Field Trip Fridays: Busch Stadium

30, January 2015
Busch StadiumAerial view of Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch, 1967. Photograph by Ted McCrea. Missouri History Museum.

Our blockbuster exhibit 250 in 250 is closing in just two weeks. So for our last Field Trip Friday post, I’m sending you to a place with ties to multiple subjects in the exhibit: Busch Stadium. It’s an eight-for-the-price-of-one deal!

Adolphus BuschAdolphus Busch. Photograph by Hoelke and Benecke, ca. 1869. Missouri History Museum.

Let’s start with the obvious. Think about the man who gave the stadium its name: Adolphus Busch, one of our 50 People. Beloved Redbird Stan Musial is also on the list. You might not have heard of Ruth Jacobson, but she was the PR exec responsible for the idea of flying home plate by helicopter from Sportsman’s Park to Busch Memorial Stadium when it opened in 1966.

When you go to Busch, you are standing on ground that has witnessed many different histories over the past 250 years. At the corner of Broadway and Clark used to stand Bernard M. Lynch’s “slave pen.” There, slaves were shackled and held prior to being sold at auctions, often on the steps of the Old Courthouse. The last remnants of this site were not demolished until 1963. Cleared from existence in 1966 to make way for a Busch parking lot was Hop Alley. From the mid-1800s this was the epicenter of Chinese life in the city. Since non-Chinese considered this area between Market and Walnut from 7th to 8th streets odd and threatening, they were only too happy to see it declared “blighted.”

Hop AlleyHop Alley, looking north on 8th Street between Walnut and Market streets. Photograph, 1910. Missouri History Museum.

As part of our 50 Objects, we have a beer skimmer from Eberhard Anheuser’s first brewery. Of course, he later partnered with Adolphus Busch to become the world’s most popular brewer and the company that would lend its name to the stadium. We also feature a Build-A-Bear toy, from the company founded in St. Louis. It’s so popular that there’s a shop located inside the stadium.

In our 50 Moments section, game-goers David Huyette and Jeremy Reiland talk about catching David Freese’s Game 6 home-run ball in the 2011 World Series. Try to remember what that moment was like for you.

Sure, we’re still two months away from Opening Day, but there’s so much more than baseball to think about when you go to Busch Stadium. Although the 250 in 250 exhibit will be closed by the time the games start up, we hope that you remember some of this history.

—Lauren Mitchell, Senior Editor