Saint Louis

Saint Louis

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St. Louis is an independent city in the east of Missouri. It sits on the Mississippi River below the mouth of the Missouri and it is not included in any county.

The site of the city was chosen in 1763 by Pierre LaClede for a fur-trading post. To honor Louis XV of France, it was named for his 'name' saint, Louis IX of France. St. Louis was transferred to the Spanish in 1770, but it was retroceded to France in the time of Napoleon I. Later it was sold to the United States along with the other lands of the Louisiana Purchase.

Since St. Louis is the gateway to the Missouri valley and the West, it was an important market and supply point for fur traders, mountain men, and explorers such as Lewis and Clark. The city grew rapidly after the War of 1812, when immigrants arrived in large numbers to settle the West. St. Louis grew to be one of the greatest U.S. river ports and even after the arrival of the railroads in the 1850's, the river steamers remained of extreme importance.

St. Louis reached its population peak immediately after WWII. Between 1950 and 1990, the population of central Saint Louis decreased by half. The city's industry has significantly declined since 1970. While many of the outlying suburbs grew steadily and developed industries, some, such as East Saint Louis, have been marked by high unemployment and poverty.

St. Louis has long been a major industrial and transportation hub. It is a leading rail and trucking center and its airport and river port are among the busiest in the United States. The city's industries produce a variety of manufactures, including chemicals, aircraft, automotive vehicles and parts, railway cars, electronic components, textiles, shoes and beer. St. Louis is also a wholesale, banking and financial center.

Places of interest

Gateway Arch

One of the most important attractions in St. Louis is Gateway Arch, which was erected in 1965. It consists if a 192 m (630 feet) high stainless steel arch, which was designed by Eero Saarinen. The arch stands on the banks of the Mississippi and symbolizes St. Louis as the gateway to the West.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, of which the arch is a part, was established in 1935 to preserve such historical buildings as the old courthouse. It was in use from 1839 to 1864 and the place where the Dred Scott Case was tried.

Other sights

The poet Eugene Field was born in St. Louis and his house has been converted into a museum. The New Cathedral is one of the largest Roman Catholic cathedrals in the United States. The massive Union Station, once the country's largest railroad terminal, now houses shops and a hotel.

St. Louis has a noted symphony orchestra, a municipal opera, a large botanical garden and over 30 educational institutions, including Saint Louis University, Washington University, three theological seminaries and a branch of the University of Missouri. The city's large Forest Park has an open-air theater, an art museum, a zoo, a planetarium and the Jefferson memorial building, which recalls the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, also known as the 'St. Louis Fair'. St. Louis is home to the National League's Cardinals, the National Football League's Rams and the National Hockey League's Blues.

There are countless hotels and restaurants in St. Louis. The city is 170 km east from Jefferson City and 1150 km west from Washinton D.C.


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