Thursday, December 14, 2006

More About My Favorite City - St. Louis

After my Thursday Thirteen on 12/7, I realized that very few people know very much about St. Louis. Yes, I love this city. I was born and raised here and will always love it. The only other city in America that I'd move to would be Honolulu. And, that's not very likely to happen.

But, I was sitting here thinking of all of the things that people don't know, that I could tell them. So, here are some more facts about St. Louis:

  • St. Louis is known for its French and German heritage and Victorian past.

  • St. Louis has several nicknames including, "Gateway to the West", "Gateway City", and "Mound City".

  • Other nicknames include, "The S-T-L", "St. Louie", "The Lou", or "River City".

  • St. Louis was purchased from France by the United States under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 - as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

  • French continued, along with English, to be one of the major spoken languages in St. Louis until the 1820s.

  • Both Lewis and Clark lived in St. Louis after their Lewis and Clark Expedition.

  • The steamboat era began in St. Louis on July 27, 1817.

  • By the 1850s, St. Louis had become the largest U.S. city west of Pittsburgh and the second largest port in the country, with a commercial tonnage exceeded only by New York.

  • Civil War battles barely touched St. Louis - the area only saw a few skirmishes in which Union forces prevailed.

  • St. Louis was the home to several notable businesses including: Ralston-Purina, Anheuser-Busch, International Shoe Company and Brown Shoe Company.

  • Several notable people in the literary field were produced in St. Louis. Like Sara Teasdale, Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, William Burroughs, and Kate Chopin. Tennessee Williams also hailed from St. Louis.

  • St. Louis is one of the several cities that claims to have the world's first skyscraper - the Wainwright Building ( a 10-story structure built in 1892 and still standing).

  • Nikola Tesla made the first public demonstration of radio communications here in 1893.

  • In 1896, one of the deadliest and most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history struck St. Louis, MO. and East St. Louis, IL. The confirmed death toll is 255 (with some estimates above 400) and injuries over 1000. Damages adjusted for inflation (in 1997 USD) make it the costliest tornado in U.S. history at an estimated $2.9 billion.

  • Several other tornadoes have hit the city making it the worst tornado afflicted large city in the nation - the most recent occuring in 1959 (killing 21 and injuring 345).

  • In 1904, St. Louis hosted the World's Fair and the Olympic games (making the United States the first English-speaking country to host the Olympics). 2004 marked the centennial of these events and St. Louis celebrated the entire year.

  • St. Louis developed a lively immigrant gang culture by the Early 20th century (of which I'm telling you about in my "The Gangs of St. Louis" posts). You've heard me mention Jelly Roll Hogan - well his gang was mentioned in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.
  • St. Louis is the home of the world-reknowned Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra - the second oldest orchestra in the nation - which has been honored with six Grammy Awards and 56 nominations. They play out of Powell Symphony Hall.

  • St. Louis City operates 105 parks. Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world, outsizing Central Park in New York City by 500 acres.

  • Forest Park offers several of St. Louis' most popular attractions: the Saint Louis Zoo, the Muny (the largest and oldest outdoor musical theatre in the U.S.), the St. Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum and several lakes.

  • The Missouri Botanical Garden (known to most St. Louisans as Shaw's Garden) is one of the world's leading botanical research centers.

  • The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the tallest man-made monument standing at 630 feet.

  • Fair St. Louis (known to most St. Louisans as the VP Fair), held every 4th of July is sometimes called "America's Largest Birthday Party".

  • The Sporting News rated St. Louis the nation's "Best Sports City".
  • The St. Louis Cardinals (EASILY THE BEST BASEBALL TEAM IN THE WORLD!!!!), one of the oldest franchises in MLB have won 10 World Series Titles (most recently this year!!!!), second only to the New York Yank-mes, ooops - sorry, Yankees. I won't post a pic since you're probably sick of my Cardinals pictures.

  • The St. Louis Rams have won one Superbowl Championship (January, 2000).

  • The St. Louis Blues hold the record for most consecutive playoff appearances in all of sports with 26 straight. They have also made three trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, but have never won.

  • St. Louis was also home to two prominent 20th century boxers, brothers Leon and Michael Spinks. The two are the only brothers in boxing history to have both captured the Heavyweight boxing title. Cory Spinks, Leon's son, has also held a world title (broke my heart when he lost to Zab Judah here in St. Louis).

  • St. Louis is arguably the biggest hotbed of Soccer in the nation.

  • Professional Wrestling also has roots in St. Louis. Wrestling at the Chase was a popular weekly event for hundreds of thousands of fans for several decades. WATC was held at a prestigious St. Louis hotel called The Chase Park Plaza. St. Louis is also home to WWE Champion Randy Orton.

  • Soulard, a neighbor in St. Louis, is home of the nation's second largest (only to New Orleans) annual Mardi Gras Festival and Parade.

  • Washington University's School of Law is the oldest continuously operating private law school west of the Mississippi.

  • "Escape From New York", the movie, was filmed almost entirely in St. Louis. Mostly at what was the defunct Union Station (now rehabbed and a gorgeous mall).

  • Ringo Starr, a former Beatle, sang a song called "Missouri Loves Company" which had references to St. Louis.

  • The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space capsules were built in St. Louis by McDonnell Douglas - now Boeing.

  • Disney World was to be opened in St. Louis, however, Walt Disney wouldn't let the park serve beer so Anheuser-Busch rallied against the park in St. Louis (big mistake).

Most of this information was found through Wikipedia. For more trivial facts about St. Louis, see my Thursday Thirteen from December 7.

Finally, here is a small portion of our Walk of Fame (excluding those already mentioned above)

Music

Acting/Entertainment

Literature

Sports

Now you can see why I love St. Louis Baseball so much!

Broadcasting

Art/Architecture

Military/Politics

Science/Education

Civil Rights

Missouri Hall of Fame

I'm 100% sure I missed someone and I know I missed a lot of people (I skipped the lesser unknowns).

And, Blogger REALLY needs an "Undo" button added to the format toolbox.

I hope you enjoy my "Did You Know" about St. Louis. Now, since my eyes are crossed from all of this work, I'm going to bed! G-nite!

4 comments:

Skittles said...

Holy cow!!!! That's amazing :)

amy said...

That is cool. Hope i get to visit sometime

Mike said...

It would take me a year to come up with all this stuff. Good job. I've passed through StL on my way home from New Orleans a few years ago. The Arch is something to be seen.

Ireland said...

Wowzerssss Girl....know wonder yer off to bed!
Cool info though...