St. Louis

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About

St. Louis

St. Louis /snt ˈlɪs/ (French: Saint-Louis or St-Louis[sɛ̃ lwi] ( listen)) is an independent city and a major United States port on the eastern line of the state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 319,294, and a 2012 estimate put the population at 318,172, making it the 58th-largest U.S. city in 2012. The metropolitan St. Louis area, known as Greater St. Louis (CSA), is the 19th-largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population of 2,900,605.

The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and named for Louis IX of France. After the Louisiana Purchase, it became a major port on the Mississippi River; in the late 19th century, it became the fourth-largest city in the United States. It seceded from St. Louis County in March 1877, allowing it to become an independent city and limiting its political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted theLouisiana Purchase Exposition and the 1904 Summer Olympics. The city’s population peaked in 1950, then began a long decline that continues in the 21st century. Immigration has increased, and it is the center of the largest Bosnian population in the world outside their homeland.

The economy of St. Louis relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism. The city is home to several corporations, including Peabody EnergyAmerenRalcorp and Sigma-Aldrich. St. Louis is home to three professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful Major League Baseball clubs; the hockey St. Louis Blues, and the football St. Louis Rams. The city is commonly identified with the Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in downtown St. Louis.

History[edit]

Main article: History of St. Louis

The area that would become St. Louis was a center of Native American Mississippian culture, which built numerous temple and residential earthwork mounds on both sides of the Mississippi River. Their major center was at Cahokia Mounds, active from 900CE to 1500 CE. The major earthworks within St. Louis boundaries were the source of the city’s early nickname, the “Mound City.” Historic Native American tribes in the area included the Siouan-speaking Osage people and the Illiniwek.

European exploration of the area was recorded in 1673, when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette traveled through the Mississippi River valley. Five years later, La Salle claimed the region for France as part of La Louisiane.

The earliest European settlements in the area were built in Illinois Country (also known as Upper Louisiana) during the 1690s and early 1700s at CahokiaKaskaskia, and Fort de Chartres. Migrants from the eastern French villages founded Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, across the Mississippi River from Kaskaskia. In early 1764, after France lost to the British in North America, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteaufounded the city of St. Louis. The early French families built the city’s economy on the fur trade with the Osage, as well as with more distant tribes along the Missouri River. They used African slaves as domestic servants and workers in the city.

From 1764 to 1803 European control of the area west of the Mississippi to the northernmost part of the Missouri River basin, called Louisiana, was assumed by the Spanish as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, St. Louis was attacked by British forces, mostly Native American allies, in the Battle of St. Louis.

19th century[edit]

St. Louis was transferred to the Republic of France in 1800, then sold to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The city became the territorial capital and gateway to the western territory. Shortly after the purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis in May 1804 to explore the vast territory, reaching the Pacific Ocean in summer 1805, and returning on September 23, 1806. Both Lewis and Clark lived in St. Louis after the expedition. Many other explorers, settlers, and trappers (such as Ashley’s Hundred) would later take a similar route to the West. The city elected its first municipal legislators (called trustees) in 1808.

Steamboats first arrived in St. Louis in 1818, improving connections with New Orleans and eastern markets. Missouri was admitted as a state in 1821, in which slavery was legal. The capital was moved from St. Louis to a more central location. St. Louis was incorporated as a city in 1822, and continued to see growth due to its port connections. Slaves worked in many jobs on the waterfront as well as on the riverboats. Given the city’s location close to the free state of Illinois and others, some slaves escaped to freedom. Others, especially women with children, sued in court in freedom suits, and several prominent local attorneys aided slaves in these suits.

Immigrants from Ireland and Germany arrived in St. Louis in significant numbers starting in the 1840s, and the population of St. Louis grew from less than 20,000 in 1840, to 77,860 in 1850, to more than 160,000 by 1860. By the mid-1800s, St Louis had a greater population than New Orleans. To this day, St Louis is the largest city of the former French Louisiana territory.

An illustrated map by F. Graf; Saint Louis in 1896.

South Broadway after a May 27, 1896, tornado

Settled by many Southerners in a slave state, the city was split in political sympathies and became polarized during theAmerican Civil War; in 1861, 28 civilians were killed in a clash with Union troops. The war hurt St. Louis economically, due to the Union blockade of river traffic to the South. The St. Louis Arsenal constructed ironclads for the Union.

After the war, St. Louis profited via trade with the West, aided by the 1874 completion of the Eads Bridge, the first bridge so far downriver over the Mississippi. Industrial developments on both banks of the river were linked by the bridge.

On August 22, 1876, the city of St. Louis voted to secede fromSt. Louis County and become an independent city Industrial production continued to increase during the late 19th century. Major corporations such as the Anheuser-Busch brewery andRalston-Purina company were established. St. Louis also was home to Desloge Consolidated Lead Company and severalbrass era automobile companies, including the Success Automobile Manufacturing Company; St. Louis is the site of theWainwright Building, an early skyscraper built by noted architectLouis Sullivan in 1892.

20th century[edit]

In 1904, the city hosted the 1904 World’s Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics, becoming the first non-European city to host the Olympics. Permanent facilities and structures remaining from the fair are Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri History Museum.

In the aftermath of emancipation of slaves following the Civil War, social and racial discrimination in housing and employment were common in St. Louis. Starting in the 1910s, many property deeds included racial or religious restrictive covenants. During World War II, the NAACP campaigned to integrate war factories, and restrictive covenants were prohibited in 1948 by the Shelley v. Kraemer U.S. Supreme Court decision, which case originated as a lawsuit in St. Louis. However, de jure educational segregation continued into the 1950s, and de facto segregation continued into the 1970s, leading to a court challenge and interdistrict desegregation agreement.

St. Louis, like many Midwestern cities, expanded in the early 20th century due to the formation of many industrial companies, providing employment to new generations of immigrants. It reached its peak population of 856,796 at the 1950 census. Suburbanization from the 1950s through the 1990s dramatically reduced the city’s population, and this was exacerbated by the relatively small geographical size of St. Louis due to its earlier decision to become an independent city. During the 19th and 20th century, most major cities aggressively annexed surrounding areas as they grew out away from the central city, however St. Louis was unable to do so. The city of St. Louis contains only 11% of its total metropolitan population, while the central city averages 24% of total metropolitan area population among the top 20 metro areas in the United States. Although small increases in population were seen in St. Louis’ population during the early 2000s, the city of St. Louis lost population from 2000 to 2010. Immigration has continued, with the city attractingVietnameseLatinos from Mexico and Central America, and Bosnians, the latter forming the largest Bosnian community outside their homeland.

Several urban renewal projects were built in the 1950s, as the city struggled to improve old and substandard housing. Some of these were poorly designed and resulted in problems, of which Pruitt-Igoe became a symbol of failure and was torn down.

Since the 1980s, revitalization efforts have focused on downtown St. Louis, and gentrification has taken place in the Washington Avenue Historic District. Because of its strategic efforts and the upturn in urban revitalization, St. Louis received the World Leadership Award for urban renewal in 2006.

Geography[edit]

Main article: Geography of St. Louis

Topography[edit]

Rivers in the St. Louis area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, St. Louis has a total area of 66.2 square miles (171.3 km²), of which 61.9 square miles (160.4 km²) is land and 4.2 square miles (11.0 km² or 6.39%) is water. The city is built primarily on bluffs and terraces that rise 100–200 feet above the western banks of the Mississippi River, in the Midwestern United States just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Much of the area is a fertile and gently rolling prairie that features low hills and broad, shallow valleys. Both the Mississippi River and the Missouri River have cut large valleys with wide flood plains.

Limestone and dolomite of the Mississippian epoch underlie the area, and parts of the city are karst in nature. This is particularly true of the area south of downtown, which has numerous sinkholes and caves. Most of the caves in the city have been sealed, but many springs are visible along the riverfront. Coal, brick clay, and milleriteore were once mined in the city, and the predominant surface rock, the St. Louis limestone, is used as dimension stone and rubble for construction.

Near the southern boundary of the city of St. Louis (separating it from St. Louis County) is the River des Peres, practically the only river or stream within the city limits that is not entirely underground. Most of River des Peres was confined to a channel or put underground in the 1920s and early 1930s. The lower section of the river was the site of some of the worst flooding of the Great Flood of 1993.

The city’s eastern line is the Mississippi River, which also separates Missouri from Illinois. The Missouri River forms the northern line of St. Louis County, except for a few areas where the river has changed its course. The Meramec River forms most of its southern line.

Climate[edit]

The Captains’ Return statue inundated by the Mississippi River, 2010.

St. Louis lies in the transitional zone between the humid continental climate type and the humid subtropical climate type (Köppen Dfa and Cfa, respectively), with neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. It is subject to both cold Arctic air and hot, humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. The city has four distinct seasons. Spring is the wettest season and produces severe weather ranging from tornadoes to winter storms. Summers are hot and humid; temperatures of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher occur 43 days a year.

Fall is mild and sunny, with lower humidity and can produce intermittent bouts of heavy rainfall, with the first snow usually falling around December 4. Winters can be brisk and stimulating, however extended periods of very cold temperatures are rare; high temperatures below freezing occur fewer than 25 days per year, on average. While each winter typically has at least one major snowstorm accumulating 4 inches or more, it typically rains more often than it snows during St. Louis winters, however, winter is the driest season. Winter storm systems, such as Alberta clippers and Panhandle hooks, can bring heavy freezing rain, ice pellets, and snowfall, typically followed by a few days of clear but very cold weather. Daily high temperatures during winter average about 45 degrees, however, so accumulated snow typically melts quickly.

The average annual temperature recorded at nearby Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is 57.1 °F(13.9 °C), and average precipitation is about 41.0 inches (1,040 mm). The daily average temperature in July is 80.0 °F (26.7 °C), while in January it is 31.8 °F (−0.1 °C), although this varies from year to year. Both 100 °F(38 °C) and 0 °F (−18 °C) temperatures can be seen on an average 2 or 3 days per year. The official record low is −22 °F (−30 °C) on January 5, 1884, although there were unofficial readings of −23 °F (−31 °C) on January 29, 1873; and the record high is 115 °F (46 °C) on July 14, 1954. July 2012 was the hottest month in the 138-year recorded weather temperatures in St. Louis history starting in 1874, with an average daily temperature of 88.1 °F (31.2 °C).

Winter (December through February) is the driest season, with an average 7.5 in (191 mm) of precipitation. The average seasonal snowfall is 18.2 inches (46 cm). Given a typical 10:1 ratio of snow depth to water contained within the snow, this means that roughly 5.7 of the 7.5″ in precipitation each winter is in the form of rain. Spring (March through May), is typically the wettest season, with 11.7 in (297 mm) of precipitation. Dry spells lasting one to two weeks are common during the growing seasons.

St. Louis has thunderstorms 48 days a year on average. Especially in the spring, these storms can often be severe, with high winds, large hail and tornadoes. Lying near the hotbed of the Tornado Alley, St. Louis is one of the metropolitan areas with most frequent tornadoes. The area has an extensive history of damaging tornadoes.

Some late autumns feature the warm weather known as Indian summer; some years see roses in bloom as late as early December.

Climate data for St. Louis, Missouri (Lambert–St. Louis Int’l), 1981−2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
(25)
85
(29)
92
(33)
93
(34)
98
(37)
108
(42)
115
(46)
110
(43)
104
(40)
94
(34)
86
(30)
76
(24)
115
(46)
Average high °F (°C) 39.9
(4.4)
45.0
(7.2)
55.9
(13.3)
67.4
(19.7)
76.3
(24.6)
85.1
(29.5)
89.1
(31.7)
87.9
(31.1)
80.2
(26.8)
68.5
(20.3)
55.5
(13.1)
42.5
(5.8)
66.1
(18.9)
Average low °F (°C) 23.8
(−4.6)
27.5
(−2.5)
36.7
(2.6)
47.2
(8.4)
57.2
(14)
66.7
(19.3)
71.0
(21.7)
69.3
(20.7)
60.6
(15.9)
48.9
(9.4)
38.1
(3.4)
27.0
(−2.8)
47.8
(8.8)
Record low °F (°C) −22
(−30)
−18
(−28)
−5
(−21)
20
(−7)
31
(−1)
43
(6)
51
(11)
47
(8)
32
(0)
21
(−6)
1
(−17)
−16
(−27)
−22
(−30)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.39
(60.7)
2.24
(56.9)
3.31
(84.1)
3.69
(93.7)
4.71
(119.6)
4.28
(108.7)
4.10
(104.1)
2.99
(75.9)
3.13
(79.5)
3.33
(84.6)
3.91
(99.3)
2.84
(72.1)
40.92
(1,039.2)
Snowfall inches (cm) 6.0
(15.2)
4.3
(10.9)
2.6
(6.6)
0.4
(1)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.7
(1.8)
4.3
(10.9)
18.3
(46.4)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.9 8.0 10.3 11.3 11.9 10.0 8.9 8.2 7.4 8.7 9.6 9.4 112.6
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 4.9 3.4 1.8 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.7 3.7 14.8
Mean monthlysunshine hours 161.2 161.0 198.4 222.0 266.6 291.0 310.0 269.7 237.0 207.7 141.0 130.2 2,595.8
Source: NOAA (extremes 1874−present), Hong Kong Observatory (Sunshine only, 1961−1990)

Flora and fauna[edit]

Before the founding of the city, the area was mostly prairie and open forest. Native Americans maintained this environment, good for hunting, by burning underbrush. Trees are mainly oak,maple, and hickory, similar to the forests of the nearby Ozarks; common understory trees include eastern redbudserviceberry, and flowering dogwoodRiparian areas are forested with mainly American sycamore.

Most of the residential areas of the city are planted with large native shade trees. The largest native forest area is found in Forest Park. In autumn, the changing color of the trees is notable. Most species here are typical of the eastern woodland, although numerous decorative non-native species are found; the most notable invasive species is Japanese honeysuckle, which is actively removed from some parks.

Large mammals found in the city include urbanized coyotes and white-tailed deerEastern gray squirrel,cottontail rabbit, and other rodents are abundant, as well as the nocturnal Virginia opossum. Large bird species are abundant in parks and include Canada gooseMallard duck, as well as shorebirds, including the Great Egret and Great Blue HeronGulls are common along the Mississippi River; these species typically follow barge traffic.

Winter populations of Bald Eagles are found by the Mississippi River around the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The city is on the Mississippi Flyway, used by migrating birds, and has a large variety of small bird species, common to the eastern US. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, an introduced species, is limited in North America to the counties surrounding St. Louis. The city has special sites for birdwatching of migratory species, including Tower Grove Park.

Frogs are commonly found in the springtime, especially after extensive wet periods. Common species include the American toad and species of chorus frogs commonly called spring peepers, which are found in nearly every pond. Some years have outbreaks of cicadas or ladybugs. Mosquitos, no-see-ums, and houseflies are common insect nuisances, especially in July and August; because of this, windows are nearly universally fitted with screens, and screened-in porches are common in the older homes constructed before air-conditioning was common. Invasive populations of honeybees have sharply declined in recent years. Numerous native species of pollinator insects have recovered to fill their ecological niche. Due to a warming climate, Armadillos have been regularly seen throughout the St. Louis area, especially since 2005.

Demographics[edit]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 1,600
1830 4,977
1840 16,469 230.9%
1850 77,860 372.8%
1860 160,773 106.5%
1870 310,864 93.4%
1880 350,518 12.8%
1890 451,770 28.9%
1900 575,238 27.3%
1910 687,029 19.4%
1920 772,897 12.5%
1930 821,960 6.3%
1940 816,048 −0.7%
1950 856,796 5.0%
1960 750,026 −12.5%
1970 622,236 −17.0%
1980 452,801 −27.2%
1990 396,685 −12.4%
2000 348,189 −12.2%
2010 319,294 −8.3%
Est. 2012 318,172 −0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
2012 Estimate

The racial makeup of St. Louis in 2010. (Each dot represents 25 people: red dots are Caucasian; blue dots, African-American; green, Asian; orange, Hispanics of any race; gray, other.)

St. Louis grew slowly until the American Civil War, when industrialization and immigration sparked a boom. After years of immigration and expansion, it reached its peak population in 1950. That year, the Census Bureau reported St. Louis’ population as 82% White and 17.9% African American. After World War II, St. Louis began losing population to the suburbs, first because of increased demand for new housing, the ease of commuting by subsidized highways, and later, white flight. St. Louis has lost 62.7% of its population since 1950 United States Census, the highest percent of any city that had apopulation of 100,000 or more at the time of the 1950 Census.Detroit and Youngstown, Ohio are the only other cities to have seen population declines of at least 60% in the same time frame.

According to the 2010 United States Census, St. Louis had 319,294 people living in 142,057 households, of which 67,488 households were families. The population density was 5,158.2 people per square mile (1,990.6/km²). About 24% of the population was 19 or younger, 9% were 20 to 24, 31% were 25 to 44, 25% were 45 to 64, and 11% were 65 or older. The median age was about 34 years.

The population was about 49.2% African American, 43.9% White (42.2% Non-Hispanic White), 2.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American/Alaska Native, and 2.4% reporting two or more racesHispanic or Latino of any race were 3.5% of the population.

Based on historical residential patterns with an origin in discrimination, the African-American population is mostly centered in the north side of the city (the area north of Delmar Boulevard is 94.0% black, compared with 35.0% in the central corridor and 26.0% in the south side of St. Louis ). Among the Asian-American population in the city, the largest ethnic group is Vietnamese (0.9%), followed by Chinese (0.6%) and Asian Indians (0.5%). The Vietnamese community is most prevalent in the Dutchtown neighborhood; Chinese are concentrated in the Central West End. People of Mexican descent are the largest Latino group, and make up 2.2% of St. Louis’ population. They have the highest concentration in the DutchtownBenton Park West(Cherokee Street), and Gravois Park neighborhoods. An estimated 70,000 Bosnians live in the metro area, the largest population outside their homeland. St. Louis is home to the only Bosnian-language newspaper in the U.S.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $29,156, and the median income for a family was $32,585. Males had a median income of $31,106; females, $26,987. Per capita income was $18,108.

Some 19% of the city’s housing units were vacant, and slightly less than half of these were vacant structures not for sale or rent.

In 2010, St. Louis’ per-capita rate of online charitable donations and volunteerism were among the highest among major U.S cities.

As of 2010, 91.05% (270,934) of St. Louis city residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as aprimary language, while 2.86% (8,516) spoke Spanish, 0.91% (2,713) Bosnian, 0.74% (2,200) Vietnamese, 0.50% (1,495) African languages, 0.50% (1,481) Chinese, and French was spoken as a main language by 0.45% (1,341) of the population over the age of five. In total, 8.95% (26,628) of St. Louis’ population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.

Economy[edit]

Main article: Economy of St. Louis

The 2011 Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) of St. Louis was $133.1 billion, 21st-highest in the country. According to the 2007 Economic Census, manufacturing in the city conducted nearly $11 billion in business, followed by the health care and social service industry with $3.5 billion, professional or technical services with $3.1 billion, and the retail trade with $2.5 billion. The health care sector was the biggest employer in the area with 34,000 workers, followed by administrative and support jobs, 24,000; manufacturing, 21,000, and food service, 20,000.

The rivers of St. Louis continue to play a large role in moving goods, especially bulk commodities such as grain, coal, salt, and certain chemicals and petroleum products. The Port of St. Louis in 2004 was the third-largest inland port by tonnage in the country, and the 21st-largest of any sort.

Major companies and institutions[edit]

As of 2013, the St. Louis area is home to nine Fortune 500 companies: Express ScriptsEmerson Electric,MonsantoReinsurance Group of AmericaCentenePeabody EnergyAmerenGraybar Electric, and Edward Jones Investments.

Other notable corporations from the area include MasterCardCitigroupMicrosoftBank of America, TD Ameritrade, BMO Harris Bank, Arch CoalCassidy Turley, AT&T Communications, ScottradeWells Fargo Advisors (formerly A.G. Edwards), Energizer HoldingsFurniture Brands InternationalKerry GroupPatriot Coal, Post Holdings, Inc., United Van Lines and Mayflower TransitRalcorpHardee’s, and Enterprise Holdings (parent company of several car rental companies). Health care and biotechnology institutions with operations in St. Louis include Pfizer, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the Solae Company,Sigma-Aldrich, and Multidata Systems InternationalGeneral Motors makes railroad cars in the area, although Chrysler closed its production facility in nearby Fenton, Missouri.

Several once-independent pillars of the local economy have been purchased by other corporations. Among them are Anheuser-Busch, purchased by Belgium-based InBevMcDonnell Douglas, whose operations are now part of Boeing Defense, Space & Security;Mallinckrodt, purchased by Tyco International; and Ralston Purina, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestle. The May Department Stores Company (which ownedFamous-Barr and Marshall Field’s stores) was purchased by Federated Department Stores, which has its regional headquarters in the area.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in downtown is one of two federal reserve banks in Missouri.

St. Louis is a center of medicine and biotechnology. The Washington University School of Medicine is affiliated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the fifth-largest hospital in the world. The two institutions operate theAlvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. The School of Medicine also is affiliated with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, one of the country’s top pediatric hospitals. Both hospitals are owned by BJC HealthCare. The school’s Genome Sequencing Center played a major role in the Human Genome Project.St. Louis University Medical School is affiliated with Tenet Healthcare‘s St. Louis University Hospitals and SSM Health Care‘s Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. It also has a cancer center, vaccine research center, geriatric center, and a bioethics institute. Several different organizations operate hospitals in the area, including BJC HealthCare, SSM Health Care, Tenet and Mercy Healthcare.

Boeing employs nearly 15,000 people in its north St. Louis campus, headquarters to its defense unit. In 2013, the company said it would move about 600 jobs from Seattle, where labor costs have risen, to a newIT center in St. Louis.

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the top employers in the St. Louis metropolitan area as of June 1, 2013, are as follows:

# Employer # of Employees
1 BJC Health Care 25,039
2 Boeing Defense, Space & Security 14,868
3 Washington University 14,091
4 Scott Air Force Base 13,000
5 SSM Health Care 11,898
6 Mercy 10,946
7 Schnuck Markets 10,919

According to St. Louis’ 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the City only for 2011 are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Washington University 14,422
2 BJC Health Care 12,696
3 St. Louis University 10,140
4 City of St. Louis   8,099
5 Defense Finance and Accounting Service   6,320
6 Wells Fargo   5,524
7 St. Louis Board of Education   4,948
8 AT&T Services   4,358
9 State of Missouri   4,182
10 Anheuser-Busch, Inc.   3,701

Culture[edit]

Main article: Culture of St. Louis

With its French past and waves of Catholic immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, from Ireland, Germany and Italy, St. Louis is a major center of Roman Catholicism in the United States. St. Louis also boasts the largest Ethical Culture Society in the United States. Several places of worship in the city also are noteworthy, such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, home of the world’s largest mosaic installation.

Other locally notable churches include the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River and the oldest church in St. Louis; the St. Louis Abbey, whose distinctive architectural style garnered multiple awards at the time of its completion in 1962; and St. Francis de Sales Oratory, a neo-Gothic church completed in 1908 in South St. Louis and the second-largest church in the city.

The city is defined by music and the performing arts, especially its association with bluesjazz, and ragtime. St. Louis is home to the St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, which has toured nationally and internationally to strong reviews. Until 2010, it was also home to KFUO-FM, one of the oldest classical music FM radio stations west of the Mississippi River.

The Gateway Arch marks downtown St. Louis and a historic center that includes the Federal courthouse where the Dred Scott case was first argued, a newly renovated and expanded public library, major churches and businesses, and retail. An increasing downtown residential population has taken to adapted office buildings and other historic structures. In nearby University City is the Delmar Loop, ranked by the American Planning Association as a “great American street” for its variety of shops and restaurants, and the Tivoli Theater, all within walking distance.

Unique city and regional cuisine reflecting various immigrant groups include toasted ravioligooey butter cakeprovel cheese, the slinger, the Gerber sandwich, the St. Paul sandwich, and St. Louis-style pizza, featuring thin crust and provel cheese. A new generation of sophisticated chefs are emphasizing use of local produce, meats and fish, based on the bounty of the region, and neighborhood farmers’ markets have become increasingly popular, as well as one downtown. Artisan bakeries, salumeria, and chocolatiers have been founded and are thriving in the city.

Sports[edit]

Main article: Sports in St. Louis

St. Louis is home to professional Major League BaseballNational Football League, and National Hockey League teams, notable collegiate-level soccer teams, and has hosted several collegiate sports tournaments.

Professional sports teams in St. Louis
Club Sport League Venue
St. Louis Blues Ice hockey National Hockey League Scottrade Center
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Major League Baseball Busch Stadium
St. Louis Rams American football National Football League Edward Jones Dome

Professional sports[edit]

The St. Louis Cardinals, one of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball, play at Busch Stadium and have accumulated 11 World Series titles, with the most recent being in 2011. The Gateway Grizzlies and theRiver City Rascals of the Frontier League (which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball) also play in the area. The St. Louis Rams, an American football team in the National Football League play at the Edward Jones Dome and have won three NFL championships, including one Super Bowl victory in 2000. The St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League play at the Scottrade Center, and the region hosts NHRA drag racing and NASCAR events at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois.

Amateur sports[edit]

At the collegiate level, St. Louis has hosted the Final Four of both the women’s and men’s college basketballNCAA Division I championship tournaments, and the Frozen Four collegiate ice hockey tournament. Although the area does not currently support a National Basketball Association team, it hosts an American Basketball Association team called the St. Louis PhoenixSt. Louis University has won 10 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships, and the city has hosted the College Cup several times. In addition to collegiate soccer, St. Louisans have played for the United States men’s national soccer team, and 20 St. Louisans have been elected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. St. Louis also is the origin of the sport of corkball, a type of baseball in which there is no base running. The St. Louis TV market is the largest in the nation without a Division I college football team.

Parks[edit]

Old footbridge in Forest Park

Main article: Parks in St. Louis

The city operates more than 100 parks, with amenities that include sports facilities, playgrounds, concert areas, picnic areas, and lakes.Forest Park, located on the western edge of city, is the largest park in the city, although it is not the largest park in the region. Another significant park in the city is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a National Memorial located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The centerpiece of the park is the 630 feet (192 m) tallGateway Arch, designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen and completed on October 28, 1965. Also part of the historic park is theOld Courthouse, where the first two trials of Dred Scott v. Sandfordwere held in 1847 and 1850.

Other notable parks in the city include the Missouri Botanical GardenTower Grove Park, and Citygarden. The Missouri Botanical Garden, a private garden and botanical research facility, includes the Climatron, a greenhouse built as a geodesic dome. Immediately south of the Missouri Botanical Garden is Tower Grove Park, a gift to the City by Henry Shaw. Citygarden is an urban sculpture park located in downtown St. Louis, with art from Fernand LégerAristide MaillolJulian OpieTom OtternessNiki de Saint Phalle, and Mark di Suvero. The park is divided into three sections, each of which represent a different theme: river bluffs; flood plains; and urban gardens. The park also has a restaurant – Joe’s Chili Bowl. Another downtown sculpture park is the Serra Sculpture Park, with the 1982 Richard Serra sculpture Twain.

Government[edit]

The city of St. Louis has a mayor-council government with legislative authority vested in the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis and with executive authority in the Mayor of St. Louis and six other separately elected officials. The Board of Aldermen is made up of 28 members (one elected from each of the city’s wards) plus a board president who is elected city-wide. The 2012 city budget is $938 million. It is scheduled to rise to $966 million in 2013. 236,253 registered voters lived in the city in 2012, down from 239,247 in 2010, and 257,442 in 2008.

Local and regional government[edit]

Municipal elections in St. Louis are held in odd numbered years, with the primary elections in March and the general election in April. The mayor is elected in odd numbered years following the United States Presidential Election, as are the aldermen representing odd-numbered wards. The President of the Board of Aldermen and the aldermen from even-numbered wards are elected in the off-years. The Democratic Partyhas dominated St. Louis city politics for decades. The city has not had a Republican mayor since 1949 and the last time a Republican was elected to another city-wide office was in the 1970s. As of 2006, 27 of the city’s 28 Aldermen are Democrats.

Although St. Louis separated from St. Louis County in 1876, some mechanisms have been put in place for joint funding management and funding of regional assets. The St. Louis Zoo-Museum district collects property taxes from residents of both St. Louis City and County and the funds are used to support cultural institutions including the St. Louis ZooSt. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Similarly, the Metropolitan Sewer District provides sanitary and storm sewer service to the city and much of St. Louis County. The Bi-State Development Agency (now known as Metro) runs the region’s MetroLink light rail system and bus system.

State and federal government[edit]

St. Louis is split between 11 districts in the Missouri House of Representatives: all of the 76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, and 84th, and parts of the 66th, 83rd, and 93rd, which are shared with St. Louis County. The 5th Missouri Senate district is entirely within the city, while the 4th is shared with St. Louis County.

At the federal level, St. Louis is the heart of Missouri’s 1st congressional district, which also includes part of northern St. Louis County. A Republican has not represented a significant portion of St. Louis in the U.S. House since 1949.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri are based in the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. St. Louis is also home to a Federal Reserve System branch, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. TheNational Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) also maintains major facilities in the St. Louis area.

The Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC-MPR) located at 9700 Page Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, is a branch of the National Personnel Records Center and is the repository of over 56 million military personnel records and medical records pertaining to retired, discharged, and deceased veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

Crime[edit]

Main article: Crime in St. Louis

Since the mid-1990s, St. Louis index crime rates have declined, although rates of violent crime and property crime in the city of St. Louis remain higher than both the state and United States national averages. St. Louis also frequently is ranked among the “most dangerous” in the country by CQ Press, although these rankings are controversial and do not reflect the crime rate of Greater St. Louis. In 2012, St. Louis ranked at number 4 of the top 5 most dangerous cities in America comparing violent crime rates, behind Flint, MichiganDetroit, and Oakland.

Education[edit]

St. Louis University High School is the oldest secondary educational institution in Missouri.

Main article: Education in St. Louis

The 77 public schools in the city proper, the largest district in the region, are attended by more than 25,000 students and operated bySt. Louis Public Schools, which is run by a state-appointed board. The city also has several private high schools, including secular,Catholic and Lutheran schools.

The city is home to two national research universities, Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis University, as classified under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

St. Louis is home to the Covenant Theological Seminary andConcordia Seminary, of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which also is headquartered in St. Louis.

Media[edit]

Greater St. Louis commands the 21st largest media market in the United States, a position it has held with little variation for more than ten years. All of the major U.S. television networks have affiliates in St. Louis, including KTVI 2 (Fox), KMOV 4 (CBS), KSDK 5 (NBC), KETC 9 (PBS), KPLR-TV 11 (CW), KDNL 30 (ABC),WRBU 46 (MNTV), and WPXS 51 Daystar Television Network. Among the most popular radio stations in the St. Louis area are KMOX (AM sports and talk, notable for being the long-time flagship station for St. Louis Cardinals broadcasts), KLOU (FM oldies), WIL-FM (FM country), WARH (FM adult hits), and KSLZ (FM top 40 mainstream). St. Louis also supports public radio with KWMU, an NPR affiliate, and community radio withKDHX. All-sports stations, such as KFNS 590 AM “The Fan”, WXOS “101.1 ESPN”, and KSLG are also popular in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the region’s major daily newspaper. Other newspapers in the region include the Suburban Journals, serving parts of St. Louis County, while the primary alternative newspaper is theRiverfront Times. Three weeklies serve the African-American community: the St. Louis Argus, the St. Louis American, and the St. Louis SentinelSt. Louis Magazine, a local monthly magazine, covers topics such as local history, cuisine, and lifestyles, while the weekly St. Louis Business Journal provides coverage of regional business news. St. Louis is also home to the nation’s last remaining metropolitan journalism review, theGateway Journalism Review, based at Webster University in the suburb of Webster Groves. Furthermore, St. Louis is served by an online newspaper, the St. Louis Beacon, which operates in partnership and shares facilities with KETC 9 TV.

Transportation[edit]

MetroLink light rail train in St. Louis

The city of St. Louis is served by four interstates and several U.S. highways and state roadways. Although there are no airports within the city limits, the city owns and operates Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, located in northwest St. Louis County. Freight rail and passenger rail service operate in the city on tracks owned byBNSF Railway, with passenger service provided by Amtrak and served at the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center in downtown St. Louis. Bus servicelight rail, and paratransit service in the city is provided by the Bi-State Development Agency, also known as Metro. St. Louis also maintains a port authority for river shipping, and taxicabs are regulated within the city.

Architecture[edit]

Among St. Louis’ 19th-century buildings are the early stone construction Emmanuel DeHodiamont House, the Greek Revival Chatillon-DeMenil House in the Soulard neighborhood, the Victorian Campbell House, and the Wainwright Building, an early Louis Sullivan skyscraper.

Westward view of St. Louis skyline, September 2008.

Westward view of St. Louis skyline from East St. Louis, Illinois, 2007. The large building on the right side of the arch isOne Metropolitan Square. The tallest building to its left is One AT&T Center. The tallest building on the right is One US Bank Plaza. The domed building to the left of the arch is the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse. The domed building beneath the arch is the Old Courthouse. The cylindrical building to the left of the arch is the Millennium Hotel.

Neighborhoods[edit]

Further information: Neighborhoods of St. Louis

The city is divided into 79 government-designated neighborhoods. The neighborhood divisions have no legal standing, although some neighborhood associations administer grants or hold veto power over historic-district development.

Notable Residents[edit]

Further information: List of people from St. Louis

Sister cities[edit]

St. Louis has 16 sister cities.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

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