History of St Lois I - History

History of St Lois I - History


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St. Louis I

(SlpW: t. 700, 1. 127'; b. 33'9", dph. 15'6"; dr. 16'
cpl. 125; a. 20 24-pdr. sb. )

St. Louis was laid down on 12 February 1827 at the Washington Navy Yard; launched on 18 August 1828; and commissioned on 20 December 1828, Master Commandant John D. Sloat in command.

On the day of her commissioning, St. Louis got underway and proceeded to Norfolk, Va., for final outfitting. She departed Hampton Roads on 14 February 1829 and headed for Havana, Cuba. Thence, she proceeded, via Rio de Janeiro and Cape Horn, to Callao, Peru. Arriving there on 20 June, the sloop of war joined the Pacific Squadron under Commodore Jacob Jones; and, until 8 September 1831, she cruised the coasts of the Americas to protect the trade and interests of the United States. On that day, she sailed for Cape Horn and the east coast, and arrived off Sandy Hook, N.J., on 9 December. She was laid up in ordinary at New York on the 25th.

Recommissioned on 19 September 1832, St. Louis departed New York on 12 October to base at Pensacola, Fla., as a unit of the West Indies Squadron. She spent the following six years, largely as flagship for the squadron, cruising the Caribbean. On 28 May 1838, she sailed from Havana for New York where she again was placed in ordinary on 1 July and laid up until 5 April 1839.

St. Louis sailed on 30 June to join the Pacific Squadron at Monterey, Calif. En route, she put in at San Francisco where her commanding Officer interceded with the government of California for imprisoned foreign residents. She had the distinction of being the first American man-of-war to carry the flag into that port. Following operations off the coast of Peru, she returned to Norfolk on 15 September 1842 and was laid up in ordinary there the following day.

St. Louis was recommissioned on 27 February 1843 and soon joined the East Indies Squadron as flagship. She was at Singapore early in 1844 while the first commercial treaty with China was being negotiated. She returned to Norfolk in September 1845 where she underwent conversion to lengthen her hull by 13 feet. Departing from Norfolk on 11 August 1848, she sailed to Rio de Janeiro, where she served on the South American Station until returning in July 1851.

St. Louis next departed from Norfolk on 24 August 1852 to cruise the Mediterranean. On 2 July 1853, while she was at Smyrna, Turkey, her commanding officer demanded that the commander of the Austrian frigate, Hussar, release Hungarian refugee Martin Koszta. The revolutionary leader had emigrated to the United States and announced his intentions of becoming an American citizen. Subsequently, while in Smyrna on business, he had been arrested by Austrian officials. Mediation by the French Consul effected Koszta's release.

St. Louis returned to New York on 8 May 1855 and sailed again in November to help suppress the slave trade along the western coast of Africa, returning to New York on 9 February 1858. In September of that year, she joined the Home Squadron based at Pensacola, Fla.

In January 1861, while serving with the Home Squadron off Vera Cruz, Mexico, St. Louis was ordered to return to Pensacola to stand guard during the turmoil which preceded the outbreak of the Civil War. In April, she aided in the reinforcement of Fort Pickens, then joined in the massive blockade of southern ports. On 5 September, she assisted Brooklyn in the capture of blockade-running Confederate brig, Macao, at the mouth of the Mississippi. After being rearmed during a brief period in the Philadelphia Navy Yard now armed with 4 8" Sg., 12 32-pdrs., 2 20-pdr. P.r. and 1 12-pdr. sb, she sailed on 24 February 1862 for Cadiz, Spain. For the next two years, she cries-crossed

the Atlantic, cruised the African coast, and patrolled the areas in and around the Canary Islands and the Azores in search of Confederate commerce raiders. Cadiz and Lisbon were her primary bases for such operations. She returned to Port Royal, S.C., on 26 November 1864 for service in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Three days later, sailors and marines from St. Louis ~ went ashore at Boyd's Landing to participate in the I combined Army-Navy thrust up the Broad River. Under the command of Comdr. George H. Preble, the expedition was designed to assist General Sherman as he approached Savannah at the end of his march across Georgia. This operation was completed on 29 December. St. Louis then briefly returned to blockade duty before finally sailing to the Philadelphia Navy . Yard where she was decommissioned on 12 May 1865. I

St. Louis spent the remainder of her career at Philadelphia. After being laid up in 1866 and declared unserviceable, she became a receiving ship at League Island and continued this duty until 1894 when she was loaned as a training vessel to the Naval Militia of the State of Pennsylvania. On 30 November 1904 while she was engaged in this service, her name was changed to Keystone State. She was finally struck from the Navy list on 9 August 1906 and sold for scrapping, on 5 June 1907, to Joseph G. Hitner of Philadelphia.


East St. Louis, Illinois

East St. Louis is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. It is directly across the Mississippi River from Downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch National Park. East St. Louis is in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. Once a bustling industrial center, like many cities in the Rust Belt, East St. Louis was severely affected by loss of jobs due to industrial restructuring during the second half of the 20th century. In 1950, East St. Louis was the fourth-largest city in Illinois when its population peaked at 82,366. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 27,006, less than one-third of the 1950 census.

A recent addition to the city's waterfront is the Gateway Geyser. On the grounds of Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, the fountain is the second-tallest in the world. Designed to complement the Gateway Arch across the river in St. Louis, it shoots water to a height of 630 feet (190 m), the same height as the arch.


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In 1878, grain executive and former Confederate cavalryman Charles Slayback called a meeting of local business and civic leaders. His intention was to form a secret society that would blend the pomp and ritual of a New Orleans Mardi Gras with the symbolism used by the Irish poet Thomas Moore. From Moore’s poetry, Slayback and the St. Louis elite created the myth of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, a mystic traveller who inexplicably decided to make St. Louis his base of operations.

The entire process was suffused with elaborate ritual: A person would be chosen by a secret board of local elites to anonymously play the role of the Veiled Prophet. The Veiled Prophet would chose a Queen of Love and Beauty from among the elite ball attendees (of course, invitation list to be kept strictly confidential as well) with whom he would dance a “Royal Quadrille” before presenting her with an expensive keepsake such as a tiara or pearls. Often these gifts were so expensive that they became family heirlooms. The ball would be accompanied by a just-as-spectacular parade and fair. In October of 1878, civic elites organized the first parade. It attracted more than 50,000 spectators.

There were at least two reasons Slayback and his peers created the Veiled Prophet Organization and staged the lavish events. One was 300 miles north. By the late 1880s, Chicago was beginning to overshadow St. Louis as transportation and manufacturing hub. St. Louis needed, in every way, including symbolically, to remind its citizens of its stature. The VP Parade recalled the antebellum St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Fair, a sort of trade show and harvest festival combined.

A float from the 1955 VP Fair. (Missouri State
Archives/Flickr)

Perhaps more fundamentally though, the VP activities were a response to growing labor unrest in the city, much of it involving cooperation between white and black workers. A year before the founding of the Order of the Veiled Prophet was the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, in which railroad workers across the country brought cars to halt in protest of abominable pay and working conditions. In St. Louis, nearly 1,500 striking workers, both black and white, brought all rail freight to a standstill for an entire week. The involvement of the St. Louis Workingman’s Party eventually expanded the demands of the protest to include things like a ban on child labor and an eight-hour workday. Of course, this was untenable to the municipal and national powers. The strike ended when 5,000 recently deputized “special police” aided federal troops in forcing the strikers to disperse. Eighteen strikers were killed. The strike ended nationally within 45 days.

According to historian Thomas Spencer in The St. Louis Veiled Prophet Celebration: Power On Parade 1877-1995, the primary goal of the VP events was to take back the public stage from populist demands for social and economic justice. More than just a series of gaudy floats traversing the city streets, the parade and all its pomp was meant to reinforce the values of the elite on the working class of the city. The symbol of a mystical, benevolent figure whose identity is a mystery—only two Veiled Prophets have ever had their identity revealed—was meant to serve as a sort of empty shell that contained the accumulated privilege and power of the status quo.

In fact, to underline the message of class and race hegemony, the image of the first Veiled Prophet is armed with a shotgun and pistol and is strikingly similar in appearance to a Klansman. On October 6, 1878, the Missouri Republican reported, “It will be readily observed from the accoutrements of the Prophet that the procession is not likely to be stopped by street cars or anything else.” Spencer takes “streetcar” to be a reference to the labor strikes. The message was clear: We, the bankers and businessmen, have a monopoly on violence and wealth. We are grand and mysterious, and also to be feared. The first Veiled Prophet, the only one ever willingly revealed by the organization, turned out to be St. Louis Police Commissioner John G. Priest, an active participant in quelling the railroad strikes the year before.

Of course, few things struck as much fear into the hearts of city fathers as white/black labor cooperation. Cooperation between black and white workers during the 1877 strike led anti-labor newspapers to label a parade thrown in support of the strikes a “riot.” Inevitably, after a few minor looting incidents lead to the theft of bread and soap from a few local stores, the St. Louis Dispatch “characterized the strikers as ‘tramps and loafers’ who were ‘anxious to pillage and plunder’,” Thomas Spencer writes. The specter of the interracial flexing of labor muscle inspired to an armed citizens militia that marched in a counter-protest to the working-class demonstration. It sounds tragically reminiscent of recent events in St. Louis.

The first Veiled Prophet took the theme of progress and wisdom, and, according to Spencer, “equated wisdom with wealth.” While many 19th century parades were fairly democratic and celebrated a sort of play or reversal of social order, a major element of the Mardi Gras parades that inspired it, the Veiled Prophet proceedings emphasized the existing power structure. The 1878 parade displayed a tableau of inevitable “progress” over 17 floats, beginning with the icy desolation of early Earth and culminating in the grand excess of Gilded Age industrialism with all of its attendant pomp. This notion of progress was portrayed as the inevitable result of unfettered capitalism, instituted by its white, male leaders. Slayback, the organizer of the proceedings, also threw in a grab bag of odd mythological references to properly mystify the throngs of people gathered to witness the procession.

According to a St. Louis city website, “The traditional VP celebration has represented for St. Louisans a perceived link between different components of the community in a holiday celebration, while also reinforcing the notion of a benevolent cultural elite.” Many of the average citizens of St. Louis knew exactly what the VP Ball and Fair represented, and their dissent became nearly as much of a convention as the fair itself. Spencer reports that in the earliest years of the parade there was public backlash against upsetting racial stereotypes depicted on the floats. (It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that African and Jewish Americans weren’t allowed in the VP Organization for many years). Peashooters were sold at local stores around the time of the parade so that bystanders could pelt the ostentatious floats. Unions held mocking counter-parades that skewered the lavishness of the VP Organization.

The tradition of protest in St. Louis is a heartening counter-narrative to the divisions that makes it necessary. That’s been apparent from the railroad strikes of 1877 to the #handsupdontshoot response to the killing of Michael Brown. The 1972 Veiled Prophet was unmasked in what was one of the most dramatic guerrilla protests ever organized by local civil-rights leader Percy Green. The Ball that year was held in cavernous Kiel Auditorium. Activist Gena Scott, dramatically sliding down a power cable a la Mission Impossible, unmasked the enthroned Prophet. It turned out to be the then-executive vice president of Monsanto, Tom K. Smith. Scott’s car was bombed and her house vandalized.

The unmasking in Kiel Auditorium helped highlight the embarrassing inequities that the VP Fair and Ball represented. The organization loosened up a bit, even opening its ranks to African-American members in 1979, but by the late ’70s, even the members seemed a bit embarrassed of the spectacle. Spencer quotes William Martiz, a VP member, as saying, “A lot of members in the late 70’s ‘felt uneasy with the social connotations’ and people were saying ‘get that goddamn ball off the television, don’t force that on the community.’” By 1992 the name of the event was changed to Fair Saint Louis, nominally erasing the connection to its past.

The VP Fair and Ball had to change in response to social pressure, but the monopoly of power held by the people who constituted its elite ranks stayed the same. In 2000, Spencer told Riverfront Times, “one of the roles that organization plays is to keep these people on top with business contacts to put little Johnny into a corporate job, and by the 1950’s and 1960’s, all the corporate CEO’s in St. Louis had the same names as the major business leaders did in the 1880’s. If you know much about St. Louis history, when is it the corporations really started going into the Dumpster? It was under the leadership of these folks.”

Feeling the heat from industrial competitors to the North and labor unrest inside the city, the business elite of St. Louis decided in 1878 to double down on the static racial and economic power structure of the city. The Veiled Prophet Ball and Fair was a powerful symbol of that reassertion of control. But the underlying social issues continued to fester. St. Louis declined, suffering countless self-inflicted wounds, visible and invisible. Michael Brown is part of that story now. If the 1972 unmasking of the Monsanto executive unveiled the secret power structure running St. Louis, Brown’s shooting was equally revealing of the victims of the inequality institutionalized by the Veiled Prophets.


Saint Louis University Timeline

SLU becomes the first institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River when Saint Louis Academy (later known as Saint Louis College) is founded in a private residence near the Mississippi River at the request of the Rev. Louis William DuBourg, Catholic Bishop of Louisiana.

The history of SLU's College of Arts and Sciences dates back to the original Saint Louis Academy.

The Society of Jesus assumes control of the college, and Father Peter J. Verhaegen, S.J., becomes the school's first Jesuit president.

The college, now Saint Louis University, receives a formal charter from the State of Missouri, becoming the first university west of the Mississippi River. SLU also begins offering the first graduate programs west of the Mississippi River.

SLU establishes the first medical school west of the Mississippi River.

St. Francis Xavier College Church, also known as College Church, is founded at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue. Construction on the current church building in Midtown begins in 1884 and is completed in 1914.

SLU establishes the first law department west of the Mississippi River.

University authorities purchase a tract of land at Grand and Lindell boulevards in preparation for a move from downtown to SLU's current location.

DuBourg Hall opens on July 31, the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Though now home to SLU's administration, the building at its opening contained the whole of the University's operations, including classrooms, laboratories, a museum and library, and dormitories for both students and the Jesuit faculty.

SLU acquires the Marion-Sims-Beaumont College of Medicine, located at Grand Boulevard and Caroline Street.

SLU's Bradbury Robinson throws the first forward pass. SLU played its first football game against Washington University in 1888 and ended its program in 1949.

The Saint Louis University School of Law admits five female students -- the first women to attend Saint Louis University.

The Billiken, Saint Louis University's mascot, is created by American art teacher and illustrator Florence Pretz. Learn more about the Billiken's unique history.

The School of Commerce and Finance, the precursor to the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, is founded. It is the first business school west of the Mississippi River.

WEW, the oldest radio station west of the Mississippi and the second oldest radio station in the country, hits the airwaves. It was owned by SLU for more than 40 years.

SLU Professor James B. Macelwane, S.J., establishes the first department of geophysics in the Western Hemisphere.

SLU holds its first Homecoming and University-wide prom.

Parks Air College, later to become SLU's Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, is founded at Lambert Field in St. Louis by Oliver "Lafe" Parks. He gave the college to Saint Louis University in 1946. It is the oldest federally certified school of aviation west of the Mississippi River.

The School of Nursing is founded. It goes on to be the first in the United States to establish an accelerated BSN and the first in Missouri to offer a Ph.D. program.

Mother Marie Kernaghan, R.S.C.J. becomes the first woman to graduate from Saint Louis University with a Ph.D. Her degree was in physics.

The Saint Louis University School of Social Work is founded. The school became part of the College for Public Health and Social Justice in 2013.

The University opens the Firmin Desloge Memorial Hospital — later named Saint Louis University Hospital. The hospital, home to accomplishments such as the state's first heart transplant, was sold by the University in 1998.

Father Claude Heithaus, S.J., delivers a sermon at College Church decrying racial prejudice in America, ultimately leading to the integration of Saint Louis University. That summer, five African-American students are admitted to SLU — two undergraduates and three graduate students — making SLU the first university in any of the 14 former slave states to establish an official policy of integration.

The University purchases Samuel Cupples House to serve as a student union. Cupples House is later restored and is now open to the public as a historic home and gallery.

The College of Arts and Sciences becomes co-educational. While women had been allowed to attend graduate and select programs since 1908, undergraduate men and women were not allowed to register and attend classes together until this time.

Jesuits from Saint Louis University perform the religious rite that becomes the basis of "The Exorcist" book and movie.

Marguerite Hall opens as Saint Louis University's first residence hall for women. It becomes the University's first co-ed residence hall in 1971.

The University's Pius XII Memorial Library, honoring His Holiness Pope Pius XII, opens. The Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library is established there, becoming the first repository of its kind outside of the Vatican itself.

Saint Louis University launches the 1-8-1-8 Plan, now called the 1818 Advanced College Credit Program, offering high school students the chance to earn college credit for certain high school courses. SLU's program is the oldest dual credit program in the nation.

SLU becomes the first major Catholic university to give lay and clergy people combined legal responsibility for institutional policy on its board of trustees.

SLU establishes a campus in Madrid, Spain. Originally intended as a study-abroad program for U.S. college students, SLU-Madrid is now a free-standing campus of Saint Louis University where students from more than 65 countries take undergraduate and graduate courses.

SLU surgeons conduct the first heart transplant in the Midwest.

SLU's Office of the University Registrar is equipped with its first computer.

SLU's School of Allied Health Professions, now Doisy College of Health Sciences, is founded.

Simon Recreation Center opens.

SLU introduces the Presidential Scholarship, a four-year, full-tuition award. Presidential Scholars represent some of the most exemplary student leaders at the University.

SLU founds the Center for Vaccine Development. The Center has been instrumental in developing numerous vaccines that protect public health, including the FluMist nasal spray influenza vaccine and vaccines against smallpox and other potential biological weapons following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The first late-night Sunday student Mass is celebrated at St. Francis Xavier College Church. Now a SLU tradition, particularly for undergraduates, the Mass is celebrated each Sunday SLU is in session during the academic year.

Robert R. Hermann Stadium, home to SLU's men's and women's soccer teams, is christened.

SLU opens Missouri's first school of public health. Now known as the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice, it is the only accredited Catholic, Jesuit school of public health in the nation.

The Joseph G. Lipic Clock Tower Plaza is added to campus, the culmination of a project that closed West Pine Boulevard between Spring and Vandeventer avenues to create a large pedestrian mall.

Saint Louis University's Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) opens. It is the world's first interfaith museum of contemporary art that engages religious and spiritual themes.

SLUCare Physician Group is formed as the academic medical practice of Saint Louis University.

SLU's School for Professional Studies is created as a stand-alone unit. The school traces its origins to the 1960s, when SLU launched non-traditional programs for adults that were then known as Metropolitan College.

SLU opens the Paul C. Reinert, S.J., Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.

Saint Louis University becomes the first location of the national Campus Kitchen Project.

The Saint Louis University Museum of Art, housed in the former St. Louis Club, opens to the public, featuring rotating exhibits, modern and contemporary art, a collection from the Western Jesuit Missions and Asian decorative arts.

The Billikens join the Atlantic 10 Conference. SLU has 18 NCAA Division I teams.

The $82 million Edward A. Doisy Research Center, with 80 research labs on 10 floors, opens.

Chaifetz Arena opens at a cost of $80.5 million. It seats 10,600.

The Saint Louis University School of Law moves to downtown St. Louis. Located in Scott Hall, which is also home to the Saint Louis University Law Library and SLU's legal clinics, the law school is situated near the city's Civil Courts Building, criminal courts, City Hall, the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The University opens its Center for Global Citizenship in what was once the West Pine Gym.

SLU grants the world's first Doctor of Philosophy degree in aviation.

SLU's first permanent lay president, Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., takes office.

The School of Education debuts as a stand-alone unit, returning to the name it started with in 1925.

SLU kicks off its bicentennial celebrations with a Mass under the Gateway Arch — believed to be the first Mass ever celebrated at the St. Louis landmark.

Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield make a historic $50 million gift to SLU, the largest in University history.


A Brief History of Bay St. Louis

In 1698, Louis XVI, King of France, was able to achieve a long-held dream of locating the Mississippi River. He dispatched Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d&rsquoIberville and Jean Baptiste, LeMoyne, Sieur d&rsquoBienville to locate the river and establish claim for France all territories drained by it.

Spain learned of the quest and sent its ships from its colony at St. Augustine to claim the territory first, so when d&rsquoIberville and d&rsquoBienville entered Pensacola Harbor, the Spanish were already building forts on Santa Rosa Island. The French proceeded north and west along the coast and failed to detect Mobile Bay but landed on Ship Island on February 10, 1699.

After establishing contact with the natives at Biloxi four days later, the explorers learned that the &ldquoFather of Waters&rdquo lay to the west. They camped on the banks of the Bay of Saint Louis on April 28, proceeded westward, and located the elusive river on March 2. They spent the rest of the month of March exploring the river as far north as Baton Rouge before returning downriver toward home. It was on the return trip that they made contact with an Indian tribe who possessed a letter left with them fourteen years previously by Henri de Tonti who had descended the river from Montreal. Thus, France was able to claim all the lands drained by the river, forty-two percent of the continental United States.

Returning to their vessels at Ship Island, the party again camped on the Bay of Saint Louis on March 30. They spent the month of April building Fort Maurepas at present day Ocean Springs. Iberville returned to France leaving thirty-five men and his younger brother Bienville under the command of M. deSauvole, who died shortly thereafter, and Bienville assumed command of the colony.

On August 25, 1699, Bienville explored the Bay of Saint Louis and named it for Louis IX, the King of France, who led both Crusades into the Holy Land, that being the date of his canonization in 1297. In December Bienville established the first colony at Bay Saint Louis, consisting of a sergeant and fifteen soldiers, thus creating the third colony located on the Gulf of Mexico. It was another eighteen years before he gave up on his efforts to find deep-water access to either of the French colonies and built the fort and New Orleans.

The importance of the central Gulf diminished as European traffic went instead to New Orleans. For the next eighty years these French Catholic settlers along the Gulf lived among the Indians, adopting their customs and laws. Many married Indians or Negro women who were brought in from Santo Domingo. They were hunters and fishermen. They had no churches, schools, or government.

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the territory was opened to homesteaders and in a three year period thirty-three hundred people moved into the area, mostly from Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas. These Anglo-Saxon Protestants settled across the Coast from Mobile to the Bay of Saint Louis, but there was no bridge across the bay for another 110 years after statehood in 1817. Bay Saint Louis was incorporated by the first act of the first legislature of the State of Mississippi on January 4, 1818. (The city was called Shieldsboro from 1802 until the name Bay Saint Louis was restored by the legislature in 1875.) However, the colony remained staunchly French, relatively isolated from the Americans but kept its close connections with its French New Orleans cousins. Subsequently, Bay Saint Louis became the summer home of wealthy New Orleanians, thus re-enforcing the French culture of the city which it retained into the early 20th Century.

The cosmopolitan and European attitude of New Orleans has shaped the culinary, artistic and social customs of the people of Bay Saint Louis, which has become renowned for fine dining, acclaimed artists, and congenial atmosphere. Financial affluence in Hancock county, augmented by the building of the Stennis Space Center in 1963, has brought new residents and further cultural diversity.


St. Louis Place: The Historic Neighborhood You May Not Know (But Should)

1. James Clemens Mansion, 1849 Cass Avenue. Photograph by Chris Naffziger

2. Columbia Brewery, 2000 Madison Street. Photograph by Chris Naffziger

3. St. Louis Avenue, Between Parnell and N. Florissant Avenues. Photograph by Chris Naffziger

4. St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, 3114 Lismore. Photograph by Chris Naffziger

The average St. Louis resident probably has never even heard of the historic St. Louis Place neighborhood. Long home to some of the oldest landmarks in the city, the area just northwest of downtown might be struggling, but it is far from defeated. Right in the middle of Paul McKee’s Northside Regeneration Project, the future of St. Louis Place now becomes more relevant than ever.

Before the Civil War, St. Louis Place was out in the country, and only began to develop in the 1870s. As the recipient of successive waves of newly arrived immigrants, the area was a victim of its own success as each new ethnic group thrived in St. Louis Place, they set their sights west, moving into newer neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city. Sadly, the last wave of immigrants to call St. Louis Place home was not replaced, and the neighborhood’s long, slow decline began in the latter half of the 20th century.

Despite suffering some of the most severe losses of historic buildings in the entire city, St. Louis Place still boasts some of the most stunning architecture in the area.

1. James Clemens Mansion, 1849 Cass Avenue

Built by the uncle of Mark Twain, the James Clemens Mansion should be a cherished landmark in St. Louis tourism circles. Instead, this amazing example of a pre-Civil War country home, with a remarkably preserved but rapidly deteriorating cast iron façade, sits vacant. Designed for Clemens by Patrick Walsh in 1859-60, the house became a convent in the later 19th century. The accompanying chapel, which suffered a roof collapse in 2008, alludes to the mansion’s second life. Abandoned for just over a decade, it seems almost unbelievable that a city that champions its connection to Mark Twain would let such an important part of its history waste away.

2. Columbia Brewery, 2000 Madison Street

The South Side long has laid claim to the brewing business in St. Louis, hosting the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch and the former Lemp Brewery. But beer was brewed throughout the city, including within the confines of St. Louis Place. The massive Columbia Brewery, with its distinctive smokestack, also provided jobs for generations of immigrants to the neighborhood. Later rechristened Plant No. 5 in the Falstaff Brewing Company, the brewery went silent in 1967, just as urban blight began to encroach in the surrounding blocks. But the brewery hasn't stayed empty along with the surrounding blocks of historic houses, developers converted the old plant into apartments.

3. St. Louis Avenue, Between Parnell and N. Florissant Avenues

Back before the automobile allowed the wealthy of St. Louis to live miles away from the working class, the newly prominent German businessmen who made St. Louis Place a thriving neighborhood lived blocks away from their employees along St. Louis Avenue. Their stunning Italianate, Second Empire and Romanesque Revival mansions still stand proud, and are well-maintained. While Lafayette Square rightly receives attention for possessing some of the most stunning architecture in St. Louis from the 1870s and 1880s, St. Louis Avenue easily challenges that more famous South Side neighborhood for sheer beauty and preservation of its stately mansions.

4. St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, 3114 Lismore

Standing in front of the old St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, one quickly realizes that not everything is perfect in the St. Louis Place neighborhood. A congregation that once boasted thousands of parishioners dwindled until the Archdiocese closed the church in 1982 the blocks surrounding the church sit vacant and devastated by brick theft. But the amazing edifice, towering over the empty fields, offers hope for the neighborhood. If St. Louis once had the ambition to build such a gigantic Gothic Revival masterpiece, it certainly can find inspiration to save this forgotten but historic corner of the city.


How to search for the history of a St. Louis home

The Genealogy and Local History Index offers one way to look into the stories behind local buildings.

Every day, Missouri History Museum associate archivist Dennis Northcott navigates an alternate version of St. Louis that spans centuries and decades. It exists in spidery notes on index cards that are neatly filed in the drawers of the card catalog, and in diaries, letters, yearbooks, and real estate listings. It also exists in copies of Budcaster, Anheuser-Busch’s employee magazine. And sometimes it lives in two places at once.

Ten years ago, Northcott saved a spreadsheet to his desktop and began indexing the stuff that wasn’t in the catalog. “I thought, this is kind of ridiculous that we’re putting cards in this catalog in the internet age,” he says.

Eventually the project mushroomed into the Genealogy and Local History Index. When one of those sources of information pops up, he and his volunteers often spend a year or more translating it into searchable digital information. One volunteer entered every unique first and last name mentioned in MHM’s collection of Union Electric Magazine: approximately 40,000 first names and 40,000 last names.

“These employee magazines are just jam-packed,” Northcott says.

Soon after the Index went online, Northcott realized that it wasn’t just attracting people looking for ancestors. People were researching the history of a house. “So then, whatever source we were indexing, whenever that source had a St. Louis city or county address, we were typing that into the address field. Now, if you’re researching your home or address, you can go to the address search and find some of these magazines, which say so-and-so lived at this address,” he says. He shows the proof: a UE magazine bearing a two-page spread about the company’s Christmas lighting contest for emplyees, complete with names and home addresses.

As material is added, the Index becomes more useful. He’s currently adding information from the real estate sections of the Post-Dispatch and Globe-Democrat. When he’s browsing newspapers on microfilm and sees a home or a building, he keys in the address, the name of the buyer, and of the seller.

Northcott says one of the most coveted items is an old picture of a person’s house, but it’s often tough to find, which is why the employee magazines are so invaluable. But, he says, if you can find one, it can serve a purpose beyond the “Hey, that’s cool!” factor.

“Just recently, Richmond Heights was celebrating its centennial, so I was asked to give a talk,” he says. “One of the women who went searched our genealogy index for her address and found that one of the UE magazines had a picture of her home. She’d heard a story that there was a set of stone stairs leading to the back door, and she wanted to restore the house to the way that it had been—and sure enough, the photograph showed exactly that.”

On August 26, Northcott leads one of his twice-yearly House History Workshops. Registration is required. Call 314-361-9017, or visit mohistory.org for more information.


Inside the history of the Central West End

Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum

Statue of Sen. Francis P. Blair at Lindell Boulevard Entrance to Forest Park. Photograph by unknown, ca. 1930.

On the historic streets of the Central West End, one can find Candace O’Connor, author of nine books on Midwestern history, digging into the neighborhood’s cycles of dilapidation and revitalization to gain a better understanding of its social and cultural story.

Her new book, Renaissance: A History of the Central West End, chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of the neighborhood, spanning its founding to the present day. The book is filled with archival photos, personal recollections, and forgotten stories of the private streets, gated communities, and opulent mansions—as well as the exclusivity that drew the wealthy there. O’Connor’s book also serves as literary accompaniment to the Nine Network documentary, A Place Worth Saving: The Story of the Central West End, for which O’Connor served as a creative consultant.

O’Connor spoke to SLM about what she learned while researching her new book and the documentary, as well as why the past and future of the CWE are such an important part of St. Louis.

How does your book address the social and economic changes of the Central West End?

I called the book Renaissance because the area has experienced a rebirth. Still, it hasn’t quite come full circle. At the start, the Central West End was settled by the white, wealthy, largely Protestant St. Louis elite. Today, of course, the neighborhood has a wonderfully diverse mix of people.

As your were researching on the CWE, what surprised you about the neighborhood?

I thought I knew a great deal about the Central West End, but once I delved into its history, I discovered how much I didn’t know. In chapter one, I talk about The Book of St. Louisans, compiled by a local newspaper in 1912, which lists the 4,000 leading men of the city along with their addresses. It is astonishing how many lived in the Central West End. There were Civil War veterans from the Union and Confederate forces, lawyers, doctors, prominent businessmen, lots of Washington University graduates. But there was one common denominator: to one degree or another, they were all wealthy.

Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum

This billboard advertised the 1904 World’s Fair in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1904

Can you tell us about the origins of the private places in the CWE?

From the beginning, well-to-do St. Louisans have been moving west from one exclusive enclave to another, from Lucas Place downtown, to Vandeventer Place in Midtown St. Louis, to the Central West End, and eventually on to Clayton and Ladue. So the desire to live among other wealthy people in a beautiful neighborhood certainly wasn’t new.

Do you foresee a rising demand for large historic homes like the ones in the CWE?

I’m better at portraying the past than I am at predicting the future, but I certainly hope that people will always treasure these magnificent homes. We have lost far too many already. It was horrifying to see how many mansions along Lindell or West Pine were torn down from the ’40s through the ’60s.

Who were some of the area’s heroes and pioneers?

Early heroes included the architects and developers. Jacob Goldman, a successful cotton merchant, established Hortense Place after he wasn’t allowed to build on another private place because he was Jewish.

A major hero was David Francis, chief organizer of the 1904 World’s Fair, which spurred development of the Central West End. Francis also owned a fabulous mansion himself in the neighborhood, which was later torn down.

During the period of decline, the heroes were all the people, the residents, churches, politicians, and merchants who stayed and fought to bring about change.

Courtesy of the St. Louis Zoo

The Flight Cage at the St. Louis Zoo under construction

Are there any particular homes or buildings that stand out as historic landmarks?

There are so many! The Chase Park Plaza closed in 1989 but beautifully reborn. The St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, with its astonishing mosaic work. Or the cultural institutions in Forest Park that arose during and after the World’s Fair: the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, parts of the zoo, such as the graceful Bird Cage and the homes and buildings in the area connected with well-known authors like Tennessee Williams, T.S. Eliot, Sara Teasdale, and Kate Chopin.

What are your favorite buildings in the CWE?

It’s hard to choose. For many years, I was a member of Second Presbyterian Church, and I love its glorious interior. It has the largest collection of Tiffany windows west of the Mississippi. All the private places are wonderful, but I secretly adore Washington Terrace and Fullerton’s Westminster Place. I wish I had bought one of those homes in the 1960s, when prices were so low!

A Place Worth Saving: The Story of the Central West End can be viewed online. For more information on Renaissance: A History of the Central West End visit Reedy Press.


Parish History

The history of St. Louis parish is a history of the Batesville Community. During the past one hundred years ( now 150 years ) the St. Louis Congregation has grown from very humble beginnings until it is now one of the largest and most influential parishes in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. During that time it has developed as a leader in the spiritual, moral and educational life of the community.
This leadership is a tribute 'to the devoted efforts of many, both religious and lay people, who have dedicated themselves to this task during the past one hundred years. It is also a challenge to this generation and future generations to carry on this work. Much has been done but much remains to be done.

In the following pages we have attempted to capture the spirit of St. Louis and to show the progress of the parish and express our appreciation to all who have had a part in that progress. We hope it may be an inspiration to all of us to make our best efforts to continue the advancement of St. Louis parish to still further leadership for God and Country in the Batesville Community.

JOHN FRUSHOUR,
* Member of the St. Louis Church Council

And the Lord said . . . I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, which thou hast made before Me: I have sanctified this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever, and my eyes and my heart shall be there always." - III Kings 9, 3.

* (Four days after Mr. Frushour penned the above he suddenly passed to his eternal reward, February 16, 1968, R.I.P.)

History is interesting to most people. It becomes more interesting when It Is about people and places with which the reader Is familiar. For that reason, natives and former natives of Batesville will have a particular attraction in reading the few words that are put together in the following pages.

No attempt was made to compile a scholarly treatise, but an effort was made to be accurate while bringing out the things that were important to the people who have formed the St. Ludwig's - now St. Louis - Parish during the past one hundred years.

These priests, sisters and people of God were very human and reacted in a human way to the challenges, successes and failures of their times. We have tried to portray them as human beings and bring alive the events that shaped their lives.

As far as can be learned, no detailed history of this parish has ever been written. Many hours, therefore, had to be spent poring over faded papers and books written in German with Gothic script and at times well nigh illegible. A magnifying glass was a necessary tool in this work. The fruit of hours of effort at times would be the small enlightening incident that gave depth to the overall picture or confirmed some fact.

We hope the history will prove both enlightening and encouraging that it will show people have always had goals and problems in reaching these goals that these members of the flock and their leaders never flagged in striving for those Christian goals that are the object of every Catholic parish.


St. Louis’s Gateway Arch is completed

On October 28, 1965, construction is completed on the Gateway Arch, a spectacular 630-foot-high parabola of stainless steel marking the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Missouri.

The Gateway Arch, designed by Finnish-born, American-educated architect Eero Saarinen, was erected to commemorate President Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and to celebrate St. Louis’ central role in the rapid westward expansion that followed. As the market and supply point for fur traders and explorers—including the famous Meriwether Lewis and William Clark—the town of St. Louis grew exponentially after the War of 1812, when great numbers of people began to travel by wagon train to seek their fortunes west of the Mississippi River. In 1947-48, Saarinen won a nationwide competition to design a monument honoring the spirit of the western pioneers. In a sad twist of fate, the architect died of a brain tumor in 1961 and did not live to see the construction of his now-famous arch, which began in February 1963. 

Completed in October 1965, the Gateway Arch cost less than $15 million to build. With foundations sunk 60 feet into the ground, its frame of stressed stainless steel is built to withstand both earthquakes and high winds. An internal tram system takes visitors to the top, where on a clear day they can see up to 30 miles across the winding Mississippi and to the Great Plains to the west. In addition to the Gateway Arch, the Jefferson Expansion Memorial includes the Museum of Westward Expansion and the Old Courthouse of St. Louis, where two of the famous Dred Scott slavery cases were heard in the 1860s.


Watch the video: History of Saint Louis: French king and American city