St. Louis facts

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St. Louis
Independent city
City of St. Louis
From top left: Forest Park Jewel Box, MetroLink at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, Apotheosis of St. Louis at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Gateway Arch and the St. Louis skyline, Busch Stadium, and the St. Louis Zoo
From top left: Forest Park Jewel Box, MetroLink at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, Apotheosis of St. Louis at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Gateway Arch and the St. Louis skyline, Busch Stadium, and the St. Louis Zoo
Flag of St. Louis
Flag
Official seal of St. Louis
Seal
Nickname(s): Gateway to the West, The Gateway City, Mound City, The Lou, Rome of the West, River City
Country United States
State Missouri
County None (Independent city)
Metro Greater St. Louis
Founded 1764
Incorporated 1822
Named for Louis IX of France
Government
 • Type Mayor–council government
 • Mayor

Lyda Krewson

(D)
 • Deputy Mayor Nicole Hudson
 • Deputy Mayor Linda Martínez
Area
 • Independent city 66 sq mi (170 km2)
 • Land 61.9 sq mi (160 km2)
 • Water 4.1 sq mi (11 km2)
 • Urban 923.6 sq mi (2,392.2 km2)
 • Metro 8,458 sq mi (21,910 km2)
Elevation 466 ft (142 m)
Highest elevation 614 ft (187 m)
Population (2010)
 • Independent city 319,294
 • Estimate (2016) 311,404
 • Rank US: 61st
MO: 2nd
Midwest: 11th
 • Density 4,840/sq mi (1,868/km2)
 • Urban 2,150,706 (US: 20th)
 • Metro 2,811,588 (US: 20th)
 • CSA 2,916,447 (US: 19th)
Demonym(s) St. Louisan
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP Codes
Area code 314
Interstates I-44.svg I-55.svg I-64.svg I-70.svg
Airports Lambert St. Louis International Airport
Waterways Mississippi River
Website stlouis-mo.gov

St. Louis (/snt ˈlɪs/) is an independent city and major U.S. port in the state of Missouri, built along the western bank of the Mississippi River, on the border with Illinois. The city had an estimated 2016 population of 311,404, and is the cultural and economic center of the Greater St. Louis area (home to 2,916,447 people), making it the largest metropolitan area in Missouri and the 19th-largest in the United States.

Prior to European settlement, the area was a major regional center of Native American Mississippian culture. The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and named after Louis IX of France. In 1764, following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War, the area was ceded to Spain and retroceded back to France in 1800. In 1803, the United States acquired the territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase. During the 19th century, St. Louis developed as a major port on the Mississippi River. In the 1870 Census, St. Louis was ranked as the 4th-largest city in the United States. It separated from St. Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its own political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Summer Olympics.

The economy of metro St. Louis relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism. Its metro area is home to major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Express Scripts, Centene, Boeing Defense, Emerson, Energizer, Panera, Enterprise, Peabody Energy, Ameren, Ralcorp, Monsanto, Scottrade, Edward Jones, Go Jet, Purina and Sigma-Aldrich. This city has also become known for its growing medical, pharmaceutical and research presence. St. Louis has 2 professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. The city is commonly identified with the 630-foot (192 m) tall Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis.

History

Mississippian culture and early exploration

Historical affiliations

 Kingdom of France 1690s-1763
Template:Country data Kingdom of Spain 1763–1800
Template:Country data French First Republic 1800–1803
 United States 1803–present

Cahokia Aerial HRoe 2015
Artists conception of the Mississippian culture Cahokia Mounds Site in Illinois, directly across the Mississippi River from modern St. Louis.

The area that would become St. Louis was a center of the Native American Mississippian culture, which built numerous temple and residential earthwork mounds on both sides of the Mississippi River. Their major regional center was at Cahokia Mounds, active from 900 AD to 1500 AD. Due to numerous major earthworks within St. Louis boundaries, the city was nicknamed as the "Mound City." These mounds were mostly demolished during the city's development. Historic Native American tribes in the area included the Siouan-speaking Osage people, whose territory extended west, and the Illiniwek.

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

ChouteauMansion
The home of Auguste Chouteau in St. Louis. Chouteau and Pierre Laclède founded St. Louis in 1764.

The earliest European settlements in the area were built in Illinois Country (also known as Upper Louisiana) on the east side of the Mississippi River during the 1690s and early 1700s at Cahokia, Kaskaskia, and Fort de Chartres. Migrants from the French villages on the opposite side of the Mississippi River (e.g. Kaskaskia) founded Ste. Genevieve in the 1730s.

In early 1764, after France lost the 7 Years' War, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteau founded what was to become the city of St. Louis. (French lands east of the Mississippi had been ceded to Great Britain and the lands west of the Mississippi to Spain; France and Spain were 18th-century allies and both were Catholic nations.) The early French families built the city's economy on the fur trade with the Osage, as well as with more distant tribes along the Missouri River. The Chouteau brothers gained a monopoly from Spain on the fur trade with Santa Fe. French colonists used African slaves as domestic servants and workers in the city.

From 1762 to 1803 European control of the area west of the Mississippi to the northernmost part of the Missouri River basin, called Louisiana, was assumed by the Spanish as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, St. Louis was attacked by British forces, mostly Native American allies, in the Battle of St. Louis.

City founding (French and Spanish Louisiana period)

Stlouis1780
A map of St. Louis, Illinois in 1780. From the archives in Seville, Spain

The founding of St. Louis began in 1763. Pierre Laclede led an expedition to set up a fur-trading post farther up the Mississippi River. Before then, Laclede had been a very successful merchant. For this reason, he and his trading partner Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent were offered monopolies for six years of the fur trading in that area.

Though they were originally only granted rights to set-up a trading post, Laclede and other members of his expedition quickly set up a settlement. Some historians believe that Laclede's determination to create this settlement was the result of his affair with a married woman Marie-Thérèse Bourgeois Chouteau in New Orleans.

Laclede on his initial expedition was accompanied by his young stepson, Auguste Chouteau. Some historians still debate which of the two men was the true founder of St. Louis. The reason for this lingering question is that all the documentation of the founding was loaned and subsequently destroyed in a fire.

St-louis-attack
In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, St. Louis was attacked by British forces, mostly Native American allies, in the Battle of St. Louis.

For the first few years of St. Louis's existence, the city was not recognized by any of the governments. Though originally thought to be under the control of the Spanish government, no one asserted any authority over the settlement, and thus St. Louis had no local government. This led Laclede to assume a position of civil control, and all problems were disposed in public settings, such as communal meetings. In addition, Laclede granted new settlers lots in town and the surrounding countryside. In hindsight, many of these original settlers thought of these first few years as "the golden age of St. Louis."

SaintLouis1790s
A map depicting the town of St. Louis in the 1790s, then part of Spanish Louisiana

By 1765, the city began receiving notifications and visits from representatives and military actives from members of the English, French, and Spanish governments. The Indians in the local area expressed dissatisfaction to being under the command and control of British forces. One of the great Ottawa chieftains, Pontiac, was angered by the change of power and potential for the British to come into their lands. He desired to fight against them, but many of the St. Louis inhabitants refused.

St. Louis was transferred to the French First Republic in 1800 (although all of the colonial lands continued to be administered by Spanish officials), then sold by the French to the U.S. in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. St. Louis became the capital of, and gateway to, the new territory. Shortly after the official transfer of authority was made, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson. The expedition departed from St. Louis in May 1804 along the Missouri River to explore the vast territory. There were hopes of finding a water route to the Pacific Ocean, but the party had to go overland in the Upper West. They reached the Pacific Ocean via the Columbia River in summer 1805. They returned, reaching St. Louis on September 23, 1806. Both Lewis and Clark lived in St. Louis after the expedition. Many other explorers, settlers, and trappers (such as Ashley's Hundred) would later take a similar route to the West.

19th century

St Louis Birdseye Map 1896
An illustrated map by F. Graf entitled Saint Louis in 1896
St. Louis, Mo. tornado May 27, 1896 south broadway
South Broadway after a May 27, 1896, tornado

The city elected its first municipal legislators (called trustees) in 1808. Steamboats first arrived in St. Louis in 1818, improving connections with New Orleans and eastern markets. Missouri was admitted as a state in 1821. St. Louis was incorporated as a city in 1822, and continued to develop largely due to its busy port and trade connections. Slaves worked in many jobs on the waterfront as well as on the riverboats. Given the city's location close to the free state of Illinois and others, some slaves escaped to freedom. Others, especially women with children, sued in court in freedom suits, and several prominent local attorneys aided slaves in these suits. About half the slaves achieved freedom in hundreds of suits before the American Civil War.

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

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

After the war, St. Louis profited via trade with the West, aided by the 1874 completion of the Eads Bridge, named for its architect. Industrial developments on both banks of the river were linked by the bridge, the first in the mid-west over the Mississippi River. The bridge connects St. Louis, Missouri to East St. Louis, Illinois. The Eads Bridge became an iconic image of the city of St. Louis, from the time of its erection until 1965 when the Gateway Arch Bridge was constructed. The bridge crosses the St. Louis riverfront between Laclede's Landing, to the north, and the grounds of the Gateway Arch, to the south. Today the road deck has been restored, allowing vehicular and pedestrian traffic to cross the river. The St. Louis MetroLink light rail system has used the rail deck since 1993. An estimated 8,500 vehicles pass through it daily.

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

20th century

Louisiana Purchase Exposition St. Louis 1904
The Government Building at the 1904 World's Fair

In 1904, the city hosted the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics, becoming the first non-European city to host the Olympics. Permanent facilities and structures remaining from the fair are Forest Park and associated structures within its boundaries: the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri History Museum, as well as Tower Grove Park and the Botanical Gardens.

In the aftermath of emancipation of slaves following the Civil War, social and racial discrimination in housing and employment were common in St. Louis. Starting in the 1910s, many property deeds included racial or religious restrictive covenants against new immigrants and migrants. In the first half of the 20th century, St. Louis was a destination for many African Americans in the Great Migration from the rural South seeking better opportunities. During World War II, the NAACP campaigned to integrate war factories, and restrictive covenants were prohibited in 1948 by the Shelley v. Kraemer U.S. Supreme Court decision, which case originated as a lawsuit in St. Louis. In 1964 civil rights activists protested at the construction of the Gateway Arch to publicize their effort to gain entry for African Americans into the skilled trade unions, where they were underrepresented. The Department of Justice filed the first suit against the unions under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the first part of the century, St. Louis had some of the worst air pollution in the United States. In April, 1940 the city banned the use of soft coal mined in nearby states. The city hired inspectors to ensure only hard anthracite was burned. by 1946 the city had reduced air pollution by about three-quarters.

FromLacledesLanding
View of the Arch (completed 1965) from Laclede's Landing, the only remaining section of St. Louis's commercial riverfront.

De jure educational segregation continued into the 1950s, and de facto segregation continued into the 1970s, leading to a court challenge and interdistrict desegregation agreement. Students have been bussed mostly from the city to county school districts to have opportunities for integrated classes, although the city has created magnet schools to attract students.

St. Louis, like many Midwestern cities, expanded in the early 20th century due to industrialization, which provided jobs to new generations of immigrants and migrants from the South. It reached its peak population of 856,796 at the 1950 census. Suburbanization from the 1950s through the 1990s dramatically reduced the city's population, as did restructuring of industry and loss of jobs. The effects of suburbanization were exacerbated by the relatively small geographical size of St. Louis due to its earlier decision to become an independent city, and it lost much of its tax base. During the 19th and 20th century, most major cities aggressively annexed surrounding areas as residential development occurred away from the central city; however, St. Louis was unable to do so.

In the 21st century, the city of St. Louis contains only 11% of its total metropolitan population, while among the top 20 metro areas in the United States, the central cities contain an average of 24% of total metropolitan area population. Although small increases in population have taken place in St. Louis during the early 2000s, overall the city lost population from 2000 to 2010. Immigration has continued, with the city attracting Vietnamese, Latinos from Mexico and Central America, and Bosnians, the latter forming the largest Bosnian community outside of Bosnia.

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

Since the 1980s, several revitalization efforts have focused on downtown St. Louis.

21st century

Urban revitalization continued in the new century. Gentrification has taken place in the Washington Avenue Historic District. In 2006, St. Louis received the World Leadership Award for urban renewal. In 2013 the US Census Bureau estimated that St. Louis had a population of 318,416.

Geography

Cityscape

Westward view of St. Louis skyline, September 2008.

Landmarks

Further information: Landmarks of St. Louis
Name Description Photo
Gateway Arch At 630-foot (192 m), it is the world's tallest arch and tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere,. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. St Louis night expblend cropped.jpg
St. Louis Art Museum Built for the 1904 World's Fair, with a building designed by Cass Gilbert, the museum houses paintings, sculptures, and cultural objects. The museum is located in Forest Park, and admission is free. St. Louis Art Museum.JPG
Missouri Botanical Garden Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the oldest botanical institutions in the United States and a National Historic Landmark. It spans 79-acres in the Shaw neighborhood, including a 14-acre (5.7 ha) Japanese garden and the Climatron geodesic dome conservatory. Climatron, Missouri Botanical Gardens.jpg
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis Completed in 1914, it is the mother church of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the seat of its archbishop. The church is known for its large mosaic installation (which is one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere), burial crypts, and its outdoor sculpture. Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.JPG
City Hall Located in Downtown West, City Hall was designed by Harvey Ellis in 1892 in the Renaissance Revival style. It is reminiscent of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris. St Louis MO City Hall 20150905-100.jpg
Central Library Completed in 1912, the Central Library building was designed by Cass Gilbert. It serves as the main location for the St. Louis Public Library. STLCentrallibrary.jpg
City Museum City Museum is a play house museum, consisting largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District. City Museum outdoor structures.jpg
Old Courthouse Built in the 19th century, it served as a federal and state courthouse. The Dred Scott case was tried at the courthouse in 1846. The Old Courthouse, Saint Louis, Missouri.JPG
St. Louis Science Center Founded in 1963, it includes a science museum and a planetarium, and is situated in Forest Park. Admission is free. It is one of only two science centers in the United States which offers free general admission. McDonnellPlanetarium.jpg
St. Louis Symphony Founded in 1880, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, preceded only by the New York Philharmonic. Its principal concert venue is Powell Symphony Hall. 782px-Powell Symphony Hall.jpg
Union Station Built in 1894, it was the city's main passenger intercity train terminal. Once the world's largest and busiest train station, it was converted in the early 1980s into a hotel, shopping center, and entertainment complex. Today, it also continues to serve local rail (MetroLink) transit passengers, with Amtrak service nearby. St. Louis Union Station (17577826564).jpg
St. Louis Zoo Built for the 1904 Worlds Fair, it is recognized as a leading zoo in animal management, research, conservation, and education. It is located in Forest Park, and admission is free. Monkey House at Forest Park. St. Louis. Mo (63214).jpg

Architecture

Further information: Architecture of St. Louis and List of tallest buildings in St. Louis
Wainwright building st louis USA
Wainwright Building (1891), an important early skyscraper designed by Louis Sullivan.
Aerial view of St. Louis, Missouri, 2008-11-19 edit
A cluster of skyscrapers is located just west of the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River.
Lafayette Square St-Louis
Many houses in Lafayette Square are built with a blending of Greek Revival, Federal and Italianate styles

The architecture of St. Louis exhibits a variety of commercial, residential, and monumental architecture. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, the tallest monument constructed in the United States at 630 feet (190 m). The Arch pays homage to Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis's position as the gateway to the West. Architectural influences reflected in the area include French Colonial, German, early American, and modern architectural styles.

Some notable post-modern commercial skyscrapers were built downtown in the 1970s and 1980s, including the One US Bank Plaza (1976), the AT&T Center (1986), and One Metropolitan Square (1989), which is the tallest building in St. Louis. One US Bank Plaza, the local headquarters for US Bancorp, was constructed for the Mercantile Bancorporation in the Structural expressionist style, emphasizing the steel structure of the building.

During the 1990s, St. Louis saw the construction of the largest United States courthouse by area, the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse (completed in 2000). The Eagleton Courthouse is home to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The most recent high-rise buildings in St. Louis include two residential towers: the Park East Tower in the Central West End and the Roberts Tower located in downtown.

Several examples of religious structures are extant from the pre-Civil War period, and most reflect the common residential styles of the time. Among the earliest is the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (locally referred to as the Old Cathedral). The Basilica was built between 1831 and 1834 in the Federal style. Other religious buildings from the period include SS. Cyril and Methodius Church (1857) in the Romanesque Revival style and Christ Church Cathedral (completed in 1867, designed in 1859) in the Gothic Revival style.

Only a few civic buildings were constructed during the early 19th century. The original St. Louis courthouse was built in 1826 and featured a Federal style stone facade with a rounded portico. However, this courthouse was replaced during renovation and expansion of the building in the 1850s. The Old St. Louis County Courthouse (locally known as the Old Courthouse) was completed in 1864 and was notable for having an early cast iron dome and for being the tallest structure in Missouri until 1894. Finally, a customs house was constructed in the Greek Revival style in 1852, but was demolished and replaced in 1873 by the U.S. Customhouse and Post Office.

Because much of the city's early commercial and industrial development was centered along the riverfront, many pre-Civil War buildings were demolished during construction of the Gateway Arch. The city's remaining architectural heritage of the era includes a multi-block district of cobblestone streets and brick and cast-iron warehouses called Laclede's Landing. Now popular for its restaurants and nightclubs, the district is located north of Gateway Arch along the riverfront. Other industrial buildings from the era include some portions of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which date to the early 1860s.

St. Louis saw a vast expansion in variety and number of religious buildings during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The largest and most ornate of these is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, designed by Thomas P. Barnett and constructed between 1907 and 1914 in the Neo-Byzantine style. The St. Louis Cathedral, as it is known, has one of the largest mosaic collections in the world. Another landmark in religious architecture of St. Louis is the St. Stanislaus Kostka, which is an example of the Polish Cathedral style. Among the other major designs of the period were St. Alphonsus Liguori (locally known as The Rock Church) (1867) in the Gothic Revival and Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis (1900) in Richardsonian Romanesque.

By the 1900 census, St. Louis was the fourth largest city in the country. In 1904, the city hosted a world's fair at Forest Park called the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Its architectural legacy is somewhat scattered. Among the fair-related cultural institutions in the park are the St. Louis Art Museum designed by Cass Gilbert, part of the remaining lagoon at the foot of Art Hill, and the Flight Cage at the St. Louis Zoo. The Missouri History Museum was built afterward, with the profit from the fair. But 1904 left other assets to the city, like Theodore Link's 1894 St. Louis Union Station, and an improved Forest Park.

Neighborhoods

Further information: Neighborhoods of St. Louis
LafayetteSquareHouses
French style houses in Lafayette Square
Blueberry Hill patio
The Delmar Loop is a neighborhood which is on the border of the city and St. Louis County

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

Several neighborhoods are lumped together in categories such as "North City," "South City," and "The Central West End."

The following is a list of neighborhoods of the city of St. Louis, Missouri.

1 Carondelet 21 Soulard 41 Cheltenham 61 Carr Square
2 Patch 22 Benton Park 42 Clayton/Tamm 62 Columbus Square
3 Holly Hills 23 McKinley Heights 43 Franz Park 63 Old North St. Louis
4 Boulevard Heights 24 Fox Park 44 Hi-Pointe 64 Near North Riverfront
5 Bevo Mill 25 Tower Grove East 45 Wydown/Skinker 65 Hyde Park
6 Princeton Heights 26 Compton Heights 46 Skinker/DeBaliviere 66 College Hill
7 Southampton 27 Shaw 47 DeBaliviere Place 67 Fairground
8 St. Louis Hills 28 Botanical Heights 48 West End 68 O'Fallon
9 Lindenwood Park 29 Tiffany 49 Visitation Park 69 Penrose
10 Ellendale 30 Benton Park West 50 Wells/Goodfellow 70 Mark Twain/I-70 Industrial
11 Clifton Heights 31 Gate District 51 Academy 71 Mark Twain
12 The Hill 32 Lafayette Square 52 Kingsway West 72 Walnut Park East
13 Southwest Garden 33 Peabody/Darst/Webbe 53 Fountain Park 73 North Point
14 North Hampton 34 LaSalle Park 54 Lewis Place 74 Baden
15 Tower Grove South 35 Downtown 55 Kingsway East 75 Riverview
16 Dutchtown 36 Downtown West 56 Greater Ville 76 Walnut Park West
17 Mount Pleasant 37 Midtown 57 The Ville 77 Grand Center
18 Marine Villa 38 Central West End 58 Vandeventer 78 Hamilton Heights
19 Gravois Park 39 Forest Park Southeast 59 JeffVanderLou 79 North Riverfront
20 Kosciusko 40 Kings Oak 60 St. Louis Place

Topography

St Louis Rivers
Rivers in the St. Louis area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, St. Louis has a total area of 66 square miles (170 km2), of which 62 square miles (160 km2) is land and 4.1 square miles (11 km2) (6.2%) is water. (Not shown on simple maps of the city, the land at its airport is owned by the city, served by its fire department and others, and is an exclave of St. Louis.) The city is built primarily on bluffs and terraces that rise 100–200 feet above the western banks of the Mississippi River, in the Midwestern United States just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Much of the area is a fertile and gently rolling prairie that features low hills and broad, shallow valleys. Both the Mississippi River and the Missouri River have cut large valleys with wide flood plains.

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

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

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

Climate

Further information: Geography of St. Louis § Climate
The Captains' Return statue and Eads Bridge
The Captains' Return statue inundated by the Mississippi River, 2010.

St. Louis lies in the transitional zone between the humid continental climate type and the humid subtropical climate type (Köppen Dfa and Cfa, respectively), with neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. The city experiences hot, humid summers, and chilly to cold winters. It is subject to both cold Arctic air and hot, humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. The average annual temperature recorded at nearby Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is 57.1 °F (13.9 °C). Both 100 and 0 °F (38 and −18 °C) temperatures can be seen on an average 2 or 3 days per year. Average annual precipitation is about 41.0 inches (1,040 mm), but annual precipitation has ranged from 20.59 in (523 mm) in 1953 to 61.24 in (1,555 mm) in 2015.

St. Louis experiences thunderstorms 48 days a year on average. Especially in the spring, these storms can often be severe, with high winds, large hail and tornadoes. Lying within the hotbed of Tornado Alley, St. Louis reigns as one of the most frequently tornadic metropolitan areas, and has an extensive history of particularly damaging tornadoes. Severe flooding, such as the Great Flood of 1993, may occur in spring and summer; the (often rapid) melting of thick snow cover upstream either the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers can contribute to springtime flooding.

Template:St. Louis weatherbox

Flora and fauna

Tower Grove Park Scene 1
Tower Grove Park in spring
Missouri Botanical Garden - Seiwa-en
The Missouri Botanical Garden

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

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

Large mammals found in the city include urbanized coyotes and white-tailed deer. Eastern gray squirrel, cottontail rabbit, and other rodents are abundant, as well as the nocturnal Virginia opossum. Large bird species are abundant in parks and include Canada 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 along the Mississippi River around the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The city is on the Mississippi Flyway, used by migrating birds, and has a large variety of small bird species, common to the eastern US. The Eurasian tree sparrow, an introduced species, is limited in North America to the counties surrounding St. Louis. The city has special sites for birdwatching of migratory species, including Tower Grove Park.

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

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 1,600
1830 4,977
1840 16,469 230.9%
1850 77,860 372.8%
1860 160,773 106.5%
1870 310,864 93.4%
1880 350,518 12.8%
1890 451,770 28.9%
1900 575,238 27.3%
1910 687,029 19.4%
1920 772,897 12.5%
1930 821,960 6.3%
1940 816,048 −0.7%
1950 856,796 5.0%
1960 750,026 −12.5%
1970 622,236 −17.0%
1980 453,805 −27.1%
1990 396,685 −12.6%
2000 348,189 −12.2%
2010 319,294 −8.3%
Est. 2016 311,404 −10.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015
Race and ethnicity 2010 St. Louis
Map of racial distribution in St. Louis, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)
Pruitt-igoeUSGS02
Pruitt–Igoe was a large housing project constructed in 1954, which became infamous for poverty, crime and segregation. It was demolished in 1972.

St. Louis grew slowly until the American Civil War, when industrialization and immigration sparked a boom. Mid-19th century immigrants included many Irish and Germans; later there were immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. In the early 20th century, African American and white migrants came from the South; the former as part of the Great Migration out of rural areas of the Deep South. Many came from Mississippi and Arkansas.

After years of immigration, migration, and expansion, the city reached its peak population in 1950. That year, the Census Bureau reported St. Louis's population as 82% White and 17.9% African American. After World War II, St. Louis began losing population to the suburbs, first because of increased demand for new housing, unhappiness with city services, ease of commuting by subsidized highways, and later, white flight. St. Louis's population decline has resulted in a significant increase of abandoned residential housing units and vacant lots throughout the city proper; this blight has attracted much wildlife (such as deer and coyotes) to the many abandoned overgrown lots.

St. Louis has lost 62.7% of its population since the 1950 United States Census, the highest percent of any city that had a population of 100,000 or more at the time of the 1950 Census. Detroit, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio are the only other cities that have had population declines of at least 60% in the same time frame. The population of the city of St. Louis has been in decline since the 1960 census; during this period the population of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, which includes more than one county, has grown every year and continues to do so. A big factor in the decline has been the rapid increase in suburbanization.

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

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

The African-American population is concentrated in the north side of the city (the area north of Delmar Boulevard is 94.0% black, compared with 35.0% in the central corridor and 26.0% in the south side of St. Louis). Among the Asian-American population in the city, the largest ethnic group is Vietnamese (0.9%), followed by Chinese (0.6%) and Asian Indians (0.5%). The Vietnamese community has concentrated in the Dutchtown neighborhood of south St. Louis; Chinese are concentrated in the Central West End. People of Mexican descent are the largest Latino group, and make up 2.2% of St. Louis's population. They have the highest concentration in the Dutchtown, Benton Park West (Cherokee Street), and Gravois Park neighborhoods.

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

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

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

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

Racial composition 2016 (est.) 2010 2000 1990 1970 1940
White 46.8% (est.) 43.9% 43.9% 50.9% 58.7% 86.6%
—Non-Hispanic 43.6 (est.) 42.2% 43.0% 50.2% 57.9% 86.4%
Black 47.1% (est.) 49.2% 51.2% 47.5% 40.9% 13.3%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 4.0% (est.) 3.5% 2.0% 1.3% 1.0% 0.2%
Asian 3.3% (est.) 2.9% 2.0% 0.9% 0.2% (X)

Bosnian population

See also: History of the Bosnians in St. Louis

About 15 families from Bosnia settled in St. Louis in 1960 and 1970. After the Bosnian War started in 1992, more Bosnian refugees began arriving and by 2000, tens of thousands of Bosnian refugees settled in St. Louis with the help of Catholic aid societies. Many of them were professionals and skilled workers who had to take any job opportunity to be able to support their families. Most Bosnian refugees are Muslim, ethnically Bosniaks (87%); they have settled primarily in south St. Louis and South County. Bosnian-Americans are well integrated into the city, developing many businesses and ethnic/cultural organizations. Although St. Louis has a high Bosnian population, the city and county also consists of a larger Pakistani American population in contrast to other US cities.

An estimated 70,000 Bosnians live in the metro area, the largest population of Bosnians in the United States and the largest Bosnian population outside their homeland. The highest concentration of Bosnians is in the neighborhood of Bevo Mill and in Affton, Mehlville, and Oakville of south St. Louis County.

Culture

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis (St. Louis, MO) - exterior, quarter view
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
See also: St. Louis cuisine

With its French past and waves of Catholic immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, from Ireland, Germany and Italy, St. Louis is a major center of Roman Catholicism in the United States. St. Louis also boasts the largest Ethical Culture Society in the United States, and consistently ranks as one of the most generous cities in the United States, ranking ninth in 2013. Several places of worship in the city are noteworthy, such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, home of the world's largest mosaic installation.

St. Louis Art Museum
The St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park

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

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

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

Unique city and regional cuisine reflecting various immigrant groups include toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, provel cheese, the slinger, the Gerber sandwich, the St. Paul sandwich, and St. Louis-style pizza, featuring thin crust and provel cheese. Some St. Louis chefs have begun emphasizing use of local produce, meats and fish, and neighborhood farmers' markets have become increasingly popular, as well as one downtown. Artisan bakeries, salumeria, and chocolatiers also operate in the city.

Also unique to St. Louis are St. Louis style pizza (extremely thin crust, Provel cheese, and cut in small squares, marketed by one leading purveyor as "The Square Beyond Compare") and the Ted Drewes "Concrete", which is frozen custard blended with any combination of dozens of ingredients, served in a large yellow cup with a spoon and straw. The mixture is so thick that a spoon inserted into the custard does not fall if the cup is inverted. It is also widely noted among natives of St. Louis that a standard first question among adults of any age in the St. Louis metro area is "where did you go to High School?" due to the large number of private and prestigious high schools.

Parks

Forest Park, St Louis
Forest Park features a variety of attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, and the St. Louis Science Center.

The city operates more than 100 parks, with amenities that include sports facilities, playgrounds, concert areas, picnic areas, and lakes. Forest Park, located on the western edge of city, is the largest, occupying 1,400 acres of land, making it almost twice as large as Central Park in New York City. The park is home to five major institutions, including the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Muny amphitheatre. Another significant park in the city is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a National Memorial located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The centerpiece of the park is the 630 feet (190 m) tall Gateway Arch, designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen and completed on October 28, 1965. Also part of the historic park is the Old Courthouse, where the first two trials of Dred Scott v. Sandford were held in 1847 and 1850.

JewelBox2013
The Jewel Box, a greenhouse and event venue in Forest Park

Other notable parks in the city include the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove Park, Carondelet Park and Citygarden. The Missouri Botanical Garden, a private garden and botanical research facility, is a National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States. The Garden features 79 acres of horticultural displays from around the world. This includes a Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home and a geodesic dome called the Climatron. Immediately south of the Missouri Botanical Garden is Tower Grove Park, a gift to the city by Henry Shaw. Citygarden is an urban sculpture park located in downtown St. Louis, with art from Fernand Léger, Aristide Maillol, Julian Opie, Tom Otterness, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Mark di Suvero. The park is divided into three sections, each of which represent a different theme: river bluffs; flood plains; and urban gardens. The park also has a restaurant – Death in the Afternoon. Another downtown sculpture park is the Serra Sculpture Park, with the 1982 Richard Serra sculpture Twain.

Transportation

I-70 in downtown St. Louis
Interstate 44 in downtown St. Louis

Road, rail, ship, and air transportation modes connect the city with surrounding communities in Greater St. Louis, national transportation networks, and international locations. St. Louis also supports a public transportation network that includes bus and light rail service.

Roads and highways

See also: Streets of St. Louis, Missouri

Four interstate highways connect the city to a larger regional highway system. Interstate 70, an east-west highway, runs roughly from the northwest corner of the city to downtown St. Louis. The north-south Interstate 55 enters the city at the south near the Carondelet neighborhood and runs toward the center of the city, and both Interstate 64 and Interstate 44 enter the city on the west, running parallel to the east. Two of the four interstates (Interstates 55 and 64) merge south of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and leave the city on the Poplar Street Bridge into Illinois, while Interstate 44 terminates at Interstate 70 at its new interchange near N Broadway and Cass Ave.

The 563-mile Avenue of the Saints links St. Louis with St. Paul, Minnesota.

Major roadways include the north-south Memorial Drive, located on the western edge of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and parallel to Interstate 70, the north-south streets of Grand Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, both of which run the length of the city, and Gravois Road, which runs from the southeastern portion of the city to downtown and used to be signed as U.S. Route 66. An east-west roadway that connects the city with surrounding communities is Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, which carries traffic from the western edge of the city to downtown.

Light rail and St. Louis City/County subway (SLCS)

St Louis Metrolink train
St. Louis MetroLink train leaving St. Louis Union Station
MetroLink map Oct2008

Light rail service consists of two lines operating on double track. They both serve all the stations in the city, and branch to different destinations beyond its limits. Both lines enter the city north of Forest Park on the western edge of the city or on the Eads Bridge in downtown St. Louis to Illinois. All of the system track is in independent right of way, with both surface level and underground subways track in the city. All stations are independent entry, while all platforms are flush-level with trains. Rail service is provided by the Bi-State Development Agency (also known as Metro), which is funded by a sales taxes levied in the city and other counties in the region. The Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center acts as the hub station in the city of St. Louis, linking the city's light rail system, local bus system, passenger rail service, and national bus service.

Airports

Lambert-terminal1
Control tower and main terminal at Lambert St. Louis

St. Louis is served by two passenger airports. St. Louis Lambert International Airport, owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, is 11 miles northwest of downtown along highway I-70 between I-170 and I-270 in St. Louis County. It is the largest and busiest airport in the state. In 2016, the airport has over 255 daily departures to about 90 domestic and international locations and a total of over 13 million passengers. The airport serves as a focus hub city for Southwest Airlines and was a former hub for Trans World Airlines and former focus-city for American Airlines and AmericanConnection. MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is the secondary passenger airport serving the metropolitan area. Located 17 miles east of the city downtown core, the airport serves domestic passengers. Air cargo transportation is available at Lambert International and at other nearby regional airports, including MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, Spirit of St. Louis Airport, and St. Louis Downtown Airport.

The airport has two terminals with a total of five concourses. International flights and passengers use Terminal 2, whose lower level holds the Immigration and Customs gates. Passengers can move between the terminals on complimentary buses that run continuously, or via MetroLink for a fee. It was possible to walk between the terminals until Concourse D was closed in 2008.

Port authority

River transportation is available through the Port of St. Louis, which is 19.3 miles of riverbank on the Mississippi River that handles more than 32 million tons of freight annually. The Port is the 2nd largest inland port by trip-ton miles, and the 3rd largest by tonnage in the United States, with more than one hundred docking facilities for barge shipping and 16 public terminals on the river. The Port Authority added 2 new small fire and rescue craft in 2012 and 2013.

Railroad service

Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis Freight Train
An eastbound Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis freight train passing under the Hampton Avenue viaduct. Scott Nauert photo

Inter-city rail passenger train service in the city is provided by Amtrak. All Amtrak trains serving St. Louis use the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center downtown. Amtrak trains terminating in the city include the Lincoln Service to Chicago and the Missouri River Runner to Kansas City, Missouri. St. Louis is an intermediate stop on the Texas Eagle route which provides long-distance passenger service between San Antonio, Texas, and Chicago.

St. Louis is the nation's third-largest freight rail hub, moving Missouri exports such as fertilizer, gravel, crushed stone, prepared foodstuffs, fats, oils, nonmetallic mineral products, grain, alcohol, tobacco products, automobiles, and automobile parts. Freight rail service in St. Louis is provided on tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway, Foster Townsend Rail Logistics – formerly Manufacturers Railway (St. Louis), Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, Affton Trucking, and the BNSF Railway.

The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (reporting mark: TRRA) is a switching and terminal railroad jointly owned by all the major rail carriers in St. Louis. The company operates 30 diesel-electric locomotives to move railcars around the classification yards, deliver railcars to local industries, and ready trains for departure. The TRRA processes and dispatches a significant portion of railroad traffic moving through the city and owns and operates a network of rail bridges and tunnels including the MacArthur Bridge (St. Louis) and the Merchants Bridge. This infrastructure is also used by inter-city rail and long-distance passenger trains serving St. Louis.

Bus service

MetroBus at St Louis Science Center
Bus passing under the St. Louis Science Center walkway

Local bus service in the city of St. Louis is provided by the Bi-State Development Agency via MetroBus, with more than 75 routes connecting to MetroLink commuter rail transit and stops in the city and region. The city is also served by Madison County Transit, which connects downtown St. Louis to Madison County, Illinois. National bus service in the city is offered by Greyhound Lines, Burlington Trailways and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, with a station at the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center, and Megabus, with a stop at St. Louis Union Station.

Taxi

Taxicab service in the city is provided by private companies regulated by the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission. Rates vary by vehicle type, size, passengers and distance, and by regulation all taxicab fares must be calculated using a taximeter and be payable in cash or credit card. Solicitation by a driver is prohibited, although a taxicab may be hailed on the street or at a stand.

Sister cities

During the early 21st century, St. Louis has 16 sister cities.

With informal relations with Philippines Tuguegarao, Philippines.

Images


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