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about Saint Louis

Saint Louis, which is named after Louis IX of France, is the name of an independent city (the City of Saint Louis) in the state of Missouri and its metropolitan area ("Greater Saint Louis"). The city borders, but is not a part of, Saint Louis County, Missouri. The Saint Louis metropolitan area, which includes counties in both Missouri and Illinois, is the 18th largest in the United States, with a total population of 2,603,607 as of the 2000 census. While the population of the metropolitan area has been increasing, the population of the City of Saint Louis (348,189) has been declining since the 1950s, as many have moved to the many suburbs in Saint Louis County, or to other parts of the metropolitan area.

Nickname: the "Gateway City" ("Gateway to the West") Former Nickname: "Mound City"

Saint Louis geography

The city of Saint Louis extends along the western banks of the Mississippi River, just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Much of the area is a gently rolling prairie with low hills and broad, shallow valleys. Both the Mississippi River and the Missouri River have cut large valleys with wide flood plains. Limestone underlies much of the area and there are some sinkholes and caves, although most of the caves have been sealed shut.

The western and northern boundaries of Saint Louis County are defined by the Missouri River. Near the southern boundary of Saint Louis County is the Meramec River.

At the southern boundary of the city of Saint Louis (separating it from the 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 is an open channel with a sewer at the bottom. Because of poor water quality, the River des Peres has acquired some uncomplimentary local nicknames, such the "River de Pew" and "River Despair". 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 or, as it is commonly known, the Saint Louis World's Fair, and the 1904 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic Games held in North America. At the time, Saint Louis was the fourth most populous city in the United States.

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 or 6.39%) of it is water.

Saint Louis history

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. St. Louis was in Louisiana Territory, which had belonged to France but, after the settlement of the French and Indian War in 1763, was controlled by Spain. Louisiana Territory was returned to France in the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800. Saint Louis was acquired from France by the United States under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

French explorers Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette had begun exploring the Mississippi River Valley in 1673. In 1682, La Salle claimed the entire valley for France, calling it "Louisiana" for King Louis XIV. The region explored and settled by the French was also known as "Illinois Country".

A settlement was established across the river from what is now Saint Louis, at Cahokia in 1699. There were settlements farther down river at Kaskaskia, Illinois, Prairie du Pont, Fort de Chartres, and Sainte Genevieve.

Catholic priests established a small mission at what is now St. Louis, in 1703. The mission was later moved across the Mississippi, but the small river at the site (now a channelized drainage ditch near the southern boundary of the City of Saint Louis) still bears the name River Des Peres (River of the Fathers).

Pierre Laclede, 13-year old Auguste Chouteau, and a small band of men left New Orleans in 1763 and traveled north along the Mississipi River. In November, they landed a few miles downstream of the confluence with the Missouri River at a site where wooded limestone bluffs rose 40 feet above the river. The men returned to Fort de Chartres for the winter. In February 1764, Laclede sent Chouteau and thirty men to begin construction.

When it was learned that the Treaty of Paris (1763) had given England rights to all land east of the Mississippi, Frenchmen who had settled east of the river moved to the new settlement west of the river. "Laclede's Village", as it was called, grew quickly.

Other settlements were established at Saint Charles, Carondelet (now a part of the city of Saint Louis), Saint Ferdinand (now Florissant), and Portage des Sioux.

From 1766 to 1768, St. Louis was governed by the French lieutenant governor, Louis Saint Ange de Bellerive. After 1768, St. Louis was governed by a series of Spanish governors. They continued to administer the city even after Louisiana was secretly returned to France in 1800, by which time the population of St. Louis had grown to about a thousand.

The transfer of power from Spain (because of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803) was made official in a ceremony called "Three Flags Day". This began on March 8, 1804, with the lowering of the Spanish flag and the raising of the French flag. The French flag was flown for one day only and was replaced on March 10, 1804, with the United States flag.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition left the Saint Louis area in May 1804, reached the Pacific Ocean the summer of 1805, and returned to Saint Louis on Sept. 23, 1806. Many other explorers, settlers, and trappers (such as Ashley's Hundred) would later take a similar route to the West.

The steamboat era began in Saint Louis on July 27, 1817, with the arrival of the "Zebulon M. Pike." Rapids north of the city made Saint Louis the northernmost navigable port for many large boats, and Pike and her sisters soon transformed St. Louis into a bustling boomtown, commercial center, and inland port. By the 1850s, Saint 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.

Missouri became a state in 1820. Saint Louis was incorporated as a city on December 9, 1822. A U.S. Arsenal was constructed at Saint Louis in 1827.

Immigrants flooded into Saint Louis after 1840, particularly from Germany and Ireland, driven by an Old World potato famine. The population of Saint Louis grew from fewer than 20,000 in 1840, to 77,860 in 1850, to just over 160,000 by 1860.

Two disasters occurred in 1849: a cholera epidemic killed nearly a tenth of the population, and a fire destroyed numerous steamboats and a large portion of the city.

In the first half of the 19th century, a second channel developed in the Mississippi River at Saint Louis. An island ("Bloody Island") formed between the two channels, and a smaller island ("Duncan's Island") developed below Saint 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 (1861-1865) barely touched St. Louis; the area saw only a few skirmishes in which Union forces prevailed. But the war shut down trade with the South, devastating the city's economy. Missouri was nominally a slave state, but its economy did not depend on slavery, and it never seceded from the Union. The arsenal at Saint Louis was used during the war to construct ironclad ships for the Union.

Saint Louis is one of several cities that claims to have the world's first skyscraper. The Wainwright Building, an 11-story structure designed by Louis H. Sullivan and built in 1891, still stands at Chestnut and Seventh Streets and is used by the State of Missouri as a government office building.

Nikola Tesla made the first public demonstration of radio communication here in 1893. Addressing the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the National Electric Light Association, he described and demonstrated in detail the principles of radio communication. The apparatus that he used contained all the elements that were incorporated into radio systems before the development of the vacuum tube.

The uranium used in the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb was refined in Saint Louis by Mallinckrodt Chemical Co., starting in 1942.

The Pruitt-Igoe housing project, built in 1955 and demolished in 1972, is one of the most infamous failures of urban planning. (The buildings were the first major work by Minoru Yamasaki, who later designed the World Trade Center.)

During the last half century, the city of Saint Louis, whose boundaries have been constrained since 1876, has suffered from population decline:

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Saint Louis, Missouri".

This city is also known as: Saint Louis.

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