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22, March 2017

Rock 'n' Roll's Founding Father: Chuck Berry

Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was born in a three-room cottage at 2520 Goode Avenue (now Annie Malone Drive) in the Ville, the heart of St. Louis’s black community during an era of deep-seated segregation and intense racism. In the all-black, self-contained neighborhood, Berry attended Sumner High School and sang at Antioch Baptist Church. Read more »

17, March 2017

How the Irish Found Gold in St. Louis

Unlike the experiences of Irish immigrants in nearly every other major U.S. city, the Irish who settled in St. Louis in the mid-1800s were embraced—and they thrived. The following is adapted from Rev. William Barnaby Faherty’s 2001 book The St. Louis Irish: An Unmatched Celtic Community, published by the Missouri Historical Society Press. Read more »

9, March 2017

Phoebe Couzins: Blazing the Way for Women

A leading figure in the suffragist movement, Phoebe Couzins has a legacy that shouldn’t be forgotten. The question is, what are we more likely to remember her for?

Couzins was born in St. Louis on September 8, 1842, to John E. D. and Adeline Couzins, both of her whom were tireless public servants. Witnessing their work as chief of police and battlefield nurse, respectively, likely inspired Couzins’s interest in social causes. Her cause of choice? The empowerment of women. Read more »

3, March 2017

The Highs and Lows of Gov. James Wilkinson

Occasionally there are figures who weave in and out of history, connecting seemingly disparate people and events. It’s like when an infamous recurring character’s name pops up in the credits of a television show: You just know things are about to get messy.  

James Wilkinson was one such person. Throughout his lifetime he had been called a conspirator, drunkard, slanderer, traitor, insurgent, perjurer—and the Louisiana Territory’s first governor. Read more »

1, March 2017

66 Through St. Louis: Motel Row

When it came to getting sleep along Route 66, motel owners often managed precious little because they were too busy competing to convince travelers that they alone offered the best night’s rest. With each passing year, motorists had more money to spend and more options to choose from on the Mother Road. As a result, motel owners were constantly updating their offerings and advertisements to draw in those dollars. Gone were the days when bed linens and indoor plumbing were enough for most folks. Now people wouldn't dream of sleeping somewhere that didn’t feature a television, air conditioning, or a flashy piece of roadside neon. Read more »

17, February 2017

But for One Man . . .

Missouri owes a lot to Thomas Jefferson, who signed off on the land agreement that almost doubled the size of the United States. When we look back at history, it seems almost guaranteed that Jefferson—former governor of Virginia, U.S. ambassador to France, first Secretary of State, and second vice president—would become president at some point. But history is often messier than it seems at first glance. Read more »

9, February 2017

66 Through St. Louis: Donut Drive-In & Ted Drewes

For Route 66 fans, there's no better place on a mild spring night than Chippewa Street. On a short section near St. Louis's city limits, two Route 66 legends sit just blocks apart. Their neon signs glow in the night, calling to travelers and lighting up the neighborhood. For more than half a century, they’ve tantalized Mother Road drivers with a truly challenging question: Should I stop for custard, or should I stop for a donut? Read more »

6, February 2017

Was Budweiser Really Born the Hard Way?

With the words “Welcome to St. Louis, son,” an exhausted, visionary immigrant joins the ranks of famous Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl commercials alongside croaking frogs, “Wassup” dudes, and Clydesdale-puppy friendships. The immigrant is Adolphus Busch himself, and the commercial is a minute-long mini-drama of what it takes to leave all behind and follow your dreams. Read more »

31, January 2017

Origin Story: The Fabulous Fox

Although his name isn’t on the marquee, St. Louisans largely have Charles Howard Crane to thank for the Fox Theatre’s breathtaking architecture. Crane, a Connecticut native, certainly had a niche: He designed more than 250 movie theaters over the course of his career, including several so-called movie palaces. Read more »

20, January 2017

66 Through St. Louis: Maplewood Business District

For anyone trying to drive Route 66 through St. Louis, the path of the world’s most famous highway isn’t so clear. You could take Watson Road, known as Historic 66, but not the road’s original path. You could get on Lindbergh Boulevard, which was sometimes the main Route 66, sometimes 66 Bypass, and sometimes not a part of Route 66 at all. You could cross five Mississippi River bridges, drive on nearly a dozen major St. Louis streets, and chase various alignments—all without ever leaving the Mother Road. How can this be? In contrast to small towns where Route 66 was often the one and only “main street,” Route 66 shifted, twisted, and turned through big cities such as St. Louis. Read more »