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30, March 2010

A Brief History of...the Pony Express

150 years ago this weekend, the first Pony Express rider took off from St. Joseph, Missouri, with his bags of mail. On April 3, 1860, freight company magnates William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors founded the mail system to satisfy the need for faster communication with the West, especially with the Civil War looming. Riders braved dangerous terrain to deliver letters that were written on tissue paper wrapped in oil paper. At first, people paid a whopping $5 to mail a letter weighing half an ounce or less; that was later reduced to $2.50. Read more »

1, March 2010

A Brief History of…the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners

Every now and then there is a call to abolish the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners and give control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to the mayor’s office. This system goes back to the “metropolitan police” bill of March 1861, which established four residents of St. Louis as police commissioners with the mayor as the fifth member. Members would be appointed by the governor (at the time, Claiborne Fox Jackson) and paid $1,000 per year of their four-year term, according to Allen E. Wagner’s book Good Order and Safety: A History of the St. Read more »

28, January 2010

A Brief History of...7Up in a Down Economy

Two weeks before the stock market crash of 1929, a St. Louis ad man named Charles L. Grigg introduced a new beverage with a not-so-catchy name: “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.” “Bib-label” referred to the use of paper labels resembling bibs that would be placed over the tops of unlabeled bottles, and “lithiated” advertised the ingredient lithium citrate, a mood-enhancing drug. Read more »