Saint Louis, Missouri, the Gateway to the West, certainly lives up to its description. This was the place to get to from the original states and territories if you planned on moving further west. From here the Mississippi River will take you all the way down to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. From here you can take the Missouri River and meander west and link up to other waterways all the way to the Pacific Ocean. From here you can use your satellite internet linkup to travel the web to anywhere in the world!
The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803 didn’t have the advantage of rural satellite internet like the people of Missouri enjoy now, but that didn’t stop them from taking on the monumental task of finding and mapping a water route from here to the west end of our continent. This ushered in the beginnings of a massive trade route with St. Louis at its center. What an exciting time to live here! Lewis and Clark decided to stay here after the successful completion of their trek.
It was a little more difficult to live here during the Civil War. Blockades were set up on the rivers to keep goods from being shipped to or from the south. This did hinder trade and to a great extent, the economy, but they re-geared themselves and started producing ironclad warships for the Union to the north. Trade did pick up again after the war when the warships were no longer needed.
The adjective, bustling, certainly described St. Louis for the next few decades culminating with the hosting of the 1904 World’s Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics. From antebellum to Victorian times this graceful, energetic city continued to grow and prosper.
And how about that Gateway Arch?! Talk about an engineering feat; it is the highest man-made structure in the US with views from the top that stagger the mind. Don’t worry, views are all from inside the arch, no sitting on top on the outside, although I’m sure someone will try someday, if they haven’t already!
Trade continues to this day making this area a heavily travelled route just as it once was. Companies like Anheuser-Busch and Ralston Purina have made St. Louis their headquarters.
Unfortunately, urban sprawl overwhelmed the city and the lack of housing created the need for suburban migration. The city has worked hard to improve the housing problems and made so much progress that they were selected to receive the World Leadership Award in urban renewal in 2006. Luckily, no matter where you move to in Missouri you can use your high speed broadband internet connections.
Today there are still riverboats and barges moving up and down the ‘Big Muddy’ going to wherever the currents take them. Chances are you have been to St. Louis because it is a hub of transportation, but if it is just to the airport, take some time, leave the terminal and do some exploring of your own.