seek the<br />

source of the Mississippi River. With soldiers<br />

from Fort Bellefontaine, a U.S. army base<br />

north of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, Pike then led an 1806-07<br />

expedition to the Arkansas and Red Rivers,<br />

eventually reaching the Rio Grande. A dozen<br />

years later, Major <strong>St</strong>ephen H. Long left<br />

from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to map present-day Kansas<br />

and Nebraska—establishing a precedent by<br />

taking artists Samuel Seymour and Titian<br />

Peale to paint exquisite scenery that helped<br />

Americans to visualize the West.<br />

During the War of 1812 army personnel<br />

from Fort Bellefontaine protected the town<br />

from British and Indian invasion. In 1813<br />

Clark led a successful raid on the pro-British<br />

Sauk and Fox stronghold at Prairie du Chien<br />

(Wisconsin) with 60 soldiers and 140 <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

38


militiamen. Following the war, Clark,<br />

Auguste Chouteau, and Ninian Edwards<br />

of Illinois, negotiated new treaties with<br />

thousands of Indians from twenty-nine native<br />

nations assembled at Portage des Sioux.<br />

The necessity to document such federal<br />

Indian treaties with legal precision<br />

symbolized the increasing influence of<br />

American attorneys in a French town that<br />

never had any use for that profession.<br />

Legions of U.S. lawyers also thronged to<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to litigate contested Spanish land<br />

grants, with a mostly negative impact on the<br />

French founding families. For at least half<br />

a century after the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase,<br />

“lawyering” provided upward social mobility<br />

for Americans in Missouri, whose training in<br />

English common law, rather than the nowobsolete<br />

French civil law, gave them a distinct<br />

advantage in courtrooms and political<br />

campaigns. In 1808, Virginia-born Frederick<br />

Bates, a <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> judge and future Missouri<br />

governor, produced a 372-page Compilation<br />

of the Laws of the Territory of <strong>Louis</strong>iana—a<br />

milestone of territorial maturity. It was printed<br />

in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> by Irishman Joseph Charless,<br />

who, that same year, began publishing the<br />

Missouri Gazette and <strong>Louis</strong>iana Advertiser,<br />

the first newspaper in the West.<br />

Political institutions also reflected the<br />

maturation of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, which was officially<br />

incorporated as an American “town” in 1809.<br />

The first elected trustees represented a cultural<br />

confluence, as Auguste and Pierre Chouteau<br />

and brother-in-law Bernard Pratte served with<br />

Edward Hempstead (a Connecticut lawyer<br />

who married into the French Dubreuil family)<br />

and Alexander McNair (a former army officer<br />

from Pennsylvania). They established the<br />

first “police patrol” and set curfews for a<br />

diverse and potentially disruptive population<br />

that included Indians, “bragging” Mississippi<br />

boatmen, Canadian voyageurs, and rifle-toting<br />

Kentucky hunters.<br />

In 1815 old French elites formed the<br />

“Little Junto” dominated by the Chouteau<br />

brothers and their commercial kinsmen:<br />

Pratte, Charles Gratiot, John P. Cabanné,<br />

Sylvestre Labbadie, and Gregoire Sarpy.<br />

They sought to have their extensive Spanish<br />

land grants confirmed and favored fur<br />

A N “ O R N A M E N T E D C I T Y ” I N A N E W S T A T E<br />

In the year that statehood was achieved, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had 651 homes—232 built<br />

of stone or brick—with 108 new dwellings constructed in the last six years alone.<br />

The 1821 <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Directory and Register, compiled by John A. Paxton, recorded<br />

the current status of Missouri’s “commercial metropolis.” Despite an economic<br />

recession from 1819 to 1823, the town featured:<br />

Thriving Catholic, Baptist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Methodist congregations;<br />

Saint <strong>Louis</strong> College with 65 students using Bishop DuBourg’s 8,000-book library;<br />

10 common schools;<br />

5 weekly newspapers, several printers, and a bookstore;<br />

a portrait-painter “who would do credit to any country”;<br />

“professional musicians” who played at balls to encourage “healthy” dancing;<br />

2 “cordial distillers” and candy-makers;<br />

12 tailors, 3 hatters, 13 shoemakers, 5 jewelers, and at least one watch-maker;<br />

4 hair-dressers, several perfumers, and a comb factory;<br />

46 “mercantile establishments” trading with the “distant parts of the Republic”;<br />

27 attorneys;<br />

a hospital, 13 doctors, 3 midwives, and 3 druggists;<br />

57 grocers and 4 bakers;<br />

3 gunsmiths;<br />

8 large inns/hotels, plus many boarding houses;<br />

6 livery stables, 3 saddlemakers, 9 blacksmiths, and 3 coach builders;<br />

a ferry to Illinois and stages running to Edwardsville and Franklin;<br />

2 brickyards, 2 potteries, a nail factory, a tannery, and 3 soap and candle manufacturers;<br />

28 carpenters, 3 masons, 14 brick-layers, 13 furniture makers, and 10 house painters;<br />

4 “Coopers, Block, Pump, and Mast-makers”;<br />

5 billiard parlors, each paying $100 in annual state and city taxes;<br />

one brewery “of a quality equal to any in the western country”;<br />

2 beer gardens for “entertainment and recreation”—one atop an Indian mound,<br />

and a theatre at 72 North Main <strong>St</strong>reet.<br />

trading over extensive farming. Those French<br />

town leaders were supported by General<br />

Clark and his nephew, John O’Fallon, along<br />

with Hempstead and McNair, who were<br />

sympathetic to those priorities. Opponents of<br />

the Junto included John B. C. Lucas, Joseph<br />

Charless, Rufus Easton, William Russell, and<br />

David Barton, who supported American real<br />

estate speculators and increasing the number<br />

of immigrant farmers.<br />

Such political rivalries among local luminaries<br />

took on greater importance as statehood<br />

approached. Meeting in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s Mansion<br />

House Hotel, a constitutional convention<br />

produced a draft document by July 1820.<br />

With representation based on population,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> dominated the proceedings with<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

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An 1820 Bank of Missouri $10 Note, signed<br />

by president Auguste Chouteau. It portrays<br />

Thomas Jefferson as a Roman emperor,<br />

but with French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s symbols of<br />

commerce, rather than the president’s<br />

preference for agriculture.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

18 percent of the delegates, including: David<br />

Barton (who presided over the convention),<br />

Virginian Edward Bates (the future first attorney<br />

general), fur traders Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,<br />

and Bernard Pratte, Alexander McNair<br />

(the state’s first governor), General William<br />

Rector (U.S. army surveyor), banker Thomas<br />

Riddick, and John C. Sullivan (a justice of<br />

the county court).<br />

Eighteen years after the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase,<br />

Missouri entered the Union as the twentyfourth<br />

state on August 10, 1821—the first<br />

one located entirely west of the Mississippi<br />

and also have a bilingual constitution in<br />

French and English. The new state had a<br />

population of 56,000 whites, mostly from<br />

Virginia and Kentucky, and 10,000 black<br />

slaves, representing 19 percent of the state’s<br />

population and 15 percent of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s.<br />

Missouri would be the northernmost slave<br />

state in the West—as mandated by the<br />

Missouri Compromise of 1820—sharing a<br />

southern border with Virginia and Kentucky<br />

at a latitude of 36 degrees, 30 minutes, as<br />

predicted by the Mitchell map of 1755.<br />

But Virginians had compromised the<br />

Bourbon culture of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> long before<br />

statehood, making an Indian-friendly city<br />

into the capital of a white-dominated state<br />

cleared of Native Americans. That cultural<br />

victory was apparent when Missouri’s new<br />

state capital and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s latest army base<br />

were both named for Jefferson in 1826, the<br />

year he died. By mid-century, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

universally praised the once-contentious<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase, regarding it as a “Happy<br />

Annexation,” without which, their city<br />

“would be in everything at least a quarter<br />

century behind where we are now.” Most of<br />

the old French families were reconciled with<br />

Americanization, widely praising Jefferson,<br />

whose “pen gave freedom to the eastern half<br />

of our republic, and his diplomacy united it<br />

to the other half.” Today, Missouri has more<br />

monuments honoring Jefferson, including his<br />

original tombstone on the Mizzou campus,<br />

than any state except Virginia.<br />

The past of Virginia had become the future<br />

of Missouri because, despite their different<br />

religions, languages, laws, and cultures, the<br />

French founders and American administrators<br />

shared two traditional socioeconomic<br />

goals: perpetuating race-based black slavery<br />

and profiting from all natural resources in the<br />

West. From 1804 to 1816, Virginians represented<br />

the largest group of Anglo-Americans<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

40


(30 percent) who migrated to Missouri, and<br />

three of the first four Missouri governors<br />

had been born in Virginia. Of the next seven<br />

governors down to 1857, two were Virginians,<br />

while the other five came from the Virginiainfluenced<br />

trans-Appalachian frontier states<br />

of Kentucky and Tennessee. For many decades,<br />

the most prominent leaders throughout<br />

Missouri had all been born somewhere else.<br />

“The most obvious result of Americanization<br />

in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,” wrote historian James Neal Primm,<br />

“was deplorable public behavior.” There was<br />

a growing acceptance of increasing violence,<br />

as illustrated by the measly $500 fine levied<br />

against an 1840 murderer who had beaten a<br />

newspaper editor to death with an iron cane.<br />

Primm observed that such violence was<br />

not attributable to the “wild” frontier, since<br />

“<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was no longer the frontier”—“it<br />

had been less violent when it was.” From the<br />

1820s to the 1840s, a growing number of gun<br />

shops opened in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> after the removal<br />

of so-called “hostile savages” out of Missouri.<br />

On sale in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> were a large variety of<br />

dueling pistols, “pocket” guns, “desperate”<br />

knives, sword canes, daggers, Bowie knives<br />

with pistol attached (“which will shoot and<br />

cut at the same time”), self-cocking revolving<br />

pistols that fired “6 times in only 4 seconds,”<br />

and even small cannons for personal use.<br />

Ironically, the Hawken advertisement for<br />

firearms adjoined one for grave stones, and<br />

both businesses were located on Washington<br />

Avenue. Ads from the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Business<br />

Directory for 1847.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

4 1


L I T I G I O U S L A W Y E R S D U E L I N G T O T H E D E A T H<br />

Deadly duels were extremely rare under the French and Spanish, and “there had been no murders in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> for forty years”<br />

prior to the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase, according to Primm. But American attorneys, influenced by the traditional dueling culture of<br />

the Old South, sought to defend their “honor as civilized gentlemen” by shooting other lawyers, often on “Bloody Island” in the<br />

middle of the Mississippi River.<br />

In 1810 the earliest notable duel involved attorney James A. Graham and Dr. Bernard G. Farrar of Kentucky—a second who had<br />

to stand in for his cowardly brother-in-law when he failed to appear. Farrar mortally wounded the man he had no grievance against<br />

and then offered medical assistance.<br />

In 1817, only a year after arriving in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> from Tennessee, future U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton killed lawyer Charles Lucas,<br />

son of his political rival, Judge J. B. C. Lucas. It was their second duel, after both men had been wounded three months earlier.<br />

The most spectacular duel on Bloody Island occurred in August 26, 1831, when Congressman Spencer Pettis faced off against<br />

U. S. Army Major Thomas Biddle. They stood only five feet apart and fired simultaneously. A large crowd on the riverbank heard<br />

the chilling result, “both mortally wounded!” Pettis died the next day at the age of 29, while Biddle succumbed two days later,<br />

aged 41. Senator Benton, a close friend of Pettis, wrote a stirring account of “one of the most desperate encounters that had ever<br />

occurred in the country,” an essay circulated in newspapers throughout the nation.<br />

John Smith “T” (identifying his Tennessee roots) claimed that he had killed 14 men in duels, including a nephew of former<br />

Vice President Aaron Burr. He was always acquitted and strolled <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> streets with four pistols, a rifle, and two knives.<br />

In addition to the standard “pistols at ten paces,” an 1845 duel was fought with swords, and in 1857, adversaries considered<br />

using rifles at sixty paces. A. B. Chambers and Thomas B. Hudson shot a total of six bullets at each other, missing every time,<br />

and ended their dispute without bloodshed. Duels continued until the Civil War, but they were outlawed in the 1865 state<br />

constitution—a provision that remained until 1945!<br />

Changing <strong>St</strong>reet Names from French to<br />

English—a map by Musick in his <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

as a Fortified Town; copyright expired.<br />

In 1826, the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> city council adopted a<br />

“modern” system of naming most downtown<br />

streets for trees (Walnut, Pine, Chestnut,<br />

etc.) like Philadelphia. Market <strong>St</strong>reet and<br />

Washington Avenue were already too<br />

familiar to change, however.<br />

In 1822, the state legislature made <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

an official “city” with a mayor and 9 original<br />

aldermen. The city’s population had increased<br />

300 percent by 1818, and in the early 1820s,<br />

it had 5,500 residents, with another 4,200<br />

people living on the outskirts. When<br />

Pennsylvania native, Dr. William Carr Lane,<br />

defeated both Auguste and Pierre Chouteau<br />

in successive elections for mayor of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

in the mid-1820s, the 155 old French families<br />

realized that an ever-expanding population<br />

of foreigners would forever put them at<br />

a disadvantage at the polls. A 187 percent<br />

increase in immigrants between 1810 and<br />

1820, and another 208 percent from 1820<br />

to 1840, had diluted the French population<br />

and diminished the recognition of their<br />

past contributions among the new citizens.<br />

A visiting Parisian observed that the city’s<br />

“rich, esteemed French” residents were<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

42


“reclusive [and] irrelevant, clinging to slavery<br />

and their traditions.” A Presbyterian geographer<br />

in 1834 claimed that the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> French<br />

were “a population of a very peculiar character.”<br />

They were “amiable” and “quiet” and retained<br />

their own language,” which was “somewhat<br />

corrupted” by living with Americans.<br />

French residents endured the changing<br />

names of their original streets and the<br />

tiresome mispronunciation of their native<br />

language. Leaving politics to the Americans,<br />

they seemed content with making money<br />

from their vast inventory of properties—and<br />

hosting the most lavish balls and receptions<br />

in the city’s largest, fanciest mansions.<br />

Hospitality had long been a French specialty,<br />

and in April 1825, the descendants of the<br />

founders threw the biggest party of all in<br />

welcoming the Marquis de Lafayette to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Clark joined the Chouteau brothers as the<br />

official hosts who wined and dined him and<br />

his entourage, after the state legislature and<br />

Virginia-born governor declined to honor the<br />

old military hero who had helped America<br />

win its independence. Auguste Levasseur,<br />

Lafayette’s secretary and chronicler of his<br />

“Farewell Tour,” wrote that the April ball<br />

was attended by “the most brilliant and<br />

most numerous company,” and he praised the<br />

“luster of the decorations…and the elegance<br />

of the ladies,” which “made us forget entirely<br />

that we were at the entrance of the wilderness.”<br />

Lafayette’s immensely popular visit contributed<br />

to the resurgence of pride and<br />

productivity in every sphere of traditional<br />

French influence—from Catholicism to fur<br />

trading. Between 1818 and 1834, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

became famous as the “Rome of the West,”<br />

constructing a church, a cathedral, and a university<br />

under inspired leadership. In 1818<br />

the Right Reverend <strong>Louis</strong> William DuBourg,<br />

a Sulpician priest born in Santo Domingo<br />

and former president of Georgetown College,<br />

assumed his duties as the new Bishop of<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana. His critically important decision to<br />

make <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> his diocesan headquarters,<br />

rather than <strong>New</strong> Orleans, confirmed the city’s<br />

position as the ideal gateway for Catholic<br />

missionaries to reach potential Indian<br />

converts in the Far West.<br />

DuBourg began the expensive and nevercompleted<br />

first brick Catholic church on<br />

Laclede’s Church Lands and founded the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Academy, which evolved into Saint<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> University, the first college west of the<br />

Mississippi, in 1832. He also encouraged Jesuits<br />

to open the first Catholic school for Native<br />

American boys in the nation and recruited<br />

Grenoble-born Mother Rose Duchesne (now<br />

Saint Philippine) and five other French nuns<br />

French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans, like French Canadiens,<br />

were famous for their formal balls. This<br />

Dance in the Château <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, Quebec<br />

was painted by George Heriot in 1801.<br />

COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES OF CANADA,<br />

ACCESSION NO. 1989-472-1; COPYRIGHT EXPIRED.<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

4 3


Les Indiens Osages, one of two matching<br />

1827 lithographs of original portraits by<br />

Parisian artist, <strong>Louis</strong>-Leopold Boilly.<br />

This shows three of the six Osages,<br />

most prominently the woman, Mohongo<br />

(“Sacred Sun”), who went to Europe in 1827<br />

with <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> promoter, David Dulauney,<br />

and interpreter Paul Loise, a Chouteau<br />

metis. They performed popular native<br />

dances for French, Dutch, and German<br />

crowds and met King Charles X. But they<br />

were abandoned and stranded in France,<br />

until Lafayette and Bishop DuBourg paid<br />

for their passage home in 1830. That strong<br />

French connection continues today, as the<br />

Osage Nation selects young men and<br />

women to make a similar journey.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

of the Society of the Sacred Heart. They<br />

founded a convent school in <strong>St</strong>. Charles—<br />

“the first free school for American and Creole<br />

girls west of the Mississippi”—according to<br />

Barbara O. Korner. She noted that the<br />

“Society of the Sacred Heart was the only one<br />

of the six European orders that came to<br />

America prior to 1830 that survived.” Its<br />

local legacy also included a similar school for<br />

French girls and a female Indian seminary,<br />

both based in Florissant, because property in<br />

downtown <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was too expensive, having<br />

increased 500 percent in only two years.<br />

DuBourg’s equally energetic successor—<br />

and the first bishop of the Diocese of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—was Joseph Rosati. His leadership<br />

helped <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans forget the funding<br />

nightmare associated with the brick church<br />

and redirected community efforts to create<br />

a beautiful limestone cathedral worthy of a<br />

growing city of increasing fame. After three<br />

years of construction, his masterpiece was<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

44


completed in 1834. Known today as the<br />

Cathedral Basilica of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>, King<br />

of France, the “Old Cathedral” adjoining<br />

the National Park Service grounds of the<br />

Gateway Arch is undergoing extensive<br />

interior and exterior renovations that will<br />

make it a much-visited historic showpiece<br />

once again.<br />

Rosati’s cathedral faced south, but almost<br />

everything else associated with <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was<br />

focused on the West. The religious resurgence<br />

of the French community was accompanied<br />

by an even more impressive commercial<br />

revival. The elite Chouteau family<br />

had never stopped expanding its<br />

influence and affluence through<br />

marriages with prominent Americans<br />

and Catholic immigrants, while lowerclass<br />

Frenchmen worked for William<br />

Clark as U.S. Indian agents and interpreters<br />

of native languages. The early<br />

1820s, however, brought revolutionary<br />

changes that dramatically expanded<br />

the scope and profitability of the western<br />

fur trade. Mexico gained its independence<br />

from Spain, which opened<br />

the Santa Fe silver trade to daring<br />

Missouri entrepreneurs, who enjoyed<br />

profits of 2,000 percent that helped<br />

fund fur trading. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans needed<br />

such capital to compete with the<br />

newly-merged old Canadian rivals—<br />

the Hudson’s Bay Company and the<br />

North West Company of Montreal—<br />

which now invaded the northern<br />

plains of the United <strong>St</strong>ates searching<br />

for furs and Indian allies. And in<br />

1822, too, Congress closed the government’s<br />

subsidized nonprofit fur factories and<br />

stopped competing with private merchants.<br />

Exploiting those simultaneous, interconnected<br />

developments at the perfect time was<br />

William H. Ashley, Missouri’s first lieutenant<br />

governor, general of the state militia, and a<br />

gunpowder manufacturer. The <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> fur<br />

trade was already contributing<br />

about $600,000 to the city’s total<br />

annual commerce of $2,000,000.<br />

But the recent death of Manuel<br />

Lisa, the masterful fur magnate<br />

who pioneered combined trading<br />

and trapping expeditions up the<br />

Missouri River, created an opening<br />

for Ashley. In 1822, he partnered<br />

with Andrew Henry, a former<br />

Michilimackinac merchant, to<br />

dispatch white trappers into the<br />

Rockies to harvest beavers from<br />

Indian territories while avoiding<br />

hostile river tribes. Ashley’s expedition to<br />

Green River, Wyoming, required 70 trappers,<br />

160 pack mules, and $20,000 worth of<br />

merchandise to produce profits of $60,000<br />

on 9,000 pounds of pelts.<br />

Left: The “Old Cathedral,” a year after<br />

its completion in 1834, showing the rectory<br />

on the right and an orphanage to the left.<br />

An 1835 lithograph by L. D. Pomarede.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS.<br />

Below: The “Old Rock House”—a stone<br />

fur warehouse built in 1818 by Spanish<br />

entrepreneur, Manuel Lisa, as it appeared in<br />

the mid-twentieth century before being<br />

dismantled to make way for the<br />

Gateway Arch.<br />

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE<br />

AT THE JEFFERSON NATIONAL EXPANSION MEMORIAL.<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

4 5


Above: Trappers on the Prairie: Peace or<br />

War? Lithograph by Currier & Ives, 1866.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Below: Replica Medal of the Upper Missouri<br />

Outfit, dominated by Pierre Chouteau, Jr.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Predictably, Indians attacked white intruders<br />

stealing their resources, and by 1831, had<br />

killed at least 170 trappers. From 1823 to<br />

1828, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> companies lost $100,000<br />

to Indian thefts of horses, mules, guns,<br />

traps, supplies, and pelts. Despite those<br />

losses, trapping was very profitable, netting<br />

$1.65 million in 1831 after expenses of<br />

$2.1 million, partly because trappers earned<br />

only $150-$200 per year for risking their<br />

lives. Ashley also created the rendezvous<br />

system, which kept mountain men in the<br />

West year-round without the need to build<br />

expensive permanent forts. He reaped a fortune<br />

on markups of 2,000 percent for essential<br />

supplies (and recreational liquor) needed by<br />

about 600 western trappers per year.<br />

In 1826, Ashley sold his successful company<br />

to fellow <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans, where neighbors and<br />

even family members fought fiercely for<br />

supremacy in the fur trade. At least eight<br />

Chouteau kinsmen, for instance, served in<br />

four different fur companies, until Bernard<br />

Pratte’s French Company of five Chouteau<br />

cousins drove the others out. In 1822 the<br />

American Fur Company (AFC) owned by<br />

the German immigrant, John Jacob Astor,<br />

established a “Western Department” in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. Historian Walter <strong>St</strong>evens claimed<br />

that Astor was “baffled” by the Chouteaus’<br />

“well-established relationship with the<br />

Indians,” and in 1834, he sold the “Missouri<br />

River Outfit” of the AFC to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

Pratte and his cousin, Pierre Chouteau, Jr.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

46


C O R E D I S C O V E R I E S B Y S T . L O U I S M O U N T A I N M E N<br />

Historian Howard Lamar observed that “it was the fur trappers, rather than Lewis and Clark, who found the actual paths by which<br />

settlers could move themselves and their possessions to Oregon, California, and Utah.” Although the following mountain men were<br />

born elsewhere, most lived in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and died in Missouri:<br />

S James Pierson Beckwith, inaccurately known as “Beckwourth”<br />

(1798-1866?) was born a Virginia slave and became the<br />

most famous of several African American mountain men.<br />

He traveled in California, Colorado, and <strong>New</strong> Mexico, before<br />

living with Crow Indians as an adopted chief. His many<br />

adventures were recorded in a popular 1856 book.<br />

S Charles and William Bent operated Bent’s Old Fort (“the Adobe<br />

Castle”) trading post in Colorado between 1833-1849 with<br />

Ceran <strong>St</strong>. Vrain, the great-grandson of Laclede.<br />

S Benjamin <strong>Louis</strong> Eulalie de Bonneville (1796-1878) was a<br />

U.S. army officer who failed as a fur merchant in the Far West<br />

but pioneered a heavy-wagon route across the Continental<br />

Divide in the 1830s and was immortalized in a book by<br />

Washington Irving.<br />

S Jim Bridger (1804-1881), a Virginian, was among the first of<br />

Ashley’s trappers in 1822, and in 1824-25 was the first white<br />

man to discover the Great Salt Lake and geysers of Yellowstone.<br />

He also established stagecoach and rail routes in Wyoming<br />

and Montana.<br />

S Robert Campbell (1804-1879), a Northern Ireland immigrant,<br />

enjoyed a meteoric rise as a self-made mountain man and<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> merchant with partner William Sublette. Campbell<br />

invested in steamboats, railroads, real estate, the Merchants<br />

National Bank, and the Southern Hotel. Living in a mansion of<br />

Victorian splendor on fashionable Lucas Place, he entertained<br />

President Grant, General Sherman, and other notable leaders<br />

and helped negotiate Indian treaties. When he died in 1879,<br />

his $2,000,000 estate far eclipsed that of city patriarch,<br />

Auguste Chouteau.<br />

S John Colter (1775-1813), a valued Virginia veteran of the<br />

Lewis and Clark Expedition, returned to the Far West in<br />

1806-08, becoming one of the first white beaver trappers in<br />

the Bighorn Basin and the Yellowstone Valley.<br />

S Andrew Henry (1775-1833) was an innovative entrepreneur<br />

with the early <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> fur companies under Lisa and Ashley<br />

and a major proponent of using white trappers.<br />

S Wilson Price Hunt (1783-1842) led a successful overland<br />

1810-12 expedition from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to Astor’s Fort Astoria in<br />

Oregon, pioneering a route through the Snake River Valley<br />

and parts of the later Oregon Trail. He sold Russian sealskins<br />

in China and exported rare Chinese goods to <strong>New</strong> York.<br />

S Jedediah Smith (1799-1831) was a talented ex-Ashley trapper<br />

who explored South Pass, Wyoming; Utah’s Great Basin; the<br />

Oregon coast; and Sierra Nevada Mountains. He led the first<br />

American expedition to reach California from the southwest.<br />

S William Sublette (1799-1845) began trapping with Ashley<br />

and helped develop the Overland Trail—being “the first to<br />

prove that wagons and cattle could be taken across the<br />

Great Plains,” according to historian Mary Ellen Rowe. He was<br />

a successful business partner of Robert Campbell in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

The last mountain man rendezvous in<br />

1840 signaled the end of the beaver boom,<br />

which, in only two decades, had attracted<br />

3,000 trappers but alienated ten times that<br />

many western Indians. Many of the 150 forts<br />

and outposts built between 1822 and 1840<br />

were named for prominent <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

(using their first names like European royalty).<br />

And the most innovative of those entrepreneurs<br />

had one final trick up their fur sleeve—<br />

switching to an Indian trade in buffalo hides<br />

after beaver pelts ceased to be profitable. The<br />

younger Chouteaus, in particular, prospered<br />

for more decades by selling sturdy, heavy<br />

bison leather from the Northern Plains to<br />

eastern industrial cities that needed belts to<br />

run factory machinery. In 1840, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

shipped 67,000 huge buffalo hides to their<br />

hometown and 110,000 more eight years<br />

later, along with the popular delicacy of<br />

25,000 buffalo tongues.<br />

The deaths, only a decade apart, of very<br />

different but equally revered frontier leaders—<br />

Auguste Chouteau and William Clark—represented<br />

the creation of a composite western<br />

culture synonymous with nineteenth-century<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

On Tuesday, February 24, 1829, the<br />

Missouri Republican reported that “the venerable”<br />

Chouteau, the co-founder and long-reigning<br />

“Patriarch of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,” had died that morning<br />

in his famous mansion along the riverfront<br />

that had shaped his career. He was the<br />

centerpiece in the influential, multicultural<br />

dynasty created by Laclede and Marie Therese<br />

Bourgeois Chouteau—the oldest and most<br />

C H A P T E R 2<br />

4 7


Nineteenth-century animal hide coat with<br />

Indian quill embroidery in Canadian metis<br />

style, perhaps owned by Auguste Chouteau.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY<br />

MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (OBJ 1906 013 0002).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

48<br />

successful of her five children, 52 grandchildren,<br />

and 69 great-grandchildren when<br />

she died in 1814. A Frenchman in the 1830s<br />

observed that the Chouteau name remained<br />

“a passport that commands safety and<br />

hospitality among all of the Indian nations<br />

of the United <strong>St</strong>ates, north and west,” as<br />

two generations of family members had<br />

founded fur posts and future towns in<br />

Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota,<br />

and Montana.<br />

During his sixty-five-year residency along<br />

the Mississippi, Chouteau had survived the<br />

debts, doubts, and dangers of frontier fur<br />

trading, merging business ties with bloodlines,<br />

while <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> increased 2,000 percent<br />

in population and expanded its commerce<br />

“over a larger territory…than any other city<br />

in the Union.” Auguste retired from active<br />

fur trading in 1816 and devoted the remainder<br />

of his life to civic service, philanthropy,<br />

nurturing his many merchant kin, and<br />

advising the U.S. government on Indian<br />

issues. When he died in 1829, he left an<br />

estate that included 21,500 acres of land and<br />

another 39,000 acres of debatable legality—<br />

not counting developed city properties.<br />

He left $83,000 in IOUs, mortgages, and<br />

promissory notes from 800 people and<br />

over $17,000 worth of personal property,<br />

which included 600 books and 50 slaves,<br />

but only $32.12 in cash, which reflected a<br />

fur trader’s traditional reliance on credit.<br />

Subsequent generations of Americans have<br />

found Chouteau’s most precious<br />

possession to be his<br />

“Narrative of the Founding<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>”—making his<br />

city even more distinctive as<br />

one of only a handful in history<br />

to have an eyewitness<br />

document on its beginnings<br />

by a founder.<br />

William Clark outlived<br />

Chouteau by nine years and<br />

died a revered local celebrity<br />

and national hero on<br />

September 1, 1838, at the<br />

age of sixty-eight. The city’s<br />

diverse citizenry honored<br />

him with a mile-long funeral<br />

procession. In addition to<br />

being co-commander of the<br />

famous, influential Corps of<br />

Discovery, Clark had served<br />

as brigadier general of<br />

Missouri’s militia; territorial<br />

governor from 1813 to<br />

1820; and head of U.S.-<br />

Indian affairs in the West<br />

between 1807 and 1838,<br />

under different titles. His<br />

Indian museum and cartographical expertise<br />

enhanced <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s reputation as the capital<br />

of the American West. As a diplomat, he<br />

personally negotiated thirty-seven treaties<br />

that dispossessed Indians of their homelands<br />

and played some role in 20 percent of all<br />

370 U.S. treaties with native nations.<br />

According to his biographer, Landon Y. Jones,<br />

“the cruelties of Clark’s time and the<br />

strengths of his character did not contradict<br />

one another…. He was a man whose<br />

complexity encompassed both.”


“No country on earth, of equal extent, has so many advantages…as the Valley of the Mississippi….<br />

The introduction of steam-boats into this vast region, watered by large rivers,<br />

…has greatly increased…the facilities for trade and emigration.”<br />

–Robert Baird, View of the Valley of the Mississippi, 1834<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

EXPLORING A STEAMBOAT CITY<br />

OF EXPANDING COMMERCE<br />

As Laclede and Chouteau intended, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was always the capital of a river empire,<br />

extending its influence via multiple tributaries from the Plains to Pittsburgh and the Great Lakes<br />

to the Gulf of Mexico. For decades, the city’s waterfront had welcomed local log canoes (pirogues),<br />

large birch-bark canoes made by Canadian Indians, and a wide variety of flatboats, keelboats,<br />

rafts, barges, and other vessels. Between 1763 and 1816, human muscles powered watercraft for<br />

the 90-120 days it took to travel the 1,200 miles upriver from <strong>New</strong> Orleans. But that all changed<br />

quite suddenly in 1817, when a small steam-powered paddle-wheeler, named Zebulon M. Pike,<br />

chugged into <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to make startled residents aware of revolutionary technology that would<br />

alter their lives and livelihoods. In 1825 the traveling companion of the Marquis de Lafayette<br />

observed that the improved steamboats of that era could make the trip from <strong>New</strong> Orleans in a<br />

mere ten days, returning downstream in only five. Described in that year as “the great warehouse<br />

for all the commerce…west of the Mississippi,” <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was already building its own fleet of<br />

steamboats in a large facility. Paddle-wheelers made such an enormous impact on the region—<br />

both immediate and long-lasting—that a steamboat is still the prominent illustration on the<br />

official seal of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City.<br />

Nineteenth-century Mississippi River<br />

steamboats published in Alcee Fortier’s<br />

History of <strong>Louis</strong>iana, vol. I (<strong>New</strong> York and<br />

Paris, 1904).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

4 9


<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Levee, a mid-nineteenth century<br />

daguerreotype by Thomas M. Easterly.<br />

A contemporary <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an wrote that<br />

“a mile and a half of steamboats lying at the<br />

wharf of a city one thousand miles from the<br />

ocean, in the heart of the continent, is a<br />

spectacle which naturally inspires large<br />

views of commercial greatness.”<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY<br />

MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (17070).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

50<br />

The geographical realities of steamboat<br />

navigation on the Mississippi enhanced the<br />

value of Laclede’s central site. According to<br />

historian Jeffrey Adler, “it was unsafe for<br />

larger boats to operate above <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, and it<br />

was unprofitable for smaller steamers to work<br />

the river below the town.” As an ideallylocated<br />

“reloading point,” <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> truly<br />

became the “Lion of the Valley” that dominated<br />

the commerce of the region’s waterways.<br />

The Mississippi split America in half, and<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s strategic site made it the dominant<br />

interior river port for a century—first as<br />

America’s western-most of eastern cities and<br />

later as the eastern-most of the nation’s western<br />

cities. From whatever direction <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

was viewed, it seemed destined to be the<br />

“future seat of empire,” wrote an observer in<br />

the 1820s, because “no place in the world<br />

situated so far from the ocean,” could match<br />

its “commercial advantages.” In the next<br />

decade, a visiting U.S. senator noted that<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s “gentlemen of fortune preferred…<br />

the sound of…steamers arriving or departing<br />

to the lowing of herds,” as the region<br />

transitioned from the plodding pace of<br />

plows to the unprecedented speed of steampowered<br />

vehicles.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s rapid growth and rising stature<br />

were directly tied to the evolving size,<br />

speed, and sophistication of steamboats,<br />

which poured “wealth and prosperity into<br />

her lap.” Harnessing the latest technology<br />

to maximize its ideal location, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was<br />

being discussed as “the future capital of a<br />

great nation” and received “the attention not<br />

only of our own inhabitants, but also those of<br />

foreign lands.” Surpassing both <strong>New</strong> Orleans<br />

and Cincinnati in river traffic by the early<br />

1840s, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> shipped nearly 263,000 tons<br />

of merchandise and greatly expanded its<br />

work force. Twenty years later, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

owned 168 steamboats, more than the<br />

residents of any other interior port city, and<br />

they employed 3,500 men just in building or<br />

repairing them. In addition, there were<br />

jobs for large numbers of pilots, crewmen,<br />

deckhands, dockhands, and warehouse<br />

workers, many of them African Americans.<br />

In 1860 almost 3,500 riverboats, averaging<br />

550 tons, called at the city, obscuring<br />

the wharf with a “forest of chimneys.”<br />

Counting 170 steamers jostling for access to<br />

the levee at one time, an observer thought<br />

they resembled huge “white bears” in a<br />

feeding frenzy.


Reflecting the prominence, pride, and<br />

prosperity that the <strong>St</strong>eamboat Age brought<br />

to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, residents erected a magnificent<br />

Greek Revival courthouse of monumental<br />

proportions between 1839 and 1864. Rising<br />

192 feet high like a riverfront beacon on the<br />

crest of a hill, it was the city’s tallest building<br />

from 1864 to 1894, after the Civil War<br />

addition of its huge iron dome, modeled<br />

after <strong>St</strong>. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. With one<br />

columned entrance facing the river and<br />

another focused on the vast hinterland of<br />

future expansion, that big, beautiful building<br />

represented the dual focus of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in<br />

the mid-nineteenth century as both “Queen<br />

of the River” and “Gateway to the West.”<br />

As important as the Mississippi was, steamboats<br />

also increased the fame and fortune of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> with trade and travel along the<br />

Missouri River. In 1831, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans demonstrated<br />

how a new invention could improve an<br />

old fur trade, when the steamer Yellow <strong>St</strong>one<br />

(120’ long x 20’ wide) left the levee with<br />

22 crewmen, 75 employees of the American<br />

Fur Company, and 1,000 gallons of whiskey<br />

on a successful maiden voyage to Fort Union<br />

(near today’s North Dakota-Montana border).<br />

Two years later, that “Fire Boat that walks<br />

on the Waters” transported German Prince<br />

Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied and Swiss artist<br />

Karl Bodmer deep into Indian Country, making<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> a tourist capital for a steady<br />

stream of European sightseers, who enhanced<br />

the city’s reputation around the world. That<br />

same year, the United <strong>St</strong>ates designated <strong>St</strong>.<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> as an official “port of entry,” which provided<br />

federal funding for Robert E. Lee and<br />

other army engineers to clear river sandbars.<br />

The “Old Courthouse” in the mid-1840s,<br />

without the huge iron dome of the<br />

Civil War era.<br />

A NINETEENTH-CENTURY ENGRAVING IN THE<br />

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

5 1


Karl Bodmer’s 1848 lithograph portraying<br />

Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied<br />

visiting the Minitaree/Minatarre Indians<br />

at Fort Clark in 1833.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (41863).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

52<br />

The confluence of the continent’s most<br />

notable commercial rivers attracted increasing<br />

hordes of investors and immigrants who<br />

boosted <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> from the nation’s fortyfourth<br />

largest city in 1830 to sixth place<br />

by 1850. Farmers seeking western lands<br />

purchased them in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, while eastern<br />

merchants created prosperous futures even<br />

before Missouri entered the Union. Among<br />

the earliest businessmen from the East were<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s first Jewish residents—the three<br />

Polish Philipson brothers from Philadelphia.<br />

They invested in the fur trade, opened a store<br />

stocked with desirable merchandise from the<br />

Atlantic coast, and in 1815, founded the<br />

“<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Brewery,” the city’s second oldest.<br />

Following the example of Laclede, they brought<br />

culture to the city along with their capital.<br />

Joseph Philipson performed and taught music;<br />

Jacob was a tutor of English, German, and<br />

French; and Simon assembled a significant<br />

collection of 150 paintings and 100 prints,<br />

including works by Boticelli, da Vinci, Hals,<br />

Holbein, Murillo, Raphael, Rubens, and Titian!<br />

Many other “Yankee merchants” soon<br />

followed—young, aggressive members of<br />

family firms in <strong>New</strong> York and <strong>New</strong> England<br />

who opened business outlets in the capital<br />

of western capital. They established about<br />

75 percent of new companies in the 1840s,<br />

and by 1850, <strong>New</strong> Yorkers represented<br />

36 percent of all <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> businessmen and<br />

<strong>New</strong> Englanders another 20 percent. More<br />

than fifty financial institutions were founded<br />

in less than thirty years to handle the<br />

58 percent of city investments contributed<br />

by those easterners. The appropriately-named<br />

“Boatmen’s Bank” opened in 1847 as the<br />

first savings bank west of the Mississippi.<br />

Insurance brokers also enjoyed rapid growth,<br />

since 550 very expensive steamboats were<br />

destroyed in accidents between 1820 and<br />

1850. Thirty steamers owned by city<br />

residents sank in only four years in the<br />

“Mississippi Graveyard” between <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

and Cairo, Illinois.<br />

Among leading Yankee merchants were<br />

Daniel Page of Maine and his partner, Henry<br />

Bacon from Massachusetts, who invested in<br />

flour mills. Beginning in 1827, they built<br />

twenty-two others at a rate of nearly one<br />

per year, vaulting <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> into first place<br />

among U.S. cities in flour production.<br />

Hudson Bridge of <strong>New</strong> Hampshire made a<br />

fortune selling cotton, surplus army goods,<br />

stoves, and steel plows. Henry and Edgar Ames


from <strong>New</strong> York invested in meatpacking<br />

and grain elevators, while Connecticut-born<br />

William and Henry Belcher founded the<br />

country’s largest sugar refinery. Oliver and<br />

Giles Filley, also from Connecticut, manufactured<br />

stoves that dominated the national<br />

market. In 1851, Samuel Cupples moved his<br />

woodenware factory from Cincinnati, and<br />

only twenty years later, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> “ruled the<br />

world in this trade.” The furniture-making<br />

firm of Heslep and Taylor relocated from<br />

Pennsylvania in the early 1800s, and within<br />

a few decades, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had fifty such<br />

factories, generating $5.8 million in exports.<br />

By 1850, manufacturers who used the<br />

Mississippi to ship their products had<br />

increased the city’s custom receipts 1,200<br />

percent in a single decade. The assessed value<br />

of taxable property rose from $1.5 million in<br />

1828 to $43 million by 1855.<br />

Profitable products stimulated the city’s<br />

population growth at a rapid rate. The number<br />

of residents rose from 14,000 in 1837 to<br />

78,000 by 1850—twice the population of<br />

Pittsburgh, which had been founded the<br />

same year. The Missouri Republican reported<br />

that 1,500 people arrived in some weeks,<br />

including 800 in one thirty-six-hour period!<br />

Chouteau’s Pond, the city’s earliest and<br />

much-loved recreation area, which was<br />

drained as a health risk following the<br />

1849 cholera epidemic. Oil painting of<br />

1844 by D. Barbier.<br />

COURTESY, MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (1908 001 0002).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

5 3


Interior of Chauncey L. Filley’s<br />

Queensware Importing House, 108 Main<br />

<strong>St</strong>reet, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, an illustration from<br />

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated <strong>New</strong>spaper,<br />

November 24, 1860.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

With the city’s population at least doubling<br />

with predictable regularity, one resident<br />

boasted that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had grown larger and<br />

changed more in only fifty years than<br />

“England [had] in five hundred years after<br />

the Norman Conquest.” But <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> faced<br />

a far greater challenge than medieval<br />

England, for it had to accommodate, and try<br />

to integrate, throngs of European immigrants<br />

whose cultures were neither French nor<br />

Anglo-American. As early as 1828, a welltraveled<br />

observer noted that “very few towns<br />

in the United <strong>St</strong>ates, or the world have a<br />

more mixed population,” with “immigrants<br />

from all of the states…[and] people from<br />

all quarters of the world.” As a popular<br />

consumer reflection of such cultural<br />

diversity, the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Directory of 1840 ran<br />

advertisements for “all kinds of German<br />

Goods,” as well as “French and American<br />

paper hangings.”<br />

In 1850 nearly 16 percent of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

were Irish, 70 percent of whom were recent<br />

arrivals in the Potato Famine era. They were<br />

welcomed by Irish-Americans who had<br />

settled in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> much earlier from other<br />

states—not directly from the old country.<br />

Those original arrivals tended to be affluent,<br />

accomplished, and acculturated enough to<br />

surmount any prejudicial impediments to<br />

their careers. They included Alexander McNair<br />

(Missouri’s first governor), John Mullanphy<br />

(the city’s first millionaire), Joseph Charless<br />

(pioneering publisher), Sheriff James Rankin,<br />

and Benjamin and John O’Fallon—Irish<br />

Protestant merchants and Indian agents who<br />

were nephews of William Clark. Those and<br />

later residents demonstrated their cultural<br />

pride by organizing the city’s first <strong>St</strong>. Patrick’s<br />

Day celebration in 1820 and established a<br />

private relief agency to help “distressed Irish<br />

Families.” When former judge and mayor,<br />

Bryan Mullanphy (son of John) died in 1851,<br />

he left one-third of his estate to “furnish relief<br />

to all poor emigrants” coming to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—<br />

the forerunner of the Travelers Aid Society.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

54


Eighteen German families were also in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> by 1833, with some pre-dating<br />

the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase. Only a decade after<br />

Gottfried Duden circulated enthusiastic reports<br />

about Missouri in 1827, 6,000 Germans were<br />

living in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, with 24,000 more engaged<br />

in farming and wine-making amid the<br />

Rhine-like landscapes of central Missouri.<br />

Among those “Thirty-ers” were conservative<br />

Lutherans from Saxony, who founded<br />

Concordia Seminary, Missouri’s first coeducational<br />

college. In 1835, there were enough<br />

Germans in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to support a weekly<br />

newspaper, Anzeiger des Westens (“Information<br />

of the West”). Some 20,000 German “Forty-<br />

Eighters”—political activists who had failed<br />

to revolutionize their country in that year—<br />

arrived by the early 1850s to make a permanent<br />

impact on the city. Some of them resided<br />

in Belleville and other Illinois communities<br />

due to the expensive and scarce housing in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

The Missouri Republican in 1857 reported<br />

that Germans had “inundated [the city] with<br />

breweries, beer houses, sausage shops,<br />

…Swiss cheese and Holland herrings. We<br />

found it almost necessary to learn the<br />

German language before we could ride in<br />

an omnibus, or buy a pair of breeches, and<br />

absolutely necessary to drink beer at a<br />

Sunday concert.” The “Vauxhall Beer Garden”<br />

was popular as early as 1823, and thirty years<br />

later, “Uhrig’s Cave” attracted large crowds<br />

that mixed suds with songs, including<br />

operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan. Johann<br />

“Adam” Lemp opened the Western Brewery in<br />

1840 to produce lager (aged) beer, mellowed<br />

in the cool caves under the city. His son<br />

pioneered the use of refrigerated railroad cars<br />

to distribute <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> beer nationally, as the<br />

Lemp Brewery became the largest one outside<br />

of <strong>New</strong> York with a single owner. At least<br />

forty other <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> breweries predated<br />

Anheuser-Busch, producing 190,000 barrels<br />

Old trunks symbolizing the wave of<br />

immigrants who came to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in the<br />

mid-nineteenth century.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

5 5


Portrait of Constantin Blandowski by<br />

Carl Wimar,1861. Blandowski (1812-1861)<br />

was a Polish soldier and noted fencer born<br />

along the Prussian border. He served in<br />

Algeria with the French Foreign Legion,<br />

the Polish Revolution of 1848, and both<br />

Sardinia’s and Hungary’s wars for<br />

independence from Austria, before arriving<br />

in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in the 1850s. As a captain in<br />

a company of German volunteers who<br />

captured Camp Jackson, he was wounded<br />

by civilian gunfire and died following the<br />

amputation of his leg. (Details from William<br />

C. Winter’s The Civil War in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>:<br />

A Guided Tour [1994], pp. 65-66.).<br />

COURTESY, SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM;<br />

GIFT OF MRS. F. W. SCHNEIDER (179:1946).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

56<br />

per year before the Civil War, worth well<br />

over $1,000,000. In one six-month period<br />

in 1854, city residents consumed 18,000,000<br />

glasses of beer—thirteen years after <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

had founded a “Total Abstinence Society.”<br />

By 1850, more than 20,000 Germans and<br />

11,000 Irish comprised over 40 percent of<br />

the city’s population. The large, sudden<br />

presence of so many “foreigners” with strange<br />

accents prompted a nativist backlash by<br />

anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant Americanborn<br />

extremists in the Whig and Know-<br />

Nothing parties. The “worst riot in the<br />

city’s antebellum history” occurred in August<br />

1854 between nativists and Irish immigrants,<br />

resulting in 10 fatalities and 33 injuries, with<br />

93 buildings damaged. When naturalized<br />

as voting citizens, most of those immigrants<br />

supported the Democratic Party, which elected<br />

two Irishmen and one German as mayors in<br />

three successive elections between 1847 and<br />

1849. Despite facing common prejudices,<br />

the “Scrubby Dutch” in south city and<br />

“Kerry Patch Irish” in north city maintained<br />

separate neighborhoods; rarely cooperated to<br />

challenge hostile nativists; and often clashed<br />

over cultural differences and the competition<br />

for jobs.


Another group of immigrants in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

has received much less attention than they<br />

deserved. In their recent book, When the<br />

Saints Came Marching In, Fred E. Woods and<br />

Thomas L. Farmer revealed that “three to four<br />

thousand Mormons were living in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>”<br />

by 1849, with many establishing permanent<br />

roots. Despite Governor Lilburn W. Boggs’s<br />

1858 executive order to exterminate the<br />

Mormons, “the Latter-day Saints found a safe<br />

haven of tolerance in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>” and steady<br />

employment as well. An official Mormon<br />

publication in 1855 observed that “this city<br />

has been an asylum for our people from<br />

fifteen to twenty years…. There is probably<br />

no city in the world where Latter-day Saints<br />

are more respected, and where they may<br />

sooner obtain an outfit for Utah.”<br />

Historian James Neal Primm described<br />

mid-century <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as a “city in motion,”<br />

with large numbers of people coming in<br />

and going out on a daily basis. A large group<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans “went out” to fight in the<br />

Mexican-American War, earning great distinction<br />

and generating future prosperity for<br />

their hometown. Jefferson Barracks mobilized<br />

U.S. soldiers and supplied support services,<br />

while local militia units with memorable<br />

names—the “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Legion,” the “Native<br />

American Rangers,” and “The Laclede<br />

Rangers”—were commanded by leading<br />

citizens, such as Colonel Robert Campbell<br />

and Major Meriwether Lewis Clark. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

General <strong>St</strong>ephen Watts Kearny, commander<br />

of Jefferson Barracks, led his elite U.S.<br />

Dragoons in the capture of Santa Fe and the<br />

pacification of California, and he served as<br />

military governor of Mexico City.<br />

The war with Mexico reinforced <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans’<br />

traditional interest in the Southwest. Reputedly,<br />

some residents had smuggled nearly $3,000,000<br />

in silver out of Santa Fe before the fighting<br />

began. No sooner had the war ended than<br />

gold was discovered in California, creating<br />

a rapid rush of prospective prospectors<br />

through the Gateway City. In 1849, alone,<br />

Marching <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Militiamen on<br />

Market <strong>St</strong>reet, a watercolor painting by<br />

Mat Hastings, 1843.<br />

COURTESY, MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (1949 097 0041).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

5 7


Emigrants Crossing the Plains,<br />

steel engraving by F. O.C. Darley,<br />

in William Cullen Bryant, ed., Picturesque<br />

America. The Land We Live In, vol. I<br />

(<strong>New</strong> York: D. Appleton & Co., 1872).<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

an estimated 60,000 people arrived in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on their way to gold-fields or<br />

other western sites. City merchants provided<br />

whatever they needed, from shoes to saddles,<br />

and guns to grub—and especially the famous<br />

Murphy Wagons made in town—experiencing<br />

a more reliable rush of gold locally without<br />

risking their lives in California.<br />

About a third of those new arrivals chose<br />

to stay in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, and the influx of so many<br />

young, unmarried men lowered the average<br />

age of city residents to 21 by 1850, with<br />

males outnumbering adult women by nearly<br />

two to one. At mid-century, over 50 percent<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> residents had lived here less than<br />

two years, and many of them would remain<br />

for only a couple more. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s hospitality<br />

industry capitalized on that constant mobility<br />

by operating 23 restaurants and 33 hotels<br />

in 1850—including the fashionable Planters’<br />

House Hotel, where the famous “punch” was<br />

created. <strong>New</strong> Yorker Edgar Ames, who owned<br />

the luxurious Lindell Hotel, was passionate<br />

about “work[ing] to beautify our city,” both<br />

as a philanthropist and a businessman who<br />

realized that an attractive appearance appealed<br />

to tourists. <strong>New</strong> trends in public transportation<br />

kept pace, as twelve-passenger, horse-drawn<br />

carriages, known as “omnibuses,” served “the<br />

citizens of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and strangers visiting<br />

the city.”<br />

Many of those “strangers” never left,<br />

bringing new ideas and different customs<br />

in attempting to transform fluid <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

society to suit their goals. Ten percent of the<br />

“Eastern Migration” in the mid-nineteenth<br />

century consisted of doctors, lawyers, and<br />

ministers. Some of the most fervent <strong>New</strong><br />

England Protestants hoped to make <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

a “<strong>New</strong> Jerusalem” by “civilizing” what a<br />

Massachusetts congressman called the “wild<br />

men of the Missouri,” who were plagued by<br />

“savage” Indians, “foreigners,” and “papists.” Far<br />

more tolerant, and a great boon to the city’s<br />

intellectual progress, was the Reverend William<br />

Greenleaf Eliot. He was only twenty-three<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

58


when he arrived in 1834 to found the first<br />

Unitarian church west of the Mississippi.<br />

Ralph Waldo Emerson called him the “Saint<br />

of the West,” as a crusader for educational<br />

excellence, the abolition of slavery, women’s<br />

rights, and the creation of a city art museum,<br />

among other cultural causes.<br />

Less spiritual Eastern capitalists hoped<br />

to make <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> a secular, profitable “<strong>New</strong><br />

York of the West.” They succeeded to a degree,<br />

because the 300,000 people who migrated<br />

to California maintained a commercial<br />

connection with the welcoming Gateway<br />

City that many knew well. In 1858, John<br />

Butterfield’s Overland <strong>St</strong>age linked <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

with San Francisco, the largest town west of<br />

it, while the later Pony Express delivered mail<br />

between <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and Sacramento. Although<br />

maps depict Independence, Missouri, as the<br />

embarking point for most of the major<br />

western trails to California, Oregon, Utah,<br />

and elsewhere, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the true “Mother<br />

of the West,” before and after those massive<br />

treks across the Plains.<br />

Oil portrait of William Greenleaf Eliot,<br />

1854, by Charlotte C. Eliot.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (1960 057 0001).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

5 9


H O R R I F I C D I S A S T E R !<br />

By late 1855 the Pacific Railroad stretched to Jefferson City, and although far short of the California coast suggested by the<br />

company name, that achievement was worthy of a public celebration. On All Saints’ Day, November 1, 1855, some 600 prominent<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans, including the mayor and aldermen, boarded a fourteen-car train for a festive, promotional trip to the state capital.<br />

But a pouring rain and a temporary, poorly-designed wooden trestle over the Gasconade River resulted in a “terrible catastrophe.”<br />

Eight miles west of Hermann, the bridge collapsed, catapulting the engine and most of the wooden cars into the river or onto its<br />

banks thirty-six feet below. Thirty-one passengers were killed, including politicians, pastors, railroad promoters—and Henri Pierre<br />

Chouteau, scion of the city’s founding family. At least 70 others were severely injured, and they suffered for two days until reaching<br />

professional medical treatment in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. Monday, November 5th was a day of public mourning in the city for what proved to<br />

be the worst train disaster in Missouri history.<br />

With few exceptions, natives and newcomers,<br />

alike, arrived in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> having<br />

traveled on, or at least crossed, water, but<br />

the increasing allure of the Far West alerted<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans of the need to develop railroads.<br />

No one saw the limitless potential of one city<br />

dominating both modes of transportation<br />

better than <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s hometown Democratic<br />

Senator, Thomas Hart Benton. He was an early<br />

and influential national prophet for the<br />

profits promised by the “Manifest Destiny” of<br />

westward expansion. He dreamed of fulfilling<br />

the ancient goals of Columbus by accessing<br />

the wealth of Asia via modern rail links to<br />

the Pacific coast. In 1849 he captured the<br />

attention of a railroad planning conference at<br />

the courthouse by pointing to the West and<br />

proclaiming: “There Lies India!” Entrepreneurs<br />

found no incompatibility with investing in<br />

riverboats and railroads at the same time, for<br />

steel train wheels and wooden paddle-wheels<br />

both used steam efficiently and profitably<br />

to transport people and products. In 1849<br />

the river-dredger, Captain Henry Shreve,<br />

promoted <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s Pacific Railroad when<br />

he lived here. Joining him were Yankee<br />

capitalists, Hudson Bridge, Thomas Allen,<br />

and Henry Bacon, among others. In 1853,<br />

the locomotive <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> reached Franklin,<br />

Missouri, at a top speed of twenty-one miles<br />

per hour along the first rail line west of<br />

the Mississippi.<br />

Above: Portrait of Thomas Hart Benton<br />

in 1854, long-serving U.S. senator from<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. Frontispiece engraving in his<br />

Thirty <strong>Years</strong>’ View, or A History of the<br />

Working of the American Government<br />

for Thirty <strong>Years</strong>, from 1820 to 1850,<br />

vol. I (<strong>New</strong> York: D. Appleton and<br />

Company, 1854).<br />

Right: Although no illustrations of the<br />

Gasconade Train Disaster are known to<br />

exist, this is a nineteenth-century image of<br />

a similar railroad wreck in the<br />

author’s collection.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

60


Daguerreotype of Henri Pierre Chouteau<br />

(1805-1855), son of Auguste Chouteau,<br />

and his wife, Clemence Georgine Coursault.<br />

This was probably taken shortly before<br />

November 1855, when Henri died in the<br />

Gasconade Train Disaster. His death<br />

set in motion the transfer of his father’s<br />

manuscript, “Narrative of the Founding of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,” to his younger brother, Gabriel,<br />

who donated it to the Mercantile Library,<br />

which published the first translation<br />

in 1858.<br />

COURTESY, MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (40532).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

6 1


Detail of panoramic river lithograph,<br />

“View of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, Missouri”—“Our City,”<br />

by A. Janicke & Co., published by Hagen<br />

and Pfau at the Anzeiger des Westens<br />

newspaper office, 1859.<br />

REPRODUCTION COURTESY OF THE<br />

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

By 1850 rapid transformations in all<br />

aspects of urban living made <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> the<br />

“American Seville”—a bustling port of a huge<br />

inland empire, where grassy prairies substituted<br />

for ocean waves, and furs were the profitable<br />

equivalents of Spain’s bullion from the<br />

<strong>New</strong> World. Like the original Seville, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

looked westward for its fortune, and increasing<br />

numbers of European nobles toured the<br />

“Grand Emporium of the Great West” to experience<br />

the allure of exotic Indians and majestic<br />

landscapes. A “Who’s Who” of foreign dignitaries<br />

drawn to the capital of frontier America<br />

included Prince Paul of Wurttemberg, Prince<br />

Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, Duke Bernard<br />

of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Albert Edward,<br />

Prince of Wales, the Hungarian freedomfighter,<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> Kossuth, and Prince Napoleon,<br />

nephew of the famous French emperor.<br />

Many of those elite tourists sponsored<br />

early western artists to capture the grandeur<br />

of incomparable scenery before the days of<br />

photography. “Painting, mapping, sketching,<br />

and photographing the West were among the<br />

great accomplishments in nineteenth-century<br />

America,” observed historian Howard Lamar,<br />

and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> hosted some of the greatest<br />

western artists, including: John J. Audubon,<br />

George Caleb Bingham, Karl Bodmer, George<br />

Catlin, Charles Deas, Chester Harding, Henry<br />

Lewis, John Casper Wild, and Carl Wimar. The<br />

paintings of Charles Russell, born in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

in 1865, stimulated a revival of romantic<br />

depictions of the so-called “Wild West” after<br />

it no longer existed.<br />

With an annual economy worth millions,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> soon resembled old Seville as a<br />

progressive center of cultural refinement,<br />

when successful capitalists became avid<br />

philanthropists of intellectual institutions.<br />

They founded the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Academy of<br />

Sciences, which had already published thirty<br />

volumes of research by 1856. Businessmen<br />

also endowed the Mercantile Library in 1846<br />

as the first circulating library, documentary<br />

archive, and art gallery in the American West.<br />

For decades, it hosted lectures by eminent<br />

international literati—celebrity writers such<br />

as <strong>Louis</strong> Agassiz, Henry Ward Beecher,<br />

Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson,<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

62


Washington Irving, Francis Parkman, Harriet<br />

Beecher <strong>St</strong>owe, William Thackeray, Mark<br />

Twain, Daniel Webster, and Oscar Wilde,<br />

who came to inspire a growing group of<br />

local intellectuals.<br />

In 1853, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> opened the first public,<br />

tax-supported high school west of the<br />

Mississippi, fifteen years after the city provided<br />

free elementary education. Two decades<br />

later, Susan Blow became a national pioneer<br />

in establishing kindergartens. She joined<br />

William Torrey Harris, the much-praised<br />

superintendent of schools, and other members<br />

of the German-influenced “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Movement”<br />

and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Philosophical Society to make<br />

the city “a national cultural center” committed<br />

to educational progress. A growing number<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans considered free public education<br />

to be the “basis of a republic’s prosperity<br />

and the handmaid of virtue.” The highlyregarded<br />

private Seminary founded by Eliot<br />

was dedicated to a well-educated citizenry,<br />

and it spawned nonsectarian Washington<br />

University in 1857 and Mary Institute two<br />

years later. That gave the city four colleges by<br />

mid-century, following Saint <strong>Louis</strong> University<br />

in 1832; Kemper College, the first Protestant<br />

institution for training physicians, in 1838;<br />

and Concordia Seminary of the Lutheran<br />

Church-Missouri Synod, which had relocated<br />

to the city in 1849.<br />

Churches also played increasing roles in<br />

promoting the civility of urban life in the<br />

frontier West. Catholic congregations expanded<br />

from two in 1841 to eight by 1850, while<br />

Presbyterian churches increased from three<br />

to ten in those years. In 1850 there were<br />

two Baptist churches, five Episcopalian<br />

congregations, and seven Methodist chapels,<br />

plus two African-Methodist churches. In a<br />

single decade, German immigrants opened<br />

nine diverse Protestant churches, in addition<br />

to the sole Lutheran congregation of 1841.<br />

German residents also dominated the<br />

musical culture of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. In the 1840s, the<br />

talented Charles Balmer formed the Oratorio<br />

Society (the city’s first male chorus), the<br />

Left: View of Lucas Place, a fashionable<br />

neighborhood in the mid-nineteenth<br />

century made famous by Robert Campbell’s<br />

Victorian mansion (now the Campbell<br />

House Museum). Campbell defied the<br />

stereotype of mountain men who died<br />

violently, young and poor. Engraving from<br />

[Richard] Edwards’s Great West…and<br />

History of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> (<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1860).<br />

FRONTISPIECE COURTESY OF THE<br />

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Below: Portraits of Charles and Jacob<br />

Kunkel, German pianists and composers<br />

in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, from the title page of their<br />

“Triumphal March” (<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1868).<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

6 3


R E M E M B E R I N G T H E F O U N D E R S<br />

Opposite: A <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> city parade from an<br />

1874 illustration in Harper’s Weekly that<br />

closely matches the description of the<br />

1847 celebration.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

According to the Missouri Republican, residents had “never witnessed such a turnout” for the<br />

1847 celebration of the city’s founding. Amid flowers and flags hanging from every window<br />

and a military band playing the Marseillaise, the “Most Honored Guest of the Day”—Pierre<br />

Chouteau—arrived in a fancy carriage guarded by four mounted Indians, “dressed in the full<br />

costume” of the Plains tribes. That honor guard symbolized “the presence of friendly Indians”<br />

who had protected and partnered with Laclede.<br />

Passing by the reviewing stand, fronting the courthouse on Fourth <strong>St</strong>reet, were representatives<br />

from every public and private, corporate and civic, organization, from firemen to school children,<br />

marching in a huge parade. Making a grand spectacle was a twenty-foot-long replica of the<br />

General Pike (the first steamboat to visit <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in 1817). It was mounted on wheels and<br />

pulled by eight white horses. Following that was a replica of an eighteenth-century keelboat,<br />

named the Laclede.<br />

The Hibernian Charitable Society marched under a “Harp of Erin” banner. Its members all<br />

wore green sashes and played Irish tunes. Keeping with the theme of immigration, many other<br />

residents—“male and female, white and black, old and young”—wore costumes reflecting their<br />

diverse native cultures. When the Hunting Club marched by, the crowd cheered a horse with<br />

deer horns mounted on its head!<br />

The most popular floats were the five huge brewery wagons, each pulled by four horses of<br />

varying colors and hauling “mammoth casks” containing 18 barrels of beer. Riding on the<br />

Lemp Brewery float was a man dressed as the King of Flanders, “inventor of beer,” while the<br />

other breweries featured “a good, round, portly representation of a hearty, jolly beer drinker.”<br />

Not to be outdone, the Barrel-Makers Society wagon carried the largest cask of all—holding<br />

25 barrels of beer that coopers had constructed in only seven hours!<br />

The “Parade of Schools” featured students carrying a large banner depicting Minerva, Goddess<br />

of Wisdom, with the mottos: “Knowledge is Power” and “Intelligence, Industry and Enterprise.”<br />

After a long parade and an even longer historical oration by the scholarly Wilson Primm,<br />

prominent citizens conducted Pierre Chouteau to a Grand Banquet in the <strong>St</strong>ate Tobacco<br />

Warehouse. Tables were set for 1,200 diners, but only 400 showed up, since many thought<br />

the dinner would be too crowded. But there was no lack of enthusiasm among attendees,<br />

who drank over twenty toasts, including:<br />

To the Founders of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, for their wisdom in settling the site that was now “the seat<br />

of empire!”<br />

To Missouri, “the largest of the American states in territory and the richest in natural resources.”<br />

To the City of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—“What it shall become, may be conjectured from what it is.”<br />

Those heavy-drinking diners who were still able to stand attended a Grand Ball at the<br />

Planters’ House Hotel. Its “spacious ball room” was filled to capacity, and “happiness ran riot<br />

in the mazes of the dance, and thus the night was passed.”<br />

Philharmonic Society, and the Polyhymnia<br />

Society—all antecedent elements of the later<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Symphony Orchestra, founded in<br />

1880 as only the second one in an American<br />

city. In 1837, Meriwether Lewis Clark designed<br />

the <strong>New</strong> <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Theater—the first in the<br />

country to have individual seats and a removable<br />

floor. Wyman’s Hall, Bates’s Theater, and<br />

“The Olympic” also became favorite venues<br />

for visiting entertainers. In 1835 the opera<br />

composer, John Howard Payne, drew large<br />

crowds; violinist Norwegian Old Bull came in<br />

1845; and many <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans attended the 1861<br />

performances of African American pianist,<br />

“Blind Tom,” a ten-year-old prodigy. But few<br />

attractions could match the popular appeal<br />

of Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale,”<br />

whom P. T. Barnum brought to town in 1851.<br />

Offering less high-brow entertainment was<br />

“Captain Jack’s Floating Palace,” with its large<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

64


steamboat theater and a museum packed<br />

with ancient artifacts and intriguing relics.<br />

The largest crowd ever assembled in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> up to that point celebrated the first<br />

public anniversary of the city’s founding on<br />

Monday, February 15, 1847. Such attention<br />

for an eighty-third city birthday seemed odd.<br />

But the thousands of citizens who thronged<br />

into streets and saloons, banquet halls and<br />

formal balls, to honor the French founders<br />

hoped to recapture some of the community<br />

cohesiveness of the colonial town that<br />

had faded with the huge migrations of<br />

diverse “foreigners.”<br />

Seeking a tangible reminder of 1764, revelers<br />

honored eighty-nine-year-old (Jean) Pierre<br />

Chouteau—“the last of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s original settlers”<br />

(as a young child) and “the only” living<br />

resident “whose eyes have looked upon the<br />

face of Laclede.” Speaking in French, Chouteau<br />

recalled “the purity, simplicity, and honesty” of<br />

the original town. While Laclede was regarded<br />

as a “common sire” of all <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans, no one<br />

publicly acknowledged that Pierre Chouteau<br />

was actually Laclede’s only son, despite the<br />

widespread knowledge of that blood bond.<br />

Pierre, himself, said only that he had been<br />

“acquainted” with “Monsieur Laclede.”<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

6 5


C H A R N E L H O U S E O F C H O L E R A<br />

After witnessing that grievous loss of life, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> poet, Ethel Grey, wrote:<br />

“Muffled and slowly the footsteps fall,<br />

With a dull and laboring tramp’<br />

They carry the dead to the Charnel House,<br />

So cold and dark and damp.<br />

In single rows they lay the dead,<br />

Long files of corpses grim,<br />

Each ghostly face upturned is seen<br />

By the light of the torches dim.”<br />

The “Charnal House,” in Sunset Gleams from the City of the Mounds (<strong>New</strong> York, 1852).<br />

Above: Mid-nineteenth-century bottle of<br />

“Wm. Hall’s Cholera Cure”.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S ARTIFACT COLLECTION.<br />

Opposite, top: “Great Fire of the City on<br />

the 17th and 18th May 1849,” lithograph<br />

by Julius Hutawa (1849), showing the<br />

downtown areas destroyed.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (888).<br />

Opposite, bottom: A “Laclede Brick,”<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, age unknown, one of several<br />

companies that made the city’s clay<br />

pits, busy brickyards, and decorative<br />

architectural details famous for more than a<br />

century following the Great Fire of 1849.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

66<br />

That grand spectacle of parades and<br />

patriotic speeches would not be repeated<br />

anytime soon, because, only two years later,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were preoccupied with present<br />

tragedies that took precedence over past<br />

triumphs. In 1849 the city endured simultaneous<br />

catastrophes that left residents more<br />

mournful than celebratory. A major epidemic<br />

of Asiatic Cholera raged for nine months,<br />

beginning slowly in January and peaking in<br />

July—when 639 people died of that disease<br />

in a single week, 145 in one day—including<br />

most likely old Pierre Chouteau. Semi-official<br />

death tolls ranged from 4,283 to 4,547, but<br />

some residents claimed that the “Board of<br />

Health doesn’t report one half of the cases.”<br />

Large numbers of dead children may have<br />

been undercounted in the traumatic confusion<br />

to collect and dump corpses in “a common<br />

trench” as quickly as possible. Many<br />

would be reburied in the new Bellefontaine<br />

Cemetery, with little effort for a more<br />

accurate accounting. Since 3,268 Catholics,<br />

alone, were buried in 1849, a total minimum<br />

death toll of 5,500 (almost 8 percent of the<br />

population) was most likely. Some estimates<br />

of mortality range as high as 10 percent, but<br />

whatever the headcount, most historians<br />

agree that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> suffered a greater mortality<br />

in 1849 than any other city in the nation.<br />

May 1849 would claim 431 cholera victims,<br />

but that tragic news was eclipsed in the middle<br />

of the month when a huge, devastating fire<br />

erupted among dozens of densely-packed<br />

steamboats along the levee, destroying 23 of<br />

them and 9 other vessels. High winds drove<br />

the flames into city streets, and over ten<br />

hours consumed 430 buildings in a fifteenblock<br />

area of the downtown core, from the<br />

Levee to Second <strong>St</strong>reet, between Spruce and<br />

Locust. The central post office was lost, but<br />

the cathedral was spared by brave citizens<br />

who blew up nearby buildings to create<br />

firebreaks before the flames reached that<br />

sacred site. The heroic Irish fireman, Thomas<br />

Targee, died doing so—one of only three<br />

fatalities. Total property losses amounted to<br />

$6,000,000—$502,000 for buildings, $600,000<br />

for boats and cargoes, and $5,000,000 for<br />

merchandise in warehouses. The fire exacerbated<br />

the perennial lack of housing for the<br />

88 percent of residents who rented in a tiny<br />

city of only 4.78 square miles (3,060 acres).<br />

The eminent German immigrant, Henry<br />

Boernstein, observed that the “Great Fire”<br />

had left the “richest and busiest part [of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>] in ashes and ruins, considerably<br />

outbidding the cholera in horror.”<br />

Both the contagion and the conflagration<br />

left the “unhappy city” in grief and disbelief,<br />

with fewer citizens to recall now-obliterated<br />

old landmarks and dear friends.<br />

But residents rebounded with resilience<br />

from those twin tragedies with a progressive<br />

spirit and aggressive action. They constructed<br />

new buildings with fire-resistant cast iron<br />

exteriors and locally-made bricks, and<br />

increasing numbers of new structures—such


as the six-story Barnum’s Hotel in 1854—<br />

rose higher than ever to make more efficient<br />

use of restricted space. Officials drained<br />

the polluted Chouteau’s Pond; improved<br />

sanitation and water quality; and created new<br />

medical facilities, fire-fighting capabilities,<br />

and quarantine policies. According to the noted<br />

German scientist, Dr. George Engelmann, his<br />

adopted city was “the center of North America,<br />

if not the world…. We burn one third of our<br />

steamboats, destroy one tenth of the wealth<br />

of our citizens in one night, kill one tenth by<br />

cholera…only to show how much we can<br />

stand without succumbing.”<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> survived those natural disasters,<br />

but human prejudices and political divisions<br />

over race relations drove it to the brink of<br />

“succumbing” in the next two decades. At<br />

mid-century, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had 2,636 African<br />

American slaves (3.4 percent of the city’s population)<br />

and 1,400 free blacks (1.8 percent).<br />

The latter included a thriving middle class<br />

of African American entrepreneurs, such as<br />

Elizabeth Keckley (later dressmaker for Mrs.<br />

Lincoln), who operated successful businesses,<br />

owned property, and collected rents from<br />

blacks and whites alike. Cyprian Clamorgan,<br />

from an old mixed-race family of French<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

6 7


Selling people at the courthouse, as depicted<br />

in the oil painting, The Last Sale of Slaves<br />

(c. 1880), by Thomas S. Noble.<br />

COURTESY, MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (1939 003 001).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

68<br />

Caribbean Creoles, introduced those startling<br />

revelations to the public in his 1858 book,<br />

The Colored Aristocracy of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

The relatively “mild” type of “householdservant<br />

slavery” that had existed under the<br />

colonial French and Spanish became a more<br />

severe form of chattel slavery under the<br />

Americans. In his famous 1847 autobiography,<br />

William Wells Brown, a fugitive slave<br />

from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, wrote that the “city did not<br />

look or function like a plantation,” but “the<br />

same omnipresent, oppressive social system<br />

prevailed.” The city shared the prejudices<br />

of its Deep South trading partners and<br />

auctioned slaves on the courthouse steps.<br />

Evidence of the infamous “slave pens” that<br />

held such human inventory remained until<br />

1963, when construction of Busch <strong>St</strong>adium<br />

finally obliterated that scar on the downtown<br />

landscape. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> slaves were prohibited<br />

from assembling in public, meeting at night,<br />

or drinking alcohol and received ten lashes<br />

on the bare back for each offense. White<br />

males over the age of eighteen were required<br />

to serve on community “patrols” to enforce<br />

those regulations.<br />

Fearing that slaves “would be rebellious”<br />

was an admission that African Americans and<br />

whites shared the same rational human desire<br />

for freedom, opportunity, and respect. In 1847<br />

a wealthy <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> businessman offered a $200<br />

reward for the capture and return of a slave<br />

couple he had owned for fifteen years. He<br />

seemed shocked that they were so discontented<br />

as to escape with their three children,<br />

aged 4, 6, and 12. The husband was “of good<br />

address,” carried “an ivory headed cane,” and<br />

probably arranged to reach Chicago by<br />

“covered wagon.” His wife and most of the<br />

children were described as “bright” and<br />

wearing some new clothing. Blacks, both<br />

slave and free, received assistance and


encouragement from Baptist minister John<br />

Berry Meachum, a former slave who founded<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s first African American church in<br />

1822. He operated a secret school for blacks,<br />

while his wife, Mary Meachum, was a conductor<br />

on the Underground Railroad, helping<br />

escaped slaves cross the Mississippi River to<br />

reach freedom in Illinois.<br />

The free blacks in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> were “only<br />

half-free.” After being incorporated as a town<br />

in 1809, some of the earliest ordinances<br />

dealt with keeping blacks “in line.” <strong>St</strong>ate law<br />

prohibited free blacks from coming to settle<br />

in Missouri; learning to read and write; and<br />

assembling in groups. Due to their mobility<br />

and wider range of experiences, African<br />

Americans who had never been slaves were<br />

a greater concern for the white majority<br />

than slaves. German and Irish immigrants<br />

resented them as competitors for jobs, since<br />

they often worked for lower wages. But<br />

prominent citizens were more concerned<br />

with security issues. In March 1835 the<br />

state legislature required all free blacks in and<br />

surrounding <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> to obtain a license<br />

from the county court, and 145 did so fairly<br />

quickly, according to Christine Human<br />

Hughes. But on Halloween night of that year,<br />

Robert Wilkinson, a free black barber, who,<br />

ironically, worked at the Southern Hotel.<br />

Daguerreotype portrait by Thomas M.<br />

Easterly, c. 1860. In the decades following<br />

McIntosh’s murder, such middle-class<br />

African Americans had more to fear<br />

than most slaves because their economic<br />

independence and freedom of movement<br />

threatened rabid racists.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (17221).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

6 9


leading residents from diverse cultural<br />

backgrounds met to discuss more stringent<br />

controls over free blacks. William Clark,<br />

Pierre Chouteau, Sr., Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,<br />

Sylvestre Labbadie, Henry Von Puhl, Dr.<br />

Samuel Wherry, William Ashley, and riflemaker<br />

Samuel Hawkins sought to expel free<br />

blacks who had not been born in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> or<br />

no longer had family ties here.<br />

Just a few months later, on April 28, 1836,<br />

such seething prejudices erupted most<br />

publicly when a large white mob, including<br />

two mayors and other prominent politicians,<br />

participated in the “revolting spectacle” of<br />

a “human bonfire.” The victim was Francis<br />

McIntosh, a free mulatto steamboat steward,<br />

who, being threatened with death during<br />

an arbitrary arrest, had killed one constable<br />

and severely slashed another. Outraged<br />

citizens grabbed McIntosh from jail, chained<br />

him to a downtown tree, and burned him<br />

alive, cheering and jeering at his agony. The<br />

“disfigured” and “roasted” corpse remained as<br />

a gruesome warning to all blacks who dared<br />

to assault whites, and tourists for many years<br />

cut off slivers of the charred execution tree as<br />

grisly souvenirs.<br />

Most newspapers feared that such repulsive<br />

violence had “damaged the fair fame of<br />

our town,” but defended the lynch mob for<br />

preserving the peace amid the growing<br />

paranoia about Nat Turner’s 1831 Virginia<br />

massacre of whites and northern abolitionist<br />

condemnations of slavery. Judge Luke<br />

Lawless (well named) found no individual<br />

guilty of murdering McIntosh, because so<br />

many people had participated. Community<br />

consensus against black violence seemed to<br />

justify even the most horrific white vigilantism.<br />

Elijah Lovejoy’s <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Observer joined<br />

the northern press in condemning the judge’s<br />

“monstrous” leniency of a public atrocity.<br />

Hateful residents attacked the messenger<br />

who reminded them of their shame in a<br />

not-so-civilized city. Lovejoy moved to Alton<br />

for his own safety, but he was repeatedly<br />

attacked there, too, for his growing antislavery<br />

opinions. A mob murdered him in<br />

November 1837. Following those bloody<br />

tragedies, new Missouri laws prohibited the<br />

circulation of abolitionist publications and<br />

required black steamboat crews to be jailed<br />

until their vessels departed.<br />

Because <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> “had earned a national<br />

reputation for barbarism” and judicial<br />

malfeasance, city officials strictly adhered to<br />

due process in 1841, ensuring that a slave<br />

and three free blacks accused of murder<br />

received a competent defense in a fair trial.<br />

But after their convictions, a huge crowd,<br />

exaggerated as “75 percent of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans,”<br />

thronged to witness their executions. A boat<br />

company advertised tickets for a passage<br />

to Duncan’s Island to see the spectacle of<br />

“Four Negroes Executed.” The need for white<br />

citizens “to instill fear and obedience in<br />

blacks” then prompted a “macabre display,<br />

for several days, of the heads of the four men<br />

in the front window of Corse’s Drug <strong>St</strong>ore at<br />

69 North First <strong>St</strong>reet.”<br />

Historian Julie Winch wrote that city<br />

“authorities were far from happy that a free<br />

community of color existed at all,” and a<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Anti-Abolition Society was founded<br />

in 1846. According to Adam Arenson, “as a<br />

booming metropolis in a border state, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s<br />

demographic stew mirrored the nation’s<br />

regional, political, and ethnic diversity as no<br />

other city did,” making it “a place of lively<br />

contradictions.” Even the complex and<br />

divisive issue of race, however, had to<br />

have an unequivocal, eventual resolution.<br />

Otherwise, how could <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, the cultured<br />

and affluent “great heart of the Republic,”<br />

claim to be a civilized city while treating its<br />

African American residents so brutally?<br />

In 1847, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was illuminated by<br />

gaslights for the first time, but that year was<br />

a dark one for the married city slaves, Dred<br />

and Harriet Scott, and their two daughters.<br />

They were suing for their freedom, since<br />

they had been taken from Missouri to live in<br />

Illinois and other free states where slavery<br />

was illegal. They were very brave to take on<br />

a racist system, especially considering the<br />

public violence of the previous decade.<br />

Entering a courtroom just a few steps from<br />

where slave sales were held symbolized the<br />

great odds against them. The Scotts lost their<br />

suit on a legal technicality, but a retrial freed<br />

them on January 12, 1850, only to have<br />

the Missouri Supreme Court overturn that<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

70


verdict two years later. The U.S. Supreme<br />

Court made its famous ruling on March 6,<br />

1857, denying freedom for the Scotts and<br />

declaring that all African Americans, even if<br />

free, did not have the rights of U.S. citizens.<br />

Chief Justice Roger Taney’s decision also<br />

nullified the Missouri Compromise of 1820<br />

by ruling that Congress never had the<br />

authority to exclude slavery from any state or<br />

territory. Dred Scott and his family would<br />

be freed by a new owner two months later,<br />

but in the years ahead, racial politics heated<br />

up, since all of the West was now open to<br />

the legal, and virtually unlimited, spread<br />

of slavery.<br />

The Dred Scott Case focused national<br />

attention on <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, where polarizing<br />

ideologies clashed in efforts to dominate city<br />

Oil portrait of Dred Scott by <strong>Louis</strong> Schultze<br />

(1888), based on the famous print published<br />

in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated <strong>New</strong>spaper,<br />

June 27, 1857.<br />

COURTESY, MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (1897 009 0001).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

7 1


Abolitionist map of Free and Slave states—<br />

with Missouri in the middle—revealing<br />

nineteenth-century propaganda in an<br />

old school textbook.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

72<br />

politics. On the eve of the Civil War, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

was a populous metropolis of 160,000 people—the<br />

sixth largest city in the United<br />

<strong>St</strong>ates, with annual manufactures worth<br />

$27 million, seventh highest in the nation.<br />

But <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s central location, which had<br />

long given it an economic advantage, now<br />

became a political liability, as northern and<br />

southern, eastern and western, interests<br />

clashed there. As prolonged violence erupted<br />

in nearby “Bleeding Kansas,” and threats of<br />

secession grew, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s profitable river trade<br />

with the slave South seemed increasingly<br />

“disreputable” to the city’s Yankee businessmen.<br />

Many moved their money and often<br />

their residences to the slave-free city of<br />

Chicago, which also offered new investment<br />

opportunities in railroad routes to northeastern<br />

states. By 1860 only 24 percent of<br />

entrepreneurs from <strong>New</strong> York and <strong>New</strong><br />

England remained in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, and their<br />

investments in the city plummeted to a mere<br />

13 percent. Liberal antislavery sentiments,<br />

however, continued to thrive among Eliot’s<br />

abolitionist Unitarians and well-educated<br />

German radicals, who published 40 percent<br />

of the city’s newspapers.<br />

Anti-secessionist <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans embraced<br />

eastern influences that increasingly linked them<br />

to Illinois and other free states—challenging<br />

Missouri’s rural “Little Dixie” counties with<br />

slave populations of at least 25 percent.<br />

In 1861 the city’s mayor was a “Union,<br />

Anti-Black Republican,” and while leading<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans supported a variety of national<br />

political parties, most were moderates who<br />

wanted to expand economic opportunities<br />

for whites without promoting freedom for<br />

slaves. But they certainly did not want slavery<br />

to spread. As early as 1857, Benton disciples<br />

Gratz Brown and his cousin, Francis Preston<br />

(“Frank”) Blair, Jr., supported a very gradual<br />

emancipation of Missouri slaves, but above<br />

all, they wanted to keep the state in the<br />

Union. When they and Virginia-born Mayor<br />

John Wimer won elections that year, Brown<br />

proclaimed that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was now “The Free<br />

City of the Valley of the Mississippi.”<br />

In the 1860 presidential election, even<br />

supporters of Abraham Lincoln were divided<br />

into conservative and radical factions over<br />

racial issues. He won the city—9,483 votes<br />

to 8,538 for the moderate Illinois Democrat,<br />

<strong>St</strong>ephen Douglas. But <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> voters overwhelmingly<br />

rejected Southern extremism,<br />

casting only 544 votes for the pro-slavery<br />

Southern Democrat, John C. Breckinridge of<br />

Kentucky. Arenson observed that “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>…<br />

[was] the largest city in a slave state to vote<br />

for” Lincoln, and its citizens also reelected


President Lincoln’s Cabinet in early 1861,<br />

with Postmaster-General Montgomery Blair<br />

(top left), and Attorney General Edward<br />

Bates (top center) representing twenty<br />

percent with <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> connections.<br />

Engraving from Horace Greeley,<br />

The American Conflict: A History of<br />

the Great Rebellion…(Hartford, 1866).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

7 3


A Confederate envelope retrieved after the<br />

capture of Camp Jackson on May 10, 1861.<br />

The letter inside was dated the day before<br />

and included secessionist sentiments of the<br />

writer, perhaps Captain George West,<br />

a “Minute Man” of the Missouri Guard,<br />

to his brother.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (D4592).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

74<br />

him in 1864 with support comparable to<br />

that of Philadelphia. Blair’s older brother,<br />

Montgomery, had been one of Dred Scott’s<br />

lawyers and would soon join Lincoln’s<br />

cabinet, while Brown became a U.S. senator<br />

in 1863. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an Edward Bates served as<br />

Lincoln’s attorney general in his first term,<br />

while his brother-in-law, Hamilton Gamble,<br />

helped keep Missouri in the Union as acting<br />

governor from 1861 to 1864.<br />

When Lincoln took office in March 1861,<br />

seven Southern states had already seceded,<br />

and a special state convention met at the<br />

Mercantile Library to determine whether<br />

Missouri should stay in the Union. It would<br />

for now, by a vote of 70 to 23, because<br />

secession was considered too radical a choice<br />

to make that early. However, Missouri’s<br />

new Southern-leaning, pro-slavery governor,<br />

Claiborne Fox Jackson, rejected President<br />

Lincoln’s call for state troops to defend the<br />

Union, and Jefferson City took control of the<br />

police in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City to block antislavery<br />

activity. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were hardly united,<br />

however, and they organized rival pro- and<br />

anti-slavery militias that reflected their<br />

cultural diversity.<br />

Rich French families, lower-class Irishmen,<br />

and farmers from Little Dixie organized as a<br />

state militia of “Minute Men” to oppose a<br />

“tyrannical” federal government and raised<br />

secessionist flags above the courthouse and<br />

the old Berthold Mansion of “plantation<br />

architecture.” Frank Blair countered those<br />

pro-Southern forces by recruiting large numbers<br />

of German <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans into the “Blair<br />

Rangers,” the “Black Rifles,” and especially<br />

the “Wide Awakes”—free-soil militiamen<br />

increasingly on the lookout for secessionists.<br />

With his Washington connections, Blair’s<br />

4,000 militiamen, almost all Germans, had<br />

been mustered in as U.S. soldiers under a<br />

new commander of the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Arsenal,<br />

Colonel Nathaniel Lyon. Supported by<br />

Lincoln, Lyon circumvented the authority<br />

of General William S. Harney, who had<br />

whipped one of his female slaves to death<br />

and was considered too sympathetic to the<br />

Confederacy’s need for armaments.<br />

As tensions mounted, both pro- and antisecessionists<br />

focused on the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

Arsenal. Founded in 1827, it was the “largest<br />

military storehouse in the slave states” by<br />

1860, with many cannons, 60,000 muskets,<br />

1.5 million cartridges, and 90,000 pounds of<br />

gunpowder that would be invaluable for<br />

starting or thwarting rebellion. In March<br />

1861, the Missouri Militia under General<br />

Daniel M. Frost of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> established<br />

“Camp Jackson” at the intersection of Grand<br />

Boulevard and Olive <strong>St</strong>reet, where heavy<br />

cannons could bombard the Arsenal. He had<br />

an estimated force of 1,000 men, including<br />

300 strongly secessionist “Minute Men.”<br />

When a steamboat arrived with howitzers<br />

and siege cannons captured by Confederates<br />

from the federal arsenal at Baton Rouge,<br />

few doubts remained that “se-cesh” officials<br />

in Jefferson City intended to seize<br />

the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Arsenal. But Colonel<br />

Lyon was prepared. In late April,<br />

he secretly shipped most of his<br />

munitions across the river to<br />

Alton, in pro-Union Illinois. And<br />

in early May, he disguised himself<br />

as a woman, using a thick veil<br />

to hide his heavy beard, to spy on<br />

Camp Jackson.<br />

On Friday, May 10, 1861, Lyon<br />

successfully attacked Frost’s garrison<br />

with 6,000 troops—the vast<br />

majority being German “Home<br />

Guard” volunteers led by Blair,<br />

Henry Boernstein, Franz Sigel, and<br />

others. Surprised and overwhelmed


y superior numbers, General Frost surrendered<br />

Camp Jackson without a fight or a single<br />

casualty. But as Lyon marched hundreds of<br />

prisoners into crowded city streets, a huge,<br />

angry mob jeered the “Damned Dutch,” pelted<br />

them with rocks, and fired pistols into their<br />

ranks. Lyon’s men suffered four killed and ten<br />

wounded, while three of the secessionists<br />

they were guarding also died. His troops<br />

responded with random gunfire that killed<br />

30 civilians—including one woman and five<br />

children—while as many as 50 other citizens<br />

suffered wounds. That civil(ian) war in the<br />

streets of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> “cast a dark veil over an<br />

otherwise glorious day” for the Union cause.<br />

The carnage on what pro-Southerners called<br />

“Black Friday” was witnessed by future<br />

Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William<br />

Tecumseh Sherman, who would see far worse<br />

atrocities to come.<br />

The “Camp Jackson Affair” was the only<br />

“battle” fought in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> during the Civil<br />

War, while the rest of Missouri experienced<br />

another 1,161 engagements. Lyon, promoted<br />

to general, captured Jefferson City and<br />

Boonville, driving the secessionist state<br />

government into exile before he was killed at<br />

the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in August 1861.<br />

The support he had received from Free Soil<br />

Germans, Yankee abolitionists, and other<br />

anti-Confederate citizens gave credit to<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as a liberal Union stronghold. Lyon’s<br />

initiative prevented Camp Jackson troops<br />

from expelling all free blacks from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

as intended by the governor’s racist police<br />

board. Instead, Major-General John C. Frémont,<br />

Senator Benton’s son-in-law, took command<br />

of the city and quickly issued an August 1861<br />

proclamation freeing its slaves. Although that<br />

emancipation was short-lived, given Lincoln’s<br />

priority to keep the key border state of<br />

Missouri in the Union, Fremont successfully<br />

imposed martial law in the city. That quelled<br />

most Confederate sympathizers by incarcerating<br />

“traitors” and spies in the Gratiot <strong>St</strong>reet<br />

Prison, however unjustly.<br />

As Lincoln’s city on the Mississippi, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

was invaluable to the northern cause in the<br />

West. It became the “Arsenal of the Union,”<br />

supplying 40 percent of all bullets to federal<br />

troops. At nearby Carondelet (soon to be<br />

annexed), the talented, self-taught engineer,<br />

James B. Eads, constructed the iron-clad gunboats<br />

Carondelet, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, <strong>Louis</strong>ville, Pittsburg,<br />

and the larger, better-armed Benton. Those<br />

innovative vessels played prominent roles in<br />

General Grant’s attacks on rebel river forts,<br />

eventually leading to the fall of Vicksburg.<br />

Dividing the Confederacy ultimately made that<br />

former <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> resident the most successful<br />

Union commander in the East, as well as<br />

the West.<br />

The Eads Boatyard in Carondelet,<br />

showing the construction of Union gunboats;<br />

from a nineteenth-century publication,<br />

The Soldier in Our Civil War.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

7 5


On top is an amputation saw, with razorsharp<br />

edge on one side for cutting flesh and<br />

a serrated edge for cutting bone. Below are<br />

small, portable surgical instruments made<br />

by A. M. Leslie & Company, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

and owned by Dr. O. D. Fitzgerald of<br />

Ozark County, Missouri.<br />

CIVIL WAR MEDICAL EQUIPMENT FROM THE<br />

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Four thousand soldiers from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> died<br />

on both sides in the Civil War, but their city<br />

achieved great fame and a lasting legacy as a<br />

humane refuge free of the chaos and cruelty<br />

that gripped the rest of the state. Confederate<br />

guerrilla cavalrymen under William Quantrill<br />

and “Bloody Bill” Anderson shot, and sometimes<br />

scalped, unarmed Union soldiers. In<br />

retaliation, federal troops attacked civilians<br />

merely suspected of Southern sympathies<br />

and expelled some 20,000 residents from<br />

“Little Dixie” counties. Many ragged refugees<br />

found their way to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—homeless slaveowners,<br />

a thousand or so German farmers<br />

whom General Sigel saved from death by<br />

ruthless outlaws, and African Americans,<br />

slave and free, from every location.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the most compassionate<br />

and accommodating of all slave cities in<br />

the wartime treatment of blacks. By 1863,<br />

the number of Missouri slaves had declined<br />

35 percent, to about 74,000, since a large<br />

number had escaped to the “promised land”<br />

of Lincoln’s capital in the West. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s<br />

African American population tripled during<br />

the Civil War, approaching 10,000 by 1865.<br />

The city provided farm plots for ex-slaves<br />

to grow crops and generously funded the<br />

Freedmen’s Relief Society. African American<br />

refugees were housed, fed, and even schooled<br />

at Benton Barracks, along Natural Bridge<br />

Road, which was also a recruitment and<br />

training center for “Colored Infantry.” Before<br />

the war’s end, some 8,000 Missouri blacks<br />

enlisted in the Union Army to fight for the<br />

liberation of other African Americans.<br />

Freedom truly triumphed when Missouri<br />

became the first slave state to abolish slavery.<br />

It passed an emancipation act in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on<br />

January 11, 1865, by a vote of 65-4, almost a<br />

year before the Thirteenth Amendment was<br />

ratified. To impart lasting value to that freedom,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> created five “Colored Schools” for<br />

1,600 students, naming them for famous black<br />

heroes—including Haitian slave revolutionaries,<br />

Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jacques<br />

Dessalines, and American astronomer Benjamin<br />

Banneker. Sumner High School, honoring the<br />

notable abolitionist politician, opened in 1875<br />

as the first public secondary school for African<br />

Americans in the West. By 1900, Missouri had<br />

the largest percentage of black elementary<br />

school students in the South—a hopeful sign<br />

that a formerly enslaved population would<br />

enjoy unprecedented opportunities for equality<br />

in the new century.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

76


Another humanitarian contribution of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was providing medical treatment<br />

to wounded soldiers of both sides during<br />

the Civil War. Eliot joined businessman<br />

James G. Yeatman and many others in founding<br />

the Western Sanitary Commission. <strong>St</strong>affing<br />

a 2,500-bed hospital at Jefferson Barracks and<br />

funding fourteen other medical facilities, the<br />

Commission had treated over 60,000 soldiers<br />

by May 1864, with an admirable mortality<br />

rate lower than 10 percent. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were<br />

truly concerned about hospitalized soldiers,<br />

and city newspapers published weekly lists<br />

of those who had died. Typical was the first<br />

week of November 1862, in which 73 of the<br />

74 deaths among 25 Confederate and 49<br />

Union troops occurred from disease (measles,<br />

dysentery, typhoid fever, and pneumonia),<br />

rather than wounds.<br />

Venerable Jefferson Barracks, which will<br />

turn 200 in 2026, is the place from the Civil<br />

War that best symbolizes <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s special<br />

role in that conflict. Some 200 senior officers<br />

who had been stationed there fought in the<br />

war, and its national cemetery that opened in<br />

Above: “An Ordinance Abolishing Slavery<br />

in Missouri,” lithograph by<br />

Theodore Schrader, 1865.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (21818).<br />

Left: “Jefferson Barracks,” an 1866<br />

lithograph by Gast, Moeller and Company.<br />

COURTESY OF MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (24694).<br />

C H A P T E R 3<br />

7 7


Right: Title page of Our Nation’s Hero,<br />

a song honoring Ulysses S. Grant, with<br />

lyrics by Miss Ida Schott Taylor and music<br />

by Henry M. Butler, published by Balmer<br />

and Weber in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1885.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Opposite: Pottery Booth at the Mississippi<br />

Valley Sanitary Fair at <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1864.<br />

<strong>St</strong>ereographic photograph (half view) by<br />

J. A. Scholten. Shown next to the man<br />

with his back to the camera is Mrs. Adaline<br />

Couzins, an early local leader for female<br />

political equality.<br />

COURTESY OF MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (51041).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

78<br />

1863 reunited many of them from among the<br />

16,000 burials. While the base hospital offered<br />

help and hope for wounded troops, former<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> army officers, Grant and Lee, also<br />

chose compassion over carnage by negotiating<br />

an end to the horrific slaughter.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> philanthropists expanded the<br />

reach of their generosity by distributing more<br />

than $4.5 million outside of the city to care<br />

for soldiers and needy civilians throughout<br />

the nation. Residents raised about $600,000<br />

alone at the city’s Mississippi Valley Sanitary<br />

Fair of 1864. That unprecedented three-week<br />

exposition attracted thousands of attendees—including<br />

many African Americans—<br />

who, in a notable departure from segregationist<br />

traditions, were served refreshments<br />

without prejudice.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> women who had been inspired<br />

by work in Western Sanitary Commission<br />

hospitals emerged as political activists for<br />

female rights in the postwar period.<br />

According to historian Lee Ann White, in<br />

1867 Virginia Minor was “the first person to<br />

take a public stand for woman suffrage in<br />

the state,” becoming a leading advocate in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> from 1879 to 1892. Equally passionate<br />

was Mrs. Adaline Couzins, who served<br />

as a Civil War nurse for the Ladies’<br />

Union Aid Society of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and was<br />

wounded at the siege of Vicksburg. She<br />

founded the Female Guardian Home of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> while campaigning for female<br />

suffrage. Her precocious daughter,<br />

Phoebe Couzins, was a Civil War nurse,<br />

the second American woman to earn a<br />

law degree in the nation, and the first<br />

female to serve as a U.S. marshal. At the<br />

American Equal Rights Association convention<br />

in May 1869, she delivered a<br />

rousing speech advocating the vote for<br />

white and black women, because they<br />

were as deserving of legal equality as<br />

black men. Couzins remained an outspoken<br />

suffragist until her death in 1913.<br />

Following the Civil War, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s<br />

humanitarian citizens continued to<br />

resolve social crises without governmental<br />

assistance. In 1879 the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

riverfront became the temporary home<br />

to more than 6,000 ex-slaves, known<br />

as “Exodusters,” who fled the South<br />

to begin new lives as free farmers in<br />

Kansas. Black churches provided them<br />

with shelter and charitable assistance.<br />

Lincoln’s city on the Mississippi also<br />

played prominent roles in national<br />

politics in the postwar period. Grant, the<br />

hometown hero, served two terms as the<br />

Republican president from 1869 to 1877,<br />

while another <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> resident, Carl<br />

Schurz—the first German immigrant to<br />

serve in the U.S. Senate—opposed his<br />

Radical Reconstruction policies as leader of<br />

the new Liberal Republican movement.<br />

Several <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans also advocated sweeping<br />

reforms of the state constitution, highlighting<br />

the traditional tensions between urban<br />

intellectuals and rural conservatives. As<br />

Wendell Phillips wrote in 1870, “if Missouri<br />

would back up <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> with a liberal<br />

policy…[it] would soon become…one of the<br />

great cities of the world.”


C H A P T E R 3<br />

7 9


“One asked one’s self whether this extravagance [the World’s Fair] reflected the Past or imagined the Future;<br />

whether it was a creation of the old America or a promise of the new one….<br />

[O]ne seemed to see almost an adequate motive for power;<br />

almost a scheme for progress.”<br />

–Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, 1907<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

EXPLORING THE WORLD’S FAIR CITY<br />

IN A RAILROAD ERA<br />

Train print from a nineteenthcentury<br />

newspaper.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Between 1870 and 1920, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> became a modern industrial metropolis—a rapidly<br />

expanding, technologically-sophisticated large city increasingly defined by its railroads, rather<br />

than its steamboats. River traffic did not end immediately or completely, however. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

quickly restored its disrupted commerce with the Deep South soon after the Civil War, and in<br />

1878, the steamer Charles P. Chouteau set a Mississippi River record by transporting 7,818 bales<br />

of cotton, weighing some 2.5 million pounds, in a single trip.<br />

But the 737,000 tons of goods that reached the city by water in 1874 dropped to only 629,000<br />

tons in less than a decade. Twelve city companies owned 155 steamboats that continued to call at<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> after 1884, but the trend was to build bloated floating palaces for entertainment, rather<br />

than sleek, efficient commercial craft. One giant boat was 350 feet long and 101 feet wide, while<br />

a rival steamer had smokestacks 75 feet tall and side-wheels four stories high. Ironically the need<br />

for speed on the water, symbolized by the Robert E. Lee’s 1870 record-setting time of three days,<br />

eighteen hours, and fourteen minutes to cover the 1,200 miles from <strong>New</strong> Orleans, hastened the<br />

evolution of ever-faster trains.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

80


Once the Civil War ended, the energy of<br />

the nation was unleashed on westward<br />

expansion, thanks to congressional legislation<br />

that encouraged homesteading and the<br />

construction of railroads. The new Age of<br />

Locomotives transformed western landscapes<br />

with unbelievable speed; the first transcontinental<br />

railroad was completed in 1869—<br />

while the last surviving member of the Lewis<br />

and Clark Expedition was still alive! <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

had to act quickly to join that fast-moving<br />

transportation revolution or be left behind.<br />

Adventurous city entrepreneurs had<br />

invested in early railroads since the 1830s,<br />

and they were not long deterred by the<br />

shocking Gasconade Train Disaster of 1855.<br />

The renamed Missouri Pacific Railroad<br />

stretched to Sedalia by 1860, and it soon<br />

had tracks running to Pilot Knob, Macon,<br />

Hannibal, and <strong>St</strong>. Joseph. But the most lucrative<br />

routes had to connect to major eastern<br />

cities, and that required a bridge across the<br />

Mississippi—a daunting economic and<br />

engineering challenge for a city that still<br />

loved its steamboats. The <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and<br />

Illinois Bridge Company was incorporated<br />

in 1864 with $1,000,000 in initial funding,<br />

but it was already too late. Chicago trains<br />

had been crossing the Mississippi River at<br />

Rock Island, Illinois, since the mid-1850s.<br />

Secure from the slavery controversies that<br />

“southern” <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> faced, Chicago benefited<br />

from a farming boom in northern Illinois<br />

and nearby Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.<br />

Train tycoons in <strong>New</strong> York and Boston<br />

assisted those farmers in reaching lucrative<br />

eastern markets by funding rail lines to<br />

Chicago. No matter what <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s capitalists<br />

did, they could not overcome the<br />

insurmountable geographical reality that<br />

had created an increasingly dominant rival<br />

“gateway to the West.”<br />

Nineteenth-century photograph of an overloaded<br />

cotton steamer.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

8 1


“Pont de Saint-<strong>Louis</strong> by H. Clerget and<br />

M. McAllister,” a nineteenth-century print<br />

of the Eads Bridge circulated in France.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

82<br />

Not even the big, beautiful, and brilliantlydesigned<br />

bridge of James Eads, which cost<br />

$10,000,000 and opened on July 4, 1874,<br />

could slow Chicago’s momentum. That<br />

formidable steel and iron structure stretched<br />

2,000 feet across the Mississippi, 55 feet<br />

above the high-water mark at mid-channel,<br />

and fourteen workers had died from decompression<br />

anchoring it into bedrock below<br />

25 feet of water and 80 feet of sand. That<br />

marvel of technological innovation achieved<br />

worldwide fame and has been an iconic<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> landmark ever since. But decades<br />

of delaying lawsuits between competing<br />

riverboat and railroad investors diminished<br />

its commercial impact at the time, leading to<br />

almost immediate bankruptcy. Bridge traffic<br />

increased <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s rail freight from 3,000,000<br />

tons in 1874 to almost 7,000,000 just nine<br />

years later. But Chicago had a large lead it<br />

never relinquished.<br />

That Midwestern urban competition has<br />

remained a distracting obsession in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

ever since, but it was most intense in the half<br />

century after 1870. Among city leaders, the<br />

rivalry with Chicago led to both an excessive<br />

sense of inferiority and overly-exuberant<br />

expressions of superiority to compensate,<br />

often simultaneously! “In two decades,”<br />

wrote historian and shameless booster,<br />

Walter <strong>St</strong>evens, “no other American city…<br />

adapt[ed] itself so quickly to such radical<br />

changes,” as <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> moved forward “with no<br />

loss of prestige to grasp new opportunities.”<br />

But there was lost prestige—and revenue—<br />

and to cure their city’s damaged pride, some<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> officials resorted to cheating.<br />

The Census of 1870 showed that Chicago’s<br />

population had increased 166 percent in one<br />

decade, but <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> waited to see the total<br />

for its rival and then topped it by 12,000<br />

fictitious people. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> boosters trumpeted<br />

the news that their city of 312,963 was now<br />

the “fourth largest” in the United <strong>St</strong>ates, but<br />

an official investigation found those manipulated<br />

headcounts to be a “worthless fraud.”<br />

It was impossible to have gained 150,000<br />

new residents in a single decade, and<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had a “nasty shock” in the Census<br />

of 1880, which added only 40,000 people—


dropping it to an accurate sixth place among<br />

American cities. “Such fraud and deception,”<br />

observed Arenson, “made <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> the butt of<br />

Gilded Age humor” and led some prominent<br />

residents to disassociate themselves from the<br />

embarrassed city.<br />

Despite, or because of, that scandal, a<br />

growing number of vocal locals initiated<br />

decades of exaggerated boasts about<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. In 1870, the bombastic Logan<br />

Reavis published <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>: The Future Great<br />

City of the World, in which he argued that<br />

the national capital should be a dynamic<br />

commercial city at an ideal latitude in<br />

the center of America. In repeated editions<br />

over many years, he continued to argue<br />

that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was already the “undisputed<br />

metropolis of the Mississippi Valley,” having<br />

“grown from small beginnings to gigantic<br />

proportions” and was certainly capitalworthy<br />

as “one of the greatest, wealthiest,<br />

and most prosperous cities in the country.”<br />

Other <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans promoted a “Million<br />

Population Club,” which projected a city<br />

population of at least 2,000,000 residents<br />

by 1890 and up to 12,000,000 by 1930!<br />

Not even the lowest estimate ever came close<br />

to being reached, but the city’s population<br />

did increase 29 percent between 1880-1890<br />

and by an additional 27 percent in 1900.<br />

Detail of the illustration, “Some Citizens<br />

of the ‘Future Great City’ of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,”<br />

published in the Every Saturday issue of<br />

October 28, 1871. Reavis appears at the<br />

top right margin.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

8 3


Below: Diagram of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City Limit<br />

Extensions and Population Growth, from<br />

Official Program of the Centennial<br />

of the Incorporation of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

October 3-9, 1909 (<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1909).<br />

Opposite: Final stages in the destruction of<br />

the Great Mound. Daguerreotype, c. 1869,<br />

by Thomas M. Easterly. Giddy with a<br />

building boom that required the extension<br />

of downtown streets, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans destroyed<br />

the largest Indian mound, rendering that<br />

marvelous ancient landmark into fill dirt for<br />

the sake of “progress”—erecting equally<br />

expendable modern buildings.<br />

COURTESY, MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (17087).<br />

The 1880 Census was the first to separate<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City’s population of 350,518<br />

from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> County’s 31,888. The Missouri<br />

Constitution of 1875 authorized a division<br />

that would establish separate governments<br />

for each entity and define their boundaries.<br />

The controversial split with the county in<br />

1876 tripled the area of the city to 61.37<br />

square miles (39,276 acres), with 19 miles<br />

of north-south river frontage but less than<br />

seven miles stretching to the west. Those tiny<br />

boundaries have long been considered<br />

“a crippling deterrent to development.” But<br />

in 1876 residents were optimistic about<br />

how much larger their city was than before. It<br />

had annexed the Village of North <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in<br />

1844 and experienced a growing population<br />

and booming prosperity in a mere 4.5 square<br />

miles until 1856. Even with the 1871 annexation<br />

of Carondelet, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> occupied only<br />

17 square miles by 1875, so increasing its<br />

size 3.5 times in a single year seemed like a<br />

very generous windfall, giving the city plenty<br />

of room for expansion.<br />

Moreover, many <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans relished the<br />

distinction of being one of a very few<br />

completely independent cities, free from<br />

county legislation, in the entire nation.<br />

Because those living outside the city had<br />

increased 410 percent from 1840 to 1850,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans wished to avoid the expense<br />

of administering a huge, rural county of<br />

558 square miles, which would dilute tax<br />

revenues for urban needs. By separating,<br />

proponents expected a lower tax rate,<br />

improved city services, and the acquisition<br />

of valuable county properties within the<br />

new city limits—especially the magnificent<br />

courthouse. There were risks either way, and<br />

the difficult task of composing ballot language<br />

required fifty-two planning meetings. Close<br />

election results led to charges of voter fraud,<br />

until a special commission finally ruled<br />

(some said arbitrarily) that the city-county<br />

divorce had passed by 1,253 votes and a<br />

home-rule city charter by 3,221 ballots.<br />

In a Gilded Age enamored of the<br />

Quantitative Ethic, in which bigger was<br />

better and more was better, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

invested heavily in a late nineteenth-century<br />

building boom worthy of a national capital,<br />

even if the prospects for that ambitious<br />

move were fading fast. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> promoters<br />

forged ahead with internal optimism and<br />

external publicity to compensate for their<br />

wounded pride in not even being the<br />

economic and population capital of the<br />

Midwest. The city had not constructed a<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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C H A P T E R 4<br />

8 5


Above: The Exposition Building, from<br />

James Cox, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Through a Camera<br />

(<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1893).<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Below: View of the Chamber of Commerce<br />

Building, from the <strong>New</strong> York Daily<br />

Graphic, January 21, 1880.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

major public building since the U.S. Custom<br />

House and Main Post Office opened in 1859,<br />

so the end of the Civil War provided an unrivaled<br />

opportunity to splurge on architectural<br />

and technological gems that expanded the<br />

city upward and outward.<br />

The 1871 Four Courts Building and City<br />

Jail was “one of the handsomest pieces of<br />

architecture in the West,” made of cream<br />

sandstone and “modeled after the Palace of<br />

the Louvre.” Occupying an entire city block<br />

bounded by Spruce and Clark and Eleventh<br />

and Twelfth <strong>St</strong>reets, it contained several criminal<br />

courtrooms, a grand jury chamber, and<br />

offices of the circuit attorney, chief of police,<br />

city marshal, and sheriff. That building also<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

86


housed the Central Police <strong>St</strong>ation, a gallows,<br />

a jail with a modern “shell of iron” (where<br />

visitors could gawk at the inmates), and the<br />

City Morgue (where “bodies of unidentified<br />

dead persons are exposed for three days”).<br />

The basement had a “Calaboose” for offenders<br />

rounded up in the “Hoodlum Wagon” for<br />

minor offenses: fast driving of carriages;<br />

placing bells or anything else on horses that<br />

could frighten them; public drunkenness;<br />

swimming in the river; serenading in the<br />

street; prostitution; indecent behavior near a<br />

church; or possession of deadly weapons,<br />

including slingshots.<br />

In 1874, the Merchants Exchange/Chamber<br />

of Commerce Building opened on Third <strong>St</strong>reet<br />

and was immediately touted as “the finest<br />

structure in the world devoted to business.”<br />

Costing $1.5 million, that six-story edifice<br />

housed the Merchants Exchange Hall, a<br />

beautiful 221 foot by 62 foot room with a<br />

60 foot high ceiling, trimmed with walnut<br />

and mahogany. It was a popular location<br />

for many public events, including the Veiled<br />

Prophet’s Ball. Another business building—<br />

the Cotton Exchange Building on Main<br />

and Walnut—opened nine years later.<br />

Constructed of stone and pressed brick, that<br />

five-story structure cost $150,000 and was<br />

considered the “finest” such exchange in<br />

the country.<br />

In September 1884, the city opened the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Exposition Building and Music Hall,<br />

“one of the largest” such structures in the<br />

United <strong>St</strong>ates. Constructed of stone, 600 tons<br />

of iron, and 9,000,000 pressed bricks at<br />

a cost of $750,000, it occupied two city<br />

blocks between Olive and <strong>St</strong>. Charles along<br />

Thirteen and Fourteenth <strong>St</strong>reets. The building<br />

provided 280,000 square feet of exhibit<br />

space and had nine entrances to handle large<br />

crowds. Its Music Hall of 5,000 seats was<br />

cooled by “fresh air sent into the building<br />

by…an immense fan in the basement.”<br />

View of the Post-Office and Custom House<br />

Building, from the <strong>New</strong> York Daily<br />

Graphic, January 21, 1880.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

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H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

88


In 1890, the $3,000,000 Merchants Terminal<br />

Bridge became the city’s second railroad<br />

bridge, with a center span of 523 feet. By then,<br />

no steamboats could compete with <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s<br />

“18 railroads running an average of 200 passenger<br />

trains, carrying over 20,000 people—plus<br />

184 freight trains—daily,” with links to 25,000<br />

miles of tracks in all directions. The 1875<br />

Railroad Depot at Poplar and Twelfth—rendered<br />

obsolete in only fifteen years—was replaced in<br />

1894 by the massive Union <strong>St</strong>ation, where<br />

32 rail lines converged. Modeled after a castle<br />

in southern France, the masterpiece of architect<br />

Theodore C. Link cost $6.5 million and was the<br />

largest and most modern such facility in the<br />

world, twice the size of Boston’s main railroad<br />

terminal. Farther down Market <strong>St</strong>reet, the massive<br />

City Hall—in French Revival Renaissance style<br />

“similar to the Hotel de Ville of Paris”—opened<br />

in 1904 (not in time for the World’s Fair).<br />

Private entrepreneurs also constructed<br />

fourteen major buildings, costing $8,000,000,<br />

by 1892. The Security Building and the<br />

Equitable Building each reached heights<br />

of ten stories. But the most innovative<br />

“skyscraper” was <strong>Louis</strong> Sullivan’s gorgeous<br />

Wainwright Building of 1891, still regarded<br />

as an architectural masterpiece. The Chamber<br />

of Commerce claimed that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had<br />

“erected more buildings in 1891 than any<br />

other city on the continent and offers the<br />

safest and best investment to be found in any<br />

other large city in the world.” The number of<br />

building permits issued by the city revealed<br />

both quantitative and qualitative progress in<br />

only fifteen years:<br />

Opposite: Union <strong>St</strong>ation as it appeared in a<br />

1904 photograph by A. W. Sanders.<br />

REPRODUCTION FROM THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Above: Skyscrapers, from Cox, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

Through a Camera (1893).<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION<br />

Total Built Cost Brick or <strong>St</strong>one Frame<br />

1876 1,825 $3.5 million 1,361 464<br />

1884 2,609 7.3 million 1,989 620<br />

1891 4,435 13.3 million 2,976 1,459<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

8 9


<strong>New</strong>spaper boy and businessman; print<br />

of early twentieth-century <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

street scene.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

90


W H O A C T U A L L Y B U I L T S T . L O U I S ?<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in the late nineteenth century was praised as a “vast and busy workshop,” where the “products of industry are not only<br />

bought, sold and handled,” but were actually “made here.” Business tycoons and political leaders receive all of the credit for the<br />

productivity of industrialization, overshadowing the indispensable contributions of the men, women—and child—laborers of every age<br />

and race who actually performed the dirty, dangerous tasks that created modern cities. The success of steamboat commerce over many<br />

generations depended upon thousands of black “roustabouts” who did the heavy lifting along the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> levee. Praise for the<br />

renowned Eads Bridge obscures the many workers who died in building it. In the early twentieth century, the United <strong>St</strong>ates had the<br />

highest rate of industrial accidents on the planet, with workplaces killing 11,000 employees and injuring (often maiming) another<br />

1.4 million in 1917 alone.<br />

In the Gilded Age of rapid industrial expansion, the richest one percent of Americans owned fifty percent of the nation’s wealth.<br />

In contrast, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s 70,000 adult male factory workers earned an average annual wage of only $635, compared to the yearly salary<br />

of $1,000 for the policemen who arrested strikers. The 13,500 women older than fifteen who worked in manufacturing were only paid<br />

an annual average wage of $268, while 2,300 child factory workers averaged a meager $168 for twelve months of work.<br />

Like other large industrial cities, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> “had not served the poor well” for decades, amid “wage cuts, chronic hunger and<br />

unemployment.” In contrast to the mansions of economic elites situated far from the inner city, unskilled workers lived in overcrowded,<br />

unhealthy, and crime-ridden tenements or “shanties” in “Clabber Alley,” “Wildcat Chute,” “Happy Hollow,” and other blighted<br />

neighborhoods, where smoky air, impure water, poor sanitation, and deficient diets shortened lives.<br />

Black levee workers portrayed in a late<br />

nineteenth-century Scribner’s Magazine<br />

article on <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> steamboats; from the<br />

author’s collection.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

9 1


F A S H I O N A B L E<br />

M A N S I O N S<br />

This page and opposite: Author’s composite of fashionable mansions,<br />

from James Cox, “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> the Carnival City of America,” in<br />

Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, XXXIII No. 6 (June 1892)..<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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C H A P T E R 4<br />

9 3


T H E P L E A S A N T D I S T R A C T I O N S O F S P O R T S<br />

In the early twentieth century, most Americans associated the popular ditty, “First in Shoes, First in Booze, but Last in the American<br />

League,” with <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s famous beer, its world-leading manufacture of footwear, and the hapless “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Browns” baseball team,<br />

which finished at or near the bottom of the American League twenty-six times in fifty years. But as the previous “Brown <strong>St</strong>ockings,”<br />

under the ownership of beer baron Chris Von der Ahe, the original team won four successive pennants from 1885 to 1888. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

was the center of the baseball world in 1886, when the Spink brothers founded The Sporting <strong>New</strong>s here, the “Brown <strong>St</strong>ockings” won the<br />

pennant, and the “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> <strong>St</strong>ars” were champions of the Negro League.<br />

“First in Shoes, First in Booze, and Last in<br />

the American League”—visualizing that<br />

famous slogan with early twentieth-century<br />

items photographed by the author from his<br />

collection: a woman’s high-top boot from the<br />

famous Brown Shoe Company, a bottle of<br />

“Columbia Weiss Beer,” with ceramic<br />

stopper, and a replica cap of the old<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Browns Baseball Team.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s population in 1890 reached<br />

451,770—an increase of 100,000 in a single<br />

decade to make it the fifth ranking U.S. city.<br />

It was now 3.5 times larger than any other<br />

Missouri municipality and had eclipsed the<br />

populations of much older cities, such as<br />

Boston and Baltimore; bested its Ohio River<br />

rival, Cincinnati; and dwarfed its “mother city”<br />

of <strong>New</strong> Orleans. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> now had <strong>250</strong>,000<br />

more residents than Washington, D.C., which<br />

defiant boosters loved to advertise. But with<br />

severely constricted boundaries, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

would never catch Chicago, now the second<br />

largest city in America. It had recovered<br />

remarkably quickly from the devastating<br />

fire of 1871, which had destroyed 13,500<br />

buildings, worth $186,000,000, and left<br />

about 100,000 citizens homeless. By 1890,<br />

however, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s northern rival had over<br />

1,000,000 residents living in 182 square<br />

miles—120 of them recently annexed from<br />

surrounding suburbs.<br />

Nonetheless, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was doing quite<br />

well in a much smaller space. By 1892, it<br />

had become a “vigorous and progressive<br />

modern city”—“cosmopolitan in every sense<br />

of the word,” according to contemporaries.<br />

Boosters claimed that in only three decades,<br />

its “manufacturing output showed a greater<br />

increase than any other city in America”:<br />

Year Factories Capital Invested Workers Value of Products<br />

(millions)<br />

(millions)<br />

1860 1,126 $12.7 11,737 $27<br />

1880 2,984 $50.8 41,825 $114.3<br />

1890 6,148 $141 82,911 $229<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

94


But the desperate discontent of industrial<br />

laborers became evident in the Great Railroad<br />

<strong>St</strong>rike of 1877, as some 40,000 workers across<br />

the country protested layoffs and drastic<br />

wage reductions. According to Primm, “for<br />

four days in late July, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the scene<br />

of the first true general strike in the nation’s<br />

history.” Some 5,000 workers seized railroad<br />

facilities and stopped all freight traffic;<br />

pledged solidarity with black levee workers;<br />

and marched through a downtown of<br />

shuttered stores as a brass band played the<br />

Marseillaise, evoking haunting memories of<br />

the bloody French Revolution. The strikers<br />

“ruled the city” temporarily, forcing the closure<br />

of “nearly every manufacturing plant, large or<br />

small.” But wishing to avoid the fatalities<br />

that had occurred in Chicago and other cities,<br />

73 strikers surrendered peacefully to a large<br />

police force on July 26, thus ending the strike<br />

without realizing their goals.<br />

Despite its problems of class inequality,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s commercial expansion made contributions,<br />

literally and figuratively, to a sophisticated<br />

civic culture. Pierre Laclede would have<br />

marveled at the intellectual achievements of<br />

his city in 1890. Having pioneered public<br />

secondary education west of the Mississippi,<br />

the city four decades later was “acknowledged<br />

to have the best public-school system in the<br />

United <strong>St</strong>ates,” as readers across the country<br />

learned in Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> operated 106 public schools, employing<br />

1,254 teachers, who instructed 60,000 students.<br />

There were also 85 parochial schools,<br />

35 academies and colleges, 15 libraries, a new<br />

art museum, 61 artists, 225 music teachers,<br />

and 150 book printers. Residents kept abreast<br />

of current affairs in the city’s 37 newspapers,<br />

and alert, humane citizens supported a wide<br />

variety of public facilities to care for orphans,<br />

the poor, the blind, the elderly, and the insane<br />

in 47 different “asylums,” plus two “female<br />

night refuges” for abused or abandoned<br />

women. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was also home to 800<br />

physicians serving in 23 hospitals.<br />

Citizens supported charities as members<br />

of 850 civic organizations and fraternal<br />

societies. In 1892, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans worshipped<br />

in 51 Roman Catholic churches (up eight<br />

since 1884), as well as in 33 Presbyterian<br />

churches, 23 Congregational, 23 Methodist,<br />

22 African American, 18 “miscellaneous”<br />

(including a “Chinese Sunday School”), 17<br />

Baptist, 15 German Evangelical, 14 German<br />

Lutheran, 13 Episcopalian, three Unitarian,<br />

and two Mormon, plus 9 Hebrew synagogues<br />

(up four since 1884).<br />

Residents who liked sweets patronized<br />

325 bakeries and 165 confectioners, while<br />

smokers had 442 different cigar makers to<br />

choose from. There were over 1,400 clothiers<br />

of all types, from tailors and dressmakers<br />

to wholesale merchants and retail stores. The<br />

city could accommodate 16,000 visitors a<br />

day in 60 hotels and 166 boarding houses,<br />

and meals were served in 70 restaurants,<br />

7 beer gardens, and 1,333 saloons. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s<br />

27 breweries produced 56 million gallons of<br />

beer in 1891, up from only 14 million in 1871,<br />

with the total volume over those fifteen years<br />

exceeding 587,000,000 gallons.<br />

Business and political leaders before 1900<br />

enhanced the urban experience with environmental<br />

and cultural improvements that are<br />

still beloved by <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans. Joining earlier<br />

recreational areas—Lafayette Park (1851),<br />

Missouri Botanical Garden (1859), and Tower<br />

Grove Park (1868)—on June 24, 1876, the<br />

1,380-acre Forest Park opened one day before<br />

Custer’s defeat at the Battle of the Little<br />

“Custer’s Last Fight,” an 1896<br />

chromolithograph, forty-two inches by<br />

thirty-six inches, by F. Otto Becker.<br />

Copyright @ Anheuser-Busch, LLC.<br />

Used with permission of Anheuser-Busch,<br />

LLC. All rights reserved. Adolphus Busch<br />

distributed this wildly inaccurate view of<br />

the 1876 “Battle of the Little Bighorn”<br />

to advertise the Budweiser brand, which<br />

was introduced the same year. This popular<br />

illustration represented masterful marketing<br />

and was reputedly displayed in thousands<br />

of taverns nationwide.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

9 5


H E N R Y S H A W : P L A N T I N G A L I V I N G L E G A C Y<br />

Henry Shaw Mausoleum in the Missouri<br />

Botanical Garden, from the Library of<br />

Congress online collection. Free use through<br />

Wikimedia Commons as the work product<br />

of a federal employee.<br />

Like Robert Campbell, Henry Shaw (1800-1889) was born in the British Isles, emigrated to<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as a teenager, made a fortune in the western fur trade, and invested heavily in his<br />

adopted city to make it a more beautiful and cultured place for generations. Born in Sheffield,<br />

the English city renowned for its cutlery, Shaw partnered with his father and factory-owning<br />

uncle to import the knives and axes that were indispensable to Indians and mountain men.<br />

Not surprisingly, he also invested in a steamboat named Thames to remind him of his birth<br />

country. But Shaw became an American citizen on July 4, 1843, and soon after enhanced Tower<br />

Grove Park, surrounding his impressive Italianate country house with fountains, statuary, and<br />

gardens. A generous philanthropist, he consulted with the famous Royal Kew Gardens of<br />

London, botany professor Asa Gray of Harvard, and Dr. George Engelmann, a noted German<br />

scientist in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, to create the incomparable Missouri Botanical Garden and to endow plant<br />

research in the School of Botany at Washington University.<br />

Bighorn. Ironically, the city most famous for<br />

daring adventures in the western wilderness<br />

provided residents with a tamer taste of natural<br />

beauty—free of attacks from Indians or grizzly<br />

bears—in a public space larger than <strong>New</strong> York’s<br />

Central Park. “On the first summer day,” wrote<br />

James Cox in 1893, “the luxurious electric and<br />

cable street cars running to Forest Park carried<br />

no less than 105,000 passengers, while the<br />

cars running to Tower Grove, Lafayette and<br />

other parks were all over-crowded.”<br />

Long before Lindbergh’s flight, the “Spirit<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>” was best reflected in the city’s<br />

superb historic hospitality—from hosting<br />

Indians in the colonial era to entertaining<br />

masses of affluent tourists in the railroad age.<br />

By 1892, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was nationally known as<br />

a prominent and popular “Carnival City,”<br />

offering many year-round attractions to<br />

visitors from near and far. While some<br />

committed boosters still believed that<br />

“<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> will one day become the greatest<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

96


commercial center on the face of the earth,”<br />

most residents thought that being the<br />

undisputed industrial, financial, commercial,<br />

and population capital of the “Show Me <strong>St</strong>ate”<br />

was good enough to generate some “Come<br />

See Us” publicity throughout the Midwest.<br />

A broad appeal was made to “seeker(s) after<br />

pleasure”—temporary tourists—rather than<br />

corporate tycoons wanting to buy buildings.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> offered “fine hotels and theaters,<br />

elegant public and private edifices, fairs<br />

and expositions, festivals and pageants,<br />

picturesque parks, well-paved, tree-shaded<br />

streets,” a transit system that was “the best<br />

in the world,” and “a thousand other<br />

advantages” that will “draw to the city such<br />

crowds of visitors as will in time repay the<br />

cost of the embellishments.”<br />

As booster James Cox observed in 1892, the<br />

city “has for many years been famous for its<br />

Annual Fair, for its Exposition, for its brilliant<br />

street illuminations, and for its magnificent<br />

Veiled Prophet parade. Those attractions have<br />

drawn hundreds of thousands of people to<br />

visit every fall, and its progressive citizens<br />

have decided for 1893 to eclipse every former<br />

effort in the annual festivities, and will<br />

illuminate the streets with electricity and<br />

miles of gas lit arches and pyramids.” The<br />

first Veiled Prophet Pageant debuted in 1878,<br />

and only six years later, was attracting<br />

500,000 people, who attended a massive<br />

public parade with elaborate floats and fireworks,<br />

while sponsors and local elites held a<br />

formal ball, where one of their debutante<br />

daughters was crowned queen. In 1884,<br />

the city began sponsoring a more public<br />

“<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Exposition” each September, which<br />

featured a “grand street pageant” and a massive<br />

trade association display of local products.<br />

Above: Fairgrounds Park during the annual<br />

fair in 1871, from Every Saturday issue of<br />

October 14, 1871; print in the author’s<br />

collection. The Agricultural and Mechanical<br />

Fair, which <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans held annually from<br />

1856 to 1902, “gained a worldwide<br />

reputation as…the greatest exhibition of its<br />

character on the continent” and convinced<br />

city leaders that they could pull off a world’s<br />

fair. After all, the Prince of Wales in 1860<br />

was impressed when he visited, and<br />

Fairgrounds Park at Grand Avenue and<br />

Natural Bridge Road only grew grander in<br />

future years—eventually encompassing 143<br />

acres, with a mile-long race track and an<br />

amphitheater that seated 100,000 people.<br />

Left: Veiled Prophet Poster of 1883.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

9 7


Washington Avenue, c. 1917.<br />

ORIGINAL PRINT COURTESY OF THE<br />

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

98<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> also built several large facilities for<br />

hosting major conventions, which became<br />

popular with national political parties for<br />

nominating presidential candidates. In 1876,<br />

Democrats met at the Merchants’ Exchange<br />

Building to choose Samuel J. Tilden; in 1888,<br />

Democrats returned, meeting this time at the<br />

new Exposition Hall, selecting Grover Cleveland<br />

for reelection; in 1904, Democrats came to the<br />

Coliseum to pick Alton B. Parker; and in 1916,<br />

that building again hosted the Democratic<br />

Party, which nominated Woodrow Wilson,<br />

amid protests by women seeking the vote. In<br />

the summer of 1896, the city established a<br />

precedent by accommodating conventions<br />

that chose both the winning nominee<br />

(Republican William McKinley) and the losing<br />

one (William Jennings Bryan), who ran for the<br />

People’s Party as well as the Bi-Metallic Party.<br />

At the end of 1892, James Cox published<br />

a nationally syndicated article and a wellillustrated<br />

photo album promoting the<br />

superior attractions of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. And at the<br />

same time, Sylvester Waterhouse, a Washington<br />

University history professor, published a<br />

short pamphlet that predicted a great future<br />

for the city. Their timing was impeccable,<br />

coming just before the onset of the<br />

Depression of 1893-1897 and at the beginning<br />

of the campaign by local boosters to<br />

have <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> host a world’s fair.<br />

More than a decade of planning was<br />

required to make the 1904 <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

Purchase Exposition and Olympic Games a<br />

reality. A decade before, at the peak of their<br />

civic enthusiasm, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> officials had<br />

applied to host the “Columbian Exposition” in<br />

1892 to commemorate the 400th anniversary<br />

of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to<br />

the Western Hemisphere. Italian <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

from “La Montagna” (“The Hill”) had been<br />

celebrating their national hero annually since<br />

1886. But Chicagoans began lobbying for<br />

the 1892 fair in 1885, and they became<br />

so obnoxiously boastful that a <strong>New</strong> York<br />

journalist called Chicago the “windy city”<br />

(as in “hot air”), which had nothing to<br />

do with breezes from Lake Michigan.<br />

Congressional approval and federal funding<br />

were granted to Chicago in 1890, but soon<br />

after, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> became the leading candidate<br />

to host a world’s fair commemorating the<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase—beating out <strong>New</strong> Orleans<br />

for that honor. (<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> also got later<br />

revenge against Chicago when Olympic<br />

officials cancelled the Games there and<br />

moved them to the Gateway City.)<br />

At the forefront of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s fair planners<br />

and promoters was Charles Pierre Chouteau,<br />

great-grandson of Pierre Laclede. He helped<br />

former <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> mayor and Missouri governor,<br />

David R. Francis, and other civic leaders


to raise $10,000,000 locally and $15,000,000<br />

altogether—the latter being the exact amount<br />

paid to Napoleon in 1803 for the <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

Purchase Territory.<br />

Even before the Columbian Exposition<br />

opened in 1893 (a year late), Horace H.<br />

Morgan published a book in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> that<br />

provided a detailed preview of the Chicago<br />

fair. That served as a template of sorts for the<br />

1904 fair, and it was no accident that both<br />

global expositions had similar ornate architecture,<br />

temporary plaster construction, and<br />

a fascination with fountains, basins, electric<br />

lights, popular carnival entertainments, and a<br />

huge Ferris Wheel. And during the Columbian<br />

Exposition, the Autumnal Festivities Association<br />

of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> did some crowd-poaching. In<br />

widely-circulated ads, “those attending the<br />

World’s Fair…[were invited] to secure<br />

transportation reading ‘via <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,’ in order<br />

that a few days may be spent here either<br />

going to, or returning from, the Fair” in<br />

Chicago. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> enticed prospective tourists<br />

by appealing to “all seekers after the new, the<br />

beautiful, the grand, and the picturesque.”<br />

From May to December 1904, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase Exposition and Olympic<br />

Games received the national and international<br />

attention that the city had long craved—<br />

being the ultimate tourist attraction before<br />

the Gateway Arch was built. And some<br />

620,000 <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans did not squander the<br />

opportunity to showcase “a most inviting<br />

city.” They were willing and able to welcome<br />

P R O G R E S S C A M E A T A P R I C E<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were shocked and ashamed in 1904 when Lincoln <strong>St</strong>effens,<br />

the famous “muckraking” journalist, published his expose, The Shame of the Cities.<br />

Not since the negative publicity of the “Whiskey Ring” crooks in the 1870s had city<br />

residents faced such sobering revelations. According to <strong>St</strong>effens, “the corruption of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> came from the top”—the “best citizens”—whose appetite for “boodle”<br />

(bribes) and the “Big Cinch” (illegal collusion of power-brokers) had made city<br />

and state politics dishonest and incompetent over several decades. “Public<br />

spirit became private spirit, public enterprise became private greed,” he wrote,<br />

and “everything the city owned was for sale by the officers elected by the people.”<br />

Traitors to the trust of citizens had done more damage to the prestige and<br />

progress of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> than the Depression of 1893-1897, which the city had<br />

survived as the fourth largest industrial center in the U.S. But public utilities and<br />

construction projects all cost more due to expensive kick-backs and bribes—<br />

which tore at the urban core just when the World’s Fair City was advertising<br />

its beauty and efficiency. The “Big Cinch” was evident in the 1900 transit strike,<br />

as angry, poorly-paid workers assaulted scab trolley drivers, cut electric wires,<br />

and even dynamited tracks, while clashes with armed company goons left three<br />

dead and fourteen wounded citizens.<br />

Tackling rampant corruption was “Holy Joe” Folk, the Democrat circuit attorney,<br />

whose reform agenda was supported by Mayor Rolla Wells and newspaper editors,<br />

Joseph Pulitzer and W. M. Reedy. Folk’s aggressive attacks on corrupt politicians<br />

and their business cronies produced thirty-nine indictments, many convictions,<br />

and positive publicity in addressing <strong>St</strong>effens’s criticisms. As governor from 1904-<br />

1908, Folk promoted modern regulations that made Missourians safer, better<br />

educated, and empowered to keep politics honest and more responsive, while<br />

Mayor Wells created a “<strong>New</strong> <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>” that was finally worthy of being a fair city.<br />

the world because <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had welcomed<br />

them from every corner of the globe. Twenty<br />

percent of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were foreign born,<br />

and another 42 percent had foreign-born<br />

parents, while only 32 percent of residents<br />

The Grand Cascade of the 1904<br />

World’s Fair.<br />

ORIGINAL PRINT COURTESY OF THE<br />

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

9 9


Map of the 1904 fairgrounds of the<br />

<strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase Exposition.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

100


C H A P T E R 4<br />

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H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

102


were native Caucasians with U.S.-born parents<br />

and only 6.4 percent native African Americans<br />

with U.S.-born parents. Germans led the<br />

category of “second generation ethnics” with<br />

53 percent (fourth highest in the U.S.),<br />

while those of Irish descent represented 17.5<br />

percent of city residents (fifth nationally).<br />

Since 1870, 6,000 English, 5,000 Russian Jews,<br />

3,000 Poles, 2,700 Swiss, 2,600 Bohemians,<br />

1,800 Austrians, and 1,300 Canadians (more<br />

than at any time since the eighteenth century)<br />

had moved into the city. More recent immigrants<br />

had come from Sweden, France, Italy,<br />

and Scotland (at least 1,000 each), as well as<br />

former residents of Africa, Australia, Central<br />

America, Finland, India, and the Atlantic and<br />

Pacific islands.<br />

The 1904 World’s Fair was an incomparably<br />

massive, magical, and memorable celebration,<br />

with something to appeal to everyone. Its 1,270<br />

acres were fifty-nine times larger than London’s<br />

famous Crystal Palace Exposition of 1851;<br />

five times more extensive than Philadelphia’s<br />

Centennial Exposition of 1876; and exceeded<br />

the size of Chicago’s fair by 233 acres. Fortyfive<br />

states and U.S. territories, plus 43 foreign<br />

nations, constructed exhibit “pavilions.” The<br />

twelve huge themed “palaces” had 5,000,000<br />

square feet of interior space, while outside<br />

exhibits totaled over 6,000,000 square feet.<br />

The Fair also featured the “Inside Inn,” the<br />

first hotel operated by the famous <strong>St</strong>atler<br />

chain; an on-site hospital; a restaurant that<br />

could seat 5,000 people at a time; 1,200<br />

statues; 15 miles of track in a scenic railroad;<br />

448 concessionaires in the mile-long entertainment<br />

area known as the “Ten Million<br />

Dollar Pike;” and 70 miles of paved walkways<br />

connecting everything. Education was a<br />

major theme, which attracted 10,000 teachers<br />

from around the world.<br />

Like other expositions of the era, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

celebrated the Progress, Power, Prosperity, and<br />

Prominence of sophisticated, industrialized<br />

Europeans and Americans when compared<br />

to the world’s “primitive dark-hued peoples.”<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans had long forgotten their ancestors’<br />

original opposition to the <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

Purchase, as they praised the benefits of<br />

“Manifest Destiny” from U.S. territorial<br />

expansion in the mid-nineteenth century to<br />

the current passion for international imperialism.<br />

The Fair appealed to self-confident,<br />

affluent whites who accepted the racial<br />

inequality inherent in Jefferson’s “Empire of<br />

Liberty” and embraced the more recent myth<br />

of Anglo-Saxon superiority then in vogue. As<br />

the Reverend Josiah <strong>St</strong>rong stated in his 1890<br />

book, Our Country, the “genius” of “superior<br />

Aryans,” who now dominated one-third of<br />

the Earth, was based on their Christianity;<br />

constitutional democracy; capitalism, and<br />

admirable aggression in “pushing into new<br />

countries.” That Methodist minister justified<br />

imperialistic conquests in Asia and Africa by<br />

assuming that it was “God’s plan to people<br />

the world with better material.”<br />

Given that ideology, Fair-goers were<br />

surprised to see the Apache war-chief,<br />

Geronimo, the indomitable guerrilla who had<br />

reluctantly surrendered his last thirty-six<br />

followers in 1886 even when surrounded by<br />

5,000 U.S. troops. He was temporarily<br />

released from prison to attend the Exposition<br />

because he now symbolized the “pacified<br />

Indian” and “behaved” accordingly. Whether<br />

he was sincere or not, the old and infirm<br />

“celebrity” Geronimo seemingly embraced<br />

capitalism by selling autographs and photographs,<br />

posing in an automobile, and even<br />

riding the huge Ferris Wheel. After viewing<br />

the “anthropological zoo” of so-called “savage”<br />

native peoples with “primitive” lifeways,<br />

the aged Apache rebel allegedly declared that<br />

many of them needed to learn “how to dress<br />

and how to behave.”<br />

Only about one percent of Exposition<br />

attendees were African Americans. The<br />

prevalence of segregated restaurants and the<br />

absence of exhibits about black progress<br />

made them feel unwelcome. A “Negro Day”<br />

or “Emancipation Day,” scheduled for<br />

August 1, 1904, when Booker T. Washington<br />

was to deliver an address, was canceled to<br />

placate white exhibiters and attendees from<br />

the Deep South. The Fair did employ large<br />

numbers of African Americans, and some<br />

black <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were pleasantly surprised<br />

that racial discrimination was not worse.<br />

The first Olympic Games held in the<br />

United <strong>St</strong>ates (only the third of the modern<br />

era) attracted 651 athletes—645 men and six<br />

Opposite: French Poster Advertising<br />

the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> 1904 Exposition,<br />

1903 color lithograph by Czech artist,<br />

Alphonse Mucha. Circulated in France,<br />

this poster stimulated tourism by focusing<br />

on French <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s historic association<br />

with Indians.<br />

COURTESY OF THE SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM; GIFT OF<br />

ALICE P. FRANCIS IN MEMORY OF HER GRANDFATHER,<br />

DAVID R. FRANCIS, PRESIDENT OF THE LOUISIANA<br />

PURCHASE EXPOSITION (40:1969).<br />

Below: Silver Olympic medal from 1904.<br />

REPRODUCTION COURTESY OF THE<br />

AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

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women (all archers) from 12 nations. They<br />

competed in 18 sports between August 29<br />

and September 3. Americans comprised 523<br />

of the competitors and won 239 of the<br />

medals (78 gold, 82 silver, and 79 bronze);<br />

Germans won 13 medals, the second largest<br />

number. The <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Olympics is most<br />

remembered for its oddities: a talented<br />

gymnast with a wooden leg, who won 6<br />

medals (3 golds) in one day; an all-Mohawk<br />

Indian lacrosse team; and a marathon won<br />

by a runner who received two doses of rat<br />

poison, brandy, and raw eggs during the<br />

race and beat a disqualified cheat who rode<br />

in a car for ten miles! More significantly, the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Games featured the first African<br />

Americans—hurdler George Poage and highjumper<br />

Joseph <strong>St</strong>adler—ever to compete, and<br />

win medals, in any Olympics.<br />

Hosting a World’s Fair and the Olympic<br />

Games simultaneously was an unprecedented<br />

achievement for any city and has never happened<br />

since. Together, those events drew an<br />

official total of 19.7 million attendees, but<br />

that figure included only 12.8 million “paid<br />

admissions” and did not exclude employees<br />

who re-entered the fairgrounds each day.<br />

After exhaustive research, however, historian<br />

James Gilbert recently concluded that only<br />

4,000,000 “one-time different patrons”<br />

attended the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Exposition. (He also<br />

reduced the totals for the 1893 Chicago Fair<br />

from a claimed 27 million attendees to only<br />

5.5 million). While historians must challenge<br />

the self-serving totals supplied by sponsors<br />

(the man in charge of Fair publicity was<br />

called the “Director of Exploitation”), repeat<br />

visitors who were not employees or even<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> residents should be counted, since<br />

there were far too many attractions to see<br />

and things to do in a single day.<br />

Although critical about details, Gilbert’s<br />

book, Whose Fair?, concluded that the <strong>Louis</strong>iana<br />

Purchase Exposition was “the largest world’s<br />

fair ever held” and provided an “an immense<br />

and exhilarating experience for the city of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.” The patrician <strong>New</strong> England historian,<br />

Henry Adams, was less complimentary. He<br />

came to the Fair ten years after his last visit<br />

to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and found “everything new” in the<br />

city—except its “reeking smoke.” He thought<br />

the Exposition to be an “acutely interesting”<br />

creation of “a third-rate town” that lacked<br />

“history, education, unity, or art,” but “doing<br />

what London, Paris, or <strong>New</strong> York would have<br />

shrunk from attempting.” <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> “threw away<br />

thirty or forty million dollars on a pageant<br />

as ephemeral as a stage flat,” he wrote, and<br />

by holding that extravaganza in Forest Park,<br />

“the city had turned its back on the noblest<br />

work of nature”—the Mississippi River.<br />

Investments were far from wasted, however,<br />

since the Fair produced a profit of $600,000<br />

that the city used to construct the Jefferson<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

104


Memorial Building as the home of the Missouri<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Society; transform the Palace of Fine<br />

Arts into the Saint <strong>Louis</strong> Art Museum; build<br />

the World’s Fair Pavilion where the <strong>St</strong>ate of<br />

Missouri Building had stood; and cast the<br />

bronze <strong>St</strong>atue of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>. After the Fair was<br />

dismantled, the city also planted 75,000 new<br />

trees and shrubs and made other improvements<br />

in Forest Park. In addition, the Exposition’s<br />

massive and much-admired birdcage was later<br />

purchased from the Smithsonian Institution<br />

and remains a distinctive feature of the Saint<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> Zoo. The Fair also pumped millions of<br />

dollars into the local economy through wages,<br />

sales, the construction of twelve new hotels,<br />

and investments in city infrastructure, such as<br />

making Lindell, Skinker, and Kingshighway wellpaved<br />

modern streets. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> finally cleaned<br />

up its infamous brown, gritty water—which<br />

Mark Twain quipped was too thick to drink and<br />

too shallow to plow—not for the health of longsuffering<br />

residents but to make the many<br />

Exposition fountains and other water features<br />

look better! But of all the legacies of that special<br />

season in the sun, the most beloved and enduring<br />

was the popular song, Meet Me in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

View of the <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase Exposition<br />

Grounds from the Ferris Wheel, 1904.<br />

STEREOGRAPH PRINT IN THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

C H A P T E R 4<br />

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Above: Line of automobiles along Chestnut<br />

Avenue near Ninth <strong>St</strong>reet as photographed<br />

in 1914.<br />

COURTESY OF THE SWEKOSKY COLLECTION,<br />

MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS.<br />

Right: Vintage 1907 ad for the “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>”<br />

brand automobile.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

106


“<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> is a city that outgrew its past, and added half a million to its population<br />

after its early reason for existence had almost vanished.”<br />

–WPA Guide to the Show Me <strong>St</strong>ate, 1941<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

EXPLORING URBAN CHALLENGES<br />

IN AN AUTOMOBILE AGE<br />

The <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase Exposition was a chronological mid-point between the optimism of<br />

booming growth in the 1800s and the pessimism of looming crises in the late twentieth century.<br />

In 1904 the automobile age had barely arrived, and the slow, primitive car that carried one<br />

runner around the Olympic marathon course could not compare with sophisticated vehicles<br />

transformed by transportation technology in the following decades. The increasing speeds of<br />

each new model symbolized the rapid pace of social changes, as traditional norms faded as<br />

fast as the mythical fantasies of the World’s Fair.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans created a monster in 1904, temporarily believing that their city was better than it<br />

was. But the World’s Fair represented only a brief compensatory overconfidence of citizens with<br />

a prolonged inferiority complex. The <strong>Louis</strong>iana Purchase Exposition overshadowed almost<br />

everything that followed it—and those shadows were dark, indeed, making each new urban<br />

initiative seem puny and petty by comparison. Memories of the 1904 Exposition grew more<br />

grandiose and misleading over time, as the city’s future crises prompted comforting nostalgia<br />

for the good old days, increasing exasperation with the present. Politicians and city planners<br />

committed to the “City Beautiful Movement” and subsequent “Model City” initiatives soon<br />

realized that a few fake plaster buildings on a mere 1,200-acre fairground could not be translated<br />

into realistic, sustainable solutions to the complex problems of a large modern metropolis.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

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Opposite: Poster (printed broadside)<br />

advertising the Pageant and Masque of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in Forest Park, May 28-31, 1914.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (AO 181-7060).<br />

S T . L O U I S A N S O N T H E T I T A N I C<br />

The shocking reports of the Titanic disaster on April 15, 1912 had many<br />

Americans searching newspapers for information on local deaths among the<br />

1,500 victims. Fortunately, no <strong>St</strong>. Lousians were among the fatalities, although a<br />

Daniel Keane of Limerick, Ireland, drowned on his way to visit the city. Residents<br />

who survived that harrowing ordeal included these passengers, all traveling in<br />

first class:<br />

Mr. Spencer Victor Silverthorne, aged 35<br />

Miss Georgette Alexandra Madill, 16<br />

Miss Elizabeth Walton Allen, 29<br />

Mrs. Elisabeth Walton Robert (nee McMillan), 43<br />

Miss Emilie Kreuchen, 29, maid of Mrs. Robert<br />

Smitten by spectacle, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans hosted<br />

other celebratory events related to the city’s<br />

history in the decade after 1904, often as<br />

an antidote of fantasy to harsh realities.<br />

In October 1909, the city commemorated<br />

the centennial of its incorporation as a<br />

town, presenting multiple events during<br />

“One Hundred <strong>Years</strong> in a Week.” More than<br />

$85,000 in private donations funded parades,<br />

a grand illumination, a multicultural ball,<br />

children’s activities on Art Hill, the public<br />

dedication of the new Municipal Courts<br />

Building, plane flights by Glenn Curtiss,<br />

balloon ascensions, a water pageant featuring<br />

several U.S. Navy torpedo boats, and a<br />

huge banquet for four hundred mayors from<br />

thirty states. Organizers hoped “to use the<br />

Centennial cerebration as a lever for the<br />

extension of the city’s reputation,” and by<br />

displaying over 1,000 cars—the most ever<br />

assembled in the Mississippi Valley—that<br />

reputation was now focused on modernity<br />

as much as history.<br />

Only five years later, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans in 1914<br />

celebrated the city’s 150th anniversary. There<br />

had been no recognition of the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

Centennial in 1864, due to the Civil War, so<br />

boosters sought to throw the biggest birthday<br />

bash ever. They had much to celebrate.<br />

The 1910 census confirmed that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

remained the nation’s fourth largest city,<br />

having increased its population over 19<br />

percent for a total of 687,029. Some 590,000<br />

residents were gainfully employed, and every<br />

category of workers had risen dramatically<br />

(31 percent for children, 42 percent for<br />

women, and 24 percent for adult males).<br />

In a single decade, industrial investments<br />

had increased 15 percent to $269 million,<br />

and the value of manufactured products<br />

($430 million) had grown by 79 percent.<br />

Such prosperity contributed to the success<br />

of several expensive and grandiose events in<br />

the 1914 commemoration. Nearly 8,000<br />

residents performed in two huge dramatic<br />

productions on Art Hill for audiences that<br />

totaled 455,000 in only five May evenings.<br />

A Pageant, written by Thomas Wood <strong>St</strong>evens,<br />

was a historical play that chronicled the area’s<br />

evolution from ancient Cahokia to the Civil<br />

War. In a more mystical Masque by east coast<br />

playwright Percy MacKaye, poetic dialogue<br />

between <strong>Louis</strong> IX, a character called “Cahokia,”<br />

and other cast members focused more on<br />

the city’s recent history and future prospects.<br />

The script emphasized how a new “League<br />

of Cities” in the Progressive Era could overcome<br />

the evil influence of “Gold” if citizens<br />

cooperated in promoting beauty and order,<br />

democratic reforms and humane institutions.<br />

But that play also recognized the inevitability<br />

of urban decline: “We, too, like Cahokia, shall<br />

lie down, /And this our city be a silent mound.”<br />

While some <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were optimistic<br />

about transforming “the sordid world” into<br />

delightful “dreams,” the absence of blacks in<br />

speaking parts and promotional materials<br />

undermined “Brother with Brother” idealism.<br />

The only lasting impact of those sesquicentennial<br />

dramas was the creation of the<br />

Municipal Opera (MUNY) in 1919 as a<br />

permanent, popular outdoor theater experience<br />

on summer evenings in the park.<br />

However, racism lasted far longer. African<br />

Americans were not welcome at MUNY<br />

performances until 1954 and the recentlydeceased<br />

Pelagie Green Wren, a descendant<br />

of Jacques Clamorgan, became the first black<br />

dancer at the MUNY only in 1962.<br />

The years that followed the idealistic<br />

public performances in 1914 tested the<br />

private prejudices of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans with regard<br />

to a revolution in race relations. Economic<br />

depression and Jim Crow oppression in<br />

the Deep South created the “Great Black<br />

Migration” in the early twentieth century.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was a favorite destination of fleeing<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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C H A P T E R 5<br />

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Above: Team photograph of the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

<strong>St</strong>ars, 1928 World Champions of the<br />

National Negro Baseball League.<br />

Photograph by L. H. Beckman, 1928.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (22514).<br />

Opposite: Cover of sheet music for the<br />

Tuskegee March, 1906, by Professor<br />

William Blue, whose fifty-piece Shrine Band<br />

performed concerts in the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> area.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DR. JOHN A. WRIGHT<br />

AND USED WITH HIS PERMISSION.<br />

African Americans, because it was the first<br />

major industrial metropolis they encountered<br />

traveling up the Mississippi, midway between<br />

the farms of the Deep South and the factories<br />

of the Far North. As the historic “Union city”<br />

located closest to Dixie, as well as a “Jim<br />

Crow” region farthest from the “real” South,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> represented an agonizing disparity<br />

between its idealistic aspirations of the Civil<br />

War and pessimistic realities as of World War I.<br />

The city’s “polite racism” avoided the worst<br />

white supremacist violence and allowed<br />

integrated libraries and streetcars, but few<br />

other places, including schools. African<br />

Americans could vote for city officeholders,<br />

but not marry whites.<br />

Black <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans increased from 35,000<br />

in 1900 to 80,000 by 1920, as African<br />

Americans doubled their percentage of the<br />

population to 9 percent by that latter date.<br />

In 1920, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had the eighth largest<br />

black population in the nation, and a decade<br />

later, the percentage of African Americans in<br />

the city reached 11.5—outnumbering foreignborn<br />

Caucasians for the first time. Increasing<br />

numbers of black migrants from different<br />

areas enriched <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> culture with new<br />

musical traditions, such as ragtime, jazz,<br />

blues, and later swing, that made the city<br />

famous. Old slave rhythms from cotton fields<br />

mingled with steamboat songs and creative<br />

piano playing to showcase the talents of Scott<br />

Joplin, Tom Turpin, Blind Boone, Joe Jordan,<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> Chauvin, Charlie Warfield, Roosevelt<br />

Sykes, Henry Townsend, and other entertainers.<br />

W. C. Handy’s <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Blues and<br />

Bill Dooley’s Frankie Killed Johnnie were early<br />

musical “hits” nationwide. Charles Turpin’s<br />

Booker T. Washington Theater on Market<br />

<strong>St</strong>reet featured famous performances by<br />

Eubie Blake, Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith, and<br />

young <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an, Josephine Baker, before<br />

she became a leading act at Les Folies Bergere<br />

in Paris. In James Weldon Johnson’s 1908<br />

song, Lift Every Voice and Sing, he expressed<br />

the optimism of fellow African Americans<br />

in the early stages of the Black Migration:<br />

“Sing a song full of the faith that the dark<br />

Past has taught us;/Sing a song full of the<br />

hope that the Present has brought us.”<br />

Such optimistic sentiments, however, did<br />

not reflect the despair of unfulfilled equality<br />

for blacks over the next century. The severe<br />

lack of available, affordable, and adequate<br />

housing, exacerbated by institutionalized racial<br />

segregation, became a perennial problem for<br />

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C H A P T E R 5<br />

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Anti-Segregationist Voting Flyer, 1916.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

112<br />

throngs of African Americans over many generations.<br />

As early as 1911 white responses to<br />

the “negro invasion” led to zoning ordinances<br />

and collusions of exclusion by realtors and<br />

landlords. Historian Clarence Lang wrote that<br />

artificially restrictive housing patterns created<br />

a “Black Archipelago”—“islands of vibrant<br />

black social life surrounded by seas of white<br />

racism and hostility.” The situation worsened<br />

in 1916, when <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> became the first city<br />

in the nation “to pass a housing segregation<br />

ordnance through initiative petition and<br />

direct vote.” The segregationists won 52,220<br />

to 17,877 to further restrict blacks to only<br />

three areas of the city’s worst housing, even<br />

though 23 of 28 aldermen opposed the law.<br />

The U.S. Supreme Court struck it down, but<br />

restrictive covenants and private prejudices<br />

continued, leading to the creation of the<br />

Urban League of Metropolitan <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Housing restrictions paled in comparison<br />

to the headline-grabbing massacre in East<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. In 1917 that nearby Illinois<br />

community experienced “the most serious<br />

race riot of the century”—worse than 17<br />

other acts of wholesale violence in the U.S.<br />

from 1915 to 1919. White mobs slaughtered<br />

at least 100 people, almost all African<br />

Americans, and injured another 500 victims,<br />

young and old alike. Entire neighborhoods<br />

were ravaged, with 312 buildings destroyed.<br />

According to Ann Morris, “fires lit the<br />

night sky with a terrible glow as thousands<br />

[of black survivors] fled across the bridges<br />

to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, where city officials and the<br />

Red Cross provided help.”


World War I Red Cross Poster, 1917.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

While Americans had failed to solve<br />

interracial violence at home, they joined an<br />

overseas war in 1917 to curtail international<br />

violence abroad. Just as they had helped<br />

relieve the suffering of East <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> refugees,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans revealed their compassion in<br />

record-setting World War I food drives to<br />

help save starving Europeans. City residents<br />

managed to channel their patriotism in<br />

constructive ways, although there were some<br />

incidents of non-lethal hostility against<br />

citizens of German heritage. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans lost<br />

1,075 of their sons in the “Great War,” and<br />

city officials quickly planned to honor them<br />

with a permanent monument. But it took<br />

funding by the <strong>New</strong> Deal before the Soldiers’<br />

Memorial on Chestnut <strong>St</strong>reet finally opened<br />

in 1938. A monument across the street marks<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

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T H E H E A L T H O F T H E C I T Y<br />

Boosters in 1893 had declared that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the “healthiest large city in America,” citing a below-average death rate of 21 people<br />

per thousand. But by 1900 fewer than 23 percent of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans owned their own residences, and the poorest households averaged<br />

seven people crammed into ramshackle, squalid tenements. They suffered disproportionately from tuberculosis, pneumonia, and other lung<br />

diseases exacerbated by the city’s perpetually smoky air from burning high-sulfur coal. According to historian Robbi Courtaway, in 1924 a<br />

new smoke detector at Shaw’s Garden revealed that “each <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an inhaled fifteen table-spoons of soot every five days as a result of<br />

the soft coal used in most home furnaces” and factories. “After smoke killed off…the finest collection of evergreens in the United <strong>St</strong>ates<br />

[1923], Garden officials…[bought] land in Gray’s Summit on which they built eight greenhouses…for the garden’s precious orchids.”<br />

Citizens had to wait longer than those flowers, and downtown smoke worsened every year until it was abated by law in 1942.<br />

Right: “Black Tuesday,” November 11, 1939,<br />

when air pollution obscured the Civil Courts<br />

Building at mid-day.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY<br />

MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (14586).<br />

Opposite: In troubled times, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

opened the massive and magnificent<br />

Cathedral Basilica of Saint <strong>Louis</strong> in 1917,<br />

after seven years of construction. As the<br />

mother church of the archdiocese, the<br />

“<strong>New</strong> Cathedral” occupied an entire city<br />

block on Lindell Boulevard, far from the<br />

riverfront, and broke with both French<br />

and American architectural traditions.<br />

Its 83,000 square feet of world-class<br />

mosaics made the cathedral a virtual art<br />

museum for non-believers and Catholics<br />

alike. Before the Gateway Arch became<br />

the world’s fourth most visited tourist site,<br />

souvenir pennants advertised the cathedral,<br />

the Central Branch of the Public Library,<br />

and the Nathan Frank Band <strong>St</strong>and in<br />

Forest Park as the three “must see”<br />

attractions in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FAUSZ FAMILY.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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the site where <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> veterans founded the<br />

American Legion on May 8, 1919, and a nearby<br />

wall honors the city’s dead from several wars.<br />

The war was barely over when the devastating<br />

Spanish Influenza Epidemic struck the<br />

city in 1918. It killed 40,000,000 people<br />

worldwide and 675,000 in America, but<br />

because “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was the only city to institute<br />

community-wide business closures”<br />

quickly enough, the city enjoyed an enviably<br />

small death toll. Of the 32,000 residents who<br />

caught the flu, only 2,000 died, thanks to<br />

city-wide quarantines initiated by the talented<br />

health commissioner, Dr. Max C. <strong>St</strong>arkloff,<br />

with strong support from Mayor Henry Kiel.<br />

Significant changes came fast in postwar<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. The many local women who had<br />

staged demonstrations for female voting<br />

rights from the post-Civil War era to the<br />

1916 Democratic convention here finally<br />

achieved their goal. After seventy years of<br />

struggle, the Nineteenth Amendment was<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

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atified in 1920. Building upon that victory<br />

for the full rights of citizenship, local<br />

women’s organizations became more<br />

politically influential, in the tradition of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s pioneering female activists. A<br />

pamphlet, entitled An Aid to the Woman Voter<br />

in Missouri, was co-sponsored by the Missouri<br />

Federation of Women’s Clubs, Women’s<br />

Christian Temperance Union, Missouri Women’s<br />

Council of Defense, the Lady Maccabees,<br />

P.E.O., Missouri Equal Suffrage Association,<br />

the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Equal Suffrage Association, the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Equal Suffrage League, and the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Business Women’s Suffrage League.<br />

There was barely time to celebrate the<br />

female franchise, however, when Prohibition<br />

cast a dark shadow over the region. The<br />

Missouri Temperance Society had been headquartered<br />

in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> for many decades, but<br />

neither pro- nor anti-alcohol supporters were<br />

prepared for the massive socio-economic<br />

changes that accompanied the enforcement of<br />

the Eighteenth Amendment in January 1920.<br />

The immediate impact of outlawing the manufacture,<br />

sale, and distribution of alcoholic<br />

beverages was devastating in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, which<br />

ranked fourth nationally in beer sales. The<br />

Anheuser-Busch Brewery occupied 150 buildings<br />

over seventy blocks in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> prior to<br />

Prohibition, but the annual loss of $140 million<br />

to the local economy put 55,000 brewery<br />

and saloon jobs in jeopardy—causing a<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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egional recession a decade before the Great<br />

Depression. Robbi Courtaway estimated that<br />

in 1919, local brewery workers received total<br />

wages in excess of $4 million, which a decade<br />

later, had fallen to less than $900,000.<br />

While a thousand beer companies went<br />

bankrupt (and some brewery owners killed<br />

themselves), Anheuser-Busch downsized and<br />

diversified to remain open and keep some<br />

2,000 workers on its payroll. For thirteen<br />

years, wrote William Knoedelseder, the iconic<br />

brewery “survived by making…rail cars,<br />

truck bodies, refrigeration cabinets, ice<br />

cream, a nonalcoholic form of Budweiser, a<br />

malt-based soft drink called Bevo, barley malt<br />

syrup, and baker’s yeast.”<br />

Equally disruptive was the related rise<br />

in crime, as citizens from every class sought<br />

to skirt the law in order to enjoy—or manufacture—illegal<br />

alcoholic beverages. On<br />

<strong>New</strong> Year’s Eve, 1922, over 2,000 wealthy<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans were enjoying an expensive<br />

evening at the new Chase Hotel, when police<br />

burst into the ballroom searching for liquor<br />

violations. The genteel crowd of prominent<br />

citizens assaulted the officers with a variety<br />

of projectiles, and police gunfire wounded<br />

three patrons. National notoriety followed, as<br />

a front page headline in the <strong>New</strong> York Times<br />

on January 2, 1923 reported that “Bullets,<br />

Chairs and Tableware Fly in Riot As<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans Run Dry Squad Out of Hotel!”<br />

Detail of a Charleston Dance Competition<br />

in front of City Hall, November 13, 1925,<br />

before they were banned as a health risk.<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS<br />

POST-DISPATCH AND THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (1603).<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

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Violent criminal bootleggers in area gangs,<br />

such as “Egan’s Rats,” the “Cuckoos,” and<br />

at least four others, made that incident<br />

pale in comparison, while the alwaysvicious<br />

Ku Klux Klan eagerly exploited<br />

anti-alcohol laws as an excuse to increase<br />

their traditional prejudicial attacks on blacks,<br />

Jews, and Catholics.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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Temporarily distracting <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans from<br />

rampant crime, police raids, payroll reductions,<br />

and other problems with Prohibition was the<br />

world-famous 1927 flight of Charles Lindbergh<br />

in a plane named The Spirit of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. He<br />

was the first solo pilot to cross the Atlantic<br />

in a nonstop flight, covering the 3,614 miles<br />

between <strong>New</strong> York City and Paris in 33 hours,<br />

30 minutes, and 30 seconds. But his journey<br />

really started here. Lindbergh grew up in<br />

Minnesota, within the limits of Laclede’s<br />

original fur trade grant, and the twenty-five<br />

year-old flier reversed the itinerary of our city<br />

founder, who had traveled from France to<br />

America at the same age. Lindbergh honed<br />

his talents at Lambert Field—the 170-acre<br />

cornfield that Major Albert Bond Lambert<br />

purchased in 1920 with profits from his<br />

Listerine mouthwash. Due to its central<br />

location, Lambert Field quickly became,<br />

in the words of Lindbergh’s biographer,<br />

A. Scott Berg, “the logical intersection for the<br />

nation’s air traffic” in “the most exciting age<br />

of exploration in four hundred years.”<br />

Opposite, clockwise starting from the top:<br />

Anheuser-Busch Brewery in 1909,<br />

from the Official Program of the<br />

Centennial of the Incorporation of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Celebration, October 3-9, 1909,<br />

compiled by Walter B. <strong>St</strong>evens<br />

(<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, 1909).<br />

Federal agents conduct a Prohibition raid<br />

on December 6, 1922, on South Third<br />

<strong>St</strong>reet, destroying two stills in an apartment<br />

building capable of producing 500 gallons<br />

of whiskey per day.<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

Prescription for “Medicinal Alcohol” during<br />

Prohibition; from the author’s collection.<br />

Physicians were legally allowed to prescribe<br />

alcoholic beverages for over thirty ailments,<br />

including poisoning, post-operative pain,<br />

senility, insomnia, and even baldness!<br />

Left: Charles Lindbergh beside his famous<br />

plane at Lambert Field on May 11, 1927,<br />

after arriving from San Diego and before<br />

flying to <strong>New</strong> York to begin his historic<br />

flight across the Atlantic.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY<br />

MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (5423).<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

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F O U L<br />

W I N D S<br />

Lindbergh exploited favorable winds in his famous flight, but foul winds ravaged <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

four months after he had safely landed at Paris. A massive tornado on September 29, 1927,<br />

cut a wide swath through the central city, killing 76 and injuring more than 1,500, while<br />

destroying or damaging many buildings in 300 blocks. It was the sixth tornado to hit <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

since 1852, but was not as severe as the May 1896 “cyclone” that claimed 306 lives in<br />

South City and destroyed the main hospital. Another tornado on February 10, 1959, followed<br />

the path of the 1927 one, killing 21, injuring over 200, and displacing more than 3,000 families.<br />

February 1917 price list for raw furs<br />

issued by the United <strong>St</strong>ates Fur Company,<br />

210 North First <strong>St</strong>reet, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Note values of house cats at the bottom.<br />

ORIGINAL DOCUMENT IN THE FAUSZ FAMILY COLLECTION<br />

OF FUR TRADE MEMORABILIA.<br />

Lindbergh solidified <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s reputation<br />

as the “City of Flight.” Its citizens had been<br />

fascinated by balloon races in 1836, 1859,<br />

and 1907, and Glenn Curtiss chose <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

to fly the first airplane west of the Mississippi<br />

in 1909. The next year, Teddy Roosevelt<br />

became the first president to take an airplane<br />

ride when he visited the city. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s<br />

International Air Race in 1923 drew over<br />

100,000 spectators to see Curtiss set a world<br />

speed record of 243 miles per hour to win the<br />

Pulitzer Trophy. The true “Spirit of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>”<br />

behind the painted letters was reflected in<br />

the nine local entrepreneurs who risked their<br />

resources to purchase a plane for the ultimate<br />

explorer of the early twentieth century.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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T H E P A S T W A S P R E S E N T F O R T H E F U T U R E O F F U R S<br />

The fur trade was one industry that actually prospered during the Great Depression, as millions<br />

of small mammal pelts trapped by rural families were mailed to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> for much-needed<br />

cash. Long after generations of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> traders and trappers left their names on maps<br />

throughout the Fur West, the city’s oldest industry continued to contribute to the local and<br />

national economy well into the mid-twentieth century.<br />

By leveraging Laclede’s ideal central location, city caves used for cold storage, and new<br />

transportation links by rail and air, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> ranked with London and <strong>New</strong> York as the top<br />

three world market centers for fur sales. Under the leadership of Philip Bond Fouke III and<br />

experienced fur processors from the Fouke Company of London, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s International Fur<br />

Exchange (IFE) dominated the grading, dressing, dyeing, and marketing of Alaskan sealskins<br />

for decades. Annual auctions of all mammal species produced sales of $5.3 million in 1916,<br />

rising to $35 million only four years later.<br />

The <strong>New</strong> International Fur Exchange Building, constructed in 1920 at Fourth and Market<br />

(now the Drury Plaza Hotel), further enhanced <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s reputation as a global fur capital—<br />

which now marketed skins from Russia, China, Canada, India, Persia, Australia, and <strong>New</strong><br />

Zealand, as well as the U.S. Until the late 1950s, 75 companies in the Gateway City controlled<br />

65 percent of the American market, receiving more furs from a 600-mile radius “than all other<br />

cities in the United <strong>St</strong>ates combined.”<br />

When Lindbergh rewarded their faith so<br />

spectacularly, the city became “more than a<br />

gateway to the west. It came to symbolize<br />

the portal to the future,” wrote Berg.<br />

Lindbergh made a triumphant return to<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on June 17, 1927. Half a million<br />

residents cheered him in a 7-mile downtown<br />

parade. He was honored at a banquet for<br />

1,300 people and performed aerial<br />

stunts over Forest Park for 100,000<br />

cheering fans before placing a wreath<br />

on the statue of Saint <strong>Louis</strong>. Lindbergh<br />

donated many artifacts associated with<br />

his famous flight to the Missouri History<br />

Museum, while city officials agreed to<br />

build a municipal airport at Lambert<br />

Field, which he visited in April 1933.<br />

Not even Lindbergh’s popular<br />

appearances, however, could solve<br />

the severe problems associated with<br />

Prohibition and the Great Depression.<br />

Between 1929 and 1933, the value<br />

of manufactured goods in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> fell<br />

56 percent, and in the latter year, 30 percent<br />

of all residents (some 116,000 people) were<br />

unemployed. Blacks suffered more, with a<br />

jobless rate that reached 80 percent. Those<br />

figures were worse than the national average,<br />

refuting the myth that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> suffered less<br />

than other cities in the Depression. Some<br />

5,000 homeless <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans lived in the<br />

nation’s largest “Hooverville”—a “town” of<br />

driftwood and scrap lumber shacks located<br />

between the river and the railroad tracks—<br />

while the city fed 10 percent of the population<br />

in soup kitchens, preparing 36,000<br />

meals in August 1932 alone.<br />

Happy days returned in early 1933, when<br />

the taps reopened. The master of marketing,<br />

Anheuser-Busch publicly paraded its stunning<br />

new Clydesdales for the first time, as<br />

they pulled an old beer wagon that delivered<br />

Budweiser to President Roosevelt in the<br />

A “Hooverville” shack at river’s edge,<br />

November 1932.<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

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White House. By 1938 <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s premier<br />

brewery was producing 2,000,000 barrels a<br />

year, exceeding its pre-Prohibition volume,<br />

and sales had increased 173 percent.<br />

But that temporary return of prosperity<br />

in one industry could not begin to address<br />

more deeply-rooted socio-economic problems<br />

associated with racial prejudice. Deliberate<br />

racist decisions, rather than accidental<br />

circumstances, confined blacks to a few<br />

restricted neighborhoods and prevented<br />

their migration to white communities. In the<br />

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the<br />

United <strong>St</strong>ates, historian Kenneth T. Jackson<br />

revealed that local realtors and federal<br />

mortgage agencies in the 1930s considered<br />

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ace a major factor in ranking residential<br />

areas. Ladue received the highest rating<br />

because it was “highly restricted,” occupied<br />

by “capitalists and other wealthy families,”<br />

without “a single foreigner or negro.” The<br />

lowest-ranked areas consisted of overcrowded<br />

working-class white tenements, 60 percent of<br />

which did not have indoor toilets—and the<br />

best black homes in segregated neighborhoods.<br />

Prejudiced inspectors regarded even<br />

new and well-maintained houses of African<br />

Americans as having “little or no value…due<br />

to the colored element now controlling the<br />

district.” The FHA granted 500 percent more<br />

mortgages to new county residences than<br />

older city properties from 1934 to 1960.<br />

Most African American residences were<br />

concentrated in a few segregated areas, most<br />

notably in Elleardsville—“The Ville” north of<br />

the Central West End. That self-sufficient<br />

community contained all classes and every<br />

type of black-owned businesses, such as the<br />

very successful Poro College of Annie Malone,<br />

a millionaire entrepreneur who marketed<br />

hair care products throughout the nation,<br />

trained and hired many African<br />

Americans, and funded several<br />

charities. Also critical to the success<br />

of Ville residents was the<br />

venerable and valuable Sumner<br />

High School, which educated<br />

notable leaders, both local and<br />

national. Henry Givens, Jr.,<br />

former president of Harris-<strong>St</strong>owe<br />

University, wrote that “Sumner<br />

was one of the greatest high<br />

schools in the nation! The school<br />

had black teachers who had<br />

graduated from Harvard, Yale,<br />

and Princeton,” some with Ph.D.<br />

degrees. But because segregation<br />

blocked them from becoming college<br />

instructors, “we had scholars<br />

teaching us in high school!”<br />

In her 2011 book, Groping<br />

for Democracy: African American<br />

Social Welfare Reform in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

UMSL history professor Priscilla<br />

Dowden-White emphasized the<br />

dynamic black leaders from<br />

1910 to 1949 who promoted the<br />

“common good” of the “community as a whole”<br />

by advocating “justice, neighborliness, and<br />

fair play” for residents from all classes.<br />

They used the Urban League, the Community<br />

Council, and the League of Women Voters<br />

to secure reforms in public policy that<br />

promoted social welfare before the more<br />

politically-focused national Civil Rights<br />

Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.<br />

Pragmatic black activists accepted the<br />

location of Homer G. Phillips Hospital,<br />

which operated in The Ville from 1937 to<br />

1979, rather than to oppose that placement<br />

for its segregationist symbolism, because<br />

medical services and physician training were<br />

desperately needed by black residents. But<br />

Clarence Lang’s Grassroots at the Gateway<br />

found that African American politicians later<br />

pursued competing agendas based on class<br />

differences, as “the politics of black middleclass<br />

‘respectability,’ often contingent on the<br />

white gaze, collided with a black workingclass<br />

politics of ‘self-respect’ autonomous<br />

from both white approval and black middleclass<br />

assent.”<br />

Opposite, top: Budweiser beer wagon pulled<br />

by Clydesdales for the first time in public<br />

on the way to the White House in 1933,<br />

symbolizing the end of Prohibition.<br />

COPYRIGHT @ ANHEUSER-BUSCH, LLC.<br />

USED WITH PERMISSION OF ANHEUSER-BUSCH, LLC.<br />

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Famous entrepreneur<br />

Annie Malone (tenth from right) and friends<br />

in front of Poro College on April 25, 1927.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY W. C. PERSONS; COURTESY OF<br />

THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (21271).<br />

Below: Homer Phillips Hospital<br />

(now apartments for retirees) in The Ville.<br />

FAUSZ FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH, 2013.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

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World War II brought massive, urgent<br />

changes to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. The “new normal” in<br />

everyday life included overcrowded housing,<br />

frequent blackouts and curfews, food<br />

rationing, war-bond sales, rubber- and scrapmetal<br />

collections, factories operating twentyfour<br />

hours a day, trains and river craft<br />

running at full capacity, and packed schools<br />

holding double shifts of teaching. The<br />

community pulled together, with citizens<br />

volunteering as 5,300 air-raid wardens, 5,500<br />

auxiliary firemen and policemen, and 3,373<br />

first aid workers, while another 32,000<br />

served in other roles, according to historian<br />

Betty Burnet.<br />

The city’s admirable array of heavy industries<br />

was indispensable in the global crusade<br />

to combat fascism, with 296 companies—a<br />

record 75 percent of all <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> manufacturers—engaged<br />

in defense work, which far<br />

exceeded the national average. The McDonnell<br />

Corporation, based in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> since 1939,<br />

contributed excellent war planes; the<br />

International Shoe Company produced 35,000<br />

pairs of boots per day; and the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

Ordnance District manufactured more medium-sized<br />

bombs than any other city. Five thousand<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans worked on the Manhattan<br />

Project that created the atom bombs, including<br />

Dr. Arthur Holly Compton and other scientists<br />

from Mallinckrodt and Monsanto. The cyclotron<br />

at Washington University was essential for<br />

nuclear research, while the John Nooter Boiler<br />

Works made the huge tanks that produced<br />

life-saving penicillin B, developed by<br />

Dr. Edward A. Doisy of Saint <strong>Louis</strong> University.<br />

Opposite: Woman machinist at the Curtiss-<br />

Wright aircraft plant at Lambert Field.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY F. DALE SMITH, 1943-44; COURTESY OF<br />

THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (34371).<br />

Below: Navy Day Parade in downtown<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on October 4, 1942. The U.S.<br />

only had a total of forty tanks in 1940,<br />

and several of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s heavy industries<br />

worked overtime to make vehicles,<br />

munitions, and airplanes to achieve victory<br />

in WWII.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF HANNGE COLLECTION<br />

AND THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (1151).<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

1 2 5


Above: Doolittle Headline in the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Globe-Democrat, May 20, 1942.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Below: Huge rally of some 9,000 African<br />

Americans at Kiel Auditorium in August<br />

1942 to protest the lack of defense jobs for<br />

blacks (only one in forty-five hires).<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

Ironically, many <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> companies did<br />

not take full advantage of even more talented<br />

employees anxious to contribute to the war<br />

effort. The 8,000 local African Americans<br />

who worked in defense industries represented<br />

only a tiny fraction of all positions available.<br />

In August 1942 some 9,000 blacks held<br />

a massive meeting to lobby for more warrelated<br />

employment, declaring that “Winning<br />

Democracy for the Negro Is Winning the War<br />

for Democracy.” Federal policies eventually<br />

alleviated segregated hiring, which helped<br />

advance civil rights in postwar America.<br />

Immediately after Pearl Harbor, almost<br />

81,000 <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> men, aged 18 to 44, registered<br />

for the draft. Too many <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

never returned. The nearest thing to an<br />

official tally of city residents killed in World<br />

War II are the 2,753 names inscribed at the<br />

“Court of Honor” across from the Soldiers’<br />

Memorial Building. A genealogy website<br />

lists 1,636 deaths (911 killed in action) of<br />

city residents who served only in the army<br />

and air force. Several noted pilots from the<br />

“City of Flight” died in the war, including<br />

Lieutenant Commander Edward H. “Butch”<br />

O’Hare, a Medal of Honor recipient for<br />

whom Chicago’s major airport is named;<br />

Captain Eliott Vandeventer, winner of the<br />

Distinguished Flying Cross; and Captain<br />

Wendell Oliver Pruitt, a much-decorated ace<br />

of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were inspired<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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T R I U M P H A N T<br />

C A R D I N A L S<br />

As another welcome distraction from the grim news of war, the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Cardinals and<br />

the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Browns, which shared Sportsman’s Park as their home field, battled for<br />

baseball supremacy in the “Trolley” World Series of 1944. The Cardinals won in six games,<br />

adding to their championships with the popular “Gas House Gang” in 1931 and 1934.<br />

The Cardinals also won the Series in 1942 and 1946. By 1953 both the Browns and the<br />

Cardinals came to a critical crossroads. The Browns were sold to Baltimore, becoming<br />

the Orioles, while beer baron August A. “Gussie” Busch, Jr., purchased the Cardinals and<br />

stabilized the franchise.<br />

For many decades, three iconic organizations—the Cardinals, Anheuser-Busch Brewery,<br />

and KMOX radio station—made the “redbirds” a local treasure and a national “brand.” KMOX<br />

auspiciously began its baseball broadcasts with the Cardinals’ victory in the 1926 World<br />

Series—the city’s first championship since 1888. The hero was an aging, hard-drinking pitcher,<br />

Grover Cleveland Alexander, who won two games and saved a third. KMOX’s 50,000-watt<br />

signal reached most of the continent at night, making the Cardinals the broadcasting Gateway<br />

to West (and South), with legions of fans in distant states.<br />

Opening game of the 1944 all-<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> World Series at Sportsman’s Park, home field for both the Cardinals and the Browns.<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH; FILE PHOTOGRAPH, OCTOBER 8, 1944.<br />

by the daring 1942 bomber raid on Japan<br />

by local hero, Colonel James Doolittle, who<br />

survived the war. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was perhaps<br />

the only U.S. city to lose its mayor<br />

(Republican William D. Becker) in a warrelated<br />

incident. On August 1, 1943, he and<br />

nine other civilians were killed at Lambert<br />

Field in the crash of a new glider they<br />

were testing.<br />

Returning veterans in 1945 encountered<br />

a rapidly changing city that would never be<br />

the same. The G.I. Bill and new employment<br />

opportunities lured many city residents into<br />

the county, seeking large single-family<br />

homes, with lawns and garages, on onceremote<br />

farmlands. Suburbanization had begun<br />

two decades before, as Kenneth Jackson<br />

noted, “when automobile registrations rose<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

1 2 7


y more than 150 percent,” and outlying<br />

areas “of the nation’s 96 largest cities grew<br />

twice as fast as the core communities.” That<br />

trickle of urban depopulation became a flood<br />

in the postwar period, as “White Flight”<br />

would cause <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City to lose over half<br />

of its population and suffer a 60 percent<br />

decline in business between 1950 and 2000.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City had only 15,348 new housing<br />

starts between 1950 and 1970, while <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

County had 102,298. Jobs in the city<br />

declined from 366,524 to 231,765 in those<br />

decades, while the county enjoyed an<br />

increase from 156,526 to 384,409.<br />

Progress came at a price. The removal of “derelict” warehouses and other structures (some deemed “architecturally significant”) destroyed what remained of the original colonial French<br />

city after the Great Fire of 1849. Just as bad as bulldozing was burying irreplaceable and rare archaeological remains under tons of earth needed to support the 900-ton Gateway Arch.<br />

That emptiness left a vacancy of vibrancy before the soaring steel was in place. The completion of the Gateway Arch took three decades. Mayor Bernard F. Dickmann and the leading local<br />

booster, Luther Ely Smith, got a bond issue passed and secured federal <strong>New</strong> Deal funding to clear the riverfront, but WWII halted progress. The architectural competition of the 1950s<br />

selected Eero Saarinen’s daring modernist design, and unprecedentedly complex construction challenges delayed completion of the nation’s tallest monument until the mid-1960s.<br />

COURTESY, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AT THE JEFFERSON NATIONAL EXPANSION MEMORIAL (V106-004838).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

128


Although African Americans comprised<br />

nearly 18 percent of the city’s population in<br />

1950, they were prevented from joining the<br />

migration to suburbia or even moving into<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s race-restricted neighborhoods. In<br />

the 1940s nearly 380 housing covenants still<br />

blocked blacks from living in most of the city,<br />

confining them to a ghettoized “donut hole”<br />

of escalating poverty and decaying property.<br />

Historian John A. Wright claimed that in<br />

1950, “the 95,000 blacks moving to <strong>St</strong> <strong>Louis</strong><br />

would find only 100 new homes available for<br />

them.” The Shelley family at 4600 Labadie<br />

Avenue challenged restricted housing, and<br />

when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled favorably<br />

on Shelley v. Kraemer in 1948, it ended<br />

segregationist covenants in nineteen states.<br />

Missouri, however, did not enact a fair<br />

housing law until 1972, and some prejudicial<br />

policies continued.<br />

According to Colin Gordon’s Mapping<br />

Decline: <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and the Fate of the American<br />

City, restricted housing made <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

“hyper-segregated.” It was ranked as the<br />

eighteenth most racially-segregated city in<br />

the U.S. by 1960 and became “the patron<br />

saint of the nation’s urban crisis” when it was<br />

declared the tenth worst racially-divided<br />

urban area in 1980. In 1970, African<br />

Americans comprised 40 percent of the<br />

city’s population, with average incomes<br />

that were only 60 percent as large as a<br />

typical white household. Thus, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

remained one of the nation’s most segregated<br />

cities to the present, based on color and/or<br />

class prejudices.<br />

Meet Me in <strong>St</strong> <strong>Louis</strong> movie poster showing<br />

Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien;<br />

lithograph from Loew’s Incorporated, 1944.<br />

Near the end of World War II, many<br />

grieving local families took comfort in this<br />

nostalgic movie, based on Sally Benson’s<br />

1942 memoir of the same name. The film,<br />

like her book, evoked memories of the<br />

joyous World’s Fair in happier times.<br />

COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM,<br />

ST. LOUIS (21652).<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

1 2 9


Above: Tenements in the Mill Creek Valley,<br />

near Leonard Avenue; 1948.<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

Below: Black professionals protest at<br />

Jefferson Bank, October 10, 1963.<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

Opposite: Black children peer from<br />

dilapidated public housing in the<br />

Mill Creek Valley, c. 1952.<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

Black protesters from several civil rights<br />

organizations increasingly confronted those<br />

postwar crises with demonstrations in<br />

restaurants, department stores, theaters, and<br />

other businesses. As pressure and publicity<br />

increased, Saint <strong>Louis</strong> University in 1944<br />

became the first Missouri college to integrate<br />

its student body. Joseph Elmer Ritter,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s dynamic Catholic Archbishop<br />

from 1946 to 1967 (elevated to<br />

Cardinal in 1961), enrolled black<br />

women at Webster University<br />

in 1946 and received national<br />

acclaim for desegregating all<br />

archdiocesan high schools and<br />

parish schools in 1947, seven<br />

years before the famous<br />

U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown<br />

decision. In 1952, Washington<br />

University admitted its first<br />

African American students.<br />

On August 30, 1963, local<br />

leaders of CORE (the Congress<br />

of Racial Equality) skipped the<br />

March on Washington and<br />

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous<br />

“I Have a Dream Speech” to<br />

begin a seven-month protest at<br />

the Jefferson Bank and Trust<br />

Company on Washington Avenue.<br />

Seeking employment for blacks,<br />

nineteen protesters were arrested,<br />

receiving a combined sentence of<br />

over eight years in jail and $11,000 in fines.<br />

But their demonstrations produced results,<br />

and most of the protest leaders became<br />

celebrities and consultants for justice in a<br />

variety of professional positions.<br />

When the Gateway Arch was under construction,<br />

it came to symbolize not only the<br />

nineteenth-century homesteaders who passed<br />

through <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on their way west, but also<br />

twentieth-century black pioneers<br />

for employment equality who were<br />

determined to stay in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

and improve the city. In a daring<br />

and dramatic demonstration on<br />

July 14, 1964, Percy Green II and<br />

Richard Daly chained themselves<br />

to one of the high legs of the<br />

Arch to protest the lack of black<br />

contractors and union workers<br />

on the federally-funded project.<br />

They received national attention<br />

and achieved reforms that conformed<br />

to the civil rights acts of<br />

1964-1966. Six African American<br />

aldermen (out of twenty-nine) also<br />

achieved a city public accommodations<br />

law in 1961 that ended<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

130


job discrimination on local projects four<br />

years before the state legislature acted. Other<br />

signs of progress included the election of<br />

Alderman William L. Clay as Missouri’s first<br />

black Congressman in 1968, and, after 1993,<br />

two consecutive electoral victories of African<br />

Americans as mayor of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. In addition,<br />

blacks have served the city as police chief,<br />

circuit court clerk, city comptroller, and<br />

chairman of the Democratic Committee.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

1 3 1


Pruitt-Igoe Housing Complex after<br />

completion, February 8, 1955.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY TED MCCREA. COURTESY OF THE<br />

MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (22148).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

132<br />

But the contentious issue of segregated<br />

housing remained unsolved for several<br />

decades. Mayors Bernard Dickmann, Joseph<br />

Darst, and Raymond Tucker launched ambitious<br />

urban renewal projects in the 1940s and<br />

1950s, using generous federal funding to<br />

address neighborhood “blight.” The city<br />

cleared some 454 acres of slums in the Mill<br />

Creek Valley, creating a devastated area known<br />

as “Hiroshima Flats.” On that bombed-like<br />

landscape, some of the best architects in the<br />

country erected the Pruitt-Igoe Complex of 33


eleven-story buildings in 1954. Eleven years<br />

later, National Geographic author Robert Paul<br />

Jordan praised such destruction and construction<br />

for the “rejuvenation of a dying city.” He<br />

boasted that “by 1970 <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> will have torn<br />

down and rebuilt a fifth of its 61 square miles<br />

at a cost of more than a billion dollars.” Once<br />

regarded as “the best-designed” public housing<br />

project, Pruitt-Igoe was demolished in<br />

1976, after it had disillusioned residents by<br />

concentrating crime and poverty in rather<br />

drab concrete towers with no supportive community<br />

spirit or even adequate maintenance.<br />

According to Gordon, such massive, impersonal<br />

projects “almost always made things<br />

worse…. [B]oth the diagnosis (blight) and its<br />

prescription (urban renewal) were shaped<br />

by—and compromised by—the same…<br />

prejudices that had created the condition in<br />

the first place.” Bulldozing heavily populated<br />

neighborhoods to build commercial skyscrapers<br />

revealed that “racial segregation was<br />

a core goal from the outset…. Even the most<br />

progressive efforts destroyed more units than<br />

they created and displaced more families of<br />

ordinary means than they accommodated….<br />

Over time, redevelopment trumped rehabilitation,<br />

and new housing…became less a goal<br />

of urban renewal.”<br />

Above: African American protester in front<br />

of the Dozier School, June 10, 1963.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY LESTER LINCK AND USED<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

1 3 3


Busch <strong>St</strong>adium II and the Gateway Arch,<br />

as photographed on September 21, 1967.<br />

A sense of excitement energized the<br />

entire metropolitan area, as those two<br />

monumental and long-anticipated projects<br />

were completed about the same time.<br />

Almost thirty years after a riverfront park<br />

was envisioned, the Gateway Arch was<br />

finished in October 1965, although the<br />

entire Jefferson National Expansion<br />

Memorial complex would not welcome<br />

tourists until 1967. The stadium, with<br />

architectural details inspired by the Arch,<br />

was ready for the 1966 baseball season.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY TED MCCREA. COURTESY OF<br />

THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (22147).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

134<br />

Living conditions for <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City’s<br />

blacks would improve after the federal<br />

“Fair Housing Act” of 1968 prohibited<br />

discriminatory zoning based on race, color,<br />

religion, sex, or national origin. But that,<br />

too, had unintended consequences by eroding<br />

successful, traditional African American<br />

neighborhoods. Taking advantage of new,<br />

unrestricted housing options, many of the<br />

most affluent and accomplished black<br />

residents moved out of The Ville and other<br />

racially-cohesive communities. Left behind<br />

were disproportionally disadvantaged people<br />

with less support—political, economic, and<br />

even personal. Class divisions replaced<br />

monolithic racism, as concentrated poverty<br />

in selected areas resulted in decaying properties,<br />

declining schools, disappearing jobs,<br />

and increasing disillusionment.<br />

The principle of neighborhood schools<br />

lowered educational expectations and outcomes<br />

in areas with the worst incomes,<br />

and not even federal laws could compete<br />

with such territorial tyranny. Black-on-black<br />

crime further destabilized neighborhoods.<br />

As the Reverend Earl E. Nance, Sr., pastor<br />

of the Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church,<br />

noted, African Americans were “not responsible<br />

for the way other folks treat us, but we<br />

are responsible for how we treat others.”<br />

In the midst of historic changes, the<br />

Bicentennial of the founding of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

was officially celebrated over two years,<br />

1964 to 1966. It was the grandest commemoration<br />

ever, since <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans had little<br />

to celebrate in 1939, when the city turned<br />

175 years old in the midst of the<br />

Great Depression. At that time, a local<br />

newspaper article proclaimed that the city’s<br />

founding date could not be determined<br />

and revealed the erroneous biases of the<br />

1930s: “In 1760 the wilderness stretched<br />

north from <strong>New</strong> Orleans to Canada,<br />

…[where] a few savages stamped around….<br />

A French fort was built at Chartres to keep<br />

off the Spanish from Santa Fe,…[but] the<br />

rest of the Mississippi country was like the<br />

Congo in Africa”!


President Lyndon Johnson kicked off “the<br />

official birthday celebration on February 14,<br />

1964” (the wrong date) with an optimistic<br />

public address. “As the Gateway to the West,”<br />

he stated, “Saint <strong>Louis</strong> became one of the<br />

finest and most important cities in the<br />

world. But at the very summit of her glory,<br />

the blight that was to deface dozens of<br />

American cities struck Saint <strong>Louis</strong>. The<br />

incredible vitality of this proud queen of<br />

Mid-America began to erode.” In conclusion,<br />

the president declared to city residents:<br />

“You faced a hard choice and you made it.<br />

The people of Saint <strong>Louis</strong> chose progress—<br />

not decay. A new spirit of Saint <strong>Louis</strong> was<br />

born. And today you look forward to the<br />

future with new pride and new confidence.”<br />

Also making history was McDonnell Aircraft<br />

Corporation, Missouri’s largest employer, with<br />

35,000 workers constructing the world’s most<br />

sophisticated supersonic fighters that the military<br />

relied on in the Vietnam War. The engineering<br />

explorers at that corporation also made <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

the “gateway to the galaxy” by constructing the<br />

successful Mercury and Gemini space vehicles<br />

that propelled American astronauts into space<br />

and to ultimately land on the moon.<br />

Above: Official anniversary license plate.<br />

LICENSE PLATE IN AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

Left: President John F. Kennedy viewing<br />

the Mercury space capsule in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> on<br />

February 23, 1962. The McDonnell-Douglas<br />

Corporation, which made notable airplanes,<br />

also played a significant role in NASA’s<br />

space program to land Americans on<br />

the moon.<br />

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS; PHOTOGRAPH IN THE PUBLIC<br />

DOMAIN AS A WORK PRODUCT OF A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE.<br />

C H A P T E R 5<br />

1 3 5


“Gaslight Square” on the evening of July 29,<br />

1961. The three-block entertainment district<br />

lit by gas street lamps featured thirty-five<br />

music clubs, bars, and restaurants. Its<br />

equally rapid rise and fall symbolized the<br />

vulnerability of a new craze when beset by<br />

crime and changing generational trends in<br />

popular entertainment.<br />

FILE PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE<br />

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

<strong>St</strong>ars also appeared closer to home, as<br />

the Cardinals gave an additional boost to the<br />

confidence and pride of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans in the<br />

Bicentennial year by winning the 1964 World<br />

Series—their first championship in eighteen<br />

years. They added another one in 1967.<br />

Applauding the Bicentennial,<br />

the November 1965 issue of<br />

National Geographic Magazine<br />

published sixty-four pages on<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, beginning with the<br />

headline: “<strong>New</strong> spirit soars in<br />

Mid-America’s proud old city.”<br />

Author Robert Paul Jordan<br />

praised the city’s “unique history”<br />

in “carving the trans-Mississippi<br />

West into 22 new states” and<br />

credited Joseph Pulitzer’s 1949<br />

“Progress or Decay” challenge<br />

for stimulating ambitious urban<br />

renewal. Jordan’s remarks,<br />

accompanied by superb photos,<br />

focused on new and future<br />

developments: the beautiful<br />

Aloe Plaza, slum removal, the $30,000,000<br />

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial,<br />

new interstate highways, and Saint <strong>Louis</strong><br />

University’s $53,000,000 campus expansion<br />

that helped revitalize the city. Summarizing<br />

his positive impressions of the Bicentennial<br />

headed by “Gussie” Busch, Jordan observed<br />

that the city’s “birthday party really amounts<br />

to a family affair, with the whole metropolis<br />

participating” in “literally thousands of<br />

events, small and large.”<br />

Black members of the city “family,” however,<br />

did not share in such Bicentennial boosterism,<br />

being in no mood to “celebrate” racial prejudice<br />

and the other harsh realities of second-class<br />

citizenship. In 1964, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s population<br />

stood at 711,000, down from almost 857,000<br />

in 1950, and the city would experience its<br />

greatest economic decline between 1970 and<br />

1990, when manufacturing jobs fell by<br />

82,000 and its poverty rate rose to 24 percent.<br />

Although suburbanization enticed residents<br />

to move out of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and cost the city<br />

its traditional stature as the engine of the<br />

regional economy, the explosive growth of<br />

the greater metropolitan area on former<br />

farmlands improved the lives of everyone.<br />

In Fall 1963, the University of Missouri-<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> (UMSL) greeted its first 673<br />

students, who crowded into the sole<br />

campus building—the old Bellerive Country<br />

Clubhouse. In only six years, with three<br />

new buildings, enrollment swelled to 10,000,<br />

with increasing numbers of African<br />

Americans, revealing that Saint <strong>Louis</strong><br />

University and Washington University could<br />

not have accommodated so many students<br />

seeking an affordable education. Both UMSL,<br />

which now has over 62,000 alumni living in<br />

the metro area, and nearby Lambert<br />

International Airport demonstrated that their<br />

expansive growth in North <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> County<br />

could not have occurred in the spacestrapped<br />

city.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

136


S T . L O U I S ’ S L O N G E S T S E R V I N G M O D E R N M A Y O R S<br />

Not surprisingly, most of the mayors who served at least eight consecutive years brought<br />

the greatest changes to <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, including:<br />

Rolla Wells Democrat (1901-1909)<br />

Henry Kiel Republican (1913-1925)<br />

Bernard F. Dickmann Democrat (1933-1941)<br />

Raymond Tucker Democrat (1953-1965)<br />

Alfonso Cervantes Democrat (1965-1973)<br />

Vincent C. Schoemehl Democrat (1981-1993)<br />

Francis G. Slay Democrat (2001-present), won record fourth election in 2013<br />

A decade ago, the Metrolink light rail<br />

system brought the inner city and the outer<br />

suburbs closer together with an efficient<br />

new transportation option. In its first two<br />

months, 1,000,000 passengers rode the<br />

initial 14 miles of track. Today, Metrolink has<br />

an annual ridership of 17,000,000 along<br />

46 miles of routes in two states.<br />

The Main Terminal Building<br />

at Lambert International Airport.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FAUSZ FAMILY, 2013.<br />

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The children of Dr. John A. Wright enjoy<br />

the combination of statuary, fountains,<br />

beautiful buildings, and surprisingly serene<br />

surroundings (at times) in a downtown<br />

plaza that is all too often taken for granted.<br />

In the 1980s, Mayor Vincent Schoemehl, an<br />

UMSL graduate, launched another building<br />

initiative to renew both the city’s infrastructure<br />

and the spirits of its citizens. He joined a long<br />

list of progressive Democratic politicians,<br />

allied with business leaders in Civic Progress<br />

since the 1950s, to realize the illusive World’s<br />

Fair dream of building a “Model City,” both<br />

beautiful and productive, that would stand<br />

the test of time. Bond issue after bond issue<br />

revealed the willingness of citizens to invest<br />

in a brighter future, but a repetitious pattern<br />

of destruction and construction in a nevercompleted<br />

cityscape eroded much of that<br />

confidence in addressing decline.<br />

City leaders sought bold solutions to stem<br />

urban blight and suburban flight, choosing<br />

activism over apathy. But not all such “explorations”<br />

succeed, and historians can provide<br />

20-20 hindsight to explain why. Too frequently,<br />

planners, politicians, and promoters proceeded<br />

without a complete or deep understanding<br />

of the city’s heritage. A case in point was the<br />

expensive relocation in 1969 of the “Spanish<br />

Pavilion”—and the replica ship, Santa Maria—<br />

from the 1964 <strong>New</strong> York World’s Fair.<br />

Although <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> was Spain’s eighteenthcentury<br />

capital of Upper <strong>Louis</strong>iana, that was<br />

<strong>250</strong> years after Columbus sailed into the<br />

Caribbean, and few residents saw the<br />

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elevance of having the Santa Maria docked<br />

along the Mississippi. Due to a lack of interest,<br />

the Pavilion went bankrupt in its first year.<br />

The creative re-use of the iconic Union<br />

<strong>St</strong>ation as an indoor mall in 1985 was<br />

more successful—for a time. But like the<br />

architecturally-innovative <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Centre<br />

(another indoor mall), shoppers proved to<br />

be fickle. Novelty, alone, attracts initial<br />

crowds, but long-term customer loyalty<br />

invariably declines among bargain-hunters,<br />

even in more conveniently-located suburban<br />

shopping malls with better parking facilities.<br />

Fickle owners, rather than indifferent fans,<br />

doomed several of the city’s professional<br />

sports franchises, such as the NBA Hawks,<br />

NFL Cardinals, and a variety of soccer teams.<br />

The <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Hawks bolted to Atlanta in<br />

1968 after a dozen seasons, in which they<br />

won the NBA championship in 1958 and<br />

reached the finals three other years—including<br />

their last one here. From 1960 to 1988,<br />

the football Cardinals (“Big Red”) developed<br />

a fan following, despite mostly mediocre<br />

records and only one division title (in 1974).<br />

But ownership moved the team to Phoenix<br />

and renamed it the Arizona Cardinals,<br />

while negotiations were proceeding for a<br />

new stadium here.<br />

A dedicated football facility finally arrived<br />

to popular acclaim in 1993 to support the<br />

new <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Rams franchise. Now known<br />

as the Edward Jones Dome, that indoor<br />

stadium became famous as the home of the<br />

“Greatest Show on Turf’ from 1999 to 2003.<br />

Quarterback Kurt Warner threw 41 touchdowns,<br />

and the team scored 526 points<br />

on the way to winning Super Bowl XXXIV<br />

in 1999. They lost the championship two<br />

years later on a late field goal by the <strong>New</strong><br />

England Patriots and have never matched<br />

those successes.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans have had a love affair with<br />

amateur soccer since the 1880s. A Christian<br />

Brothers College High School team won<br />

the silver medal in the 1904 Olympic<br />

Games, and Saint <strong>Louis</strong> University is the<br />

national leader with 47 NCAA tournament<br />

appearances and 10 soccer championships.<br />

Six different amateur teams from <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

won the U.S. Open Cup between 1920 and<br />

1957, and five city players were on the<br />

American team that defeated England to win<br />

the 1950 World Cup. Twenty <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

have been inducted into the National Soccer<br />

Hall of Fame, but a long list of professional<br />

soccer franchises—outdoor, indoor, and<br />

women’s—have come and gone without<br />

financial success.<br />

The <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Blues was one of the National<br />

Hockey League expansion franchises in 1967,<br />

and the team has a secure, if not always abundant,<br />

fan base despite frequent changes in<br />

ownership and arena sites. The Blues reached<br />

the <strong>St</strong>anley Cup Finals in each of their first<br />

three seasons (1968-1970), a spectacular<br />

debut, but remains the only expansion team<br />

not to have won the championship. A fan<br />

favorite, the Hall of Famer Brett Hull, recently<br />

rejoined the organization as a vice president.<br />

The unprecedented success and popularity<br />

of the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Cardinals make it hard<br />

for other professional teams to match the<br />

enthusiasm and loyalty of their fans. In<br />

general, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has better sports facilities<br />

than the quality of the teams that play<br />

in them.<br />

At the height of his success as the<br />

Rams Super Bowl quarterback, Kurt<br />

Warner marketed cereal to raise funds for<br />

his “First Things First Foundation,”<br />

as well as other charities.<br />

USED WITH PERMISSION, COURTESY OF THAT<br />

ORGANIZATION IN COOPERATION WITH PRIORITY SPORTS<br />

ENTERTAINMENT AND TY BALLOU OF PLB SPORTS, INC.<br />

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Exhibition soccer match between<br />

Real Madrid and Inter Milan in the<br />

Edward Jones Dome, August 10, 2013.<br />

Such soccer matches, including one<br />

featuring the Bosnian national team,<br />

have become increasingly popular and<br />

attract large crowds.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY STEPHANIE S. CORDLE;<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

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C H A P T E R 5<br />

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“There is only one thing which <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> cannot do, and that is, fail.”<br />

–James Cox, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>: The Carnival City, 1892<br />

E P I L O G U E<br />

INSPIRING COMMUNITY SPIRIT<br />

IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM<br />

Photographic blow-up of 1907<br />

City medallions.<br />

COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR’S COLLECTION.<br />

When <strong>St</strong> <strong>Louis</strong>’s population plummeted to 450,000 in the 1980 census—the lowest since<br />

1890—America’s formerly fourth-ranked city had fallen over twenty places. In 1988, native<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> novelist, Jonathan Franzen, wrote in The Twenty-Seventh City that the “Era of the Parking<br />

Lot” typified a barren and desperate downtown. “The local prophets were defensive. Where once<br />

they’d expected supremacy, they now took heart at any sign of survival.” Franzen asked the key<br />

question: “What becomes of a city no living person can remember, of an age whose passing no<br />

one survives to regret?”<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

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The human life cycle typically lasts about<br />

eighty years, so studying history is the only<br />

means of appreciating a distant past that no<br />

one alive actually experienced. A knowledge<br />

of the good ideas or big mistakes from earlier<br />

eras provides context for the present and may<br />

help improve the future. Realizing who or<br />

what “came before” is an essential component<br />

of citizenship for each generation. Laclede’s<br />

only son, Pierre Chouteau, wrote in 1847,<br />

that “honors rendered to the dead…serve to<br />

excite the living to emulate their virtues and<br />

their worth.” A century later, native <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

poet, Loyd Haberly, expressed a similar sentiment<br />

in his book, The City of the Sainted King:<br />

“Though nothing lives forever<br />

And nothing lasts for long,<br />

Yet the eternal river<br />

Of life runs clear and strong.<br />

Within our loins are nations,<br />

What we sow, they will reap,<br />

Building on all foundations<br />

That we lay firm and deep.”<br />

“Each event in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> history is part of a<br />

continuing saga, building on what has gone<br />

before,” local author Ann Morris observed in<br />

1999. “History can inspire us to undertake<br />

impossible dreams” by “passing on to future<br />

generations stories of heroes, great and<br />

small.” A 1909 Globe-Democrat editorial stated<br />

that “every generation is too prone to<br />

think that all wisdom will die with them.”<br />

But if future citizens “smile at our rude and<br />

crude ways of doing things,” they may also<br />

“wonder at our achievement.”<br />

That becomes impossible, however, if the<br />

deeds of past leaders, both noble and nefarious,<br />

are forgotten or fabricated. A readers’<br />

poll conducted by the Post-Dispatch in<br />

January 2000 sought to identify the “Most<br />

Influential <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans of the 20th Century,”<br />

decade by decade. Wealthy beer barons<br />

topped the list for two different decades—<br />

Adolphus Busch (for 1900-1910), long after<br />

his greatest contributions, and his grandson,<br />

August A. “Gussie” Busch, Jr., (for 1960-1970),<br />

whose service as the Cardinals’ owner paled<br />

in comparison to significant political leaders.<br />

Lindbergh was the top vote-getter for the<br />

1920-1930 decade, even though he was not a<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an and remained in town to pick up<br />

a free plane. <strong>St</strong>an Musial was not a native,<br />

either, and he seems an odd choice for 1940-<br />

1950—a decade that produced so many<br />

national military heroes in World War II.<br />

Voters deficient in chronology picked James<br />

Smith McDonnell as the most illustrious<br />

The 2011 World Series Victory Parade in<br />

front of the latest Busch <strong>St</strong>adium on<br />

October 30, 2011.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY HUY MACH.<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

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In Loving Memory of All Young People<br />

Who Die from Violence, a bronze statue<br />

by sculptor Rudolph Torrini (1997),<br />

located on the grounds of SSM Cardinal<br />

Glennon Children’s Hospital. This is a<br />

moving tribute to nine-year-old Christopher<br />

Harris, who was murdered in a June 1991<br />

gun battle on a city street. The interior of<br />

the statue is filled with melted handguns.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FAUSZ FAMILY, 2013.<br />

non-<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an for the 1930s, even though<br />

he did not open his aircraft company here<br />

until 1939 and achieved his greatest acclaim<br />

years later. Zoo director and TV personality<br />

Marlin Perkins (for 1950-1960), Robert<br />

Hyland, general manager of radio station<br />

KMOX (1970-1980), real estate developer<br />

Leon <strong>St</strong>rauss (1980-1990), who renovated<br />

the “Fabulous Fox Theatre” in 1982, and<br />

the Reverend Lawrence Biondi, president of<br />

Saint <strong>Louis</strong> University (1990-2000), seem<br />

trivial choices of current celebrities whose<br />

name-recognition in recent newspaper headlines<br />

prevented an accurate assessment of<br />

broader historical significance. That poll<br />

was a popularity contest that reflected such<br />

ignorance of the past as to minimize<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s authentic historic stature. Without<br />

memory, there can be no history, which<br />

depends on accurate recollections passed<br />

down through successive generations.<br />

In recent years, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans with more<br />

historical perspective have reevaluated how<br />

“successful” the World’s Fair and the<br />

Bicentennial were, considering the failed<br />

projects and fading hopes that followed<br />

those celebrations. It would be hard to<br />

match the optimistic mood of the 1964<br />

celebration, when the Gateway Arch and a<br />

new baseball stadium with its own unique<br />

arches were nearing completion only a<br />

few blocks apart. Progress was a tangible<br />

reality, as a building boom transformed<br />

the downtown core of an old city. The<br />

optimism of 1964, however, did not survive<br />

a series of national crises to come. In the<br />

past fifty years, local confidence in a bright<br />

future was deflated by escalating carnage<br />

in Vietnam, destructive race riots in major<br />

cities, assassinations of prominent leaders,<br />

the Watergate scandal, Iranian hostagetaking,<br />

oil embargoes, the shocking attacks<br />

on 9/11, simultaneous wars in the Middle<br />

East, a rash of school shootings, increasing<br />

street violence, and several economic<br />

recessions, with the latest being the most<br />

severe. And, unlike 1964, today it is much<br />

more difficult and expensive to have all<br />

citizens share equally and equitably in<br />

progress and prosperity, including a quality<br />

public education.<br />

The Census results in 2010 revealed that<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s population had reached a new low<br />

of only 318,000, as America’s former 4th<br />

largest city fell to 58th place. Since <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

has lost half a million people in only sixty<br />

years, residents may be more subdued in celebrating<br />

the <strong>250</strong>th anniversary. The current<br />

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ecession has worsened racial disparities in<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, lowering white household income<br />

by 7 percent, but black households by<br />

17 percent. In 2013 median income in white<br />

households exceeded the national average by<br />

$3,000 and was 110 percent higher than<br />

black households, which fell $5,000 short of<br />

the national average for African Americans.<br />

In July 2013, the city had a total unemployment<br />

rate of 10.8 percent (3.4 percent higher<br />

than the state’s)—but 13 percent of blacks<br />

were jobless, twice the figure for whites.<br />

Based on those statistics, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> ranked<br />

among the twenty most segregated major<br />

U.S. cities and was the 9th lowest for black<br />

income mobility.<br />

Poverty and joblessness, personal disillusionment<br />

and social alienation, are wellknown<br />

preconditions for violent crime,<br />

but for decades <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City has failed to<br />

correct those root causes of its major crisis,<br />

which continues to tarnish its national<br />

reputation. Problem-plagued schools of<br />

class and racial inequality remain a ticking<br />

“time bomb” as incubators of violence,<br />

because they inhibit realistic opportunities<br />

for new generations to enjoy a better life as<br />

contributing citizens. The proactive inspiration<br />

of students is far cheaper and more<br />

productive than reactive incarcerations,<br />

which only perpetuate and exacerbate<br />

violence. Creating great schools is far wiser<br />

and more humane than erecting glamorous<br />

skyscrapers and sports stadiums, since crime<br />

threatens expensive investments even in<br />

affluent neighborhoods. As George Bernard<br />

Shaw observed, “for though the rich end of<br />

town can avoid living with the poor, it cannot<br />

avoid dying with it when the plague comes.”<br />

Rather than enticing out-of-town sports<br />

fans to stay for a weekend, city leaders<br />

should redirect their priorities and rescue<br />

the neediest residents who spend their<br />

entire lives here. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> could achieve<br />

international acclaim by revitalizing its oncefamous<br />

city school system, perhaps in<br />

new partnerships with the area’s creative<br />

companies and famous universities.<br />

A quality education has always been<br />

the antidote to alienation and animosity,<br />

as students gain a deeper appreciation of<br />

themselves in developing their talents.<br />

James H. Buford, former head of the local<br />

Urban League, advised young people to<br />

“live your life so that whatever you’ve done<br />

leaves an example and a legacy for others<br />

to follow.” The well-educated civil rights<br />

activist, Percy Green, urged students<br />

“to develop a thirst for knowledge,” in order<br />

“to be aware of what is happening around<br />

them…. And then, of course, they need to<br />

challenge authority…to gain insight” until<br />

civic leaders “earn the respect of those<br />

they are directing.” Such sentiments echo the<br />

thoughts of nineteenth-century <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>an,<br />

Carl Schurz, whose words were chiseled on<br />

the Kiel Opera House in 1934 and remain on<br />

the newly-renovated Peabody Opera House:<br />

“Democratic government will be the more<br />

successful the more the public opinion ruling<br />

it is enlightened and inspired by full and<br />

thorough discussion. The greatest danger<br />

threatening democratic institutions comes<br />

from those influences which tend to stifle or<br />

demoralize discussion.”<br />

The great diversity of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans could<br />

produce a great destiny with a promising<br />

future for the city—if people of varied backgrounds<br />

worked together to solve common<br />

problems through multiple perspectives.<br />

In 1991, Henry <strong>Louis</strong> Gates observed that<br />

“our society won’t survive without the values<br />

of tolerance…. The challenge facing America<br />

will be the shaping of a truly common public<br />

culture, one responsive to the long-silenced<br />

cultures of color. If we relinquish the ideal of<br />

America as a plural nation, we’ve abandoned<br />

the very experiment America represents.”<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans of many hues and multiple<br />

heritages today can fully appreciate the<br />

enlightened leadership of Laclede and his<br />

colonists. The early French settlers are<br />

relevant again, because those entrepreneurial<br />

explorers of global commerce enjoyed financial<br />

success in complex dealings with people<br />

of different colors, cultures, and countries—<br />

and shared profits with Indians, who were<br />

the most alien of all.<br />

The celebration of ethnic diversity behind<br />

great deeds is ever present on Delmar<br />

Avenue—recently named “One of the 10<br />

Great <strong>St</strong>reets in America” by the American<br />

E P I L O G U E<br />

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The star of Chuck Berry along the<br />

“Walk of Fame.”<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FAUSZ FAMILY.<br />

Planning Association. There, the “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

Walk of Fame” honors 140 creative “stars”<br />

who have enriched our lives in a variety of<br />

successful careers. Beginning in 1988 with<br />

legendary Chuck Berry as the first honoree,<br />

the “Walk of Fame” has highlighted the<br />

significant accomplishments of truly remarkable<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans that should inspire future<br />

generations of “explorers” in every field.<br />

Among them are 45 entertainers, ranging<br />

from Josephine Baker to Kevin Kline, Scott<br />

Joplin to Nelly; ten noted architects; five<br />

favorite broadcasters; 22 sports heroes; scientific<br />

researchers and prominent educators;<br />

and nearly 20 legends of literature. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

has an enviable heritage of world-famous<br />

authors who achieved renown elsewhere,<br />

such as Maya Angelou, William Burroughs,<br />

T. S. Eliot, and Tennessee Williams, but<br />

the future promises great works from local<br />

writers with no intention of leaving.<br />

Businessman Joe Edwards, proprietor of<br />

the famous Blueberry Hill since 1972 and<br />

founder of several other successful enterprises,<br />

created the Walk of Fame. He believed<br />

that a greater appreciation for local history<br />

and inspiring biographies would enhance<br />

community pride and generate profits in the<br />

celebrated Delmar Loop that he was most<br />

responsible for rejuvenating. He joins other<br />

entrepreneurial “explorers” who continue to<br />

improve <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> with their visions. Among<br />

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them was the late Bob Cassilly, who built the<br />

innovative City Museum with discarded<br />

materials and artistic creativity and now<br />

attracts some 600,000 paying visitors a year.<br />

Demonstrating the remarkable revitalization<br />

of the old city on a much larger scale<br />

have been thousands of Bosnian immigrants<br />

who achieved prosperity and stability in<br />

the Bevo Mill neighborhood the past two<br />

decades. Now numbering 70,000 in the<br />

metro area—equivalent to one-fifth of the<br />

city’s population—the Bosnians are inspiring<br />

and successful “urban explorers” who have<br />

discovered ways to rebuild lives in restored<br />

The century-old Bevo Mill landmark.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ANDREW WEIL<br />

OF LANDMARKS ASSOCIATION AND USED WITH<br />

HIS PERMISSION.<br />

E P I L O G U E<br />

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neighborhoods with flourishing enterprises,<br />

despite tragedies in their homeland and language<br />

barriers here. Their distinctive culture<br />

has provided the cohesion in a community<br />

that has transformed <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> since 1993.<br />

They publish the only Bosnian language<br />

newspaper in the United <strong>St</strong>ates; founded a<br />

Bosnian Chamber of Commerce in 2009 with<br />

65 member businesses (the first opened in<br />

1997); and even hosted the president of<br />

Bosnia in 2004. The historic Bevo Mill, erected<br />

during World War I to reflect the charm of<br />

Old Europe, is a fitting symbol of the many<br />

Bosnians who live around it—new immigrants<br />

from an ancient culture who blend<br />

modern lifestyles with traditional values.<br />

Even with the massive Bosnian migration,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> still ranks a dismal 24th among<br />

the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas in the<br />

percentage of immigrants in the total population.<br />

The “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Mosaic Project,” however,<br />

is trying to recruit more foreign-born entrepreneurs,<br />

who will energize the region with<br />

creative ideas; establish businesses that hire<br />

residents, old and new; and help occupy<br />

some of the 35,000 vacant houses in the<br />

city—the second-highest percentage among<br />

81 U.S. cities with at least 100,000 people.<br />

A youthful generation of native-born urban<br />

homesteaders has also been exploring city life<br />

in recent years. Of the 88,000 people who<br />

work in the business district nearest the river,<br />

an increasing number—roughly 14,000—are<br />

also living there, giving the old city a new<br />

vibrancy in the evening hours. In 2010, the<br />

median age for <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City residents was 34,<br />

with 24 percent being 19 or younger and<br />

40 percent aged 20-44. Many of the new<br />

downtown dwellers are environmentally<br />

progressive “anti-suburbanites” concerned with<br />

the carbon footprints of air-polluting cars,<br />

so they walk or bike to work and nearby<br />

entertainment venues. Loft-living <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

in a flyover city are taking cues from innovative,<br />

upscale neighborhoods on both coasts.<br />

The Mercantile Exchange/Laurel Apartment<br />

complex on Washington Avenue, for example,<br />

integrates grand traditional architecture with<br />

ultra-modern amenities, including access to<br />

cars rented by the hour and a movie theater<br />

that serves gourmet meals.<br />

In a recent front-page story in the Post-<br />

Dispatch, entitled “Eight Miles of Progress,”<br />

reporter Tim Bryant found that the long<br />

central corridor stretching from the Arch to<br />

the Delmar Loop between Lindell Boulevard<br />

and Forest Park Avenue was “where <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

succeeds as a city.” Some 60,000 people<br />

reside there (a 10 percent increase since<br />

2000), who, like earlier generations, believe<br />

that “cities are good places to live.” One<br />

of the most prominent and prosperous<br />

companies in that corridor is Cortex, a<br />

technology and bioscience research “hub”<br />

founded in 2002 by a consortium of<br />

Washington University, UMSL, SLU, BJC<br />

Healthcare, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.<br />

It has invested $155 million in midtown<br />

infrastructure and plans another $186 million<br />

to create a total of 2,400 well-paying high<br />

tech jobs over the next five years. The Cortex<br />

Research Park became better known locally<br />

when IKEA announced that it would open<br />

one of its popular retail stores there by 2015.<br />

Even though <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has retained<br />

only half of the 18 “Fortune 500” company<br />

headquarters that were here in 1980, Express<br />

Scripts Holding achieved the highest ranking<br />

for a local firm in two decades, moving from<br />

60th place to 24th in a single year. It will<br />

build a new $56,000,000 office complex<br />

and add 1,500 employees in the near<br />

future. Monsanto, ranked 206th, plans to add<br />

$400,000,000 worth of expanded research<br />

facilities and some 700 new hires. In 2011,<br />

the area’s Gross Metro Product (GMP) was<br />

$133 billion—21st highest in the United<br />

<strong>St</strong>ates—and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> had the largest concentration<br />

of elite financial management companies<br />

of any U.S. city outside of <strong>New</strong> York. The<br />

busy barge traffic on the Mississippi River<br />

maintains <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s rank as the nation’s<br />

second largest inland port by tonnage.<br />

Currently, health care leads all area industries<br />

with 34,000 employees, compared with<br />

21,000 jobs in manufacturing. But in 2013,<br />

the Post-Dispatch reported that the “job<br />

search site Dice.com this year ranked<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as the fastest-growing tech job market<br />

in the nation.” Native <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> entrepreneurs<br />

with international reputations—Jack<br />

Dorsey, creator of Twitter, and Jim McKelvey,<br />

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co-developer with Dorsey of “Square” (which<br />

enables hand-held electronic devices to<br />

facilitate mobile payments)—are seeking<br />

ways to train more tech-savvy <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

for employment in such growth industries.<br />

Already paying higher salaries in the information<br />

technology field than most other<br />

American cities, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has been recruiting<br />

future job-creators among innovative entrepreneurs.<br />

Some thirty-five startup companies<br />

in the last two years have received $50,000<br />

“Arch Grants” in a local initiative to attract<br />

new firms and high-paying jobs to the area.<br />

Occupying office space in the Railway<br />

Exchange Building and receiving advice<br />

from seasoned business professionals, such<br />

companies promise exciting collaborations<br />

that will bring the vitality of cutting-edge<br />

research to the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> region. Similarly,<br />

“SixThirty,” a local accelerator program<br />

that provides $100,000 startup grants to<br />

technology companies, has attracted new<br />

entrepreneurs to the city.<br />

Many other attributes make <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

the vibrant, vital core of some three million<br />

people in the nation’s 19th largest metropolitan<br />

area, living among 79 city<br />

neighborhoods, a hundred municipalities,<br />

and several rural counties in two<br />

states. While a few suburbs may have<br />

better shopping and gaudier homes,<br />

none of them has the impressive history<br />

and multicultural heritage of “The City.”<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> is indispensable as the undisputed,<br />

centrally-located capital of<br />

the region, dominating the economy,<br />

professional sports, and every type of<br />

entertainment. Most of those who<br />

moved out of the city still remain in<br />

the region, enjoying the best of both<br />

worlds. Suburbs are places to sleep,<br />

while the city is the place to party with<br />

the most diverse and intriguing people<br />

in eastern Missouri. Former residents<br />

regularly return to experience everything<br />

the suburbs lack, including<br />

major league baseball, football, and<br />

hockey, superb restaurants, outstanding<br />

entertainers, holiday celebrations,<br />

historic neighborhoods, and free<br />

world-class cultural institutions in the<br />

Zoo-Museum District. Almost monthly, <strong>St</strong>.<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> City sponsors parades or festivals<br />

focused on the ethnic diversity of its citizens,<br />

48 percent of whom are African Americans,<br />

3.6 percent Hispanics, 2.3 percent Asians,<br />

and 43 percent Caucasians. Of the latter,<br />

15 percent have German ancestry, 9 percent<br />

Irish, 3.7 percent Italian, and 2.4 French.<br />

In 2013, the city offered these wide-ranging<br />

activities for Labor Day weekend alone:<br />

• “LouFest,” featuring thirty bands on three<br />

stages in Forest Park<br />

• “Big Muddy Blues Festival” on Laclede’s<br />

Landing<br />

• The annual Japanese Festival at the Missouri<br />

Botanical Garden<br />

• <strong>St</strong>. Nicholas Greek Festival, along Forest<br />

Park Boulevard<br />

• The annual Polish Festival on <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

Avenue<br />

• The Greater <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Hispanic Festival at<br />

Kiener Plaza<br />

• Art fairs at the Schlafly micro-breweries<br />

• And the City’s annual Labor Day Parade<br />

along Market <strong>St</strong>reet.<br />

Fifteenth annual Komen Race for the Cure<br />

of Breast Cancer, June 15, 2013.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY STEPHANIE S. CORDLE,<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

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Art Hill in Forest Park showing the huge crowd viewing a<br />

performance of the “Pageant and Masque of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,” 1914.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS (29560).<br />

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Gone but not forgotten, the popular<br />

S. S. Admiral excursion boat is moored<br />

in front of the old levee warehouses and<br />

railroad tracks prior to the demolition of<br />

486 buildings over thirty-nine city blocks<br />

that began on October 9, 1939. As the<br />

world’s largest inland excursion steamer,<br />

the five-deck Admiral was 375 feet long<br />

and 92 feet wide, drawing only eight feet<br />

of water when fully loaded with over 4,000<br />

passengers, but outlived its usefulness in the<br />

new millennium.<br />

COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE<br />

AT THE JEFFERSON NATIONAL EXPANSION MEMORIAL<br />

(VPRI 004556).<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

152<br />

Despite the variety of backgrounds and<br />

beliefs in the city’s population, there are<br />

certain traditions common to our civic culture.<br />

It is inconceivable that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans would<br />

celebrate Mardi Gras anywhere but in Soulard;<br />

take out-of-town visitors anywhere but<br />

the Gateway Arch, Old Courthouse, and<br />

Anheuser-Busch Brewery; or enjoy a wide<br />

range of recreational and cultural activities in<br />

Forest Park. That beautiful 138-year-old,<br />

1,293-acre park “is the heart of our city.”<br />

Attracting over 12,000,000 visitors a year<br />

since it was substantially revitalized in a<br />

$125 million makeover a decade ago,<br />

Forest Park was honored in 2013 as one of<br />

the nation’s “Top 10 Great Public Spaces” by<br />

the American Planning Association. A laudable<br />

partnership between the city and the<br />

supportive citizens of “Forest Park Forever”<br />

will establish a $10 million endowment to<br />

fund future maintenance.<br />

McCune Gill must have had Forest Park<br />

in mind when he wrote in his 1952<br />

book, The <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> <strong>St</strong>ory, that “places have<br />

souls, the same as individuals,” and their<br />

legacies become virtually immortal if they<br />

represent “the spirit of the people.” Following<br />

are some of those special “spirited” locales<br />

that serve as the social glue binding our<br />

community together with shared traditions<br />

and cherished memories:<br />

R E M E M B E R I N G A<br />

V A N I S H E D S T . L O U I S<br />

Cities are always changing, but rarely as<br />

quickly, dramatically, or as intentionally as<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> did in the mid-twentieth century. In<br />

2002, architectural historian James Kornwolf<br />

observed that ”<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> achieved the unique,<br />

if dubious, status in North America of entirely<br />

obliterating its original urban core in one<br />

fell swoop” when it demolished old riverfront<br />

buildings to build the Gateway Arch. The<br />

“Laclede’s Landing” development saved a<br />

few old warehouses in better shape for more<br />

popular uses, while the Admiral survived as a<br />

symbol of waterfront fun into the new millennium.<br />

But willful demolition, as in the case<br />

of the beloved Arena, is often more regretted<br />

than accidental destruction, like the fire<br />

that burned down the Highlands amusement<br />

park. In 1957 the removal of the beautiful,<br />

venerable Merchants’ Exchange Building led<br />

to the creation of Landmarks Association to<br />

protect and preserve other historic structures.


A M O D E R N B U I L D I N G B O O M<br />

When Missouri became a state in 1821, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> already had 651 homes—232 built of<br />

stone or brick—with 108 new dwellings constructed in the previous six years alone. Anyone<br />

who doubted its meteoric rise as a commercial and industrial metropolis for the rest of that<br />

century should remember Mark Twain’s observations. He first saw <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in 1853, as a<br />

lad of seventeen, and recalled thirty years later that he “could have bought it [then] for six<br />

million dollars, and it was the mistake of my life that I did not do it.”<br />

N O T A B L E T R E N D S I N D O W N T O W N A R C H I T E C T U R E<br />

O F T H E L A S T C E N T U R Y<br />

S Municipal Courts Building, completed in 1911, next to City Hall, an equally massive<br />

limestone Beaux-Arts creation of local architect Isaac Taylor reflective of the then-current<br />

“City Beautiful” Movement;<br />

S <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Public Library, another masterpiece by Cass Gilbert (who also designed the<br />

Saint <strong>Louis</strong> Art Museum), was opened in 1912 at a cost of $2 million and renovated a<br />

century later after a two-year $70 million restoration.<br />

S Skyscrapers have dominated the cityscape beyond the riverfront since 1914, when<br />

230-foot-tall Union <strong>St</strong>ation was eclipsed by the Railway Exchange Building, then the<br />

world’s largest office building at 277 feet. But only a dozen years later, the Southwestern<br />

Bell Building of 399 feet surpassed it and was <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s tallest office skyscraper until<br />

1969. Topping it by a mere two feet was the Laclede Gas Building, which dominated the<br />

skyline only briefly between 1969 and 1976.<br />

S Although no structure could or would have eclipsed the 630-foot tall Gateway Arch—the<br />

highest monument in the United <strong>St</strong>ates—its completion in 1965 inspired ever-higher<br />

buildings in the private sector. Historians Selwyn K. Troen and Glen E. Holt also noted<br />

that the Arch “stimulated almost $503,000,000 in construction” between 1965 and 1977.<br />

The era of the behemoth skyscrapers began in 1976, when One U.S. Bank Plaza reached<br />

484 feet, only to be surpassed by One AT&T Center within a decade. The height of<br />

that building remained supreme for thirteen years, until One Metropolitan Square opened<br />

at 593 feet in 2000 and remains the city’s tallest building. Far shorter is the beautiful<br />

Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse of 2000, which, at a height of 557 feet, is still the<br />

second tallest judicial building on earth.<br />

S Another distinction of recent <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> architecture was realized with the completion of<br />

the new National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Building in 2011. It is<br />

the largest governmental archive west of the District of Columbia and contains over<br />

600,000 cubic feet of fifty million U.S. military service records.<br />

Even though <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> City recently received a prestigious “World Leadership Award for<br />

Urban Renewal,” has all of that destruction and construction, both public and private,<br />

improved the lives of citizens? That continues to be debated. But no city can stand still or<br />

remain complacent, and <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> would not have a nationally recognizable media image<br />

without the Gateway Arch. Regarding the value of urban renewal for the poorest citizens,<br />

Mayor Schoemehl in 1985 said: “It was ‘cruel’ to pretend…that the construction boom would<br />

break the grip of poverty when it would not. All that the city could do was to try to leverage<br />

the opportunities…into further opportunities and try to skew some of those benefits toward<br />

some of the most needy.”<br />

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Above: Some of the many beautifully<br />

restored homes in the Lafayette<br />

Square area.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FAUSZ FAMILY, 2012.<br />

Opposite: Crown Candy Kitchen, founded in<br />

1913 by Harry Karandzieff, an immigrant<br />

from Macedonia, is now in the third<br />

generation of family ownership. Offering<br />

traditional food and soda fountain<br />

specialties, it is a popular anchor business<br />

in Old North <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, the promising<br />

project of local preservationists since 1981.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FAUSZ FAMILY, 2013.<br />

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P R E S E R V I N G T H E P A S T<br />

Having experienced such massive alterations<br />

of the cityscape, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans are now<br />

particularly protective of traditional neighborhoods.<br />

Spanning generations are the<br />

beautifully-restored residences in Lafayette<br />

Square, Soulard, and other locations with<br />

special character, unique features, and the<br />

added appeal of “walkability.” The eclectic<br />

variety of Cherokee <strong>St</strong>reet shops and the<br />

creative re-use of buildings along Tower<br />

Grove Avenue—with the fashionable new<br />

wine bar, Olio, housed in a 1930s gas<br />

station—reveal ambitious entrepreneurs who<br />

see the advantages of entertaining customers.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> needs to promote itself as a<br />

tourist mecca for architectural aficionados<br />

who would appreciate our many masterpieces<br />

from different eras: the Chatillon-DeMenil<br />

and Campbell House mansions of the<br />

nineteenth century; the Old Courthouse,<br />

recently restored; the massive Eads Bridge;<br />

Theodore Link’s incomparable Union <strong>St</strong>ation;<br />

<strong>Louis</strong> Sullivan’s still-impressive Wainwright<br />

Building; Cass Gilbert’s beautiful Art Museum<br />

and Central Public Library, Eero Saarinen’s<br />

huge but graceful Gateway Arch; Minoru<br />

Yamasaki’s much-praised Main Terminal of<br />

Lambert International Airport; and Sir David<br />

Chipperfield’s innovative East Building of<br />

the Saint <strong>Louis</strong> Art Museum, opened in 2013.<br />

Another, even more delectable, means of<br />

appreciating the local past is to eat traditional<br />

specialty foods developed and devoured over<br />

many generations. Even though <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> offers


gourmet dining by noted chefs, natives still<br />

crave frozen custard “concretes” from Ted<br />

Drewes, wonderful Italian cuisine on The Hill,<br />

the weekly “Cocktail Museum” at The Royale,<br />

craft beers at Schlafly’s and newer neighborhood<br />

micro-breweries, Imo’s “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> style” pizza,<br />

hamburgers at Blueberry Hill, toasted ravioli<br />

at Lombardo’s, and old-fashioned milkshakes<br />

and homemade Easter chocolates at Crown<br />

Candy Kitchen.<br />

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H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

156


Top, left: Balloon Glow in Forest Park,<br />

September 14, 2012, prior to the fortieth<br />

annual “Great Forest Park Balloon Race”<br />

the next day. That popular event regularly<br />

attracts crowds of 100,000 people.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIK M. LUNSFORD;<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

Opposite, bottom left: Photograph of the<br />

“Spherical Balloon Races at Aero Club<br />

Grounds,” from Walter B. <strong>St</strong>evens, ed.,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>: One Hundred <strong>Years</strong> in a<br />

Week—Celebration of the Centennial<br />

of Incorporation…(<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Centennial<br />

Association, 1909). <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans embrace<br />

selected elements of heritage that they<br />

personally remember but ignore a fuller and<br />

more meaningful history that requires some<br />

research to appreciate. Locals celebrated the<br />

“40th anniversary” of the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> balloon<br />

race in 2012, without realizing that the<br />

city’s fascination with them began much<br />

earlier—in the mid-1800s—and had<br />

become a local tradition when this<br />

photograph was taken in 1909.<br />

H O N O R I N G<br />

T R A D I T I O N<br />

Left: The legacy of “the Rome of the West”<br />

remained strong when Pope John Paul II<br />

made a popular, thirty-one-hour visit to<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> in January 1999, during which<br />

he celebrated Mass for 104,000 people.<br />

SOUVENIR MEDALLION COURTESY OF LOGO-MASTERS,<br />

INC., OF ST. LOUIS.<br />

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A P P R E C I A T I N G T H E A R T S<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans also demonstrated their<br />

passion for living by strongly supporting<br />

artistic endeavors. Music of all kinds is<br />

still enjoyed in blues bistros, arena rock<br />

concerts, riverfront shows, and symphony<br />

halls. With the opening of the renovated<br />

and renamed Peabody Opera House,<br />

Market <strong>St</strong>reet is again the site of worldclass<br />

stage shows for large audiences in<br />

sumptuous surroundings. All of the creative<br />

arts have been revitalized, as well, in the<br />

rejuvenated Grand Center <strong>Historic</strong> District<br />

in Midtown <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, offering several<br />

popular institutions housed in architectural<br />

gems from every era of the twentieth<br />

century. They include the Fox Theatre,<br />

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Powell Symphony Hall, The Contemporary<br />

Art Museum Saint <strong>Louis</strong>, Pulitzer<br />

Foundation for the Arts, Sheldon Concert<br />

Hall and Galleries, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Black Repertory<br />

Theater Company, Grand Center Arts<br />

Academy and its rehabbed Sun Theater,<br />

KETC—the PBS television station, and<br />

UMSL-owned KWMU, a National Public<br />

Radio station, which recently relocated<br />

from that campus. Opening at a different<br />

downtown location in 2014 will be the<br />

first National Blues Museum, thanks to<br />

$6 million from Pinnacle Entertainment,<br />

a casino operation that represents the<br />

region’s newest industry. Another enterprise<br />

that will enrich our cultural environment is<br />

the new International Photography Hall of<br />

Fame and Museum.<br />

Gala Opening Night of the new “Peabody<br />

Opera House” on September 19, 2011,<br />

following a $79 million renovation of the<br />

old Kiel Auditorium.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY EMILY RASINSKI;<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

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T H E M U S I A L M A G I C<br />

<strong>St</strong>an Musial receiving the Medal of<br />

Freedom from President Barack Obama<br />

in the East Room of the White House on<br />

February 15, 2011.<br />

OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER SOUZA;<br />

FREE USE ALLOWED UNDER WIKIMEDIA COMMONS<br />

AS THE WORK PRODUCT OF A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE.<br />

“The greatest Cardinal ushered in an era of sustained<br />

success,” wrote the Post-Dispatch on January 20, 2013.<br />

“But it was his kindness and approachability that made<br />

him an enduring civic treasure.”<br />

The affable, unconceited <strong>St</strong>an Musial was a perfect<br />

fit for an unpretentious, baseball-crazy city that<br />

appreciated natural talent and maximum effort.<br />

Although he was born elsewhere, he loved <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> and<br />

never left, preferring local affection over the national<br />

attention he would have received in a larger, more<br />

lucrative media market. Here, being “nice” was most<br />

appreciated as one of the traditional “hometown” values<br />

of the Midwest.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans embraced Musial as a humble hero—a<br />

person who inspired people to live better lives, or<br />

at least to make them feel better about their lives. While few mortals could match the incredible<br />

statistics he compiled between Pearl Harbor and President Kennedy’s assassination, all<br />

of us can follow his example of spreading some joy to others. The greatness and graciousness<br />

of <strong>St</strong>an “the Man” Musial epitomized the best “Spirit of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.” Our city will remain a<br />

better place long into the future, if those who meet friends under the bronze Musial <strong>St</strong>atue<br />

remember that in life, too, he always brought us together.<br />

( R E ) S E A R C H I N G<br />

F O R A B E T T E R F U T U R E<br />

Laclede’s intellectual legacy remains<br />

stronger than ever in the twenty-first century.<br />

It is reflected in our major research universities<br />

and universally-respected medical facilities<br />

that have produced several Nobel<br />

Laureates, the Baby Tooth Research Project<br />

on Radioactivity, the Human Genome Project,<br />

and the Masters and Johnson studies on<br />

human sexuality, among other contributions.<br />

The Missouri History Museum Archives and<br />

Research Center, the Mercantile Library at the<br />

University of Missouri-<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>, and other<br />

public and private libraries in the area make<br />

our city the global center of research on the<br />

American West. In addition, Washington<br />

University owns several of Thomas Jefferson’s<br />

books, and Saint <strong>Louis</strong> University houses the<br />

largest collection of Vatican manuscripts in<br />

the Western Hemisphere. When the renovated<br />

Museum of Western Expansion at the<br />

Gateway Arch reopens in 2016, it will represent<br />

the most up-to-date educational exhibits<br />

on the American West.<br />

C O N T R I B U T I N G<br />

T O C I T I Z E N S H I P<br />

A N D C H A R I T I E S<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans have long been described as<br />

compassionate and caring citizens with<br />

“old fashioned hometown” values, expressed<br />

by their generous support of many worthy<br />

causes. During the Great Depression in 1935,<br />

71 percent of voting <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans approved<br />

a $7.5 million bond issue to support a<br />

national memorial along the riverfront.<br />

Again, in 2013, voters agreed to a 3/16 cent<br />

sales tax that will raise $780 million to<br />

fund parks and an extensive makeover of<br />

the Gateway Arch grounds. <strong>St</strong>atistics from<br />

2010 also revealed that <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans’ per<br />

capita rate of online charitable contributions<br />

and volunteerism were among the highest<br />

of all major U.S. cities. In 2011, 60,000<br />

local runners set a national record for<br />

participation in the Komen Race for the Cure<br />

of breast cancer. <strong>St</strong> <strong>Louis</strong> City was also the<br />

“first U.S. community to honor returning<br />

vets of the Iraq War” on February 4, 2012,<br />

as reported by NBC Nightly <strong>New</strong>s. The<br />

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acclaimed humanitarianism of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

native, Dr. Thomas Anthony Dooley III, in<br />

Southeast Asia has inspired his fellow<br />

citizens, such as the Reverend Larry Rice of<br />

the <strong>New</strong> Life Evangelistic Center, to help<br />

the disadvantaged here at home. Countless<br />

citizens worked for weeks to hold back<br />

the record-high flood waters in 1993 and<br />

assist the victims of that massive tragedy, as<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans have always done for every<br />

tornado, earthquake, or other natural disaster.<br />

The same community-wide compassion<br />

resulted in a public outpouring of sympathy<br />

and respect when <strong>St</strong>an Musial died in<br />

January 2013.<br />

<strong>St</strong>an was the ultimate embodiment of the<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Cardinals—the city’s most beloved<br />

institution. That franchise is the most<br />

successful in National League history, having<br />

won eleven World Series championships.<br />

But the Cardinals have lost eight other<br />

championships, and that, too, is worth<br />

remembering. Outspent by many other<br />

teams, the scrappy, underdog Cardinals have<br />

been the ultimate “explorers” in the search<br />

for success even with limited resources, and<br />

that resonates with a large fan-base that is not<br />

affluent. In a sort of apprentice system that<br />

recalls older mountain men training the<br />

younger in the keys to survival, the Cardinals<br />

recruit, train, and promote largely from<br />

within the organization, which places a<br />

premium on the special “redbird way,” referring<br />

to how players conduct themselves on<br />

and off the field to deserve the respect of<br />

passionate fans.<br />

All three “Busch <strong>St</strong>adiums” have been<br />

places where warm people met on hot<br />

summer nights. In July 2013, Will Leitch<br />

ranked all of the major league baseball parks<br />

and declared that the current Busch <strong>St</strong>adium<br />

was #7 due to its “general warm vibe.” He<br />

confessed that he would “rather be there than<br />

just about anywhere else in the world.”<br />

The <strong>250</strong>th anniversary provides the best<br />

opportunity in the twenty-first century for<br />

the entire community to determine the<br />

identity and destiny of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>. But we<br />

must first address the city’s long-standing<br />

inferiority complex, which began in the<br />

nineteenth-century competition with Chicago<br />

for railroad supremacy and continues today<br />

in using Tax Increment Funding as a<br />

defensive measure to keep lucrative local<br />

companies in town. <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has the urban<br />

equivalent of low self-esteem, because<br />

officials have spent decades tearing down<br />

beloved buildings, while citizens have been<br />

tearing down the city’s reputation. Residents<br />

rarely boast but do bristle at every criticism<br />

from either coast and are amazed when a<br />

non-Midwesterner actually appreciates their<br />

politeness and friendliness. Aaron Perlut, who<br />

co-launched the “Rally <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>” website<br />

in 2012, reflected the low level of boosterism<br />

in his blog, “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Doesn’t Suck.”<br />

Borrowing the motto of Cahokia, Illinois,<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans should have “Pride in the Past”<br />

and “Faith in the Future.” The two are linked,<br />

because a true appreciation of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> as<br />

a special place worth praising must begin<br />

with a thorough, accurate knowledge of<br />

its history by enthusiastic residents who<br />

respect its achievements, while recognizing<br />

its deficiencies. In 2006, Richard Rosenfeld,<br />

UMSL criminology professor, wrote that<br />

“<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>’s best chance for a bright future<br />

depends on forging creative connections with<br />

the past.” In his 2010 book, Beyond Preservation,<br />

Andrew Hurley agreed that we must study<br />

history “to know what worked and what<br />

failed,…what was admirable and what was<br />

reprehensible” in the past, in order to “devise<br />

innovative ways of adapting existing infrastructures<br />

to new conditions so as not to<br />

create a rupture between past and present.”<br />

For two-and-a-half centuries, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

has prospered from the confluence of rivers<br />

and the convergence of cultures, taking the<br />

lead in new commercial trends and always<br />

adapting to changing times. Ever since an<br />

exploring French businessman founded our<br />

city, a focus on transactions has helped our<br />

leaders adjust to transitions. Today, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

is one of a very few premier “Legacy” cities,<br />

and is often compared to Boston for its significant<br />

contributions to American history<br />

across the centuries, as well as the current<br />

quality of life in its historic neighborhoods.<br />

“Few cities have had as colorful a history as<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,” wrote three respected historians<br />

in Missouri: The Heart of the Nation (2004),<br />

E P I L O G U E<br />

1 6 1


Opposite: Fireworks from Fair <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

light up the night sky on July 3, 2010, above<br />

the iconic, popular Gateway Arch and<br />

Old Courthouse.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAWN MAJORS;<br />

COURTESY OF THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.<br />

and “today it remains one of the most<br />

interesting and distinctive of American<br />

cities.” The nationwide name-recognition of<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> is the main reason that suburban<br />

residents continue to use the city as their<br />

postal address.<br />

In 1909, the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Republic stated that<br />

“in the development of the United <strong>St</strong>ates,<br />

magnitude has been the dominant thought<br />

of its people.” But “Laclede pictured the city<br />

to grow on his selected site as something<br />

more and something better than merely big.”<br />

He “intended to ‘establish a settlement which<br />

might become thereafter one of the finest<br />

cities in America.’” By rejecting the old<br />

Quantitative Ethic, which has depressed<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans with a drop in population nearly<br />

impossible to reverse in the era of interstate<br />

highways, residents should embrace a<br />

Qualitative Ethic represented by a smaller,<br />

less crowded, and more livable, city, with the<br />

room and resources to improve their lives.<br />

The city is definitely finer because it is not<br />

bigger. It has all the facilities of a major city—<br />

skyscrapers, international corporations, and<br />

a prestigious professional baseball team<br />

(fortunately founded when it was much<br />

larger)—but provides a moderately-sized<br />

population with rare opportunities for home<br />

ownership and one of the lowest costs of<br />

urban living in the nation. All <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans<br />

are similar to a retired couple of “emptynesters,”<br />

living in a large comfortable “house”<br />

designed for many more people. Most city<br />

residents are spared the rat-race pace of daily<br />

living, as well as the hellish commutes found<br />

in major metropolises on both coasts and in<br />

Chicago, too. City dwellers regard <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong><br />

as half-full, rather than half-empty, with its<br />

greater livability contributing to its lovability.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans have the patience to practice<br />

their famous politeness and to laugh at<br />

things considered “silly” in less enjoyable<br />

cities—such as the 2011 World Series’ “rally<br />

squirrel” that scampered across home plate<br />

at Busch <strong>St</strong>adium.<br />

At the end of his Lion of the Valley, James<br />

Neal Primm wrote that “<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>ans could<br />

claim to have turned things around in the<br />

1980s, and they looked ahead to the<br />

next decade with more confidence than<br />

they had ten years earlier.” That proved to<br />

be too optimistic, of course, but now there<br />

is a growing momentum for a true renaissance—positive,<br />

progressive improvements<br />

embodied by the term “metromorphosis,”<br />

which was coined by UMSL professors<br />

Brady Baybeck and E. Terrence Jones in their<br />

2004 book.<br />

Currently, high-level discussions are taking<br />

place among city and county officials about a<br />

possible future “Great Reconciliation,” and<br />

two organizations—“STL: World Class City”<br />

and “Better Together”—see many positive<br />

developments from such a merger. With<br />

a substantial portion of the U.S. population<br />

living within a 500-mile radius of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>,<br />

it can be America’s “Carnival City” again.<br />

It has the infrastructure and the attractions<br />

to please tourists, but the attitudes of<br />

residents must reflect a new optimism as they<br />

welcome visitors.<br />

As a city of explorers, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> has always<br />

accepted the risks of searching for the new<br />

and different. Often such discoveries are not<br />

made or fully exploited, and the ways<br />

those disappointments are handled become<br />

discoveries themselves. Almost a century<br />

ago, Albert Ahern wrote a poem to honor<br />

The Trappers of North America, and this stanza<br />

seems most appropriate as an anniversary<br />

tribute for the old fur trade capital that<br />

has never stopped exploring for two-anda-half<br />

centuries:<br />

“It isn’t the size of the cabin you’ve built,<br />

Nor what you have won in pelts or fame,<br />

The thing that counts is the right to say:<br />

I have kept the faith—I have played the game.”<br />

For all you have been, and for all you can<br />

become, <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>—Happy <strong>250</strong>th Birthday!<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

162


E P I L O G U E<br />

1 6 3


City House and Jazz Bistro, among many<br />

venues in the popular Grand Center<br />

Entertainment District.<br />

OCTOBER 2010 PHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVER C. SLICER,<br />

WHO RELEASED IT INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN THROUGH<br />

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

164


SHARING THE HERITAGE<br />

H i s t o r i c p r o f i l e s o f b u s i n e s s e s ,<br />

o r g a n i z a t i o n s , a n d f a m i l i e s t h a t h a v e<br />

c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a n d<br />

e c o n o m i c b a s e o f S t . L o u i s<br />

Quality of Life ......................................................1 6 6<br />

The Marketplace ...................................................2 3 2<br />

Building a Greater <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> ...................................2 7 0<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

1 6 5


The World Chess Hall of Fame, which relocated to the <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> area in 2011.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH BY SARAH CARMODY. PUBLISHED COURTESY OF THAT ORGANIZATION.<br />

H I S T O R I C S T . L O U I S<br />

166


QUALITY OF LIFE<br />

H e a l t h c a r e p r o v i d e r s , f o u n d a t i o n s ,<br />

u n i v e r s i t i e s , a n d o t h e r i n s t i t u t i o n s t h a t<br />

c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e q u a l i t y o f l i f e i n S t . L o u i s<br />

Lindenwood University ...............................................................1 6 8<br />

Washington University in <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> ...............................................1 7 2<br />

SSM Health Care .......................................................................1 7 6<br />

The University of Missouri-<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> .............................................1 8 0<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Mercantile Library and UMSL .....................................1 8 2<br />

Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center .............................1 8 3<br />

Bi-<strong>St</strong>ate Development Agency.......................................................1 8 4<br />

Archdiocese of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> ..............................................................1 8 8<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Community College .......................................................1 9 1<br />

Webster University ....................................................................1 9 2<br />

<strong>St</strong>. Luke’s Hospital .....................................................................1 9 5<br />

JCI ..........................................................................................1 9 6<br />

American Red Cross ...................................................................1 9 9<br />

The Muny .................................................................................2 0 0<br />

Fontbonne University .................................................................2 0 3<br />

World Affairs Council of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> ................................................2 0 4<br />

BJC HealthCare .........................................................................2 0 6<br />

Delta Dental of Missouri ............................................................2 0 8<br />

Maryville University ..................................................................2 1 0<br />

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod ...........................................2 1 2<br />

Ascension .................................................................................2 1 4<br />

Missouri Botanical Garden ..........................................................2 1 6<br />

Saint <strong>Louis</strong> Science Center ..........................................................2 1 8<br />

Saint <strong>Louis</strong> Zoo .........................................................................2 2 0<br />

Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club ............................................2 2 2<br />

Harris-<strong>St</strong>owe <strong>St</strong>ate University .....................................................2 2 3<br />

Greater Saint <strong>Louis</strong> Community Foundation ...................................2 2 4<br />

<strong>St</strong>. Mary of Victories Church (1843) .............................................2 2 5<br />

Sisters of <strong>St</strong>. Joseph of Carondelet ................................................2 2 6<br />

Central Bureau of the Catholic Central Verein of America ................2 2 7<br />

Commemoration Committee for the Battle of Fort San Carlos ............2 2 8<br />

Mercy Health ............................................................................2 2 9<br />

Missouri Humanities Council .......................................................2 3 0<br />

<strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong> Public Library ..............................................................2 3 1<br />

SPECIAL<br />

THANKS TO<br />

Max Kaiser, Jr.<br />

<strong>St</strong>. Andrew’s Resources for<br />

Seniors System<br />

Webster University<br />

Q U A L I T Y O F L I F E<br />

1 6 7


LINDENWOOD<br />

UNIVERSITY<br />

Few schools anywhere have compiled<br />

a history as exciting—or inspiring—as<br />

Lindenwood University, a dynamic four-year<br />

liberal arts institution dedicated to excellence<br />

in higher education. Founded in 1827,<br />

Lindenwood took its name from the beautiful<br />

Linden trees that shade the historic 500-acre<br />

campus in <strong>St</strong>. Charles, a growing community<br />

just west of <strong>St</strong>. <strong>Louis</strong>.<br />

Lindenwood University offers more than<br />

120 undergraduate and graduate degree<br />

programs to more than 16,000 students from<br />

throughout the United <strong>St</strong>ates and ninety<br />

countries around the world. The faculty,<br />

staff and administration at Lindenwood are<br />

committed to an integrative liberal arts<br />

curriculum that focuses on the talents,<br />

interests and future of our students.<br />

In 1827, George and Mary moved to land<br />

he had purchased some years earlier near<br />

<strong>St</strong>. Charles in order to be near Mary’s family.<br />

Mary immediately began teaching the young<br />

women of <strong>St</strong>. Charles while George cleared<br />

the land and established a homestead. The<br />

Sibley’s property was named Linden Wood<br />

because of the many Linden (or basswood)<br />

trees that grew on the land.<br />

The Sibleys were strong supporters of<br />

education for women: they began their school<br />

at a time when formal education for women<br />

was uncommon in the United <strong>St</strong>ates. Mary<br />

commented that, “Our country will never<br />

prosper unless the people get knowledge.”<br />

In his writings, George said, “Woman is<br />

the most important sex; and if but half of<br />

our race can be educated, let it be woman<br />

instead of man. Woman forms our character:<br />

she is with us through life; she nurses us<br />

in infancy; she watches us in sickness,<br />

soothes us in distress, and cheers us in the<br />

melancholy of old age.”<br />

Left: George Sibley—Before moving to<br />

<strong>St</strong>. Charles with his wife, Sibley served as<br />

the head official that traded with Indians at<br />

Fort Osage near current day Kansas City,<br />

Missouri. His descriptions of the Indians<br />

in that region were among the first by an<br />

American. Later, Sibley led the group that<br />