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1, May 2013

Nation's First Jefferson Memorial Turns 100

Back in 1898, Pierre Chouteau (representing the Missouri Historical Society) began a campaign to bring a World’s Fair Exposition to St. Louis. Committees formed and plans were made, with Fair planners ultimately choosing Forest Park as the site for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. There was a stipulation, however, that Forest Park would be returned to a park after the Fair was over. Just one building could remain, the Palace of Fine Arts, which houses the Saint Louis Art Museum today. The Fair opened on April 30, 1904, to a crowd of 200,000 people. Read more »

30, April 2013

And In Other News: Opening Day at the 1904 World's Fair Overshadows Train Crash

At 12:15 p.m., on the afternoon of April 30, 1904, David R. Francis declared, “Open ye gates. Swing wide, ye portals.” With those words, the grandest event in St. Louis history was underway. Nearly 190,000 people ascended on Forest Park for the opening day of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, remembered today as the 1904 World’s Fair. Read more »

14, February 2013

Ending What Started in St. Louis

The International Olympic Committee’s decision to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 Olympics has left many athletes and fans of that sport worried about its future. At the Missouri History Museum, it left us thinking about the past and the unique role that St. Louis has played in both Olympic and wrestling history.

The 1904 Summer Olympics marked not only the first time the Games were hosted by an American city, but also the first time that freestyle wrestling made an appearance in the Olympics. Read more »

6, February 2013

Documentary Tells Struggle of Interracial Couple in 1950s Virginia

The Missouri History Museum's mission involves deepening the understanding of past choices, even on the possibly unexpected topic of love. The Loving Story will screen at 7 p.m. on February 13 in the Museum’s Lee Auditorium. This community program takes place on the eve of Valentine’s Day, when the open expression of love is widely celebrated. What makes The Loving Story remarkable is that it documents a relationship that could not be legally expressed and, in fact, was defined as a felony offense. Read more »

1, February 2013

Old-time Fiddler to Receive Missouri Arts Award for Cultural and Artistic Contributions to Missouri

We just found out that old-time fiddler and friend of the Missouri History Museum Vesta Johnson will be receiving a Missouri Arts Award. The Missouri Arts Council presents the award each year to people and groups who “have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state.”

Vesta has been playing the fiddle since the late 1920s. She has become an ambassador for the kind of music that she grew up with and is helping to ensure that the Missouri fiddle tradition lives on. Read more »

24, January 2013

Planetarium to Reflect on 50 Years

One of the most recognizable features of the St. Louis landscape is about to turn 50. The James S. McDonnell Planetarium has become a symbol of the city since it opened in 1963, and the St. Louis Science Center is celebrating with a number of events, including one that we think may be of special interest to readers of History Happens Here. Read more »

13, November 2012

Remembering Rose

I often tell people I have the best job at the Missouri History Museum. A big part of that job is interviewing fascinating people for our growing oral history collection. I have interviewed all sorts of people—activists and architects, weavers and photographers, test pilots and zookeepers. And on more than one occasion I had the great pleasure of interviewing Rose Church. Rose was a nurse at McDonnell Aircraft in the 1950s and ’60s, and when the company landed the contracts to build and test NASA’s Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, she became McDonnell’s first aerospace nurse. Read more »

9, November 2012

Police Control Shifts to St. Louis

Earlier this week, St. Louisans voted to return control of the police department to the local government, thus ending 151 years of state oversight. Most people wonder why the governor ever had control of the city police.[...]

Left: Members of the Jefferson Guard, a division of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police. Photograph by Byrnes Photographic Company, 1903. Missouri History Museum. Read more »

25, October 2012

Haunted History Tour Highlights Spooky St. Louis

When it comes to the morbid, eerie, and downright horrific, St. Louisans aren't scared. In fact, there are several websites dedicated to locating and compiling all the alleged shriek-inducing places in St. Louis and metro Illinois. A cursory Google search turns up a cast of regular haunts, along with some unexpected ones. The Lemp Mansion—a sort of royalty among the macabre—is likely at the top of anyone's list of places that share space with apparitions. After all, three members of the Lemp family met their demise at the home, all by their own hand.  Read more »

21, August 2012

Phyllis Diller, 1917–2012

Actress and funny girl Phyllis Diller has passed away at the age of 95. One of the first successful female comedians, she’s best known for appearances in Bob Hope films and the TV show Laugh-In. Read more »