St. Louis

Past, and present of St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri (STL) – one of America’s most cherished cities situated along the Mississippi River, St. Louis’ history extends back to its founding in 1764.  Incorporated in 1822, STL is an independent city as well as a major port that was built into a strategic location along the western bank of the Mississippi River.  Founded by French fur traders, Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau, the city was named after Louis IX of France.

STL shares a border with Illinois today.  As of 2016, it was estimated that the city has a population of 311,404.  The greater St. Louis region in total is home to close to 3 million people, and relies on the city as its cultural and economic epicenter.  According to population statistics, St. Louis is the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, and as of 2016, the 19th largest in the United States.

Nicknames given to St. Louis include Gateway to the West, the Gateway City, The Lou, Rome of the West, and River City.

In total, STL covers 66-square-miles, with 61.9-square miles of land, 4.1-square miles of water, and an elevation of 466 feet.  It resides within the Central Standard Time Zone.

As of November 2017, the STL Mayor is Lyda Krewson (city mayor page).

History of St. Louis

Prior to the French settling of the city, STL was part of a major regional center of Native American Mississippian culture.  Crops like corn, squash, fish, and beans were traded among local tribes in exchange for furs, game, and other items scavenged in local environments.

However, all of that came to an end in 1764, following France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War.  The area was given to Spain, but amazingly, given back to France in 1800.  In 1803, following the formation of the United States, the nation acquired the territory in part of the infamous Louisiana Purchase, which was overseen by Thomas Jefferson.  After being acquired by the United States, STL developed as a major port on the Mississippi River, helping merchants ship products between the northern and southern portions of the newly acquired nation.

By 1870, St. Louis was ranked as the 4th largest city in the United States.  It elected to separate from St. Louis County in 1877, and became its own independent city with its own political boundaries.  In 1904, the city played host to the Summer Olympics, and was the site of the Louisiana Exposition.

St. Louis Historical Timeline

  • 1763 – (fall) Trading business between Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent and Pierre Laclede
  • 1764 – Founded
  • 1779 – open air market began
  • 1780 – Indian attack
  • 1780 – Laclede’s Landing was built
  • 1800 – Transferred to French First Republic
  • 1803 – Sold to the US by the French as part of the Louisiana Purchase
  • 1804 – Lewis and Clark Expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson
  • 1805 – St Louis becomes the capital of the US Louisiana Territory
  • 1806 – Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis on September 23, 1806
  • 1808 – City elected its first municipal legislators (trustees)
  • 1808 – St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was created on August 7th
  • 1809 – Missouri Fur Company was founded on February 24th
  • 1811 – New Madrid earthquake on December 16th
  • 1816 – Judge Baptiste Charles Lucas and Auguste Chousteau donated land for the Old Courthouse
  • 1817 – First steamboats arrived in St. Louis
  • 1818 – St. Louis University was founded on November 16th
  • 1821 – Missouri admitted as a state
  • 1821 – St. Louis becomes part of the news US state of Missouri
  • 1821 – First Missouri State Capital State Historic Site located in St Charles until 1826
  • 1822 – St Louis City was incorporated
  • 1828 – Old Courthouse opened
  • 1830 – Missouri Fur Company closed on June 1st
  • 1831 – Basilic of St. Louis, King of France construction began
  • 1834 – Completed construction of Basilica of St. Louis
  • 1836 – St. Louis Chamber of Commerce was established
  • 1836 – St. Francis Xavier College Church was established
  • 1838 – Soulard Market founded at its current location
  • 1846 – Scott v. Sandford case tried at the courthouse
  • 1846 – Dred Scott visited St. Louis – known for lawsuit for freedom from slavery
  • 1849 – St Louis Fire of 1849 devastated the community on May 17th – killing the first firefighter in the line of duty in the US
  • 1849 – Bellefontaine Cemetery was established covering 314 acres
  • 1852 – Anheuser-Busch was founded named Bavarian Brewery – named changed to E. Anheuser & Co. in 1860, E. Anheuser Company’s Brewing Association in 1875
  • 1853 – Washington University was founded on February 22nd
  • 1854 – created Hyde Park
  • 1857 – Merchants Exchange Building opened first location, opening second location in 1875
  • 1857 – St Louis Fire Department was created on September 14th – 2nd oldest fire department in the US
  • 1859 – Streetcars began operating in St. Louis
  • 1859 – Missouri Botanical Garden was founded
  • 1859 – Christ Church Cathedral was built
  • 1861 – 28 civilians were killed in a clash with Union troops
  • 1866 – Missouri History Museum was founded
  • 1868 – Henry Shaw donated land to the city to build Tower Grove Park
  • 1870 – Became major port on Mississippi
  • 1873 – US Customshouse and Post Office began construction, completed in 1884
  • 1874 – Completion of the Eads Bridge
  • 1875 – Merchants Exchange Building opened in the second facility, operating until 1958
  • 1875 – Carondelet Park was established containing 180 acres, making it the third largest park in St Louis
  • 1875 – Anheuser-Busch built brewery facility
  • 1876 – St. Louis was notified that it was selected for the Democratic National Convention in February
  • 1876 – On August 22nd the city voted to secede from St. Louis County
  • 1876 – Forest Park opened
  • 1876 – Democratic National Convention hosted at the St. Louis Merchants Exchange building
  • 1877 – St. Louis Real Estate Exchange was founded, now referred to as St. Louis REALTORS®
  • 1877 – City separated from County
  • 1877 – Clayton was organized, named after Ralph Clayton whom donated the land
  • 1878 – St Louis Post Dispatch publication was created
  • 1879 – St. Louis Art Museum was founded
  • 1880 – St Louis Symphony Orchestra was founded and is the second oldest symphony in the US
  • 1882 – St Louis Cardinals was founded
  • 1884 – Completed construction of the US Customshouse and Post Office
  • 1888 – Union Station built
  • 1889 – Tower Grove Park built
  • 1890 – Altheimer and Rawlings Investment Company was created, changing its name in July 1983, listing its stock on NYSE on November 24, 1986
  • 1890 – Lemp Mansion completed construction
  • 1892 – City Hall designed by Harvey Ellis
  • 1892 – Wainwright Building was designed
  • 1894 – Union Station opened
  • 1899 – St. Louis Stock Exchange opened
  • 1903 – district known as “The Hill” was founded
  • 1903 – Women’s Magazine Building was built, now University City, City Hall
  • 1904 – St. Louis Art Museum was built
  • 1904 – Hosted Louisiana Purchase Expedition, World’s Fair, and Summer Olympics
  • 1906 – Erected the Apotheosis of St. Louis making it the principal symbol of the city – located at St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park
  • 1907 – Cathedral Basilica began cleaning ground on May 1st
  • 1908 – created Fairground Park (functioned as fairgrounds in 1856)
  • 1910 – Saint Louis Zoo opened
  • 1912 – The Sheldon was built as the home of the Ethical Society of St. Louis
  • 1913 – Clayton was incorporated
  • 1914 – Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis was founded (May 18th)
  • 1914 – Railway Exchange Building opened, which was the city’s tallest building at the time
  • 1914 – Dedication of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
  • 1914 – Cathedral Basilica held first mass on October 18th
  • 1916 – Residential segregation ordinance was passed (Jim Crow Era)
  • 1917 – Orpheum Theater was built, opening on Labor Day
  • 1919 – The St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre, named The Muny with first show “Robin Hood” on June 16th
  • 1920 – In June the Aero Club of St. Louis leased 170 acres of cornfield, now home to Lambert Airport
  • 1923 – Fontbonne University was organized with more than 3,000 students today
  • 1923 – The field was officially dedicated as Lambert-st. Louis Flying field
  • 1923 – $87 million voter ratified bond issue to build the Civil Courts Building
  • 1924 – Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis building on Locust Street was designed by Russell & Crowell
  • 1925 – Powell Hall, formerly known as St. Louis Threatre and Powell Symphony Hall opened, renovated in 1968
  • 1928 – City of St. Louis leased the airport for $1
  • 1929 – Founding of Ted Drewes (frozen custard)
  • 1929 – Fox Theatre Opened
  • 1929 – Soulard Market, Grand Hall building was built
  • 1930 – The Old Courthouse as abandoned by the city after competing the Civil Courts Building
  • 1930 – University City Hall opens in the Women’s Magazine Building, built in 1903
  • 1932 – created the Memorial Plaza
  • 1932 – created Tilles Park
  • 1933 – Luther Ely Smith pitched the idea of a memorial to Mayor Bernard Dickmann in a meeting on December 15th
  • 1935 – St Louis voted on a bond issue to raze nearly 40 blocks around the courthouse creating the Gateway Arch National Park with President Roosevelt issuing Executive Order declaring area as national monument
  • 1935 – Shaw Park was founded by Mayor Charles A. Shaw – dedicated in 1937 at a cost of $280,000
  • 1939 – Oldani’s restaurant opened
  • 1942 – Voters passed a $4.5 million bond issue to expand airport by 867 acres and add a new terminal
  • 1944 – National Museum of Transportation opened as a privately owned 42-acre museum
  • 1949 – St. Louis Stock Exchange closed after being purchased by the Chicago Stock Exchange
  • 1952 – Kraus House construction began lasting until completion in 1960, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright – 1997 listed on National Register of Historic Places
  • 1953 – Anheuser-Busch purchased the St. Louis Cardinals on February 20th
  • 1955 – St Louis County Police was created on July 1st
  • 1957 – Anheuser-Busch was recognized as the largest brewer in the US
  • 1958 – Merchants Exchange Building torn down to build the Adam’s Mark Hotel
  • 1960 – Missouri State purchased First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site in St Charles; it was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1969
  • 1962 – St. Louis Community College was established
  • 1963 – Gateway Arch construction began on February 12th, completed October 28, 1965 at a cost of $13 million
  • 1963 – founded the Saint Louis Science Center, founded as a planetarium
  • 1963 – MetroBus begins operation
  • 1964 – Civil rights activists protested at the construction of the Gateway Arch
  • 1964 – US Department of Justice filed first suit against the unions under Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • 1964 – Cahokia Mounds designed on July 19th as US National Historical Landmark
  • 1964 – Lone Elk County Park
  • 1965 – Gateway Arch construction complete on October 28th
  • 1966 – Anheuser-Busch Brewery designated as a US Historic Landmark
  • 1967 – St. Louis Blues was founded
  • 1967 – St. Louis hosted the World Series and won
  • 1967 – Popular Street Bridge completed
  • 1968 – St. Louis hosted the World Series
  • 1968 – Powell Hall renovated
  • 1972 – Blueberry Hill (restaurant) opend on September 8th featuring Check Berry on a regular basis
  • 1973 – 42-acre Westport Plaza opened
  • 1973 – First Great Forest Park Balloon Race between Nikki Caplan and John O’Toole
  • 1973 – Nikki Caplan granted FAA exception to fly a hot air balloon between the arch legs during Forest Park Balloon Race – balloon plummeted 70 feet before recovering
  • 1974 – St. Louis Port Authority was created
  • 1974 – Castlewood State Park was established
  • 1974 – created Queeny Park
  • 1975 – University City Hall building admitted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 7th
  • 1975 – Laumeier Sculpture Park was created
  • 1978 – Last train left Union Station
  • 1979 – The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum
  • 1980 – Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis was established, commonly referred to as CAM
  • 1980 – Kenneth Swyers parachuted onto the top of the arch on November 22nd, sliding to down the side of the arch resulting in death
  • 1980 – North Riverfront Park
  • 1982 – St. Louis hosted the World Series and won
  • 1982 – Fox Theatre restored
  • 1985 – St. Louis hosted the World Series
  • 1987 – St. Louis hosted the World Series
  • 1987 – Washington Avenue Historic District added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 27th
  • 1991 – Hindu Temple of St. Louis (Ballwin) completed construction
  • 1992 – Broke ground for “The Dome at America’s Center,” opened November 12, 1995
  • 1992 – John C. Vincent climbed the Gateway Arch on September 14th using suction cups and parachuted off the top of the Arch and charged with two misdemeanors
  • 1993 – Great Flood of 1993 devastated all communities along the Mississippi – $15 billion in damages
  • 1995 – Los Angeles Rams moved to St. Louis making them the St. Louis Rams
  • 1995 – “The Dome at America’s Center” opened – construction began with groundbreaking in 1992
  • 1996 – Anheuser-Busch sold the St. Louis Cardinals to a private investor group
  • 1996 – Turtle Park was built
  • 1997 – City Museum opened on October 25th attracting more than 700,000 visitors in 2010
  • 1997 – St. Louis Missouri Temple – dedicated on June 1st – 50th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • 1999 – St. Louis Rams wins Super Bowl XXXIV
  • 2000 – Completed construction of the largest single courthouse in the US, the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse completed at an estimated cost of $186 million
  • 2000 – The Pageant Opened on October 19th
  • 2001 – TWA closes St. Louis hub
  • 2001 – Pulitzer Arts Foundation established
  • 2004 – St. Louis hosted the World Series
  • 2005 – Memorial Stadium was torn down after serving St. Louis Cardinals for 40 seasons
  • 2006 – St Louis won the World Leadership Award
  • 2007 – American Planning Association named Delmar Loop “One of the 10 Great Streets in America”
  • 2007 – Lumiere Place (casino) opened on December 19th
  • 2008 – Anheuser-Busch became a division of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV on November 18th
  • 2009 – built Citygarden, which is operated by Gateway Foundation
  • 2011 – World Chess Hall of Famed moved to St. Louis
  • 2013 – St. Louis hosted the Sinquefield Cup Tournament
  • 2013 – February 8th was the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Ballpark Village, estimated to cost $320 Million
  • 2014 – Musial Bridge opened – inaugurated February 8th and opened on February 9th at a cost of $695 million
  • 2014 – Ballpark Village had its grand opening on March 27th
  • 2014 – August 9th – Michael Brown, Jr., a 18-year old black man was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson sparking riots
  • 2014 – fiscal year budget passed $1 Billion for the first time
  • 2014 – Saint Louis FC Soccer was founded
  • 2015 – Saint Louis Zoo agreed to purchase Grant’s Farm for an estimated $30 million, but later withdrew offer due to disputes
  • 2015 – St. Louis Rams return to Los Angeles
  • 2017 – Mayor Lyda Krewson elected as first female mayor
  • 2017 – City of St. Louis had the highest murder rate, per capita, in the US
  • 2017 – Hudson Holdings purchased the Railway Exchange Building for $20 million
  • 2018 – St. Louis BattleHawks was founded
  • 2019 – The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency host groundbreaking on November 26th
  • 2019 – St. Louis MLS team was founded
  • 2019 – St. Louis Blues wins the Stanley Cup
  • 2020 – June 13th Black Lives Matter protest overtook the Hill due to racism and bigotry against African Americans

The Gateway Arch

STL is most recognized for its 630-foot tall arch: the Gateway Arch.  Situated in downtown, overlooking the Mississippi River, the Gateway Arch is made from stainless steel.  Impressively, it is the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and is the state’s tallest accessible building.  It was conceptualized and created as an adage to the westward expansion of the United States, a key concept that underpins St. Louis spirit.  It serves as the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

St. Louis Regions

Within STL, there are vibrant communities that work together to make up the quintessential American spirit.  The two most notable regions, Soulard and the Central West End, offer the very best to city residents and tourists.

The Central West End, known as the city’s commercial epicenter, is where people get their shopping and commercial investments done.  Home to sidewalk cades, smart Italian and Asian establishments, and chic boutiques and antiques stores, the region borders the city’s lovely Forest Park with lakes and woods for strolling.  It’s also filled with museums, art displays, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

Soulard, the nightlife go-to for city travelers, is home to the best dining, drinking, and entertainment options, characterized by the cobblestone streets and charismatic old-school architecture.  Soulard also boasts a blues music scene, with seafood spots that serve oysters and craw-fish.  The region can trace its founding back to 1779.

It’s most notable activity is the Soulard Farmers Market, which displays a vast array of cheeses and meats that draw in people from around the state.

St. Louis Economy

The STL economy relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism to keep the supply and demand up.  The metro area is home to major corporations like:

Additionally, nine of the ten Fortune 500 companies that are located in Missouri today are founding within the STL metropolitan area.  As of recently, the city has also been regarded for its growing medical, pharmaceutical, and research presence in scientific studies.

St. Louis Sports

St. Louisans are very proud of their two professional sports teams today: the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.  Developers are testing the waters for hosting a Major League Soccer team at this time as well.

St. Louis Related Pages


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