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Saint Louis, Missouri
Saint Louis is the largest metropolitan area in the state of Missouri, with
a total, bi-state (several Missouri and Illinois counties) population of
2,603,607 (eighteenth largest metropolitan area in the U.S.) as of 2000. The
independent city of Saint Louis, a separate entity from Saint Louis County,
contributes 348,189 people; its population has been declining since the
1950s as people continue to move to the multiplicity of suburbs in Saint
Louis County (1,016,315), Saint Charles County (283,883), Franklin County
(93,807) and Jefferson County (198,099) in Missouri, and Madison (258,941),
Saint Clair (256,082), and Monroe (27,619) counties in Illinois.
Nicknames: the Gateway City and Mound City
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).
After the French and Indian War, Saint Louis was controlled by Spain, but
Saint Louis, along with the rest of the Louisiana Territory, was returned to
France during the Napoleonic Wars. The city was acquired from France by the
United States under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 as part of the
Louisiana Purchase. Saint Louis later became the starting point for western
explorers (such as the Lewis and Clark expedition), trappers (such as
Ashley's Hundred), and settlers moving west.
The city of Saint Louis itself extends along the western banks of the
Mississippi River just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Near
its southern frontier is the River Des Peres; the River Des Peres is now
used as a storm drainage channel and is usually reduced to mere puddles,
which gives rise to the local name, the River De Pew. Near the central,
western boundary shared with Saint Louis County is the famous Forest Park,
home 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 Olympic
Games, the first Olympic Games held in North America.
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) of it is water. The total area is 6.39% water.
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 43.85% White, 51.20% African American, 0.27% Native American,
1.98% Asian, 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 the African American residents moving either south or
out of the city entirely to the 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.
Saint Louis, despite its size, is 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. Saint Louis is also home to a Boeing plant
(formerly McDonnell-Douglas), where many of the United States' -- and its
allies' -- military aircraft are built, railway car plants and two
DaimlerChrysler plants, where minivans and pickup trucks are built. This
facility is where all the precision JDAM missiles which achieved notoriety
in the recent Iraq war are manufactured.
* Forest Park, located in the Central West End neighborhood of the city
of Saint Louis, offers many of Saint Louis's most popular attractions:
the Saint Louis Zoological Park (free admission); the MUNY Opera, an
open-air, Broadway-style theater; the Saint Louis Science Center and
Observatory, with its architecturally distinctive McDonnell
Planetarium; the Saint Louis Art Museum; the Missouri History Museum;
and, of course, plenty of lakes and scenic, open areas. Forest Park is
in the process of completing a multimillion dollar renovation in time
for the centennial of the Saint Louis World's Fair.
* The MUNY Theater, in Forest Park, is the largest outdoor theater in the
United States, and contains a free admission section.
* The Missouri Botanical Gardens, also known as Shaw's Gardens, is one of
the world's leading botanical research centers. It possesses a
beautiful collection of flowery plants, shrubs, and trees: It comprises
the Japanese Garden, which features a lake filled with koi and lovely
gravel designs; the woodsy English Garden; the Chinese Garden; the Home
Gardening Center; a rose garden; the climate-controlled dome Climatron;
and other scenic gardens.
* The Arch, officially named the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial,
is located near the riverfront in downtown Saint Louis. It was designed
by noted architect Eero Saarinen. The Arch is the centerpiece of a
national park that also includes the nearby Old Courthouse, where the
famous Dred Scott case was brought to court.
* Cahokia Mounds, located near Collinsville, Illinois, are the ruins of a
city of the ancient Mississippian aboriginal culture.
* The Saint Louis Cardinals are one of the teams of baseball's National
League. They play at Busch Stadium.
* The Saint Louis Blues are the local NHL hockey team; they play at the
Savvis Center, formerly the Kiel Center.
* The Saint Louis Rams are an NFL team best known for bringing Saint
Louis its first Super Bowl victory. They play at the Edward Jones Dome
(formerly the Trans World Dome, after Trans World Airlines, which
merged with American Airlines).
* St. Charles, seat of St. Charles County and first capital of the state
of Missouri, is the location from which the Lewis and Clark Expedition
began. It also has a downtown historic district with many small craft
* Six Flags - Saint Louis is the local amusement park and can be found in
Eureka, Missouri --in the far West of Saint Louis County.
* The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis or the New Cathedral is a large
Roman Catholic cathedral designed in the Byzantine and Romanesque
styles. On the inside, it is decorated with lovely mosaics, which were,
at one point, the largest set of mosaics in the world.
* Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral) (1834), which
is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River.
* The Fox Theater holds many performances during the year.
* The Hill is a historically Italian neighborhood where many of the
area's best Italian restaurants can be found.
* Laclede's Landing, located directly north of Downtown and by the
Mississippi River, is popular for its restaurants and clubs.
* The Bowling Hall of Fame is located by Busch Stadium in downtown Saint
* The Eugene Field House, located in downtown Saint Louis, is a museum
dedicated to the distinguished children's author.
* The Butterfly House is located in western Saint Louis County.
* The City Museum offers a variety of fun exhibits. It serves as a
meeting point for St. Louis' young arts scene.
* The Museum of Transportation is located in Kirkwood, a suburb in
southwestern Saint Louis County.
* The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra plays at Powell Symphony Hall.
Leonard Slatkin is one of the former conductors.
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).
Colleges and Universities
Saint Louis is the home of many important universities:
* Saint Louis University (SLU), the oldest university west of the
* Washington University in St. Louis
* Webster University
* the University of Missouri at Saint Louis (UMSL)
* and others.
Because of its colleges, hospitals, and companies like Monsanto (and
Solutia, the former chemical division of Monsanto that has recently been
spun off into a separate firm, with significant operations across the river
in East St. Louis), Saint Louis is respected as a center of medicine and
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the only major local newspaper in the Saint
Louis 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 St. Louis Riverfront Times
exists, but its coverage is more social events and entertainment than news.
A few neighborhood and suburban journals cover local news.
By far, most Saint Louisans' 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.
Saint Louis is, for the most part, a segregated city. African-American Saint
Louisans tend to live in the poorest, most crime-ridden 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 bussed 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.