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Saint Louis, Missouri
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Saint Louis, Missouri

For other uses of St. Louis, see Saint Louis.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, with the Gateway Arch

Saint Louis, which is named for Louis IX of France, is the name of an independent city\' (the City of St. Louis) in the state of Missouri and its metropolitan area' ("Greater St. Louis"). The city borders, but does not overlap St. Louis County, Missouri. The St. Louis metropolitan area, which includes counties in both Missouri and Illinois, is the 18th largest in the United States, with a total population of 2,603,607 as of the 2000 census. While the population of the metropolitan area has been increasing, the population of the City of St. Louis (348,189) has been declining since the 1950s, as many have moved to the many suburbs in St. Louis County, or to other parts of the metropolitan area.

Nickname: the "Gateway City" ("Gateway to the West")
Former Nickname: "Mound City"

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 The St. Louis, MO, IL MSA
4 Demographics
5 Neighborhoods
6 Economy
7 Major attractions
8 Sports
9 Cuisine
10 Colleges and universities
11 Medicine
12 Journalism
13 Transportation
14 Social issues
15 See also
16 External links


Pierre Laclede and his stepson, Auguste Chouteau, founded Saint Louis as a trading post in 1763. The city proper was established on February 15, 1764. St. Louis was in Louisiana Territory, which had belonged to France but, after the settlement of the French and Indian War in 1763, was controlled by Spain. Louisiana Territory was returned to France in the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800. St. Louis was acquired from France by the United States under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

French explorers Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette had begun exploring the Mississippi River Valley in 1673. In 1682, La Salle claimed the entire valley for France, calling it "Louisiana" for King Louis XIV. The region explored and settled by the French was also known as "Illinois Country".

A settlement was established across the river from what is now St. Louis, at Cahokia in 1699. There were settlements farther down river at Kaskaskia, Illinois, Prairie du Pont, Fort de Chartres, and Sainte Genevieve.

Catholic priests established a small mission at what is now St. Louis, in 1703. The mission was later moved across the Mississippi, but the small river at the site (now a channelized drainage ditch near the southern boundary of the City of St. Louis) still bears the name River Des Peres (River of the Fathers).

Pierre Laclede, 13-year old Auguste Chouteau, and a small band of men left New Orleans in 1763. In November, they landed a few miles downstream of the confluence with the Missouri River at a site where wooded limestone bluffs rose 40 feet above the river. The men returned to Fort de Chartres for the remainder of the winter. In February 1764, Laclede sent Chouteau and thirty men to begin construction.

When it was learned that the Treaty of Paris (1763) had given England rights to all land east of the Mississippi, Frenchmen who had settled east of the river moved to the new settlement west of the river. "Laclede's Village", as it was called, grew quickly.

Other settlements were established at Saint Charles, Carondelet (now a part of the city of St. Louis), St. Ferdinand (now Florissant), and Portage des Sioux.

From 1766 to 1768, St. Louis was governed by the French Lieutenant Governor, Louis St. Ange de Bellerive. After 1768, St. Louis was governed by a series of Spanish governors who continued to administer St. Louis even after 1800 when Louisiana was secretly returned to France. By 1800, the population of St. Louis had grown to about a thousand.

The transfer of power from Spain (because of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803) was made official in a ceremony called "Three Flags Day". This began on March 8, 1804 with the lowering of the Spanish flag and the raising of the French flag. The French flag was flown for one day only and was replaced on March 10, 1804 with the United States flag.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition left the St. Louis area in May, 1804, reached the Pacific Ocean the summer of 1805, and returned to St. Louis on September 23, 1806. Many other trappers (like Ashley's Hundred), explorers, and settlers would later take a similar route to the West, a route which began in St. Louis.

St. Louis was transformed from a French trading post to a bustling boomtown, commercial center, and inland port by steamboats. Before 1817, river commerce had depended on flat boats. The first steamboat to reach St. Louis was the "Zebulon M. Pike" which arrived July 27, 1817. Soon the St. Louis riverfront was lined with steamboats. Because of rapids north of the city, St. Louis was as far as many large boats could go. By the 1850s, St. Louis had become the largest city in the country west of Pittsburgh, and the second largest port in the country, with a commercial tonnage exceeded only by New York.

Missouri became a state in 1820. Saint Louis was incorporated as a city on December 9, 1822. A U.S. Arsenal was constructed at St. Louis in 1827.

There was a large influx of immigrants to St. Louis after 1840, particularly from Germany and Ireland. The population of St. Louis grew from less than 20,000 in 1840, to 77,860 in 1850, to just over 160,000 by 1860.

Two disasters occurred in 1849: a cholera epidemic killed nearly a tenth of the population, and a fire destroyed numerous steamboats and a large portion of the city.

In the first half of the 19th century, a second channel developed in the Mississippi River at St. Louis. An island ("Bloody Island") formed between the two channels, and a smaller island ("Duncan's Island") developed below St. Louis. It was feared that the levee at St. Louis might be left high and dry, and federal assistance was sought and obtained. Under the supervision of Robert E. Lee, levees were constructed on the Illinois side to direct water toward the Missouri side and eliminate the second channel. Bloody Island was joined to the land on the Illinois side, and Duncan's Island was washed away.

Although no major battles of the Civil War (1861-1865) were fought at St. Louis (only a few skirmishes in which Union forces prevailed), the economic effect of the war was devastating for the city, as trade with the South virtually ceased. Missouri was nominally a slave state, but its economy did not depend on slavery, and it never seceded from the Union. The arsenal at St. Louis was used during the war to construct ironclad ships for the Union.

St. Louis is one of several cities that claims to have the world's first skyscraper. The Wainwright Building, an 11-story structure designed by Louis H. Sullivan and built in 1891, still stands at Chestnut and Seventh Streets and is used by the State of Missouri as a government office building.

Nikola Tesla made the first public demonstration of radio communication here in 1893. Addressing the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the National Electric Light Association, he described and demonstrated in detail the principles of radio communication. The apparatus that he used contained all the elements that were incorporated into radio systems before the development of the vacuum tube.

The uranium used in the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb was refined in Saint Louis by Mallinckrodt Chemical Co., starting in 1942.

During the last half century, the city of St. Louis, whose boundaries have been constrained since 1876, has suffered from population decline:


The city of Saint Louis extends along the western banks of the Mississippi River, just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Much of the area is a gently rolling prairie with low hills and broad, shallow valleys. Both the Mississippi River and the Missouri River have cut large valleys with wide flood plains. Limestone underlies much of the area and there are some sinkholes and caves, although most of the caves have been sealed shut.

The western and northern boundaries of St. Louis County are defined by the Missouri River. Near the southern boundary of St. Louis County is the Meramec River.

At the southern boundary of the city of St. Louis (separating it from the county) is the River des Peres, virtually the only river or stream within the city limits that is not entirely underground. Most of River des Peres was either channelized or put underground in the 1920s and early 1930s. The lower section is an open channel with a sewer at the bottom. Because of poor water quality, the River des Peres has acquired some uncomplimentary local nicknames, such the "River de Pew" and "River Despair". The lower section of the river was the site of some of the worst flooding of the Great Flood of 1993.

Near the central, western boundary of the city is Forest Park, site of the 1904 World's fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 or, as it is commonly known, the Saint Louis World's Fair, and the 1904 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic Games held in North America. At the time, Saint Louis was the fourth most populous city in the United States.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 171.3 km² (66.2 mi²). 160.4 km² (61.9 mi²) of it is land and 11.0 km² (4.2 mi² or 6.39%) of it is water.

The St. Louis, MO, IL MSA

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area

The St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area, the 18th largest in the United States (population: 2,603,607), includes St. Louis County (1,016,315), the independent City of St. Louis (348,189), the Missouri counties of Saint Charles (283,883), Jefferson (198,099), Franklin (93,807), Lincoln (38,944) and Warren (24,525), and the Illinois counties of Madison (258,941), St. Clair (256,082), Clinton (35,535), Monroe (27,619) and Jersey (21,668).

Cities in the St. Louis MO-IL MSA include numerous municipalities (suburbs) in St. Louis County, as well as St. Charles (population: 60,321) and St. Peters (51,381) in Missouri, and Alton (30,496), Granite City (31,301), East St. Louis (31,542) and Belleville (41,410) in Illinois.


As of the census of 2000, there are 348,189 people, 147,076 households, and 76,920 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,171.1/km² (5,622.9/mi²). There are 176,354 housing units at an average density of 1,099.7/km² (2,847.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 51.20% African American, 43.85% White, 1.98% Asian, 0.27% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.80% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. 2.02% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. Historically, North Saint Louis City has been primarily African American while South Saint Louis City has been primarily White. This has changed in recent years as large portions of North Saint Louis City have been depopulated, with African-American residents moving either south or to surrounding counties.

There are 147,076 households, out of which 25.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.2% are married couples living together, 21.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 47.7% are non-families. 40.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 3.19.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $27,156, and the median income for a family is $32,585. Males have a median income of $30,106 versus $24,987 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,108. 24.6% of the population and 20.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 36.4% are under the age of 18 and 17.4% are 65 or older.


(in the City of St. Louis)


Saint Louis, despite its size, was until recently a major center for corporate headquarters. The city is well known as being the center of operations for
Anheuser-Busch Breweries, as well as Monsanto, formerly a chemical company and now a leader in genetically modified crops, and Solutia, the former Monsanto chemical division that was spun off as a separate company in 1997. It is also the site for the headquarters of Energizer, the battery company. Saint Louis was the corporate headquarters of McDonnell-Douglas prior to its 1997 merger with Boeing, and is still home to a Boeing plant where many of the United States'—and its allies'—military aircraft are built. This facility is where all the precision JDAM smart bombs which achieved notoriety in the recent Iraq war are manufactured. However, when Boeing relocated its corporate headquarters from Seattle, Washington in 2001, it moved to Chicago, Illinois. Saint Louis was not one of the final candidates.

From 1994 until its acquisition in 2000 by Tyco International, another chemical company, Mallinckrodt, was headquartered in Saint Louis County. Many of the former Mallinckrodt facilities are still in operation by Tyco in the Saint Louis suburb of Hazelwood, Missouri.

Saint Louis has also been corporate headquarters for animal feed maker Ralston Purina, Trans World Airlines, telecommunications company Southwestern Bell, financial giants AG Edwards and Edward Jones, as well as aerospace manufacturer General Dynamics.

Saint Louis is also home to railway car plants; two DaimlerChrysler plants in the nearby suburb of Fenton, Missouri, where minivans and pickup trucks are built; and a Ford Motor Company plant in Hazelwood, where SUVs are built.

Major attractions

Saint Louis also possesses several extant examples of 18th and 19th century architecture, such as the Soulard Market district (1779-1842), the Chatillon-de Menil House (1848), the Bellefontaine Cemetery (1850), and the Robert G. Campbell House (1852), the Old Courthouse (1845-62), and the original Anheuser-Busch Brewery (1860).

Nearby attractions



Colleges and universities

Saint Louis is the home of several major universities:


Because of its colleges, hospitals, and companies like
Monsanto, Saint Louis is respected as a center of medicine and biotechnology.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the only major newspaper in the area. It was founded by Joseph Pulitzer in the 1800s. Pulitzer Publishing also owns the Suburban Journals, a collection of local newspapers. An alternative weekly called the Riverfront Times exists, but its coverage is more social events and entertainment than news. A few neighborhood and suburban journals cover local news.

St. Louis is also home to the last remaining metropolitan journalism review, the St. Louis Journalism Review, based at Webster University in the suburb of Webster Groves, Missouri.


Like most American cities, the main method of transportation is the automobile. Use of the automobile is supported by the existence of many limited-access interstate highways (I-70, I-55, I-44, I-64, I-270, I-255, I-170, etc.) and many other roads. Also, located as an enclave in northern Saint Louis County, near the Missouri River, is the Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport, which is administered by the city of Saint Louis.

Mass transit is provided in two forms, both of which are controlled by one agency: the city bus system and Metrolink, a light-rail train system that mainly connects the airport to downtown and, recently, parts of the Metro East (the Saint Louis region in Illinois). Metrolink is currently being expanded to Clayton, the county seat for Saint Louis County, and to south Saint Louis County. Passenger train service is also available through a "temporary" (since 1980) train station set up near downtown by Amtrak; smaller, yet permanent, train stations exist in the suburb of Kirkwood and nearby Alton, Illinois.

St. Louis was also the largest city between Chicago and Los Angeles on famous U.S. Highway 66.

Social issues

Saint Louis is, for the most part, a de facto segregated city. African-American Saint Louisans tend to live in the poorest areas whereas most white Saint Louisans have moved into the better-off suburbs. In an attempt to counter this problem, Saint Louis has implemented a school desegregation program: some inner city African-American students are bused into Saint Louis County schools; and, in exchange, some County students are bused into City magnet schools.

The whole Saint Louis area has been trying to fix its pollution problem. In Missouri, the state has required gasoline stations in the Saint Louis area to serve a special, reformulated gasoline; furthermore, the state has implemented an automobile pollution test which all cars (with some exceptions) owned by residents of Saint Louis and the counties of Saint Louis, Saint Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin must pass every other year.

See also

External links

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