Happy 248th birthday, St. Louis! The city was founded Feb. 15, 1764, when Pierre Laclede sent Auguste Chouteau, 14, and 30 workers upstream to begin clearing land. There was nothing momentous about the founding day, just he wielding of crude iron tools. Laclede joined them in April and named the village after St. Louis (French King Louis IX), patron saint of the reigning king of France, Louis XV.
Broken records • When people awoke on Jan. 31, 1982, the only way around for most of them was by foot, preferably in high and heavy boots as seen in this view of Lindell Boulevard looking east from Newstead Avenue. The forecast had been for only 4 inches, but the storm stalled over St. Louis and dumped 14 and more inches overnight Jan. 30-31. The official record was 13.9 inches at Lambert St. Louis International Airport, but the National Weather Service said most of St. Louis and southwest St. Louis County had 18 inches or more.
Thirty years later, it’s possible the weather will again set a record: The National Weather Service forecasts a high today in the mid-to-upper 60s, and says a high of 68 this afternoon is possible. The current record was set in 1884: 67 degrees. (Photo by Bill Kesler / Post-Dispatch)
70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor • Downtown workers gathered around a loudspeaker at Eighth and Olive streets, outside the federal Custom House (now the Old Post Office), to hear a live broadcast of President Franklin Roosevelt’s war speech to a joint session of Congress. The day before, Japan bombed a U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Congress quickly ratified the declaration of war, as seen on the front page of the Post-Dispatch on Dec. 8. (The government didn’t confirm the destruction of the USS Arizona for another week.) You can see me at the bottom of the page — there was no “bird line” phrase that day. (Post-Dispatch archives)
Samuel Clemens was born Nov. 30, 1835 — 176 years ago today.
Title: [Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), three-quarter length portrait, standing by window, facing left]
Date Created/Published: c1907.
Medium: 1 photographic print : stereograph.
Irreplaceable • Esley Hamilton, St. Louis County’s preservation historian, faces a forced retirement because of cuts to the county’s parks department. Hamilton, 66, has been trying to retire for the past year, but his work wouldn’t let go of him. In recent months, he had led efforts to save a historic blacksmith shop in Spanish Lake, a Presbyterian church in Rock Hill dating back to 1839, and, unsuccessfully, the Brownhurst Mansion in Kirkwood, built in 1892. He has yet to step down mostly for a lack of a successor. He said he asked his bosses last year who might replace him. Their answer: No one.
James B. Eads, salvage king of the Mississippi River, promised President Abraham Lincoln he could build iron-armored gunboats in 65 days. On Aug. 7, 1861, Eads won a contract to build seven burly gunboats from a novel design. At $89,000 apiece, each was to carry 13 heavy cannons, have 2.5-inches of armor and be delivered to Cairo, Ill., in 60 days. The gunboats were built in the Eads Boatyard in Carondelet. The gunboat’s five boilers, seen here, sat side-by-side and powered the engines that turned a single enclosed paddlewheel. (U.S. Naval Historical Center)
Happy birthday • Missouri applied for statehood on Dec. 18, 1818, which created a problem: Northern states did not want another slave state to join the union. In 1819, Maine applied for statehood and a compromise (seen above) was developed: Maine would join as a free state; Missouri would join as a slave state. In addition, remaining territories would be divided into free and slave states at the 36°30’ parallel.
On Aug. 10, 1821, Missouri officially became the 24th state.
For more than four decades, Tony Faust’s Oyster House and Restaurant, seen here in 1915, was the city’s premier place to eat and be seen. The dedicated clientele included the wealthy and powerful, touring notables, actors, baseball players, boxers and dandies of all sorts. Last call was on June 30, 1916, and the building at Broadway and Elm was demolished in 1933. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
First Battle of Boonville. More pics coming to my Flickr Photostream from my Nikon.
The battle continues tomorrow — here’s information on where and when.
Big cuts on campus • Missouri’s higher education system took the largest hit Friday when Gov. Jay Nixon announced $172 million in budget cuts aimed at balancing state finances and helping rebuild parts of Missouri ravaged by natural disasters. Funding for universities was reduced by $14.9 million from what the Legislature approved, and community colleges were cut by $1.9 million, although both cuts were expected. More money was cut from scholarship programs, buses for public school districts, Medicaid and the judicial system.
Hitting their stride • More than 64,000 participants, including 4,905 breast cancer survivors, participated in Saturday’s Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure event. It was the largest Komen race in the nation for the fourth consecutive year, organizers said. The event raised more than $3 million for breast cancer research and care, although the number fell from last year when a record 71,000 participants raised more than $3.4 million.
Secret garden gem • For decades, Missouri Botanical Garden visitors have strolled by a graceful 19th-century building that never seems to be in use. For the past 30 years, the red brick Museum Building has been off-limits, but people often ask about it — as did Peter Wyse Jackson, the garden’s new president. Wyse Jackson wants to preserve the history of the building, opening it again as a museum with rotating exhibits and a basement gallery to display some of the garden’s collection of botanical art. There’s no schedule to reopen the building.