City and riverport in Missouri, on the Mississippi River; population (2000 est) 348,200. Occupying a central US location, it is a warehousing and distribution hub, and a major market for livestock, grain, wool, and lumber. The port handles oil, coal, sulphur, cement, and agricultural and manufactured goods. Products include aerospace and transport equipment, pharmaceuticals, refined oil, rubber, printed materials, and processed metals, tobacco, and food.
Founded as a French trading post in 1764, it passed to the USA in 1803 under the Louisiana Purchase, and was incorporated in 1823.
The Gateway Arch (1965) is a memorial to the 19th-century pioneers of the West, designed by the architect Eero Saarinen. A world's fair and the Olympic Games were held in the city in 1904. After 1950, St Louis lost much of its population to the suburbs, and large areas fell into decay; redevelopment revived the centre of the city in the late 1970s, with the establishment of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Flooding is a constant danger – in 1993 there were severe floods.
Communications St Louis lies 27 km/17 mi below the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri, and has shipping connections northwards to Chicago and the Great Lakes, to the Ohio River, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. The port has 30 km/19 mi of frontage. Roads and railways converge on the Mississippi bridges, and a large number of long-distance truck lines are based here. Lambert–St Louis International Airport is located 28 km/18 mi to the northwest. The industrial suburbs centre on East St Louis, across the river.
Architecture The most imposing feature is the stainless steel Gateway Arch, which rises to 192 m/630 ft on the river front, and contains an observation platform at its summit. Other points of interest include Eads Bridge, the world's first steel-truss span; the Jefferson Memorial Building; the Municipal and Aloes plazas; the Old Cathedral of St Louis of France 1834, and the Old Courthouse 1839. The Anheuser–Busch brewery is the largest in the world; established in the mid 19th-century by German settlers, it now comprises over a hundred red-brick buildings.
Education, culture, and entertainment St Louis is the seat of the St Louis (1818), Washington (1853), and Webster (1915) universities, a campus of the University of Missouri (1963), the Concordia Theological Seminary (1839), and Kenrick Seminary. Forest Park contains the municipal open-air theatre, which has a seating capacity of 12,000; the St Louis Art Museum; the History Museum; and the St Louis Zoo. The city's symphony orchestra was founded in 1880. Other features include Laclede's Landing Historic District, the St Louis Science Center, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Population In 2000, 45% of the population were white, 52% African American, and 2.3% Asian. Many African Americans live across the river in East St Louis, Illinois.
History The French merchant Pierre Laclède established the original fur-trading post in 1764, and named the subsequent settlement after his ‘name’ saint, Louis IX, dedicating it to Louis XV of France. The city was ceded to Spain in 1770, but was returned to France under Napoleon I before its purchase by the USA. In 1817 the first steamboat on the Mississippi arrived at St Louis. The city expanded rapidly under German and Irish immigration in the mid-19th century, and with the arrival of the railway.
Famous people St Louis was the birthplace of the poet T S Eliot in 1888, and the rock-and-roll musician Chuck Berry in 1926. Hungarian-born publisher Joseph Pulitzer owned the St Louis Post-Dispatch from 1878.
Official St Louis Visitors Guide
Gateway Arch, St Louis
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