Archive | Brief HistoriesRSS feed for this section

30, December 2016

66 Through St. Louis: Chase Park Plaza

When looking at a map of Route 66 through St. Louis, it seems like half the city’s major streets carried an alignment of Route 66 at one time or another. Travelers leaving downtown St. Louis via the road's first alignment along Lindell Boulevard drove past the crowning jewels of the Central West End: the enormous Chase and Park Plaza hotels. Read more »

21, December 2016

66 Through St. Louis: City Hall

Route 66 motorists who picked the City 66 alignment of the Mother Road wound up in the heart of St. Louis. When they pulled into downtown, they were greeted by a pink and orange, spire-covered structure seemingly dropped straight out of belle époque Paris. But while they snapped pictures and read about St. Louis City Hall in their tourist brochures, they probably never realized the headache involved in getting it built! Read more »

14, December 2016

You've Come a Long Way, Barbie

One of the iconic toys examined in the exhibit TOYS of the '50s, '60s and '70s is Barbie. She first came on the scene in 1959 as a stick-legged, white-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed doll with cherry red lips. Barbie represented the ultimate woman: She had the perfect body; in Ken, the perfect boyfriend; and all of the money, cars, outfits, and houses a girl could dream of. Read more »

8, December 2016

How Sugar Loaf Mound Got Its Name

Some of the most interesting projects get their start when you’re looking for something else entirely. I recently learned about the history of sugar making while trying to locate historic images of Sugar Loaf Mound, right next to Interstate 55 in south St. Louis. It’s the only existing Native American mound within St. Louis’s city limits. Read more »

25, November 2016

An STL-Area Original: Corkball

This post has been adapted from the 2006 MHM Press title Hidden Assets: Connecting the Past to the Future of St. Louis. Read more »

9, November 2016

The Aerial Crossroads of America Is Full of Surprises

While researching and writing The Aerial Crossroads of America: St. Louis’s Lambert Airport, I encountered many surprising facets of the airport’s history. Read more »

28, September 2016

With a Little Help from Her Friends

Today, we want to highlight a book close to the heart of St. Louis: The Awakening, by St. Louis–born author Kate Chopin. The book, published in 1899, was Chopin’s most famous and controversial work—it was banned for decades. Today it’s recognized as an important example of early feminist writing, but at the time it was published it was widely criticized for being too sexual, shocking, and indecent. Read more »

26, September 2016

King Baggot, the First Movie Star

The following is a guest post from Tom Stockman, editor of We Are Movie Geeks.

King of the Movies. The Most Photographed Man in the World. The Man Whose Face Is as Familiar as the Man in the Moon. These were just some of the accolades heaped upon St. Louis native King Baggot, the nation’s first male movie star. Read more »

25, August 2016

What We Wore on the Mother Road

Although Route 66—the historic highway that connected Los Angeles to Chicago—was officially decommissioned in 1985, it’s very much alive in the hearts of motorcyclists to this day. It’s now common to see jeans, T-shirts, leather vests, and jackets whizzing by on the old 2,400-mile-long road as travelers check off the ultimate box on their bucket lists. But what did past generations sport on the Mother Road? Read more »

19, August 2016

66 Through St. Louis: Chain of Rocks Bridge

St. Louis was the largest city on Route 66 between its ends in Chicago and Los Angeles, and traveling the highway through it was a different experience than traveling the highway through smaller towns and cities. St. Louis had endless choices, beginning with which Route 66 to take. The highway split into different paths through and around the city, and five different Mississippi River bridges would carry it at various times. The Chain of Rocks Bridge is easily the most well known of the five. It carried Route 66 from 1936 to 1955 and the 66 Bypass from 1955 to 1965. Read more »