“Mother” Priscilla Baltimore’s Freedom Village

1 day 17 hours ago
Brooklyn, Illinois, was established during the 1820s as a refuge for those escaping enslavement. Situated along the Mississippi River and directly across from St. Louis, Brooklyn became the hub of community and self-determination for many of its early residents. One of its founders was Priscilla Baltimore (affectionately known as “Mother”), an anti-slavery activist who dedicated …
Brittany Krewson

Stories of Service: A World War II Vet Remembers the Effects of the Atomic Bomb

2 weeks ago
EDITOR’S NOTE: Part of the revitalization at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum involved collecting the oral histories of St. Louis–area veterans and their families. Some of these interviews are featured in the new exhibits at Soldiers Memorial, and all will be available to researchers. John Lopez was born in 1920 and grew up in the Carondelet neighborhood. His …
Brittany Krewson

Great River City: The 1907 City Plan

2 weeks 2 days ago
This post has been adapted from Great River City, the latest title from the Missouri Historical Society Press. Additional adaptations can be found here. Beyond the splendor of the 1904 World’s Fair, the real St. Louis was a grimy, crowded place—and no part of town looked worse than the Mississippi River. With lumberyards, rail yards, and factories …
Jen Tebbe

Sunken Treasure

2 weeks 5 days ago
When the steamboat Zebulon M. Pike arrived in St. Louis in 1817, it ushered in a new era. Steam travel in the region increased dramatically over the next few decades, but the Golden Age of Steamboats was fraught with danger. Boiler explosions and submerged debris frequently sunk steamers, while icy conditions also led to wrecks. James B. Eads, best …
Brittany Krewson

St. Louis’s Automobile Row

3 weeks 2 days ago
To say that the automobile changed St. Louis and the world is certainly an understatement. But it changed the city in more ways than just making it easier to get around. St. Louis was an early center of car manufacturing, and the city developed a notable economy around the sale, service, and marketing of automobiles. By 1930, at least 29 different car companies had existed …
Brittany Krewson

Opposite Ends of the Trail

3 weeks 6 days ago
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been adapted from the article “Desperately Seeking Carmel,” written by Dr. Frances Levine for the Summer 2019 issue of El Palacio, the magazine of the Museum of New Mexico. While the Santa Fe Trail is not often associated with stories of frontier women, they played an important role in linking people …
Brittany Krewson

Helen Weiss, A Force for Famous-Barr

4 weeks 2 days ago
Helen Weiss, divisional vice president of public relations and special events at Famous-Barr, was stylish, flamboyant, and never afraid to be herself. She began her career of almost 50 years accidentally, by volunteering to organize an unrelated charity fundraiser being held in the Famous-Barr parking lot. Helen’s boundless talents attracted the attention of Famous-Barr executives, …
Brittany Krewson

Lost to the Mighty Mississippi: Friends and Family Edition

1 month ago
Nothing quite says 19th-century personal prosperity like a life-sized oil portrait in a gilded frame. A large group of these artifacts was once planned to stare down at visitors in our Mighty Mississippi exhibit. In their opulence, these paintings, depicting fur traders, merchants, and explorers, would drive home the successful, interpersonal connections of the first …
Brittany Krewson

Welcome to Hardscrabble

1 month 1 week ago
In 1843 a young West Point graduate named Ulysses S. Grant, future commander of the Union army and 18th president of the United States, reported to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri. The following year he visited the nearby White Haven farm to catch up with his friend and former West Point roommate, Fred Dent. …
Jen Tebbe

Great River City: The Ice Gorge

1 month 1 week ago
Decades ago during the very coldest winters, St. Louisans waited anxiously for that special moment when the Mississippi River would disappear. The river didn’t technically go anywhere—it was just hidden beneath a solid surface of ice that could measure up to 3 feet thick. St. Louisans took to the ice in droves, delighting at the peculiar sensation of walking on the water. But although the frozen Mississippi …
Jen Tebbe
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1 hour 8 minutes ago
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