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St Louis, Missouri

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI, the chief city and a port of entry of Missouri, and the fourth in population among the cities of the United States, situated on the W. bank of the Mississippi river, about 20 m. below its confluence with the Missouri, 200 m. above the influx of the Ohio, and 1270 m. above the Gulf of Mexico, occupying a land area of 61-37 sq. m. in a commanding central position in the great drainage basin of the Mississippi system, the richest portion of the continent. Pop. (1880) 350,518, (1890) 451,770, (1000) 575,238, (191) 687,029.

The central site is marked by an abrupt terraced rise from the river to an easily sloping tableland, 4 or 5 m. long and somewhat less than i m. broad, behind which are rolling hills. The length of the river-front is about 19 m. The average elevation of the city is more than 425 ft.; and the recorded extremes of low and high water on the river are 379 and 428 ft. (both established in 1844). The higher portions of the city lie about 200 ft. above the river level, and in general the site is so elevated that there can be no serious interruption of business except by extraordinary floods. The natural drainage is excellent, and the sewerage system, long very imperfect, has been made adequate. The street plan is approximately rectilinear. The stone-paved wharf or river-front, known as the Levee or Front Street, is 3-7 m. long. Market Street, running E. and W., is regarded as the central thoroughfare; and the numbering of the streets is systematized with reference to this line and the river. Broadway (or Fifth Street, from the river) and Olive Street are the chief shopping centres; Washington Avenue, First (or Main) and Second Streets are devoted to wholesale trade; and Fourth Street is the financial centre. The most important public buildings are the Federal building, built of Maine granite; the county court house (1839- 1862, $1,199,872), a semi-classic, plain, massive stone structure, the Four Courts (1871, $755,000), built of cream-coloured Joliet stone, and a rather effective city hall (1890-1904, $2,000,000), in Victorian Gothic style in brick and stone. The chief slavemarket before the Civil War was in front of the Court House. The City Art Museum, a handsome semi-classic structure of original design, and the Tudor-Gothic building of the Washington University, are perhaps the most satisfying structures in the city architecturally. Among other noteworthy buildings are the Public Library, the Mercantile Library, the Mercantile, the Mississippi Valley, the Missouri-Lincoln, and the St Louis Union Trust Company buildings; the German-Renaissance home of the Mercantile Club; the florid building of the St Louis Club; the Merchants' Exchange; the Missouri School for the Blind; the Coliseum, built in 1897 for conventions, horse shows, etc., torn down in 1907 and rebuilt in Jefferson Avenue, and the Union Station, used by all the railways entering the city. This last was opened in 1894, and cost, including the site, $6,500,000; has a train-shed with thirty-two tracks, covers some eleven acres, and is one of the largest and finest railway stations in the world. The city owns a number of markets. In 1907 a special architectural commission, appointed to supervise the construction of new municipal buildings, purchased a site adjacent to the City Hall, for new city courts and jail, which were begun soon afterwards.

The valley of Mill Creek (once a lake bed, " Chouteau Pond," and afterwards the central sewer) traverses the city from W. to E. and gives entry to railways coming from the W. into the Union Station. The terminal system for connecting Missouri with Illinois includes, in addition to the central passenger station, vast centralized freight warehouses and depots; an elevated railway along the levee; passenger and freight ferries across the Mississippi with railway connexions; two bridges across the river; and a tunnel leading to one of them under the streets of the city along the river front. The Merchants' Bridge (1887- 1890, $3,000,000), used solely by the railways, is 1366-5 ft. long in channel span, with approaches almost twice as long. The Eads Bridge (1868-1874; construction cost $6,536,730, total cost about $10,000,000) is 3 m. farther down the river; it carries both wagon ways and railway tracks, is 1627 ft. clear between shore abutments, and has three spans. Built entirely of steel above the piers, it is a happy combination of strength and grace, and was considered a marvel when erected.

St Louis has exceptionally fine residential streets that are accounted among the handsomest in the world. The most notable are Portland Place, Westmoreland Place, Vandeventer Place, Kingsbury Place, etc., in the neighbourhood of Forest Park: broad parked avenues, closed with ornamental gateways, and flanked by large houses in fine grounds. The park system of the city is among the finest in the country, containing in 1910 2641-5 acres (cost to 1909, $6,417,745). Forest Park (1372 acres), maintained mainly in a natural, open-country state, is the largest single member of the system. In one end of it was held the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. Tower Grove Park (277 acres) and the Missouri Botanical Gardens (45 acres), probably the finest of their kind in the country, were gifts to the city from a public-spirited citizen, Henry Shaw (1800-1889), who also endowed the botanical school of Washington University. Carondelet (180 acres), O'Fallon (158 acres), and Fairground( 1 29 acres, including a 6s-acre athletic field) are the finest of the other parks. King's Highway is a boulevard (partly completed in 1910) from the Mississippi on the S. to the Mississippi on the N., crossing the western part of the city. In accord with a general movement in American cities late in the 1pth century, St Louis made a beginning in the provision of small " neighbourhood parks," intended primarily to better the lives of the city's poor, and vacation playgrounds for children; and for this purpose five blocks of tenements were condemned by the city. In the different parks and public places are statues of Columbus, Shakespeare (Tower Grove Park) and Humboldt (Tower Grove Park), by Ferdinand von Mueller of Munich; a replica of the Schiller monument at Marbach in Germany, and of Houdon's Washington (Lafayette Park) ; statues of Thomas Hart Ben ton (Lafayette Park; by Harriet Hosmer), of Francis Preston Blair (W. W. Gardner) and Edward Bates (J. W. McDonald), both in Forest Park, and of General Grant (R. P. Bringhurst) in the City Hall Park; all of these being in bronze. In the cemeteries of the city of which the largest are Belief ontaine (350 acres) and Calvary (415 acres) there are notable monuments to Henry Shaw, and to Nathaniel Lyon, Sterling Price, Stephen W. Kearny and W. T. Sherman, all closely associated with St Louis or Missouri. There are various lake, river and highland pleasure-resorts near the city; and about 12 m. S. is Jefferson Barracks, a national military post of the first class. The old arsenal within the city, about which centred the opening events of the Civil War in Missouri, has been mainly abandoned, and part of the grounds given to the municipality for a park.

The annual fair, or exposition, was held in the autumn of each year except in war time from 1855 to 1902, ceasing with the preparations for the World's Fair of 1904. One day of Fair Week (" Big Thursday ") was a city holiday; and one evening of the week was given over after 1878 to a nocturnal illuminated pageant known as the Procession of the Veiled Prophet, with accompaniments in the style of the carnival (Mardi Gras) at New Orleans; this pageant is still continued.

Among the educational institutions of the city, Washington University, a largely endowed, non-sectarian, co-educational school opened in 1857, is the most prominent. Under its control are three secondary schools, Smith Academy and the Manual Training School for Boys, and Mary Institute for Girls. The university embraces a department of arts and sciences, which includes a college and a school of engineering and architecture, and special schools of law, medicine (1899), dentistry, fine arts, social economy and botany. Affiliated with the university is the St Louis School of Social Economy, called until 1909 the St Louis School of Philanthropy, and in 1906- 1909 affiliated with the university of Missouri. The Russell Sage Foundation co-operates with this school. In 1909 Washington University had 1045 students. In 1905 the department of arts and sciences and the law school were removed to the outskirts of the city, where a group of buildings of Tudor-Gothic style in red Missouri granite were erected upon grounds, which with about $6,000,000 for buildings and endowment, were given to the university. St Louis University had its beginnings (1818) as a Latin academy, became a college in 1820, and was incorporated as a university in 1832. One of the leading Jesuit colleges of the United States, it is the parent-school of six other prominent Jesuit colleges in the Middle West. In 1910 it comprised a school of philosophy and science ( 1 832 ) , a divinity school ( 1 834) , a medical school ( 1 836) , a law school (1843), a dental school (1908), a college, three academies and a commercial department; and its enrolment was 1181. It is the third largest, and the Christian Brothers' College (1851), also Roman Catholic, is the fourth largest educational institution in the state. The Christian Brothers' College had in 1910 30 instructors and 500 students, most of whom were in the preparatory department. Besides the Divinity School of St Louis University, there are three theological seminaries, Concordia (Evangelical Lutheran, 1839), Eden Evangelical College (German Evangelical Synod of North America, 1850) and Kenrick Theological Seminary (Roman Catholic, 1894). There are two evening law schools, Benton College (1896) and Metropolitan College (1901).

The public school system came into national prominence under the administration (1867-1880) of William T. Harris, and for many years has been recognized as one of the best in the United States.

The first permanent kindergarten in the country in connexion with the public schools was established in St Louis in 1 873 by W. T. Harris (?), then superintendent of schools, and Miss Susan Ellen Blow. The first public kindergarten training school was established at the same time. There is a teachers' college in the city school system, and there are special schools for backward children. Several school buildings have been successfully used as civic centres. The city has an excellent educational museum, material from which is available for object lessons in nature study, history, geography, art, etc., in all public schools. In the year 1907-1908 the total receipts for public education were $4,219,000, and the expenditure was $3,789,604. The City Board of Education was chartered in 1897.

The German element has lent strength to musical and gymnastic societies. The Museum and School of Fine Arts was established in 1879 as the Art Department of Washington University. In 1908 it first received the proceeds of a city tax of one-fifth mill per dollar, and in 1909 it was reorganized as the City Art Museum. In its building (the " Art Palace," built in 1903-1904 at a cost of $943,000 for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition; now owned by the city) in Forest Park are excellent collections (largely loaned) of sculpture and paintings (illustrating particularly the development of American art) and of art objects. The School of Fine Arts, now separate from the museum and a part of Washington University, has classes in painting, drawing, design, illustration, modelling, pottery, bookbinding, etc. Among the libraries the greatest collections are those of the Mercantile Library (in 1910, 136,000 volumes and pamphlets), a subscription library founded in 1846, and the public library (1865) a fine city library since 1894, with 312,000 volumes in 1910 and six branch libraries, the gift of Andrew Carnegie, who also gave the city $500,000 towards the new public library, which was begun in 1909 and cost $1,500,000. Other notable collections are those of the St Louis Academy of Science and of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. There are at least three newspapers of national repute : the Republic, established in 1808 as the Missouri Gazette, and in 18221886 called the Missouri Republican; the Globe-Democrat (1852); and the Westliche Post (1857).

In trade, industry and wealth St Louis is one of the most substantial cities of the Union. Its growth has been steady; but without such " booms " as have marked the history of many western cities, and especially Chicago, of which St Louis was for several decades the avowed rival. The primacy of the northern city was clear, however, by 1880. St Louis has borne a reputation for conservatism and solidity. Its manufactures aggregate three-fifths the value of the total output of the state. In 1880 their value was $114,333,375, and in 1890 $228,700,000; the value of the factory product was $193, 732, 788 in 1900, and in 1905 $267,307,038 (increase 1900-1905, 38%).

Tobacco goods, malt liquors, boots and shoes and slaughtering and meat-packing products were the leading items in 1905. The packing industry is even more largely developed outside the city limits and across the river in East St Louis. St Louis is the greatest manufacturer of tobacco products among American cities, and probably in the world; the total in 1905 was 8-96% of the total output of manufactured tobacco in the United States; and the output of chewing and smoking tobacco and snuff in 1900 constituted 2 3'5% an d in 1905 23-7% of the product of the country. St Louis is also the foremost producer of white lead, street and railway cars, and wooden ware; and in addition to these and the items above particularized, has immense manufactories of clothing, coffee and spices (roasted), paints, stoves and furnaces, flour, hardware, drugs and chemicals and clay products. One of its breweries is said to be the largest in the world.

Aside from traffic in its own products, the central position of the city in the Mississippi Valley gives it an immense trade in the products of that tributary region, among which grains, cotton, tobacco, lumber, live stock and their derived products are the staples. In addition, it is a jobbing centre of immense interests in the distribution of other goods. The greatest lines of wholesale trade are dry goods, millinery and notions; groceries and allied lines; boots and shoes; tobacco; shelf and heavy hardware; furniture; railway supplies; street and railway cars; foundry and allied products; drugs, chemicals and proprietary medicines; beer; wooden- ware; agricultural implements; hides; paints; paint oils and white lead; electrical supplies; stoves, ranges and furnaces; and furs the value of these different items ranging from 70 to 10 million dollars each. 1 According to the St Louis Board of Trade, St Louis is the largest primary fur market of the world, drawing supplies even from northern Canada. As a wool market Boston alone surpasses it, and as a vehicle market it stands in the second or third place. In the other industries just named, it claims to stand first among the cities of the Union. It is one of the greatest interior cotton markets of the country drawing its supplies mainly from Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma but a large part of its receipts are for shipment on through bills of lading, and are not net receipts handled by its 1 These are arranged in the order shown by the Annual Statement for 1906 reported to the Merchants' Exchange.

own factors. The gross cotton movement continues to increase, but the field of supply has been progressively lessened by the development of Galveston and other ports on the gulf. As a grain and stock market St Louis has felt the competition of Kansas City and St Joseph.

River and railway transportation built up in turn the commanding commercial position of the city. The enormous growth of river traffic in the decade before 1860 gave it at the opening of the Civil War an incontestable primacy in the West. In 1910 about twenty independent railway systems, great and small (including two terminal roads within the city), gave outlet and inlet to commerce at St Louis; and of these fifteen are among the greatest systems of the country: the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago & Alton, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis, the St Louis & San Francisco, the Illinois Central, the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, the Missouri Pacific, the Pennsylvania, the St Louis South- Western, the Southern, the Wabash, the Louisville & Nashville, the Mobile & Ohio, and the Toledo, St Louis & Western. The construction of the Missouri Pacific Railway system was begun at St Louis in 1850, and various other roads were started in the next two years. For several decades railway development served only to increase the commercial primacy of the city in the southern Mississippi Valley, but in more recent years the concentration of roads at Kansas City enabled that place to draw from the west and south-west an immense trade once held by St Louis. River freighting is of very slight importance. St Louis is a port of entry for foreign commerce; its imports in 1907 were valued at $7,442,967; in 1909 at $6,362,770.

The population of St Louis in 1840 was 16,469; in 1850 it was 77,860 (seventh in size of the cities of the country); in 1860, 160,773; in 1870, 310,864 (third in size); in 1880, 350,518; in 1890, 451,770; in 1900, 575,238; and in 1910, 687,029. Since 1890 it has been fourth in population among the cities of the United States. Of the population in 1000 (575,238) 111,356 were foreign-born and 35,516 were negroes. Of the foreign-born in 1900, 58,781 were Germans, 19,421 were Irish, 5800 were English, 4785 Russian. In 1900, 154,746 inhabitants of St Louis were children of German parents.

Under the state constitution of 1875 St Louis, as a city of 100,000 inhabitants, was authorized to frame its own charter, and also to separate from St Louis county. These rights were exercised in 1876. The General Assembly of the state holds the same powers over St Louis as over other cities. The electorate may pass upon proposed amendments to the charter at any election, after due precedent publication thereof. The mayor holds office for four years. In 1823 the mayor was first elected by popular vote and .the municipal legislature became unicameral. The bicameral system was again adopted in 1839. The municipal assembly consists of a Council of 13 chosen at large for four years half each two years and a House of Delegates, 28 in number, chosen by wards for two years. A number of chief executive officers are elected for four years; the mayor and Council appoint others, and the appointment is made at the middle of the mayor's term in order to lessen the immediate influence of municipal patronage upon elections. Single commissioners control the parks, streets, water service, harbour and wharves, and sewers, and these constitute, with the mayor, a board of public improvement. Under an enabling act of 1907 the municipal assembly in 1909 created a public service commission, of three members, appointed by the mayor. The measure of control exercised by the state is important, the governor appointing the excise (liquor-licence) commissioner, the board of election commissioners, the inspector of petroleum and of tobacco, and (since 1861) the police board. St Louis is normally Republican in politics, and Missouri Democratic. Taxes for state and municipal purposes are collected by the city. The school board, as in very few other cities of the country, has independent taxing power. The city owns the steamboat landings and draws a small revenue from their rental. The heaviest expenses are for streets and parks, debt payments, police and education. The bonded debt in 1910 was $27,815,312, and the assessed valuation of property in that year was $550,207,640.

The city maintains hospitals, a poor-house, a reformatory work-house, an industrial school for children, and an asylum for the insane.

The water-supply of the city is derived from the Mississippi, and is therefore potentially inexhaustible. Settling basins and a coagulant chemical plant (1904) are used to purify the water before distribution. After the completion of the Chicago drainage canal the state of Missouri endeavoured to compel its closure, on the ground that it polluted the Mississippi; but it was established to the satisfaction of the Supreme Court of the United States that the backflush from Lake Michigan had the contrary effect upon the Illinois river, and therefore upon the Mississippi. Except for sediment the water-supply is not impure or objectionable. No public utilities, except the water-works, markets and public grain elevators, are owned by the city. The street railways are controlled since a state law of 1899 permitted their consolidation by one corporation, though a one-fare, universal transfer 5-cent rate is in general operation. A single corporation has controlled the gas service from 1846 to 1873 and since 1890, though under no exclusive franchise; and the city has not the right of purchase.

St Louis was settled as a trading post in 1764 by Pierre Laclede Liguest (1724-1778), representative of a company to which the French crown had granted a monopoly of the trade of the Missouri river country. When, by the treaty of Paris of 1763, the portion of Louisiana E. of the Mississippi was ceded by France to Great Britain, many of the French inhabitants of the district of the Illinois removed into the portion of Louisiana W. of the river, which had passed in 1762 under Spanish sovereignty; and of this lessened territory of upper Louisiana St Louis became the seat of government. In 1767 it was a log-cabin village of perhaps 500 inhabitants. Spanish rule became an actuality in 1770 and continued until 1804, when it was momentarily supplanted by French authority existent theoretically since 1800 and then, after the Louisiana Purchase, by the sovereignty of the United States. In 1780 the town was attacked by Indian allies of Great Britain. Canadian-French hunters and trappers and boatmen, a few Spaniards and other Europeans, some Indians, more half-breeds, and a considerable body of Americans and negro slaves made up the motley population that became inhabitants of the United States. The fur trade was growing rapidly. Under American rule there was added the trade of a military supply-point for the Great West, and in 1817-1810 steamship traffic was begun with Louisville, New Orleans, and the lower Missouri river. Meanwhile, in 1808, St Louis was incorporated as a town, and in 1823 it became a city. The city charter became effective in March 1823. The early 'thirties marked the beginning of its great prosperity, and the decade 1850-1860 was one of colossal growth, due largely to the river trade. All freights were being moved by steamship as early as 1825. The first railway was begun in 1850. At the opening of the Civil War the commercial position of the city was most commanding. Its prosperity, however, was dependent upon the prosperity of the South, and received a fearful set-back in the war. When the issue of secession or adherence to the Union had been made up in 1861, the outcome in St Louis, where the fate of the state must necessarily be decided, was of national importance. St Louis was headquarters for an army department and contained a great national arsenal. The secessionists tried to manoeuvre the state out of the Union by strategy, and to seize the arsenal. The last was prevented by Congressman Francis Preston Blair, Jr., and Captain Nathaniel Lyon, first a subordinate and later commander at the arsenal. The garrison was strengthened; in April the president entrusted Blair and other loyal civilians with power to enlist loyal citizens, and put the city under martial law if necessary; in May ten regiments were ready made up largely of German-American Republican clubs (" Wide Awakes "), which had been at first purely political, then when force became necessary to secure election rights to anti-slavery men semi-military, and which now were quickly made available for war; and on the loth of May Captain Lyon surrounded and made prisoners a force of secessionists quartered in Camp Jackson on the outskirts of the city. A street riot followed, and 28 persons were killed by the volleys of the military. St Louis was held by the Union forces throughout the war.

During a quarter century following 1857 the city was the centre of an idealistic philosophical movement that has had hardly any counterpart in American culture except New England transcendentalism. Its founders were William T. Harris (q.v.) and Henry C. Brockmeyer (b. 1828), who was lieutenant-governor of the state in 1876-1880. A. Bronson Alcott was one of the early lecturers to the group which gathered around these two, a group which studied Hegel and Kant, Plato and Aristotle. Brockmeyer published excellent versions of Hegel's Unabridged Logic, Phenomenology and Psychology. Harris became the greatest of American exponents of Hegel. Other members of the group were Thomas Davidson (1840-1900), Adolph E. Kroeger, the translator of Fichte, Anna Callender Brackett (b. 1836), who published in 1886 an English version of Rosenkranz's History of Education, Denton Jaques Snider (b. 1841), whose best work has been on Froebel, and William McKendree Bryant (b. 1843), who wrote Hegel's Philosophy of Art (1879) and Hegel's Educational Ideas (1896). This Philosophical Society published (1867- 1893) at St Louis The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, the first periodical of the sort in English.

Since the war the city's history has been signalized chiefly by economic development. A period in this was auspiciously closed in 1904 by the holding of a world's fair to celebrate the centennial of the purchase from France, in 1803, of the Louisiana territory since then divided into 13 states, and containing in 1900 some 1 2,500,000 inhabitants. Preparations for this Louisiana Purchase Exposition began in 1898. It was the largest world's fair held to date, the site covering 1240 acres, of which 250 were under roof. The total cost, apart from individual exhibitions, was about $42,500,000, of which the national government contributed $5,000,000 and the city of St Louis and its citizens $10,000,000. Altogether 12,804,616 paid admissions were collected (total admissions 19,694,855) during the seven months that it was open, and there was a favourable balance at the close of about $1,000,000.

Up to 1848 St Louis was controlled in politics almost absolutely by the Whigs; since then it has been more or less evenly contested by the Democrats against the Whigs and Republicans. The Republicans now usually have the advantage. As mentioned before, the state is habitually Democratic; " boss " rule in St Louis was particularly vicious in the late 'nineties, and corruption was the natural result of ring rule the Democratic bosses have at times had great power and of the low pay only $25 monthly of the city's delegates and councilmen. But the reaction came, and with it a strong movement for independent voting. Fire, floods, epidemics, and wind have repeatedly attacked the city. A great fire in 1849 burned along the levee and adjacent streets, destroying steamers, buildings, and goods worth, by the estimate of the city assessor, more than $6,000,000. Cholera broke out in 1832-1833, 1849-1851, and 1866, causing in three months of 1849 almost 4000 deaths, or the death of a twentieth of all inhabitants. Smallpox raged in 1872-1875. These epidemics probably reflect the one-time lamentable lack of proper sewerage. Great floods occurred in 1785, 1811, 1826, 1844, 1872, 1885 and 1903; those of 1785 and 1844 being the most remarkable. There were tornadoes in 1833, 1852 and 1871; and in 1896 a cyclone of 20 minutes' duration, accompanied by fire but followed fortunately by a tremendous rain, destroyed or wrecked 8500 buildings and caused a loss of property valued at more than $10,000,000.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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