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St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis (English , French ) is an independent city separate from St. Louis County in the U.S. state of Missouri, located at the confluence of two of the world's great rivers, the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. One of the world's great river cities, St. Louis has a diverse multi-cultural population, and has architecture, festivals, sports, historical sites, and other aspects which draw visitors from around the world. St. Louis is the second largest city in the state of Missouri, but has the largest metropolitan area. Sometimes written as Saint Louis, the city is named for King Louis IX of France. St. Louis is famous for its multiple French and German influences as well as having a Victorian past.

As St. Louis entered the 20th century, it was the 4th largest city in the United States. Two major events held in this period, the 1904 World's Fair and 1904 Olympic Games, the first ever held in the United States, are of particular pride to St. Louisans. In the 21st century, St. Louis has transformed from a manufacturing and industrial economy into a globally known focus for research in medicine, biotechnology, and other sciences. The St. Louis region is home to 21 Fortune 1000 companies, nine of which are in the Fortune 500. The region is also home to some of the country's largest privately held corporations, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Edward Jones, among others.

The city has many nicknames, the most popular being "Gateway City", as it is seen as the Eastern/Western US dividing mark. St. Louis is also called "Gateway to the West" on behalf of the many people who migrated west through St. Louis via the Missouri River (first leg of the Oregon Trail) and other wagon trails. The most popular abbreviation for St. Louis is "STL" in reference to the airport code for the city and the long-standing use of an interlocked S, T and L by the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team (the St. Louis Browns also used an interlocked STL). Many natives today refer to the city as "The STL".

St. Louis lies at the heart of Greater St. Louis, a sprawling region of nearly three million people in both Missouri and Illinois. The Illinois portion is commonly known as the Metro-East. The Greater St. Louis area was the 16th largest metro area in the U.S. as of the July 2007 US Census estimate, with more than 2,800,000 people. The city itself is the 52nd largest city by population in the 2000 census and had an estimated population of 353,837 in 2006.


Prior to the arrival of French explorers in 1673 the area that would become St. Louis was a major center of the Mississippian mound builders. The presence of numerous mounds, now almost all destroyed, earned the later city the nickname of "Mound City". European exploration of the area had begun nearly a century before the city was founded. Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette, both French, traveled through the Mississippi River valley in 1673, and five years later, La Salle claimed the entire valley for France. He called it "Louisiana" after King Louis XIV; the French also called their region "Illinois Country."

In 1699 the French established a settlement at Cahokia, across the Mississippi River from what is now St. Louis. They founded other early settlements downriver at Kaskaskia, Prairie du Pont, and Fort de Chartres, Illinois, and Sainte Genevieve. In 1703, Catholic priests established a small mission at what is now St. Louis. The mission was later moved across the Mississippi, but the small river at the site (now a drainage channel near the southern boundary of the City of St. Louis) still bears the name "River Des Peres" (French Rivière des pères, River of the Fathers).

In 1763, Pierre Laclède de Liguest, his 13-year-old "stepson" Auguste Chouteau, and a small band of men traveled up the Mississippi from New Orleans to found a post to take advantage of trade coming downstream by the Missouri River. In November, they landed a few miles downstream of the river's confluence with the Missouri River at a site where wooded limestone bluffs rose forty feet above the river. The men returned to Fort du Chartres for the winter, but in February, Laclède sent Chouteau and thirty men to begin construction at the new site, laid out in a grid pattern as an imitation of New Orleans.

St. Louis was a river city, and it therefore developed in response to its relationship to the river. Development, particularly economic development, clustered around the settlement’s Mississippi River bank on what was called "the levee" and is now called "the landing." This long, smooth bank of land, which would later be paved with cobblestone, sloped into the river at an incline that was gradual enough to permit the river vessels of the time to beach onto it in order to be unloaded and loaded. All products at this time were shipped to and from New Orleans, orienting St. Louis' 18th-century trade north-south.

The settlement began to grow quickly after word arrived that the 1763 Treaty of Paris had given Britain all the land east of the Mississippi. Frenchmen who had earlier settled to the river's east moved across the water to "Laclède's Village." Other early settlements were established nearby at Saint Charles, the independent village of Carondelet (later annexed by St. Louis and now the southernmost part of the current City), Fleurissant (renamed Saint Ferdinand by the Spaniards and now Florissant), and Portage des Sioux. In 1765, St. Louis was made the capital of Upper Louisiana.

From 1766 to 1768, St. Louis was governed by the French lieutenant governor, Louis Saint Ange de Bellerive, who was appointed not by French or Spanish authorities, but by the leading residents of St. Louis. After 1768, St. Louis was governed by a series of governors appointed by Spanish authorities, whose administration continued even after Louisiana was secretly returned to France in 1800 by the Treaty of San Ildefonso. The town's population was then about a thousand. During the period when commandants appointed by Spanish authorities governed St. Louis, meetings of leading residents were also held from time to time, and "syndics" were sometimes elected to carry out certain governmental tasks.

In 1780 St. Louis was attacked by the British during the American Revolution. A combined Spanish and French Creole force protected the city.

St. Louis was acquired from France by the United States under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The transfer of power from Spain was made official in a ceremony called "Three Flags Day." On March 8, 1804, the Spanish flag was lowered and the French one raised. On March 10, the French flag was replaced by the United States flag. Until the 1820s French continued to be one of the major spoken and written languages in St. Louis, along with English.

St. Louis first became legally incorporated as a town on November 9, 1809, though it elected its first municipal legislators (called trustees) in 1808. The Lewis and Clark Expedition left the St. Louis area in May 1804, reached the Pacific Ocean in the summer of 1805, and returned on 23 September 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.

After Missouri became a state in 1821, St. Louis was incorporated as a city on December 9, 1822. A U. S. arsenal was constructed at St. Louis in 1827.

The steamboat era began in St. Louis on July 27, 1817, with the arrival of the Zebulon M. Pike. Steamboats signified significant progress in river trade, as steam power permitted much more efficient and dependable river transportation. Unlike the hand-propelled barges and keel boats that preceded the steamboat as the choice vehicle of Mississippi River trade, steamboats could travel upriver, and against the current, just as easily as downriver.

Rapids north of the city made St. Louis the northernmost navigable port for many large boats. The Pike and her sisters soon transformed St. Louis into a bustling boom town, commercial center, and inland port. By the 1830s, it was common to see more than 150 steamboats at the St. Louis levee at one time. 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.

In 1836 the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce was founded. It was one of the oldest Chambers of Commerce in the United States. Along the way, it has been involved with projects as diverse as securing funding for Charles Lindbergh’s historic 1927 transatlantic flight (thus the naming of the plane “The Spirit of St. Louis”) and rallying community support for the design, funding and construction of St. Louis’ famed Gateway Arch. The current chamber is now called the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce, representing the Bi-State region. The Regional Chamber and Growth Association organization is directed by Richard Fleming.

Immigrants flooded into St. Louis after 1840, particularly from Germany, Bohemia, and Ireland, the last driven by a potato famine. During Reconstruction, rural Southern blacks flooded into St. Louis as well, seeking better opportunity. 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. At this time, public transit developed in order to effectively transport the numbers of new residents in the city. Omnibuses began to service St. Louis in 1843, and in 1859, St. Louis' first streetcar tracks were laid. Later in the 19th century, Italian immigrants began to arrive in the city and farming areas. They helped expand winemaking to the Rolla area.

Two disasters occurred in 1849: a cholera epidemic killed nearly one-tenth of the population, and a fire destroyed numerous steamboats and a large portion of the city. These disasters led to political action: old cemeteries were removed to the outskirts of the town; sinkholes were filled and swamps drained; water and sewer public utilities started; and a new building code required structures to be built of stone or brick. Particularly after the 1849 fire, St. Louis' population decentralization westward accelerated, a pattern of migration and development that continues today.

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.

Militarily, the Civil War barely touched St. Louis; the area saw only a few skirmishes, in which Union forces prevailed. However, the war shut down trade with the South, as Union troops blockaded the Mississippi River from 1861 through the end of the war. Trade in St. Louis declined to about one-third its average, as the economy of the South, one of the markets St. Louis depended on, was devastated. Missouri was nominally a slave state, but its economy did not depend on slavery. It remained loyal to the Union throughout the Civil War. The arsenal at St. Louis was used during the war to construct ironclad ships for the Union, and shipbuilding continued at the Port of St. Louis even into the latter half of the 20th century.

Eads Bridge, the first road and rail bridge to cross the Mississippi River, was completed in 1874.

On August 22, 1876 the City of St. Louis voted to secede from St. Louis County and become an independent city. At that time the County was primarily rural and sparsely populated, and the fast-growing City did not want to spend its tax dollars on infrastructure and services for the inefficient county; the move also allowed some in St. Louis government to increase their political power. This decision later haunted the City, as the results of that separation are still problematic today. In 1884, St. Louis hosted the first world fair.

As St. Louis grew and prospered during the late 19th and early 20th century, the city produced a number of notable people in the fields of business and literature. The Ralston-Purina company (headed by the Danforth Family) was headquartered in the city. Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewery, remains a fixture of the city's economy. The City was home to International Shoe, the Brown Shoe Company, and the St. Louis Division of the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Company. Several important aircraft were built or first tested at St. Louis, including the CD-25 Coupe business aircraft (later the AT-9 Jeep in wartime service), the CW-20 twin-engine airliner, the C-76 Caravan, and the C-46 Commando of the Second World War.

St. Louis was also one of the cities to see a pioneering brass era automobile company, the Success; despite its low price, the company did not live up to its name.

Residents or natives notable in literature included poets Sara Teasdale, Marianne Moore, and T. S. Eliot; writers Kate Chopin and William Burroughs; and playwright Tennessee Williams.

St. Louis is one of several cities claiming the world's first skyscraper. The Wainwright Building, a 10-story structure designed by Louis Sullivan and built in 1892, still stands at Chestnut and Seventh Streets. Today it is used by the State of Missouri as a government office building.

In 1893 Nikola Tesla made the first public demonstration of radio communication here.

In 1896, one of the deadliest and most destructive tornadoes in U. S. history struck St. Louis and East St. Louis, leaving a mile-wide continuous swath of destroyed homes, factories, mills, saloons, hospitals, schools, parks, churches, and railroad yards. Killing more than 255, with damages adjusted for inflation (1997 USD), it was one of the costliest tornadoes in U. S. history with an estimated $2.9 billion in losses. Several other tornadoes have hit the city, including in 1927 (79 killed, 550 injured) and 1959 (21 killed, 345 injured).

By the time of the 1900 census, St. Louis was the fourth-largest city in the country. In 1904, the city hosted its second World's Fair, which led the Olympic Games to be moved from Chicago, originally selected to host the games, to St. Louis to coincide with the Fair. With these games, the United States became the first English-speaking country to host the Olympics. Citizens of St. Louis still look back fondly on the events of 1904; there were several events held in 2004 to commemorate the centennial.

St. Louis developed a lively immigrant gang culture by the early 20th century, leading up to much bootlegging activity and gang violence. One gang leader, from an Irish part of the city referred to as "Kerry Patch" was named "Jelly Roll" Hogan. Hogan's gang is mentioned in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. In the 1920s there were shoot outs on Lindell Boulevard between Hogan's Gang and the gang known as Egan's Rats. A priest was brought in to broker peace between the gangs in 1923, but this truce only lasted a few months before two more people were killed in a public shoot out. In 1923, Egan's Rats made off with $2.4 million in bonds from a mail truck. Hogan during this time was a state representative. He was elected in 1916, eventually became a state senator, and spent forty years in elected office. The Kerry Patch is now part of the Old North St. Louis neighborhood, with a different ethnic population.

Although St. Louis did not segregate people on street cars like other cities, racial discrimination in housing was commonplace, and discrimination in employment was not uncommon before World War II. During World War II, the NAACP successfully campaigned, through protests and picket lines, to persuade the Federal government to allow African Americans to work in war plants. Some 16,000 jobs were gained in this way. State court rulings and local civil rights campaigns in the two decades after the war challenged the legality of race-based restrictions on real estate ownership and opened clerical positions in local banks, etc. that had been more common prior to WWII.

St. Louis, as did many other Midwestern cities, experienced major expansion in the early 20th century due to the formation of many industrial companies and reached its peak population at the 1950 census. The Gateway Arch was built in the mid-1960s. In January 1999, the city hosted Pope John Paul II for a day. In the postwar era, suburbanization in conjunction with the GI Bill, interstate highway construction, and changes in housing preferences shifted the population out of the city and into newly formed suburbs. Although the overall population of the St. Louis MSA has always been growing, the St. Louis city population itself decreased for decades, especially after job losses due to restructuring of railroad and other industries.

Recently, there has been revitalization in Downtown St. Louis and along a corridor extending to the west through Midtown and the Central West End neighborhoods. The St. Louis Cardinals' new Busch Stadium opened in 2006. Ballpark Village would have been built where northern half of the former Busch Stadium stood, but those plans have been put on hold. For several years, the Washington Avenue Loft District has been gentrifying with an expanding corridor along Washington Avenue from the Edward Jones Dome westward almost two dozen blocks. Revitalization continues, including new construction, as the corridor extends to the west to Forest Park.

Because of the major upturn in urban revitalization, St. Louis received the World Leadership Award for urban renewal in 2006. In 2006 the U. S. Census Bureau reported St. Louis had a net population gain of 5,648 from the 2000 Census, to 353,837, the first gain the city has had since 1950. However, since then, the State of Missouri released census estimates projecting the city will lose 3,000 residents by 2030.



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) of it is land and 11.0 km² (4.2 sq mi or 6.39%) of it is water. The city is built primarily on bluffs and terraces that rise 100-200 feet above the western banks of the Mississippi River, 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 much of the city is a karst area, with numerous sinkholes and caves, although most of the caves have been sealed shut; many springs are visible along the riverfront. Significant deposits of coal, brick clay, and millerite ore 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, 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 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, and the 1904 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic Games held in North America. At the time, St. Louis was the fourth most populous city in the United States.

The Missouri River forms the northern border of St. Louis County, exclusive of a few areas where the river has changed its course. The Meramec River forms most of its southern border. To the east is the City and the Mississippi River.


St. Louis lies on the border between humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa) and humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa), and has neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. Both cold Canadian Arctic air and hot, humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico affect the region. The city has four distinct seasons. The average annual temperature for the years 1970-2000, recorded at nearby Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport, is 56.3 °F (13.5 °C), and average precipitation is 37.15 inches (942 mm). The normal high temperature in July is 89 °F (32 °C), and the normal low temperature in January is 21 °F (−6 °C), although these values have been known to vary at times. Temperatures of 100 °F (38 °C) or more occur no more than five days a year and temperatures of 0 °F (-17.8 °C) or below occur 2 or 3 days a year on average. The official record low is -23 °F (-30.6 °C) on January 29, 1873, and the record high is 115 °F (46.1 °C) on July 14, 1954.

Winter (December through February) is the driest season, averaging about 6.7 inches of total precipitation. Average annual snowfall is per year. Spring (March through May), is typically the wettest season, with approximately of precipitation. Dry spells lasting one or two weeks are common during the growing seasons.

St. Louis usually experiences thunderstorms on the average 48 days a year. Especially in the spring, these storms can often be severe, with high winds, large hail and tornadoes. St. Louis has been affected on more than one occasion by particularly damaging tornadoes.

A period of warm weather late in autumn known as Indian summer can occur – roses will still be in bloom as late as November or early December in some years.

Flora and fauna

Before the founding of the city, the area was prairie and open forest maintained by burning by Native Americans. Trees are mainly oak, maple, and hickory, similar to the forests of the nearby Ozarks; common understory trees include Eastern Redbud, Serviceberry, and Flowering Dogwood. Riparian areas are forested with mainly American sycamore. Most of the residential area of the city is 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 occasionally a stray whitetail deer. Eastern Gray Squirrel, Cottontail rabbit, and other rodents are abundant, as well as the nocturnal and rarely seen Opossum. Large bird species are abundant in parks and include Canada goose, Mallard duck, as well as shorebirds, including the Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. Gulls 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 U.S. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, an introduced species, is limited in North America to the counties surrounding St. Louis. Tower Grove Park is a well-known birdwatching area in the city.

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" that are found in nearly every pond. Some years have outbreaks of cicadas or ladybugs. Mosquitos and houseflies are common insect nuisances; because of this, windows are nearly universally fitted with screens, and "screened-in" porches are common in homes of the area. Invasive populations of honeybees have sharply declined in recent years, and numerous native species of pollinator insects have recovered to fill their ecological niche.

Metropolitan statistical area

The St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area is the largest Metropolitan Area in Missouri, and the 18th largest in the United States, and has an estimated total population of 2,866,517 as of July 1, 2007. This area includes the independent City of St. Louis (353,837) and the Missouri counties of St. Louis (1,000,510), St. Charles (338,719), Jefferson (216,469), Franklin (100,067), Lincoln (50,123), Warren (29,685), Washington (24,182), Crawford (City of Sullivan) (1,494) plus the Illinois counties of Madison (265,303), St. Clair (260,919), Macoupin (48,841), Clinton (36,633), Monroe (31,876), Jersey (22,628), Bond (18,055), and Calhoun (5,177).


The city is divided into 79 government-designated neighborhoods. The divisions have no legal standing, although some neighborhood associations administer grants or hold veto power over historic-district development. Nevertheless, the social and political influence of neighborhood identity is profound. Some hold avenues of massive stone edifices built as palaces for heads of state visiting the 1904 World's Fair. Others offer tidy working-class bungalows or loft districts. Many of them have endured as strong and cohesive communities.

Among the best-known, architecturally significant, or well-visited neighborhoods are Downtown, Midtown, Benton Park, Carondelet, the Central West End, Clayton/Tamm (Dogtown), Dutchtown South, Forest Park Southeast, Grand Center, The Hill, Lafayette Square, LaSalle Park, Old North St. Louis, Compton Heights, Princeton Heights, Shaw (home to the Missouri Botanical Garden and named after the Garden's founder, Henry Shaw), Southampton, Southwest Garden, Soulard (home of the second-largest Mardi Gras festival in the nation), Tower Grove East, Tower Grove South, Hortense Place (home to many grand mansions), Holly Hills, St. Louis Hills, and Wydown/Skinker.

St. Louis received the World Leadership Award for urban renewal in 2006 and 2007. The improvement in the quality of life in the City of St. Louis received international recognition after the award was presented.

Parks and gardens

The city operates 105 parks that serve as gathering spots for neighbors to meet, and contains playgrounds, areas for summer concerts, picnics, baseball games, tennis courts, and lakes. Forest Park, located on the western edge of the central corridor of the City of St. Louis, is one of the largest urban parks in the world, exceeding Central Park in New York City by 500 acres (2 km²).

The Missouri Botanical Garden, also known as Shaw's Garden, is one of the world's leading botanical research centers. It possesses a collection of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees, and includes the Japanese Garden, which features gravel designs and a lake filled with koi; the woodsy English Garden; the Kemper Home Gardening Center; a rose garden; the Climatron; a children's garden and playground; and many other scenic gardens. Immediately south of the Missouri Botanical Garden is Tower Grove Park, a gift to the City by Henry Shaw. Tower Grove Park is one of the oldest "walking" parks in the United States, and hosts annual outdoor concerts free to the public.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is a national park located on the downtown riverfront where the city was first founded in 1764. It commemorates the westward growth of the United States between 1803 and 1890. The centerpiece of the park is the stainless steel Gateway Arch, which is the most recognizable structure in the city. It was designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen and completed on October 28, 1965. At 630 feet (192 m), it is the tallest manmade monument in the United States. Located below the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion, which contains an extensive collection of artifacts. It tells the details of the story of the thousands of people who lived in and settled the American West during the nineteenth century. Nearby and also part of the memorial is the historic Old Courthouse, one of the oldest standing buildings in St. Louis. Begun in 1839, it was here that the first two trials of the Dred Scott case were held in 1847 and 1850. This park is also the location of the annual July 4 festival, Fair Saint Louis.



There are many museums and attractions in the city. The St. Louis Art Museum, located in the City's premier park, Forest Park , and dating from the 1904 World's Fair, houses an impressive array of modern art and ancient artifacts, with an extensive collection of master works of several centuries, including paintings by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Pissarro, Picasso, and many others. Forest Park is bigger than New York's Central Park, and it also is home to the St. Louis Zoo, the Muny, and many other attractions. The privately owned City Museum offers a variety of interesting exhibits, including several large faux caves and a huge outdoor playground. It also serves as a meeting point for St. Louis's young arts scene.

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, located in Grand Center, is an arts institution in a world-renowned building designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Tadao Ando. Also located in Grand Center is the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, this non-collecting museum is recognized nationally for the quality of its exhibitions and education programs. The Eugene Field House, located in downtown St. Louis, is a museum dedicated to the distinguished children's author. The Missouri History Museum presents exhibits and programs on a variety of topics including the 1904 World's Fair, and a comprehensive exhibit on Lewis and Clark's voyage exploring the Louisiana Purchase. The Fox Theatre, originally one of many movie theatres along Grand Boulevard, is now a newly restored theater featuring a Byzantine facade and Oriental decor. The Fox Theatre presents a Broadway Series in addition to concerts. The St. Louis Union Station is a popular tourist attraction with retail shops and a luxury hotel.

There are several notable churches in the city, including the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (more commonly known as "the New Cathedral"), a large Roman Catholic cathedral designed in the Byzantine and Romanesque styles. It is the mother church and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Louis, the principal diocese of Missouri; the diocese officially has no bishop since Raymond Burke was appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. The interior is decorated with mosaics, the largest mosaic collection in the world.

The Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (1834) (more commonly known as the "Old Cathedral") is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River. The Old Cathedral is located adjacent to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Also notable is the abbey church of Saint Louis Abbey, whose distinctive architectural style garnered multiple awards at the time of its completion.

The Gateway Arch, part of the Memorial, is arguably the city's best-known landmark, as well as a popular tourist site. This Memorial commemorates the acquisition and settlement by the citizens of the United States of America of all of the lands west of the Mississippi River that are part of the nation today. The Arch, and the entire 91 acres of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial park, occupy the exact location of the original French village of St. Louis (1764-1804). Unfortunately, no buildings from that era exist today.

The Hill is an historically Italian neighborhood where many of the area's best Italian restaurants can be found. The Hill was the home of Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola, and many other noted athletes.

Forest Park offers many of St. Louis's most popular attractions: the Saint Louis Zoological Park; the Municipal Theater (also known as The Muny, the largest and oldest outdoor musical theater in the United States); the St. Louis Science Center (with its architecturally distinctive McDonnell Planetarium); the Saint Louis Art Museum; the Missouri History Museum; several lakes, and scenic open areas. Forest Park completed a multi-million dollar renovation in 2004 for the centennial of the St. Louis World's Fair. The Zoo, Art Museum, and Science Center are all world-class institutions. The Zoo-Museum Tax District provides operating funds, so admission is free to them and the History Museum.

The Saint Louis Zoological Park, one of the oldest and largest free-admission zoos in the country, is home to an Insectarium and the Prairie Village. The St. Louis Zoo is the most visited zoo in the United States, having surpassed the San Diego Zoo in popularity. It boasts many exhibits with animal-friendly habitats. The zoo is located in Forest Park, adjacent to the St. Louis Art Museum.

The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum are located near Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis. Laclede's Landing, located on the Mississippi Riverfront directly north of the historic Eads Bridge, is popular for its restaurants and nightclubs.

St. Louis possesses several distinct 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), the Robert G. Campbell House (1852), the Old Courthouse (1845-62), the original Anheuser-Busch Brewery (1860), and two of Louis Sullivan's early skyscrapers, the Wainwright Building (1890-91) and the Union Trust Building.

On the Riverfront two sculptural groups have been designated a National Lewis and Clark site by the National Park Service. This includes a twice life-sized grouping of Lewis and Clark on the St. Louis Riverfront which commemorated the final celebration of the bicentennial of the expedition. These sculptures were done by Harry Weber

The Lemp Mansion, home of the ill-fated Lemp family, brewers of Falstaff Beer and others, is considered one of the most haunted places in the nation. It is open to the public as a restaurant, murder-mystery dinner theater, and bed and breakfast.

Entertainment and performing arts

St. Louis is home to the world-renowned Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra which was founded in 1880 and is the second oldest orchestra in the nation. The orchestra has received six Grammy Awards and fifty-six nominations. The Historic Powell Symphony Hall on North Grand Boulevard has been the permanent home of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra since 1968. Leonard Slatkin, largely credited with building the orchestra's international prominence during his 17-year tenure as Music Director, is Conductor Laureate. The current Music Director of the orchestra is David Robertson.

The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is an annual summer festival of opera performed in English, originally co-founded by Richard Gaddes in 1976. Union Avenue Opera, formed in the early 1990s, is a smaller company that performs opera in their original languages. Other classical music groups of note include the Arianna String Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, and the Young Catholic Musicians, a group for young choir and band members made up of kids from over 60 parishes all over Saint Louis.

St. Louis has long been associated with great ragtime, jazz and blues music. Early rock and roll singer/guitarist Chuck Berry is a native St. Louisan and continues to perform there several times a year. Soul music artists Ike Turner and Tina Turner and jazz innovator Miles Davis began their careers in nearby East St. Louis, Illinois. St. Louis has also been a popular stop along the infamous Chitlin Circuit. It is because of this musical tradition that the city's National Hockey League team, added in the 1967 NHL Expansion, was named the St. Louis Blues.

Popular music and entertainment in St. Louis peaked in the 1950s and 60s due to the popularity of Gaslight Square, a thriving local nightclub district that attracted nationally known musicians and performers. This area was all but extinct by the early 1970s and today is the site of a new housing development.

St. Louis is also the home to successful modern musical artists, including Living Things, Sheryl Crow, Gravity Kills, Story of the Year, Modern Day Zero, Stir, Strawfoot, Greenwheel, Ludo, 7 Shot Screamers, MU330 Lye and The Urge. In the 1990s, the metro area produced several prominent alt-country artists, including Uncle Tupelo — a Belleville, Illinois trio often considered the originators of the style, whose members went on to found Wilco and Son Volt in 1994 — and The Bottle Rockets. As of 2007 the alt-country scene has celebrated a resurgence, producing a burgeoning St. Louis Twang Scene, consisting of bands, burlesque dancers and roller derby queens. It is also home to local record label Big Muddy Records. Rap and hip-hop artists include Nelly, The Saint Lunatics, Ali, Murphy Lee, Chingy, Huey, J-Kwon, Jibbs, and others. Around 2005 the indie rock scene in St. Louis really began to develop with bands Femme Fatality, So Many Dynamos, Jumbling Towers, Gentleman Auction House, and Victoria emerging and garnering national recognition.


The theater district of St. Louis is in midtown, which is undergoing a major redevelopment and building boom. This district of the city is known as Grand Center, St. Louis. The phrase can refer to the district itself (which is located within Midtown), or to the not-for-profit agency, Grand Center, Inc. (GCI), which possesses certain quasi-governmental powers and administers arts and urban-renewal programs in the area. The district includes the Fox Theatre, one of the largest live Broadway theaters in the United States, the Powell Symphony Hall, home of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, The Sun Theater (under redevelopment), The St Louis Black Repertory Theater Company, the Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Grandel Theatre and many others.

The Muny (short for "The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis") is located in Forest Park. Seating capacity for every performance is over 13,000 people with 1500 free seats. The Muny has completed its eighty-ninth annual season for the summer of 2007 with the production of Les Misérables. The theater is influential with Actors' Equity Association.

St. Louis is home to over 81 theatre and dance companies and one of the largest theatrical production companies in the U.S.A. known as The Fox Associates. Fox Associates, L.L.C., was formed in 1981 to purchase, renovate and operate the 4,500-seat Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. The Fox, which had once been at the center of the St. Louis "movie" theater district, had been closed since 1978 and was in need of both a major restoration and new entertainment programming to elevate it once again to its rightful position as the major venue for entertainment in St. Louis. The restoration was completed and in 1982 the Fox reopened as a major entertainment venue for Broadway productions, country stars and rock, pop and jazz artists. It has since become one of the highest grossing theatres in the country. Today, The Fox Associates group has helped produce some of Broadway's biggest hit musicals and has been influential in St. Louis' theater productions.


Team Sport League Established Venue Championships
St. Louis Blues Hockey National Hockey League-Western Conference 1967 Scottrade Center 0
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Major League Baseball-National League 1892 Busch Stadium 10
St. Louis Rams Football National Football League : NFC 1936(1995 for STL) Edward Jones Dome 1
St. Louis Track Club Track & Field USATF Running Circuit-North Region 1896 Francis Field 16
River City Rascals Baseball Frontier League 1999 T.R. Hughes Ballpark 1 (As Zanesville Greys)
Gateway Grizzlies Baseball Frontier League 2001 GCS Ballpark 1
St. Louis Stunners Basketball American Basketball Association 2006 TBA
River City Rage Indoor Football United Indoor Football 2001 Family Arena
St. Louis Bandits Hockey North American Hockey League 2003 (STL since 2006) Hardee's Iceplex 2
St. Louis Aces Tennis World TeamTennis Pro League 1994 Dwight Davis Memorial Tennis Center
St. Louis Slam Football NWFA 2004 CBC High School Field
Arch Rival Rollergirls Roller Derby WFTDA 2005 All American Sports Mall
St. Louis Hurling Club Hurling North American County Board (NACB) 2002 Tower Grove Park Kennedy Field Forest Park
St. Louis Ramblers Rugby Club Rugby USA Rugby 1933 Forest Park
St. Louis Sabres Women's Rugby Club Rugby USA Rugby 1976 Forest Park
St. Louis Soccer Women's Professional Soccer 2009 Ralph Korte Stadium
St. Louis Lions Soccer USL Premier Development League, Heartland Division 2006 Tony Glavin Soccer Complex
Enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans give the city a reputation as "a top-notch sports town" and "Baseball City USA." The Sporting News rated St. Louis the nation's "Best Sports City" in 2000. The St. Louis Cardinals, one of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball, have won 10 World Championships, second only to the New York Yankees.

The city of St. Louis has earned 12 professional sports championships. The St. Louis Cardinals have won 10 World Series Championships, with one of the championships played against the old cross-city rival St. Louis Browns in 1944. The St. Louis Rams have won one Super Bowl Championship (1999). On top of that, the St. Louis Blues made 25 consecutive playoff appearances from 1979-80 to 2003-04. Despite never winning the Stanley Cup, they have made three trips to the finals (1968-1970).

St. Louis University football coach Eddie Cochems developed the first modern passing offense in American football history in 1906. Cochems' star halfback, Bradbury Robinson, threw the first legal forward pass on September 5, 1906, in a 22-0 victory over Carroll College at Waukesha, Wisconsin. SLU dropped football as an intercollegiate sport in 1949.

St. Louis was also home to three prominent twentieth-century boxers, Henry Armstrong, and brothers Leon and Michael Spinks. The two are the only brothers in boxing history to have both captured the Heavyweight boxing title. Leon's son Cory Spinks has also held a world title.

St. Louis has long had a reputation as being one of America's soccer hotbeds, and is home to what is arguably the richest soccer history in the nation. In addition to being the former home of several professional teams, including the St. Louis Stars of the NASL, St. Louis has a strong tradition of prep and select soccer, which is followed very closely by many people in the city. It has been suggested that prep soccer in St. Louis enjoys a similar following to prep hockey in Minnesota. The St. Louis University men's soccer team has made 16 NCAA Final Four appearances, and has won 10 national championships. The team consistently ranks in the Top 10 of all Division I soccer teams in attendance. Of most pride to many St. Louisans was the 1950 World Cup team, which defeated England 1-0, in what is perhaps the greatest upset in World Cup history. Five of the eleven players on the team were from St. Louis, many from the historically Italian neighborhood known as The Hill. This event was chronicled in the 2005 film "The Miracle Match". Certainly noteworthy is that fact that every U.S. World Cup team in history has included at least one St. Louisan on its roster, and there have been 20 St. Louisans elected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. St. Louis is currently without a Major League Soccer team, but is considered a leading candidate for expansion in 2011. Several current American soccer stars including Taylor Twellman, Steve Ralston, Matt Pickens, Chris Klein, Brad Davis, Mike Sorber, and Pat Noonan, all hail from St. Louis.

In 2006, the College Cup was played at Hermann Stadium on the campus of Saint Louis University. The Scottrade Center hosted the 2007 Frozen Four college ice hockey tournament on April 5 and April 7, 2007. The Scottrade Center also hosts the annual "Braggin' Rights" game, a men's college basketball rivalry game between the universities of Illinois and Missouri. St. Louis is roughly equidistant from the two campuses.

In March 2005, the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis hosted the final two rounds of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, also known as the Final Four. In April 2009, the Edward Jones Dome will host the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship Final Four. Gateway International Raceway hosts NHRA Drag Racing and NASCAR racing events east of the city in Madison, Illinois.

There are also several minor league teams in the area. The Gateway Grizzlies (Minor League Baseball) of the Frontier League, which plays at GCS Ballpark across the river in Sauget, Illinois. The River City Rascals (Minor League Baseball) also of the Frontier League, play at T.R. Hughes Stadium in nearby O'Fallon, Missouri. The Missouri River Otters (United Hockey League) have now folded; they used to play at Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. The River City Rage are an Arena Football team that play in United Indoor Football at Family Arena. The St. Louis Stunners are a basketball team that play in the newly reincarnated American Basketball Association.

St. Louis is also one of the few cities in the country that plays host to local Corkball leagues. Corkball is a "mini-baseball" game featuring a 1.6 oz. ball and bat with a barrel that measures just 1.5". Corkball is St. Louis's classic baseball game. Originally played on the streets and alleys of St. Louis in the early 1900s, today the game has leagues formed around the country as a result of St. Louis servicemen introducing the game to their buddies during World War II and the Korean conflict. It has many of the features of baseball, yet can be played in a very small area because there is no base-running.

On September 11, 2007, officials announced plans for St. Louis council to build a soccer-specific stadium in Collinsville, which would have paved the way for a St. Louis team to enter Major League Soccer in 2009 as the 16th team; however, MLS decided to award the 16th franchise to Philadelphia instead. St. Louis is still in the running for teams 17 and 18, though, expected to start play by 2011. Also, St. Louis will have one of the seven teams competing in the inaugural season of Women's Professional Soccer, which will start play in Spring 2009, and increase to ten teams by 2010.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the region's major daily newspaper. Founded by Joseph Pulitzer in the 1800s, the paper was owned by Pulitzer, Inc. until 2005, when the company was acquired by Lee Enterprises. The company also owns the Suburban Journals, a collection of community newspapers that serve many St. Louis neighborhoods in addition to numerous suburban cities.

The St. Louis Business Journal, published weekly on Fridays, covers the region's business news.

In 1900, St. Louis had at least five daily newspapers: the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the St. Louis Republic in the morning, and the Post-Dispatch and Star-Chronicle in the afternoon, as well as the German-language Westliche Post. One by one, these papers, already consolidated as evidenced by the hyphenated names, folded or further consolidated. The Post-Dispatch bought out its last remaining afternoon competitor, the Star-Times, in 1951. Until the mid-1980s, the morning Globe-Democrat, which was editorially more conservative than the Post-Dispatch, served as the Post's main rival. Although the Post-Dispatch and the Globe-Democrat began a joint operating agreement in the late 1970s, the Globe-Democrat folded shortly after the Post-Dispatch switched from afternoon to morning publication. An attempt to revive the Globe-Democrat as an independent paper went bankrupt, and a separate attempt to start a new evening paper in 1989, the St. Louis Sun, failed in less than a year.

The city's main weekly newspapers are the various neighborhood papers which together form the "Suburban Journals" and the primary alternative weekly publication is the Riverfront Times. Three weeklies – the St. Louis Argus (est. 1912), St. Louis American (est. 1928), and St. Louis Sentinel (est. 1968) – serve the African-American community. A variety of glossy monthly and quarterly publications, including St. Louis Magazine, cover topics such as local history, cuisine, and lifestyles. St. Louis is also home to the nation's last remaining metropolitan journalism review, the St. Louis Journalism Review, based at Webster University in the suburb of Webster Groves.

The St. Louis metro area is served by a wide variety of local television stations, and is the 21st largest designated market area (DMA) in the U. S., with 1,522,380 homes (1.51% of the total U.S.). The major network television affiliates are KTVI 2 (FOX), KMOV 4 (CBS), KSDK 5 (NBC), KETC 9 (PBS), KPLR-TV 11 (CW), KDNL 30 (ABC), and WRBU 46 (MNTV).

The region's radio airwaves offer a variety of locally produced programming. KMOX (1120 AM), which pioneered the call-in talk radio format in 1960, retains significant regional influence due to its 50,000-watt, clear-channel signal and an unusually active newsroom operation. Public radio station KWMU (90.7 FM), an NPR affiliate, also provides extensive, locally produced programming treating social issues, politics, and the arts. St. Louis is one of only a handful of U. S. cities to have its own independent community radio station, KDHX (88.1 FM), which features a wide range of music and talk from local residents. Washington University in St. Louis' college radio station, KWUR (90.3 FM), also provides community broadcasting and an eclectic mix of underground music, although with an effective radiated power of only ten watts, it is only heard on the campus and in the immediately adjacent neighborhoods.


Many well-known U.S. corporations make St. Louis their home. Beer commercials have made the city well known as the home of Anheuser-Busch Breweries. (Recent legislation has even proposed making Budweiser the official beer of the State of Missouri.) Local brokerages Stifel Nicolaus and Edward Jones, as well as online brokerage firm Scottrade plus Wachovia Securities (formerly A.G. Edwards, merged into Wachovia Corporation) are major players on the national financial landscape. It is also the site for the headquarters of Energizer, the battery company. Neighboring suburbs host 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. Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefits management firm, has its corporate headquarters in the suburbs of St. Louis and recently announced plans to construct its new headquarters near the campus of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Hardee's corporate headquarters lies in the metro area. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is headquartered in Clayton. Emerson Electric is headquartered in the north side of St. Louis. Charter Communications, the nation's fourth largest broadband communications company, is also headquartered in suburban St. Louis. The corporate headquarters of Medicine Shoppe International a subsidiary Katz Group of Companies makes its home in the western suburbs. In addition, early in the 20th Century, St. Louis was home to brass era automobile maker Clymer.

In recent years the corporate landscape has evolved, with several corporate pillars leaving the city. Mallinckrodt, headquartered in the St. Louis region for more than 130 years, was purchased by Tyco International (now Covidien) in 2000, though most of the former Mallinckrodt facilities remain in operation as the new Tyco Mallinckrodt in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood, Missouri. In the Retail industry The May Department Stores Company, which owned Famous-Barr as well as the legendary Marshall Field's, was purchased by Federated Department Stores in 2005. Federated now maintains its Midwest headquarters in St. Louis, known as "Macy’s Midwest" it operates 110 stores in nine states. Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC), now AT&T, relocated to San Antonio, Texas in 1993 maintaining their Yellow Pages headquarters in St. Louis as well as its Southwest operations center in St. Louis. Ralston Purina, was acquired by the animal human-food maker Nestle, 2001 to make the world's largest food company and renamed the new subsidiary Purina. Many of the Ralston Purina divested business still remain in headquartered St. Louis including the aforementioned Energizer, Ralcorp, Protein Technologies Inc., and The Solae Company.

St. Louis remains home to railway car plants; two DaimlerChrysler plants in the nearby suburb of Fenton, where minivans and pickup trucks are built; a General Motors plant in suburban Wentzville. In 1997, St. Louis-based McDonnell-Douglas merged with Boeing. With the new corporate world headquarters in Chicago, St. Louis became the divisional headquarters for Boeing's $27 billion-per-year Integrated Defense Systems unit and home for the company-wide R&D unit, Phantom Works. Boeing manufactures the F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-15 Eagle, and JDAM smart bombs in St. Louis region, and has developed — at times secretly — several unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs).

As is the trend across the country, most St. Louis banks have been purchased by out-of-town banks, but this has created the establishment of many newly formed banks headquartered in St. Louis. The city retains a Federal Reserve Bank.

The region has built up a formidable health care industry. This is dominated by BJC HealthCare, which operates Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital, plus eleven others. BJC benefits from a symbiotic relationship with Washington University School of Medicine, which is a major center of medical research. Other major players include SSM Health Care, St. John's Mercy, and the Tenet Healthcare Corporation chain. In addition there is Saint Louis University School of Medicine which is a leader in several areas of medical research and works with hospitals including Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital and Saint Louis University Hospital. St. Louis is also home to two companies that produce radiation therapy planning software, CMS, Inc. and Multidata Systems International.

St. Louis housing costs are significantly (30.7%) below the national average ($217,200). From the mid-1990s onward, the City of St. Louis itself has seen a major surge in housing rehabilitation as well as new construction on cleared sites. As a rule, other costs of living also are at or slightly below the national average. Wages tend to reflect these facts, likewise being at or slightly below the average.


Like other large American cities, St. Louis experienced a large population shift to the suburbs in the twentieth century; first because of increased demand for new housing following the Second World War, and later in response to demographic changes, namely white flight, whether real or perceived, in existing neighborhoods. The long standing population decline of the city has begun to reverse itself in recent years. Although recent census reports show population growth, St. Louis has had a long history of population decline. Between 1950 and 2000, the city has lost people at a rate faster than any other major American city, losing more than half its population: in 1950, it had a population of 856,796; in 2000, the population was 348,189. As of 2006, the population of St. Louis has shown a small increase to 353,837.

As of the census of 2000, there were 348,189 people, 147,076 households, and 76,920 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,622.9 people per square mile (2,171.2/km²). There were 176,354 housing units at an average density of 2,847.9/sq mi (1,099.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city of St. Louis (as separate and distinct from St. Louis County and the rest of the MSA) was 51.20% African American, 43.85% White, 1.98% Asian, 0.27% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.80% from other ethnic groups, and 1.88% of two or more ethnicities. Hispanic or Latino of any ethnic group were 2.02% of the population. Historically, North St. Louis City has been primarily African American and South St. Louis City has been primarily European American. Since the mid-1990s, an estimated 35,000 - 45,000 Bosnian immigrants have settled in and around in the Bevo neighborhood of south St. Louis, making St. Louis one of the largest enclaves of ethnic Bosnians in the country.

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

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

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 versus $26,987 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,108.

Law and government

The City of St. Louis has a mayor-council type government, with the legislative authority vested in a Board of Aldermen and the mayor having primary executive authority. 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. Unlike many other cities, the mayor shares some executive authority with 9 other independent citywide elected officials, including a treasurer, comptroller, and collector of revenue. These officials have significant influence. By custom and tradition the individual aldermen have a great deal of influence over decisions impacting the ward they represent on matters ranging from zoning changes, to street resurfacing.

Municipal elections in St. Louis city 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 Party has 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 City and County separated 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 Zoo, St. 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.

The City of St. Louis is split roughly in half north to south by Missouri's first and third U.S. Congressional districts. Each district also includes a significant portion of St. Louis County. The City of St. Louis includes all of 9 Missouri House of Representatives districts and a portion of two others. Two Missouri State Senate districts are entirely within the city's boundaries and a third district is split between St. Louis City and County.

Crime and social issues

According to Morgan Quitno's "14th Annual America's safest/most dangerous cities" report, St. Louis dropped from the number one "Most Dangerous" city in America in 2006 back to the number two most dangerous city in the USA in 2007.. In the year between, overall crime dropped 15.6%, reaching a 35-year low, but homicides increased by seven to total 138.. Reports such as these have long given St. Louis the perception of being a high crime area. However, the FBI and some criminologists do dispute making these rankings, maintaining that it is difficult to compare statistics between cities.

For the past 25 years, St. Louis has a number of successful integrated neighborhoods in the "central corridor" stretching from Soulard, home of the nation's second largest annual Mardi Gras Festival and Parade, to Lafayette Square near the Mississippi River and the Central West End near Forest Park. Overall, however, the city's African American population is concentrated in north St. Louis city. Although some northern St. Louis neighborhoods, such as Baden, North Pointe and Penrose, are stable and have a large number of middle-class residents, many isolated northside neighborhoods suffer from poverty, unemployment, crime and dilapidated housing. More recently, a number of near southside neighborhoods, especially around Tower Grove Park, have also successfully integrated. These areas have seen an influx of residents of various ethnicities, including Vietnamese and other immigrant groups. Since the upheavals in the Balkans, many Bosnian refugees have been settled in south St. Louis City, particularly in the Bevo neighborhood. They have been responsible for an upturn in the economic situation there as they have opened stores, restaurants, and other businesses.

The St. Louis area has made tremendous strides in remedying pollution compared to other MSAs. The state of Missouri requires gasoline stations in the metro area to sell special, reformulated gasoline. Most cars owned by residents of St. Louis and the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin must pass an automobile pollution test every other year. St. Louis recently became one of the first cities in the country (prior to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco) to be recognized by the United States Green Building Council as having a LEED for Homes Platinum residence. The regional Realtor multiple listing service was just the 3rd system in the country to add green home attributes and certifications (LEED-H, HBA-GBI, and Energy Star) as search criteria. This is evidence of "green building" in the metro area.

As of July 1, 2005, the city of St. Louis extended healthcare benefits to the domestic partners of all city employees, including same-sex partners and others living in committed but unmarried relationships, as well as children of such families.


For a complete list of high schools in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, see St. Louis Metro Area High Schools

Public education

Within the city proper, the 168-year-old St. Louis Public School District controls the 92 schools in the public school system. With more than 38,000 students, the district is the largest in the state of Missouri and the 108th largest in the nation. In July 2006, the district fired superintendent Dr. Creg E. Williams, and Dr. Diana Bourisaw was hired in July 2006 as his replacement. Subsequently, the Missouri Board of Education voted to revoke the districts accreditation, igniting controversy. The district is currently pushing ahead with its 2011 initiative, which calls for improved graduation rates, higher test scores, and stronger student attendance. Many smaller public districts are defined throughout the wider St. Louis area. The MAP, or Missouri Assessment Program, is a system of standardized tests which students take yearly; not so much a measure of students' individual aptitude as an overall assessment of their schools and districts, scores are used as indicators of the institutions' efficiency, and many factors, especially distribution of public funds, are determined based on student performance.

Private education

St. Louis has an abundance of private high schools, both secular and religiously affiliated, including a multitude of Catholic high schools. The St. Louis Metropolitan area has the most Catholic high schools in the nation, and a host of other denominational secondary private schools, including:

Religious Schools include:

Notable non-denominational high schools include:

  • John Burroughs School
  • Whitfield School
  • Mary Institute Country Day School (MICDS)
  • Crossroads School
  • Thomas Jefferson School

Higher education

For a complete list of colleges and universities in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, see Colleges and Universities in Greater St. Louis

According to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 21.4 percent of the adult population in St. Louis holds a bachelors degree compared with the national average of 27 percent. Almost 209,000 students are enrolled in the area's nearly 40 colleges universities and technical schools. Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University are the two largest private universities in St. Louis, though most of Washington University is in St. Louis County. St. Louis is also home to Concordia Seminary, the oldest and largest Lutheran seminary in the United States.

In 2006 approximately 5,287 associates degrees were granted, almost a third of these from the St. Louis Community Colleges. As the largest Community college system in the state of Missouri, more than half of the households in St. Louis have at least one member who attended or attends the college. Outside the city, the University of Missouri–St. Louis is the major comprehensive public university in Greater St. Louis and more than 20 percent of all St. Louis area residents with a bachelor degree attended UM-St. Louis.



Due to its colleges, hospitals, and companies like Monsanto, St. Louis is recognized as a world class center for medicine and biotechnology. Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in conjunction with the Washington University School of Medicine, is the fifth largest in the world. In addition, the School of Medicine consistently ranks in the top five nationally. Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital also operate the new and well-respected Siteman Cancer Center The Genome Sequencing Center, also part of the Washington University School of Medicine, played a major role in the Human Genome Project. Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, operates one of its three major US research sites in western St. Louis County where it is completing work on an additional building. Additional biotechs include the Danforth Center, the Solae Company and Sigma-Aldrich. Saint Louis University Medical School awarded the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River; it operates the Saint Louis University Hospital as well as a cancer center and a bioethics institute, and is affiliated with SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.


Roads and highways

St. Louis is serviced by many interstate freeways (I-70, I-55, I-44, I-64, I-255, I-170, and I-270), as well as numerous state and county roadways. Beginning in the summer of 2007, I-64 will be under construction for renovation and improvements. In 2007, the interchange between I-170 and I-64 was demolished and a new interchange was added. In 2008 the portion of the I-64 expressway between Ballas Rd. and I-170 will be closed and reconstructed.

In 2009 the portion of the I-64 expressway between I-170 and Kingshighway will be closed and reconstructed. This will significantly impact the flow of east-west traffic right through the heart of the city. All info about the expressway project can be found at The city in 2006 was listed as having the ninth worst traffic commutes in the country However, the city has a new traffic monitoring system: The Gateway Guide This system informs commuters of drive times and accident/road construction via message boards throughout the metropolitan freeways. Most media outlets use the systems' hundreds of traffic cameras to monitor traffic conditions as well.


Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is located in suburban northwest St. Louis County, but is owned and operated by the city of St. Louis. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have the greatest number of flights serving the airport. In 2003, the number of flights operated at the airport had been sharply reduced with the acquisition by American Airlines of TWA and the reduction of service by the combined airline. American Airlines retains Lambert-St. Louis International Airport as its fourth largest hub worldwide. In 2007, many of the reduction in flights and non-stop services have been added again by American Airlines and new carriers to STL. Today, non-stop service to over 90 cities throughout the country and world are available from Lambert. Southwest Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines also use St. Louis as focus hubs today.

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is located east of the city in Illinois adjacent to Scott Air Force Base. Constructed as a reliever airport to Lambert, it has failed to attract any major airlines, primarily due to its distance from downtown and low population in its immediate vicinity in spite of free parking and proximity to the light rail system. Shortly after its opening, it was used by some smaller airlines, including Pan Am, an airline operating a few Boeing 727s and not related to the original Pan American World Airways.

Spirit of St. Louis Airport, located in nearby Chesterfield, Missouri is the second largest of the country's general aviation airports, with the first being Van Nuys Airport located in California.

Public Transportation: Buses/Light Rail

Public transit serving the St. Louis area is predominantly provided by Metro (formerly known as the Bi-State Development Agency). Metro is a bi-state agency that operates most of the region's bus system and MetroLink, the region's light-rail system. MetroLink provides service on two lines that connect Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to Downtown St. Louis, Central and southern suburban St. Louis, Clayton, Missouri (St. Louis' second largest business district), and the metro east suburbs in Illinois such as East St. Louis, Fairview Heights, and Scott Air Force Base. MetroLink runs on surface, elevated and subway rights of way, with a number of grade separated crossings of major roadways. In the central business district, the system runs through historic railroad subway tunnels built in 1874 to bypass the already built up downtown and connect the railroads to the Eads Bridge. Madison County Transit provides bus service to downtown from nearby Madison County, Illinois.

Passenger train service is available via Amtrak to Chicago, Kansas City, and Texas from the St. Louis Amtrak station just southeast of Union Station. A new Multi-Modal transportation center, known as The Gateway Transportation Center, is under construction. It will serve as a hub for Metro buses, MetroLink rail, Greyhound buses, and Amtrak. The new station is expected to be completed by Fall 2008. Other regional train stations served by Amtrak exist in the suburb of Kirkwood and nearby Alton, Illinois.

In the first half of the 20th century, St. Louis enjoyed a moderately extensive streetcar system, but after World War II, streetcar service was gradually phased out, and in 1966 the very last line stopped running. Although nothing comparable to the old system exists today, many bus routes and a few segments of MetroLink closely follow the former streetcar lines.

Sister cities

St. Louis has fourteen sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

Notable Residents

See also


External links

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