Prior to European settlement, the area was a major regional center of Native American Mississippian culture. The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and named after Louis IX of France. In 1764, following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War, the area was ceded to Spain and retroceded back to France in 1800. In 1803, the United States acquired the territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase. During the 19th century, St. Louis developed as a major port on the Mississippi River. In the 1870 Census, St. Louis was ranked as the 4th-largest city in the United States. It separated from St. Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its own political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Summer Olympics.
The economy of metropoltian St. Louis relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism. Its metro area is home to major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Express Scripts, Centene, Boeing Defense, Emerson, Energizer, Panera, Enterprise, Peabody Energy, Ameren, Post Holdings, Monsanto, Scottrade, Edward Jones, Go Jet, Purina and Sigma-Aldrich. This city has also become known for its growing medical, pharmaceutical and research presence. St. Louis has 2 professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. The city is commonly identified with the 630-foot (192 m) tall Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis.
The area that would become St. Louis was a center of the Native American Mississippian culture, which built numerous temple and residential earthwork mounds on both sides of the Mississippi River. Their major regional center was at Cahokia Mounds, active from 900 AD to 1500 AD. Due to numerous major earthworks within St. Louis boundaries, the city was nicknamed as the "Mound City." These mounds were mostly demolished during the city's development. Historic Native American tribes in the area included the Siouan-speaking Osage people, whose territory extended west, and the Illiniwek.
European exploration of the area was first recorded in 1673, when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette traveled through the Mississippi River valley. Five years later, La Salle claimed the region for France as part of La Louisiane.
The earliest European settlements in the area were built in Illinois Country (also known as Upper Louisiana) on the east side of the Mississippi River during the 1690s and early 1700s at Cahokia, Kaskaskia, and Fort de Chartres. Migrants from the French villages on the opposite side of the Mississippi River (e.g. Kaskaskia) founded Ste. Genevieve in the 1730s.
In early 1764, after France lost the 7 Years' War, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteau founded what was to become the city of St. Louis. (French lands east of the Mississippi had been ceded to Great Britain and the lands west of the Mississippi to Spain; France and Spain were 18th-century allies and both were Catholic nations.) The early French families built the city's economy on the fur trade with the Osage, as well as with more distant tribes along the Missouri River. The Chouteau brothers gained a monopoly from Spain on the fur trade with Santa Fe. French colonists used African slaves as domestic servants and workers in the city.
From 1762 to 1803 European control of the area west of the Mississippi to the northernmost part of the Missouri River basin, called Louisiana, was assumed by the Spanish as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, St. Louis was attacked by British forces, mostly Native American allies, in the Battle of St. Louis.
The founding of St. Louis began in 1763. Pierre Laclede led an expedition to set up a fur-trading post farther up the Mississippi River. Before then, Laclede had been a very successful merchant. For this reason, he and his trading partner Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent were offered monopolies for six years of the fur trading in that area.
Though they were originally only granted rights to set-up a trading post, Laclede and other members of his expedition quickly set up a settlement. Some historians believe that Laclede's determination to create this settlement was the result of his affair with a married woman Marie-Thérèse Bourgeois Chouteau in New Orleans.
Laclede on his initial expedition was accompanied by his young stepson, Auguste Chouteau. Some historians still debate which of the two men was the true founder of St. Louis. The reason for this lingering question is that all the documentation of the founding was loaned and subsequently destroyed in a fire.
For the first few years of St. Louis's existence, the city was not recognized by any of the governments. Though originally thought to be under the control of the Spanish government, no one asserted any authority over the settlement, and thus St. Louis had no local government. This led Laclede to assume a position of civil control, and all problems were disposed in public settings, such as communal meetings. In addition, Laclede granted new settlers lots in town and the surrounding countryside. In hindsight, many of these original settlers thought of these first few years as "the golden age of St. Louis."
By 1765, the city began receiving notifications and visits from representatives and military actives from members of the English, French, and Spanish governments. The Indians in the local area expressed dissatisfaction to being under the command and control of British forces. One of the great Ottawa chieftains, Pontiac, was angered by the change of power and potential for the British to come into their lands. He desired to fight against them, but many of the St. Louis inhabitants refused.
St. Louis was transferred to the French First Republic in 1800 (although all of the colonial lands continued to be administered by Spanish officials), then sold by the French to the U.S. in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. St. Louis became the capital of, and gateway to, the new territory. Shortly after the official transfer of authority was made, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson. The expedition departed from St. Louis in May 1804 along the Missouri River to explore the vast territory. There were hopes of finding a water route to the Pacific Ocean, but the party had to go overland in the Upper West. They reached the Pacific Ocean via the Columbia River in summer 1805. They returned, reaching St. Louis on September 23, 1806. Both Lewis and Clark lived in St. Louis after the expedition. Many other explorers, settlers, and trappers (such as Ashley's Hundred) would later take a similar route to the West.
The city elected its first municipal legislators (called trustees) in 1808. Steamboats first arrived in St. Louis in 1818, improving connections with New Orleans and eastern markets. Missouri was admitted as a state in 1821. St. Louis was incorporated as a city in 1822, and continued to develop largely due to its busy port and trade connections. Slaves worked in many jobs on the waterfront as well as on the riverboats. Given the city's location close to the free state of Illinois and others, some slaves escaped to freedom. Others, especially women with children, sued in court in freedom suits, and several prominent local attorneys aided slaves in these suits. About half the slaves achieved freedom in hundreds of suits before the American Civil War.
Immigrants from Ireland and Germany arrived in St. Louis in significant numbers starting in the 1840s, and the population of St. Louis grew from less than 20,000 in 1840, to 77,860 in 1850, to more than 160,000 by 1860. By the mid-1800s, St. Louis had a greater population than New Orleans.
Settled by many Southerners in a slave state, the city was split in political sympathies and became polarized during the American Civil War. In 1861, 28 civilians were killed in a clash with Union troops. The war hurt St. Louis economically, due to the Union blockade of river traffic to the south on the Mississippi River. The St. Louis Arsenal constructed ironclads for the Union Navy.
After the war, St. Louis profited via trade with the West, aided by the 1874 completion of the Eads Bridge, named for its architect. Industrial developments on both banks of the river were linked by the bridge, the first in the mid-west over the Mississippi River. The bridge connects St. Louis, Missouri to East St. Louis, Illinois. The Eads Bridge became an iconic image of the city of St. Louis, from the time of its erection until 1965 when the Gateway Arch Bridge was constructed. The bridge crosses the St. Louis riverfront between Laclede's Landing, to the north, and the grounds of the Gateway Arch, to the south. Today the road deck has been restored, allowing vehicular and pedestrian traffic to cross the river. The St. Louis MetroLink light rail system has used the rail deck since 1993. An estimated 8,500 vehicles pass through it daily.
On August 22, 1876, the city of St. Louis voted to secede from St. Louis County and become an independent city. Industrial production continued to increase during the late 19th century. Major corporations such as the Anheuser-Busch brewery and Ralston-Purina company were established. St. Louis also was home to Desloge Consolidated Lead Company and several brass era automobile companies, including the Success Automobile Manufacturing Company; St. Louis is the site of the Wainwright Building, an early skyscraper built in 1892 by noted architect Louis Sullivan.
In 1904, the city hosted the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics, becoming the first non-European city to host the Olympics. Permanent facilities and structures remaining from the fair are Forest Park and associated structures within its boundaries: the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri History Museum, as well as Tower Grove Park and the Botanical Gardens.
In the aftermath of emancipation of slaves following the Civil War, social and racial discrimination in housing and employment were common in St. Louis. Starting in the 1910s, many property deeds included racial or religious restrictive covenants against new immigrants and migrants. In the first half of the 20th century, St. Louis was a destination for many African Americans in the Great Migration from the rural South seeking better opportunities. During World War II, the NAACP campaigned to integrate war factories, and restrictive covenants were prohibited in 1948 by the Shelley v. Kraemer U.S. Supreme Court decision, which case originated as a lawsuit in St. Louis. In 1964 civil rights activists protested at the construction of the Gateway Arch to publicize their effort to gain entry for African Americans into the skilled trade unions, where they were underrepresented. The Department of Justice filed the first suit against the unions under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In the first part of the century, St. Louis had some of the worst air pollution in the United States. In April, 1940 the city banned the use of soft coal mined in nearby states. The city hired inspectors to ensure only hard anthracite was burned. by 1946 the city had reduced air pollution by about three-quarters.
De jure educational segregation continued into the 1950s, and de facto segregation continued into the 1970s, leading to a court challenge and interdistrict desegregation agreement. Students have been bussed mostly from the city to county school districts to have opportunities for integrated classes, although the city has created magnet schools to attract students.
St. Louis, like many Midwestern cities, expanded in the early 20th century due to industrialization, which provided jobs to new generations of immigrants and migrants from the South. It reached its peak population of 856,796 at the 1950 census. Suburbanization from the 1950s through the 1990s dramatically reduced the city's population, as did restructuring of industry and loss of jobs. The effects of suburbanization were exacerbated by the relatively small geographical size of St. Louis due to its earlier decision to become an independent city, and it lost much of its tax base. During the 19th and 20th century, most major cities aggressively annexed surrounding areas as residential development occurred away from the central city; however, St. Louis was unable to do so.
In the 21st century, the city of St. Louis contains only 11% of its total metropolitan population, while among the top 20 metro areas in the United States, the central cities contain an average of 24% of total metropolitan area population. Although small increases in population have taken place in St. Louis during the early 2000s, overall the city lost population from 2000 to 2010. Immigration has continued, with the city attracting Vietnamese, Latinos from Mexico and Central America, and Bosnians, the latter forming the largest Bosnian community outside of Bosnia.
Several urban renewal projects were built in the 1950s, as the city worked to replace old and substandard housing. Some of these were poorly designed and resulted in problems, of which Pruitt-Igoe became a symbol of failure. It was torn down.
Since the 1980s, several revitalization efforts have focused on downtown St. Louis.
Urban revitalization continued in the new century. Gentrification has taken place in the Washington Avenue Historic District. In 2006, St. Louis received the World Leadership Award for urban renewal. In 2013 the US Census Bureau estimated that St. Louis had a population of 318,416.
The architecture of St. Louis exhibits a variety of commercial, residential, and monumental architecture. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, the tallest monument constructed in the United States at 630 feet (190 m). The Arch pays homage to Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis's position as the gateway to the West. Architectural influences reflected in the area include French Colonial, German, early American, and modern architectural styles.
Some notable post-modern commercial skyscrapers were built downtown in the 1970s and 1980s, including the One US Bank Plaza (1976), the AT&T Center (1986), and One Metropolitan Square (1989), which is the tallest building in St. Louis. One US Bank Plaza, the local headquarters for US Bancorp, was constructed for the Mercantile Bancorporation in the Structural expressionist style, emphasizing the steel structure of the building.
During the 1990s, St. Louis saw the construction of the largest United States courthouse by area, the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse (completed in 2000). The Eagleton Courthouse is home to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The most recent high-rise buildings in St. Louis include two residential towers: the Park East Tower in the Central West End and the Roberts Tower located in downtown.
Several examples of religious structures are extant from the pre-Civil War period, and most reflect the common residential styles of the time. Among the earliest is the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (locally referred to as the Old Cathedral). The Basilica was built between 1831 and 1834 in the Federal style. Other religious buildings from the period include SS. Cyril and Methodius Church (1857) in the Romanesque Revival style and Christ Church Cathedral (completed in 1867, designed in 1859) in the Gothic Revival style.
Only a few civic buildings were constructed during the early 19th century. The original St. Louis courthouse was built in 1826 and featured a Federal style stone facade with a rounded portico. However, this courthouse was replaced during renovation and expansion of the building in the 1850s. The Old St. Louis County Courthouse (locally known as the Old Courthouse) was completed in 1864 and was notable for having an early cast iron dome and for being the tallest structure in Missouri until 1894. Finally, a customs house was constructed in the Greek Revival style in 1852, but was demolished and replaced in 1873 by the U.S. Customhouse and Post Office.
Because much of the city's early commercial and industrial development was centered along the riverfront, many pre-Civil War buildings were demolished during construction of the Gateway Arch. The city's remaining architectural heritage of the era includes a multi-block district of cobblestone streets and brick and cast-iron warehouses called Laclede's Landing. Now popular for its restaurants and nightclubs, the district is located north of Gateway Arch along the riverfront. Other industrial buildings from the era include some portions of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which date to the early 1860s.
St. Louis saw a vast expansion in variety and number of religious buildings during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The largest and most ornate of these is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, designed by Thomas P. Barnett and constructed between 1907 and 1914 in the Neo-Byzantine style. The St. Louis Cathedral, as it is known, has one of the largest mosaic collections in the world. Another landmark in religious architecture of St. Louis is the St. Stanislaus Kostka, which is an example of the Polish Cathedral style. Among the other major designs of the period were St. Alphonsus Liguori (locally known as The Rock Church) (1867) in the Gothic Revival and Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis (1900) in Richardsonian Romanesque.
By the 1900 census, St. Louis was the fourth largest city in the country. In 1904, the city hosted a world's fair at Forest Park called the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Its architectural legacy is somewhat scattered. Among the fair-related cultural institutions in the park are the St. Louis Art Museum designed by Cass Gilbert, part of the remaining lagoon at the foot of Art Hill, and the Flight Cage at the St. Louis Zoo. The Missouri History Museum was built afterward, with the profit from the fair. But 1904 left other assets to the city, like Theodore Link's 1894 St. Louis Union Station, and an improved Forest Park.
The city is divided into 79 government-designated neighborhoods. The neighborhood divisions have no legal standing, although some neighborhood associations administer grants or hold veto power over historic-district development.
Several neighborhoods are lumped together in categories such as "North City," "South City," and "The Central West End."
The following is a list of neighborhoods of the city of St. Louis, Missouri.
According to the United States Census Bureau, St. Louis has a total area of 66 square miles (170 km2), of which 62 square miles (160 km2) is land and 4.1 square miles (11 km2) (6.2%) is water. (Not shown on simple maps of the city, the land at its airport is owned by the city, served by its fire department and others, and is an exclave of St. Louis.) The city is built primarily on bluffs and terraces that rise 100–200 feet above the western banks of the Mississippi River, in the Midwestern United States just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Much of the area is a fertile and gently rolling prairie that features low hills and broad, shallow valleys. Both the Mississippi River and the Missouri River have cut large valleys with wide flood plains.
Limestone and dolomite of the Mississippian epoch underlie the area, and parts of the city are karst in nature. This is particularly true of the area south of downtown, which has numerous sinkholes and caves. Most of the caves in the city have been sealed, but many springs are visible along the riverfront. Coal, brick clay, and millerite ore were once mined in the city. The predominant surface rock, known as St. Louis limestone, is used as dimension stone and rubble for construction.
Near the southern boundary of the city of St. Louis (separating it from St. Louis County) is the River des Peres, practically the only river or stream within the city limits that is not entirely underground. Most of River des Peres was confined to a channel or put underground in the 1920s and early 1930s. The lower section of the river was the site of some of the worst flooding of the Great Flood of 1993.
The city's eastern boundary is the Mississippi River, which separates Missouri from Illinois. The Missouri River forms the northern line of St. Louis County, except for a few areas where the river has changed its course. The Meramec River forms most of its southern line.
St. Louis lies in the transitional zone between the humid continental climate type and the humid subtropical climate type (Köppen Dfa and Cfa, respectively), with neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. The city experiences hot, humid summers, and chilly to cold winters. It is subject to both cold Arctic air and hot, humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. The average annual temperature recorded at nearby Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is 57.1 °F (13.9 °C). Both 100 and 0 °F (38 and −18 °C) temperatures can be seen on an average 2 or 3 days per year. Average annual precipitation is about 41.0 inches (1,040 mm), but annual precipitation has ranged from 20.59 in (523 mm) in 1953 to 61.24 in (1,555 mm) in 2015.
St. Louis experiences thunderstorms 48 days a year on average. Especially in the spring, these storms can often be severe, with high winds, large hail and tornadoes. Lying within the hotbed of Tornado Alley, St. Louis reigns as one of the most frequently tornadic metropolitan areas, and has an extensive history of particularly damaging tornadoes. Severe flooding, such as the Great Flood of 1993, may occur in spring and summer; the (often rapid) melting of thick snow cover upstream either the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers can contribute to springtime flooding.
Before the founding of the city, the area was mostly prairie and open forest. Native Americans maintained this environment, good for hunting, by burning underbrush. Trees are mainly oak, maple, and hickory, similar to the forests of the nearby Ozarks; common understory trees include eastern redbud, serviceberry, and flowering dogwood. Riparian areas are forested with mainly American sycamore.
Most of the residential areas of the city are planted with large native shade trees. The largest native forest area is found in Forest Park. In autumn, the changing color of the trees is notable. Most species here are typical of the eastern woodland, although numerous decorative non-native species are found. The most notable invasive species is Japanese honeysuckle, which officials are trying to manage because of its damage to native trees. It is removed from some parks.
Large mammals found in the city include urbanized coyotes and white-tailed deer. Eastern gray squirrel, cottontail rabbit, and other rodents are abundant, as well as the nocturnal Virginia opossum. Large bird species are abundant in parks and include Canada goose, mallard duck, as well as shorebirds, including the great egret and great blue heron. Gulls are common along the Mississippi River; these species typically follow barge traffic.
Winter populations of bald eagles are found along the Mississippi River around the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The city is on the Mississippi Flyway, used by migrating birds, and has a large variety of small bird species, common to the eastern US. The Eurasian tree sparrow, an introduced species, is limited in North America to the counties surrounding St. Louis. The city has special sites for birdwatching of migratory species, including Tower Grove Park.
Frogs are commonly found in the springtime, especially after extensive wet periods. Common species include the American toad and species of chorus frogs commonly called spring peepers, which are found in nearly every pond. Some years have outbreaks of cicadas or ladybugs. Mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and houseflies are common insect nuisances, especially in July and August; because of this, windows are nearly universally fitted with screens. Invasive populations of honeybees have sharply declined in recent years. Numerous native species of pollinator insects have recovered to fill their ecological niche, and armadillos have been regularly seen throughout the St. Louis area, especially since 2005.
St. Louis grew slowly until the American Civil War, when industrialization and immigration sparked a boom. Mid-19th century immigrants included many Irish and Germans; later there were immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. In the early 20th century, African American and white migrants came from the South; the former as part of the Great Migration out of rural areas of the Deep South. Many came from Mississippi and Arkansas.
After years of immigration, migration, and expansion, the city reached its peak population in 1950. That year, the Census Bureau reported St. Louis's population as 82% White and 17.9% African American. After World War II, St. Louis began losing population to the suburbs, first because of increased demand for new housing, unhappiness with city services, ease of commuting by subsidized highways, and later, white flight. St. Louis's population decline has resulted in a significant increase of abandoned residential housing units and vacant lots throughout the city proper; this blight has attracted much wildlife (such as deer and coyotes) to the many abandoned overgrown lots.
St. Louis has lost 62.7% of its population since the 1950 United States Census, the highest percent of any city that had a population of 100,000 or more at the time of the 1950 Census. Detroit, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio are the only other cities that have had population declines of at least 60% in the same time frame. The population of the city of St. Louis has been in decline since the 1960 census; during this period the population of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, which includes more than one county, has grown every year and continues to do so. A big factor in the decline has been the rapid increase in suburbanization.
According to the 2010 United States Census, St. Louis had 319,294 people living in 142,057 households, of which 67,488 households were families. The population density was 5,158.2 people per square mile (1,990.6/km²). About 24% of the population was 19 or younger, 9% were 20 to 24, 31% were 25 to 44, 25% were 45 to 64, and 11% were 65 or older. The median age was about 34 years.
The population was about 49.2% African American, 43.9% White (42.2% Non-Hispanic White), 2.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American/Alaska Native, and 2.4% reporting two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.5% of the population.
The African-American population is concentrated in the north side of the city (the area north of Delmar Boulevard is 94.0% black, compared with 35.0% in the central corridor and 26.0% in the south side of St. Louis). Among the Asian-American population in the city, the largest ethnic group is Vietnamese (0.9%), followed by Chinese (0.6%) and Asian Indians (0.5%). The Vietnamese community has concentrated in the Dutchtown neighborhood of south St. Louis; Chinese are concentrated in the Central West End. People of Mexican descent are the largest Latino group, and make up 2.2% of St. Louis's population. They have the highest concentration in the Dutchtown, Benton Park West (Cherokee Street), and Gravois Park neighborhoods.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $29,156, and the median income for a family was $32,585. Males had a median income of $31,106; females, $26,987. Per capita income was $18,108.
Some 19% of the city's housing units were vacant, and slightly less than half of these were vacant structures not for sale or rent.
In 2010, St. Louis's per-capita rates of online charitable donations and volunteerism were among the highest among major U.S. cities.
As of 2010, 91.05% (270,934) of St. Louis city residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 2.86% (8,516) spoke Spanish, 0.91% (2,713) Bosnian, 0.74% (2,200) Vietnamese, 0.50% (1,495) African languages, 0.50% (1,481) Chinese, and French was spoken as a main language by 0.45% (1,341) of the population over the age of five. In total, 8.95% (26,628) of St. Louis's population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.
About 15 families from Bosnia settled in St. Louis in 1960 and 1970. After the Bosnian War started in 1992, more Bosnian refugees began arriving and by 2000, tens of thousands of Bosnian refugees settled in St. Louis with the help of Catholic aid societies. Many of them were professionals and skilled workers who had to take any job opportunity to be able to support their families. Most Bosnian refugees are Muslim, ethnically Bosniaks (87%); they have settled primarily in south St. Louis and South County. Bosnian-Americans are well integrated into the city, developing many businesses and ethnic/cultural organizations. Although St. Louis has a high Bosnian population, the city and county also consists of a larger Pakistani American population in contrast to other US cities.
An estimated 70,000 Bosnians live in the metro area, the largest population of Bosnians in the United States and the largest Bosnian population outside their homeland. The highest concentration of Bosnians is in the neighborhood of Bevo Mill and in Affton, Mehlville, and Oakville of south St. Louis County.
According to stltoday.com 2015 GDP of St. Louis was $155 billion. 2014 Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) of St. Louis was $145.958 billion up from $144.03 in 2013, $138.403 in 2012 and $133.1 in 2011 making it the 21st-highest in the country. The St. Louis Metropolitan Area had a Per capita GDP of $48,738 in 2014 up 1.6% from 2013. This signals the growth of the St. Louis economy. According to the 2007 Economic Census, manufacturing in the city conducted nearly $11 billion in business, followed by the health care and social service industry with $3.5 billion, professional or technical services with $3.1 billion, and the retail trade with $2.5 billion. The health care sector was the biggest employer in the area with 34,000 workers, followed by administrative and support jobs, 24,000; manufacturing, 21,000, and food service, 20,000.
As of 2013, the St. Louis Metropolitan Area is home to nine Fortune 500 companies, the third-highest in the Midwestern United States. In addition, seven other Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the MSA: Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Monsanto, Reinsurance Group of America, Centene, Graybar Electric, and Edward Jones Investments.
Other notable corporations headquartered in the region include Arch Coal, Scottrade, Wells Fargo Advisors (formerly A.G. Edwards), Energizer Holdings, Patriot Coal, Post Foods, United Van Lines, and Mayflower Transit, Post Holdings, Hardee's, Olin, and Enterprise Holdings (a parent company of several car rental companies). Notable corporations with operations in St. Louis include Cassidy Turley, Kerry Group, MasterCard, TD Ameritrade, and BMO Harris Bank.
Health care and biotechnology institutions with operations in St. Louis include Pfizer, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the Solae Company, Sigma-Aldrich, and Multidata Systems International. General Motors manufactures automobiles in Wentzville, while an earlier plant, known as the St. Louis Truck Assembly, built GMC automobiles from 1920 until 1987. Chrysler closed its St. Louis Assembly production facility in nearby Fenton, Missouri and Ford closed the St. Louis Assembly Plant in Hazelwood.
Several once-independent pillars of the local economy have been purchased by other corporations. Among them are Anheuser-Busch, purchased by Belgium-based InBev; Missouri Pacific Railroad, which was headquartered in St. Louis, merged with the Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific Railroad in 1982; McDonnell Douglas, whose operations are now part of Boeing Defense, Space & Security; Mallinckrodt, purchased by Tyco International; and Ralston Purina, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestlé. The May Department Stores Company (which owned Famous-Barr and Marshall Field's stores) was purchased by Federated Department Stores, which has its regional headquarters in the area. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in downtown is one of two federal reserve banks in Missouri. Most of the assets of Furniture Brands International were sold to Heritage Home Group in 2013, and while that company remained in the area for a brief time, it has moved to North Carolina.
St. Louis is a center of medicine and biotechnology. The Washington University School of Medicine is affiliated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the fifth-largest hospital in the world. Both institutions operate the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. The School of Medicine also is affiliated with St. Louis Children's Hospital, one of the country's top pediatric hospitals. Both hospitals are owned by BJC HealthCare. The McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University played a major role in the Human Genome Project. St. Louis University Medical School is affiliated with SSM Health's Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital and St. Louis University Hospital. It also has a cancer center, vaccine research center, geriatric center, and a bioethics institute. Several different organizations operate hospitals in the area, including BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health Care, and Tenet.
Boeing employs nearly 15,000 people in its north St. Louis campus, headquarters to its defense unit. In 2013, the company said it would move about 600 jobs from Seattle, where labor costs have risen, to a new IT center in St. Louis. Other companies, such as LaunchCode and LockerDome, see the city's potential to become the next major tech hub. Programs such as Arch Grants are attracting new startups to the region.
According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the top employers in the St. Louis metropolitan area as of June 1, 2015, are as follows:
According to St. Louis's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city only, as of June 30, 2016 are:
The city is home to two national research universities, Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis University, as classified under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been ranked among the top 10 medical schools in the country by US News & World Report for as long as the list has been published, and as high as second, in 2003 and 2004.
In addition to Catholic theological institutions such as Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis is home to three Protestant seminaries: Eden Theological Seminary of the United Church of Christ, Covenant Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America, and Concordia Seminary of the St. Louis-based Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
The St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) operate more than 75 schools, attended by more than 25,000 students, including several magnet schools. SLPS operates under provisional accreditation from the state of Missouri and is under the governance of a state-appointed school board called the Special Administrative Board, although a local board continues to exist without legal authority over the district. Since 2000, charter schools have operated in the city of St. Louis using authorization from Missouri state law. These schools are sponsored by local institutions or corporations and take in students from kindergarten through high school. In addition, several private schools exist in the city, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis operates dozens of parochial schools in the city, including parochial high schools. The city also has several private high schools, including secular, Catholic and Lutheran schools. St. Louis University High School - a Jesuit preparatory high school founded in 1818 - is the oldest secondary educational institution in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River.
With its French past and waves of Catholic immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, from Ireland, Germany and Italy, St. Louis is a major center of Roman Catholicism in the United States. St. Louis also boasts the largest Ethical Culture Society in the United States, and consistently ranks as one of the most generous cities in the United States, ranking ninth in 2013. Several places of worship in the city are noteworthy, such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, home of the world's largest mosaic installation.
Other locally notable churches include the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River and the oldest church in St. Louis; the St. Louis Abbey, whose distinctive architectural style garnered multiple awards at the time of its completion in 1962; and St. Francis de Sales Oratory, a neo-Gothic church completed in 1908 in South St. Louis and the second-largest church in the city.
The city is defined by music and the performing arts, especially its association with blues, jazz, and ragtime. St. Louis is home to the St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, which has toured nationally and internationally to strong reviews. Until 2010, it was also home to KFUO-FM, one of the oldest classical music FM radio stations west of the Mississippi River.
The Gateway Arch marks downtown St. Louis and a historic center that includes the Federal courthouse where the Dred Scott case was first argued, a newly renovated and expanded public library, major churches and businesses, and retail. An increasing downtown residential population has taken to adapted office buildings and other historic structures. In nearby University City is the Delmar Loop, ranked by the American Planning Association as a "great American street" for its variety of shops and restaurants, and the Tivoli Theater, all within walking distance.
Unique city and regional cuisine reflecting various immigrant groups include toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, provel cheese, the slinger, the Gerber sandwich, the St. Paul sandwich, and St. Louis-style pizza, featuring thin crust and provel cheese. Some St. Louis chefs have begun emphasizing use of local produce, meats and fish, and neighborhood farmers' markets have become increasingly popular, as well as one downtown. Artisan bakeries, salumeria, and chocolatiers also operate in the city.
Also unique to St. Louis are St. Louis style pizza (extremely thin crust, Provel cheese, and cut in small squares, marketed by one leading purveyor as "The Square Beyond Compare") and the Ted Drewes "Concrete", which is frozen custard blended with any combination of dozens of ingredients, served in a large yellow cup with a spoon and straw. The mixture is so thick that a spoon inserted into the custard does not fall if the cup is inverted. It is also widely noted among natives of St. Louis that a standard first question among adults of any age in the St. Louis metro area is "where did you go to High School?" due to the large number of private and prestigious high schools.
St. Louis is home to Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, notable collegiate-level soccer teams, and has hosted several collegiate sports tournaments. It is one of three American cities to have hosted an Olympic Games.
St. Louis is home to two major league sports teams. The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won 19 National League (NL) titles (the most pennants for the league franchise in one city) and 11 World Series titles, most recently in 2011. They play at Busch Stadium. Previously, the St. Louis Browns played in the American League (AL) from 1902 to 1953, before moving to Baltimore, Maryland to become the current incarnation of the Orioles. The 1944 World Series was an all-St. Louis World Series, matching up the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park.
The St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League (NHL) play at the Scottrade Center (formerly the Savvis Center, originally Kiel Center). They were one of the six teams added to the NHL in the 1967 expansion. The Blues have never won the Stanley Cup, and are the oldest team not to do so. Prior to the Blues, the city was home to the St. Louis Eagles. The team only played in the 1934-35 season.
St. Louis has been home to four different National Football League (NFL) teams. The St. Louis All-Stars played in the city in 1923, the St. Louis Gunners in 1934, the St. Louis Cardinals from 1960 to 1987, and the St. Louis Rams from 1995 to 2015. The football Cardinals advanced to the NFL playoffs just three times (1974, 1975 and 1982), never hosting or winning in any appearance. The Cardinals moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1988. The Rams played at the Edward Jones Dome from 1995 to 2015 and went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV. The Rams returned to Los Angeles, California in 2016.
The St. Louis Hawks of the National Basketball Association (NBA) played at Kiel Auditorium from 1955 to 1968. They won the NBA championship in 1958 and played in two other NBA Finals: 1957 and 1960. In 1968 the Hawks moved to Atlanta, Georgia.
St. Louis also hosts several minor league sports teams. The Gateway Grizzlies and the River City Rascals of the Frontier League (which are not affiliated with Major League Baseball) play in the area. The St. Louis Trotters of the Independent Basketball Association play at Matthews Dickey. St. Louis FC of the United Soccer League play at World Wide Technology Soccer Park and both River City Raiders and St. Louis Ambush play at the Family Arena. The region hosts NHRA drag racing and NASCAR events at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois.St. Louis Slam play at the Harlen C. Hunter Stadium
At the collegiate level, St. Louis has hosted the Final Four of both the women's and men's college basketball NCAA Division I championship tournaments, and the Frozen Four collegiate ice hockey tournament. Although the area does not have a National Basketball Association team, it hosts an American Basketball Association team called the St. Louis Phoenix. St. Louis University has won 10 NCAA Men's Soccer Championships, and the city has hosted the College Cup several times. In addition to collegiate soccer, many St. Louisans have played for the United States men's national soccer team, and 20 St. Louisans have been elected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. St. Louis also is the origin of the sport of corkball, a type of baseball in which there is no base running.
St. Louis is home to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis (CCSCSL) where the U.S. Chess Championship is held. St. Louisan Rex Sinquefield founded the CCSCSL and moved the World Chess Hall of Fame to St. Louis in 2011. The Sinquefield Cup Tournament started at St. Louis in 2013. In 2014 the Sinquefield Cup was the highest rated chess tournament of all time. Fabiano Caruana won the 2014 Sinquefield tournament winning seven straight games including a game against the world champion Magnus Carlsen. Caruana and U.S. Chess Champion Hikaru Nakamura live in St. Louis.
The city operates more than 100 parks, with amenities that include sports facilities, playgrounds, concert areas, picnic areas, and lakes. Forest Park, located on the western edge of city, is the largest, occupying 1,400 acres of land, making it almost twice as large as Central Park in New York City. The park is home to five major institutions, including the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Muny amphitheatre. Another significant park in the city is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a National Memorial located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The centerpiece of the park is the 630 feet (190 m) tall Gateway Arch, designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen and completed on October 28, 1965. Also part of the historic park is the Old Courthouse, where the first two trials of Dred Scott v. Sandford were held in 1847 and 1850.
Other notable parks in the city include the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove Park, Carondelet Park and Citygarden. The Missouri Botanical Garden, a private garden and botanical research facility, is a National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States. The Garden features 79 acres of horticultural displays from around the world. This includes a Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home and a geodesic dome called the Climatron. Immediately south of the Missouri Botanical Garden is Tower Grove Park, a gift to the city by Henry Shaw. Citygarden is an urban sculpture park located in downtown St. Louis, with art from Fernand Léger, Aristide Maillol, Julian Opie, Tom Otterness, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Mark di Suvero. The park is divided into three sections, each of which represent a different theme: river bluffs; flood plains; and urban gardens. The park also has a restaurant – Death in the Afternoon. Another downtown sculpture park is the Serra Sculpture Park, with the 1982 Richard Serra sculpture Twain.
The city of St. Louis has a mayor-council government with legislative authority vested in the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis and with executive authority in the Mayor of St. Louis and six other separately elected officials. The Board of Aldermen is made up of 28 members (one elected from each of the city's wards) plus a board president who is elected citywide. The 2014 fiscal year budget topped $1 billion for the first time, a 1.9% increase over the $985.2 million budget in 2013. 238,253 registered voters lived in the city in 2012, down from 239,247 in 2010, and 257,442 in 2008.
Municipal elections in St. Louis are held in odd numbered years, with the primary elections in March and the general election in April. The mayor is elected in odd numbered years following the United States Presidential Election, as are the aldermen representing odd-numbered wards. The President of the Board of Aldermen and the aldermen from even-numbered wards are elected in the off-years. The Democratic Party has dominated St. Louis city politics for decades. The city has not had a Republican mayor since 1949 and the last time a Republican was elected to another citywide office was in the 1970s. As of 2015, all 28 of the city's Aldermen are Democrats. Forty-Six individuals have held the office of mayor of St. Louis, four of whom—William Carr Lane, John Fletcher Darby, John Wimer, and John How—served non-consecutive terms. The most terms served by a mayor was by Lane who served 8 full terms plus the unexpired term of Darby. The current mayor is Lyda Krewson, who took office April 18, 2017 The second-longest serving mayor was Henry Kiel, who took office April 15, 1913 and left office April 21, 1925, a total of 12 years and 9 days over three terms in office. Two others—Raymond Tucker, and Vincent C. Schoemehl—also served three terms as mayor, but served seven fewer days. The shortest serving mayor was Arthur Barret who died 11 days after taking office.
Although St. Louis separated from St. Louis County in 1876, some mechanisms have been put in place for joint funding management and funding of regional assets. The St. Louis Zoo-Museum district collects property taxes from residents of both St. Louis City and County and the funds are used to support cultural institutions including the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Similarly, the Metropolitan Sewer District provides sanitary and storm sewer service to the city and much of St. Louis County. The Bi-State Development Agency (now known as Metro) runs the region's MetroLink light rail system and bus system.
St. Louis is split between 11 districts in the Missouri House of Representatives: all of the 76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, and 84th, and parts of the 66th, 83rd, and 93rd, which are shared with St. Louis County. The 5th Missouri Senate district is entirely within the city, while the 4th is shared with St. Louis County.
At the federal level, St. Louis is the heart of Missouri's 1st congressional district, which also includes part of northern St. Louis County. A Republican has not represented a significant portion of St. Louis in the U.S. House since 1953.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri are based in the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. St. Louis is also home to a Federal Reserve System branch, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) also maintains major facilities in the St. Louis area.
The Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC-MPR) located at 9700 Page Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, is a branch of the National Personnel Records Center and is the repository of over 56 million military personnel records and medical records pertaining to retired, discharged, and deceased veterans of the U.S. armed forces.
St. Louis City has, as of April 2017, the second highest murder rate, per capita, in the USA, with 188 homicides in 2015 (59.3 homicides per 100,000). Detroit, Flint, Memphis, Oakland, and some smaller cities with fewer than 100,000 population (ex, Camden, New Jersey) have higher overall violent crime rates than St. Louis, when comparing other crimes such as rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. St. Louis index crime rates have declined almost every year since the peak in 1993 (16,648), to the 2014 level of 7,931 (which is the sum of violent crimes and property crimes) per 100,000. In 2015, the index crime rate reversed the 2005-2014 decline to a level of 8,204. Between 2005 and 2014, violent crime has declined by 20%, although rates of violent crime remains 6 times higher than the United States national average and property crime in the city remains 2 1/2 times the national average. St. Louis has a significantly higher homicide rate than the rest of the US for both whites and especially blacks and a higher proportion committed by males. As of October 2016, 7 of the homicide suspects were white, 95 black, 0 Hispanic, 0 Asian and only 1 female out of the 102 suspects. In 2016, St. Louis was the most dangerous city in the United States with populations of 100,000 or more, ranking 1st in violent crime and 2nd in property crime. It was also ranked 6th of the most dangerous of all establishments in the United States—and East St. Louis—a suburb of the city itself was ranked 1st. The St. Louis Police Department at the end of 2016 reported a total of 188 murders for the year, the same number of homicides that had occurred in the city in 2015.
Greater St. Louis commands the 19th-largest media market in the United States, a position roughly unchanged for over a decade. All of the major U.S. television networks have affiliates in St. Louis, including KTVI 2 (Fox), KMOV 4 (CBS), KSDK 5 (NBC), KETC 9 (PBS), KPLR-TV 11 (CW), KDNL 30 (ABC), WRBU 46 (Ion), and WPXS 51 Daystar Television Network. Among the area's most popular radio stations are KMOX (AM sports and talk, notable as the longtime flagship station for St. Louis Cardinals broadcasts), KLOU (FM oldies), WIL-FM (FM country), WARH (FM adult hits), and KSLZ (FM Top 40 mainstream). St. Louis also supports public radio's KWMU, an NPR affiliate, and community radio's KDHX. KZQZ is a popular Oldies station. All-sports stations, such as KFNS 590 AM "The Fan", WXOS "101.1 ESPN", and KSLG are also popular.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the region's major daily newspaper. Others in the region include the Suburban Journals, which serve parts of St. Louis County, while the primary alternative newspaper is the Riverfront Times. Three weeklies serve the African-American community: the St. Louis Argus, the St. Louis American, and the St. Louis Sentinel. St. Louis Magazine, a local monthly magazine, covers topics such as local history, cuisine, and lifestyles, while the weekly St. Louis Business Journal provides coverage of regional business news. St. Louis was served by an online newspaper, the St. Louis Beacon, but that publication merged with KWMU in 2013.
Many books and movies have been written about St. Louis. A few of the most influential and prominent films are Meet Me in St. Louis and American flyers, and novels include The Killing Dance, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Runaway Soul (novel), The Rose of Old St. Louis, and Circus of the Damned.
As St. Louis was a prime location for immigrants to move to, much of the early social work depicting immigrant life was based on St. Louis, such as in the book The Immigrant of St. Louis.
Road, rail, ship, and air transportation modes connect the city with surrounding communities in Greater St. Louis, national transportation networks, and international locations. St. Louis also supports a public transportation network that includes bus and light rail service.
Four interstate highways connect the city to a larger regional highway system. Interstate 70, an east-west highway, runs roughly from the northwest corner of the city to downtown St. Louis. The north-south Interstate 55 enters the city at the south near the Carondelet neighborhood and runs toward the center of the city, and both Interstate 64 and Interstate 44 enter the city on the west, running parallel to the east. Two of the four interstates (Interstates 55 and 64) merge south of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and leave the city on the Poplar Street Bridge into Illinois, while Interstate 44 terminates at Interstate 70 at its new interchange near N Broadway and Cass Ave.
The 563-mile Avenue of the Saints links St. Louis with St. Paul, Minnesota.
Major roadways include the north-south Memorial Drive, located on the western edge of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and parallel to Interstate 70, the north-south streets of Grand Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, both of which run the length of the city, and Gravois Road, which runs from the southeastern portion of the city to downtown and used to be signed as U.S. Route 66. An east-west roadway that connects the city with surrounding communities is Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, which carries traffic from the western edge of the city to downtown.
The St. Louis metro area is served by Metrolink (known as Metro) and is the 11th-largest light rail system in the country with 46 mi (74 km) of double track light rail. The Red Line and The Blue Line both serve all the stations in the inner city, and branch to different destinations beyond in the suburban areas. Both lines enter the city north of Forest Park on the western edge of the city or on the Eads Bridge in downtown St. Louis to Illinois. All of the system track is in independent right of way, with both surface level and underground subways track in the city. All stations are independent entry, while all platforms are flush-level with trains. Rail service is provided by the Bi-State Development Agency (also known as Metro), which is funded by a sales taxes levied in the city and other counties in the region. The Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center acts as the hub station in the city of St. Louis, linking the city's light rail system, local bus system, passenger rail service, and national bus service. It is located just east of the historic grand St. Louis Union Station.
St. Louis is served by two passenger airports. St. Louis Lambert International Airport, owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, is 11 miles northwest of downtown along highway I-70 between I-170 and I-270 in St. Louis County. It is the largest and busiest airport in the state. In 2016, the airport has over 255 daily departures to about 90 domestic and international locations and a total of over 13 million passengers. The airport serves as a focus hub city for Southwest Airlines and was a former hub for Trans World Airlines and former focus-city for American Airlines and AmericanConnection. MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is the secondary passenger airport serving the metropolitan area. Located 17 miles east of the city downtown core, the airport serves domestic passengers. Air cargo transportation is available at Lambert International and at other nearby regional airports, including MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, Spirit of St. Louis Airport, and St. Louis Downtown Airport.
The airport has two terminals with a total of five concourses. International flights and passengers use Terminal 2, whose lower level holds the Immigration and Customs gates. Passengers can move between the terminals on complimentary buses that run continuously, or via MetroLink for a fee. It was possible to walk between the terminals until Concourse D was closed in 2008.
River transportation is available through the Port of St. Louis, which is 19.3 miles of riverbank on the Mississippi River that handles more than 32 million tons of freight annually. The Port is the 2nd largest inland port by trip-ton miles, and the 3rd largest by tonnage in the United States, with more than one hundred docking facilities for barge shipping and 16 public terminals on the river. The Port Authority added 2 new small fire and rescue craft in 2012 and 2013.
Inter-city rail passenger train service in the city is provided by Amtrak. All Amtrak trains serving St. Louis use the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center downtown. Amtrak trains terminating in the city include the Lincoln Service to Chicago and the Missouri River Runner to Kansas City, Missouri. St. Louis is an intermediate stop on the Texas Eagle route which provides long-distance passenger service between San Antonio, Texas, and Chicago.
St. Louis is the nation's third-largest freight rail hub, moving Missouri exports such as fertilizer, gravel, crushed stone, prepared foodstuffs, fats, oils, nonmetallic mineral products, grain, alcohol, tobacco products, automobiles, and automobile parts. Freight rail service in St. Louis is provided on tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway, Foster Townsend Rail Logistics – formerly Manufacturers Railway (St. Louis), Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, Affton Trucking, and the BNSF Railway.
The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (reporting mark: TRRA) is a switching and terminal railroad jointly owned by all the major rail carriers in St. Louis. The company operates 30 diesel-electric locomotives to move railcars around the classification yards, deliver railcars to local industries, and ready trains for departure. The TRRA processes and dispatches a significant portion of railroad traffic moving through the city and owns and operates a network of rail bridges and tunnels including the MacArthur Bridge (St. Louis) and the Merchants Bridge. This infrastructure is also used by inter-city rail and long-distance passenger trains serving St. Louis.
Local bus service in the city of St. Louis is provided by the Bi-State Development Agency via MetroBus, with more than 75 routes connecting to MetroLink commuter rail transit and stops in the city and region. The city is also served by Madison County Transit, which connects downtown St. Louis to Madison County, Illinois. National bus service in the city is offered by Greyhound Lines, Burlington Trailways and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, with a station at the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center, and Megabus, with a stop at St. Louis Union Station.
Taxicab service in the city is provided by private companies regulated by the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission. Rates vary by vehicle type, size, passengers and distance, and by regulation all taxicab fares must be calculated using a taximeter and be payable in cash or credit card. Solicitation by a driver is prohibited, although a taxicab may be hailed on the street or at a stand.
During the early 21st century, St. Louis has 16 sister cities.
With informal relations with Tuguegarao, Philippines.