Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, with the Gateway Arch

Saint Louis is the largest metropolitan area in the state of Missouri, with a total population of 2,603,607. It is the eighteenth largest metropolitan area in the U.S) as of 2000. The independent city of Saint Louis, a separate entity from Saint Louis County, contributes 348,189 people; its population has been declining since the 1950s as people continue to move to the multiplicity of suburbs in Saint Louis County (1,016,315), Saint Charles County (283,883), Franklin County (93,807) and Jefferson County (198,099) in Missouri, and Madison (258,941), Saint Clair (256,082), and Monroe (27,619) counties in Illinois.

Nicknames: the Gateway City and Mound City

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 Demographics
4 Neighborhoods
5 Economy
6 Major attractions
7 Colleges and universities
8 Medicine
9 Journalism
10 Transportation
11 Social issues
12 External links


Pierre Laclede and his stepson, Auguste Chouteau, founded Saint Louis as a trading post in 1763. The city proper was established on February 15, 1764. After the French and Indian War, Saint Louis was controlled by Spain, but it was returned to France, along with the rest of the Louisiana Territory, during the Napoleonic Wars. The city was acquired from France by the United States under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Saint Louis later became the starting point for western explorers (such as the Lewis and Clark expedition), trappers (such as Ashley's Hundred), and settlers moving west.

Saint Louis is one of several cities that claims to have the world's first skyscraper. The Wainright Building, an 11-story structure designed by Louis H. Sullivan and built in 1891, still stands at Chestnut and Seventh Streets and is used by the State of Missouri as a government office building.

Nikola Tesla made the first public demonstration of radio communication here, in 1893. Addressing the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and the National Electric Light Association, he described and demonstrated in detail the principles of radio communication. The apparatus that he used contained all the elements that were incorporated into radio systems before the development of the vacuum tube.

The uranium used in the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb was refined in Saint Louis by Mallinckrodt Chemical Co., starting in 1942.


The city of Saint Louis extends along the western banks of the Mississippi River, just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Near its southern frontier is the River Des Peres; the River Des Peres is now used as a storm drainage channel and is usually reduced to mere puddles, which gives rise to a local nickname, the River De Pew.

Near the central, western boundary shared with Saint Louis County is Forest Park, home of the 1904 World's fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 or, as it is commonly known, the Saint Louis World's Fair, and the 1904 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic Games held in North America. At the time, Saint Louis was the fourth most populous city in the United States.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 171.3 km² (66.2 mi²). 160.4 km² (61.9 mi²) of it is land and 11.0 km² (4.2 mi² or 6.39%) of it is water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 348,189 people, 147,076 households, and 76,920 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,171.1/km² (5,622.9/mi²). There are 176,354 housing units at an average density of 1,099.7/km² (2,847.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 51.20% African American, 43.85% White, 1.98% Asian, 0.27% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.80% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. 2.02% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. Historically, North Saint Louis City has been primarily African American while South Saint Louis City has been primarily White. This has changed in recent years as large portions of North Saint Louis City have been depopulated, with African-American residents moving either south or to surrounding counties.

There are 147,076 households, out of which 25.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.2% are married couples living together, 21.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 47.7% are non-families. 40.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 3.19.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $27,156, and the median income for a family is $32,585. Males have a median income of $30,106 versus $24,987 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,108. 24.6% of the population and 20.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 36.4% are under the age of 18 and 17.4% are 65 or older.



Saint Louis, despite its size, was until recently a major center for corporate headquarters. The city is well known as being the center of operations for
Anheuser-Busch Breweries, as well as Monsanto, formerly a chemical company and now a leader in genetically modified crops, and Solutia, the former Monsanto chemical division that was spun off as a separate company in 1997. Saint Louis was the corporate headquarters of McDonnell-Douglas prior to its 1997 merger with Boeing, and is still home to a Boeing plant where many of the United States' &mdash and its allies' &mdash military aircraft are built. This facility is where all the precision JDAM missiles which achieved notoriety in the recent Iraq war are manufactured. However, when Boeing relocated its corporate headquarters from Seattle, Washington in 2001, it moved to Chicago, Illinois. Saint Louis was not one of the final candidates.

From 1994 until its acquisition in 2000 by Tyco International, another chemical company, Mallinckrodt, was headquartered in Saint Louis. Many of the former Mallinckrodt facilities are still in operation by Tyco in northern Saint Louis.

Saint Louis has also been corporate headquarters for animal feed maker Ralston Purina, Trans World Airlines, telecommunications company Southwestern Bell, and aerospace manufacturer General Dynamics.

Saint Louis is also home to railway car plants and two DaimlerChrysler plants in the nearby suburb of Fenton, Missouri, where minivans and pickup trucks are built.

Major attractions

  • Forest Park, located on the western edge of the central corridor of the City of Saint Louis, offers many of Saint Louis's most popular attractions: the free Saint Louis Zoological Park; the MUNY Opera, an open-air, Broadway-style theater; the Saint Louis Science Center and Observatory, with its architecturally distinctive McDonnell Planetarium; the Saint Louis Art Museum (also free); the Missouri History Museum; and, of course, plenty of lakes and scenic, open areas. Forest Park is in the process of completing a multimillion dollar renovation in time for the centennial of the Saint Louis World's Fair.
  • The MUNY Theater, in Forest Park, is the largest outdoor theater in the United States, and contains a free admission section.
  • The Missouri Botanical Gardens, also known as Shaw's Gardens, is one of the world's leading botanical research centers. It possesses a beautiful collection of flowery plants, shrubs, and trees: It includes the Japanese Garden, which features a lake filled with koi and lovely gravel designs; the woodsy English Garden; the Chinese Garden; the Home Gardening Center; a rose garden; the climate-controlled dome Climatron; and other scenic gardens.
  • The Gateway Arch, officially named the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is located near the riverfront in downtown Saint Louis. It was designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen. The Arch is the centerpiece of a national park that also includes the nearby Old Courthouse, where the famous Dred Scott case was tried.

  • The Saint Louis Cardinals are one of the teams of baseball's National League. They play at Busch Stadium.
  • The Saint Louis Blues are the local NHL hockey team; they play at the Savvis Center, formerly the Kiel Center.
  • The Saint Louis Rams are an NFL team best known for bringing Saint Louis its only Super Bowl victory, in 1999. They play at the Edward Jones Dome (formerly the Trans World Dome, after Trans World Airlines, which merged with American Airlines).
  • The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis or the New Cathedral is a large Roman Catholic cathedral designed in the Byzantine and Romanesque styles. On the inside, it is decorated with lovely mosaics, which were, at one point, the largest set of mosaics in the world.
  • Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (Old Cathedral) (1834), which is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River.
  • The Fox Theater holds many performances during the year.
  • The Hill is a historically Italian neighborhood where many of the area's best Italian restaurants can be found. The Hill was the home of Yogi Berra and many other noted baseball players.
  • Laclede's Landing, located directly north of Downtown and by the Mississippi River, is popular for its restaurants and clubs.
  • The Bowling Hall of Fame is located by Busch Stadium in downtown Saint Louis.
  • The Eugene Field House, located in downtown Saint Louis, is a museum dedicated to the distinguished children's author.
  • The City Museum offers a variety of fun exhibits. It serves as a meeting point for St. Louis' young arts scene.
  • The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra plays at Powell Symphony Hall. Leonard Slatkin is one of the former conductors.

Saint Louis also possesses several extant examples of 18th and 19th century architecture, such as the Soulard Market district (1779-1842), the Chatillon-de Menil House (1848), the Bellefontaine Cemetery (1850), and the Robert G. Campbell House (1852), the Old Courthouse (1845-62), and the original Anheuser-Busch Brewery (1860).

Nearby attractions

  • The Delmar Loop, located in University City just west of the Saint Louis city line, is a popular entertainment, cultural and restaurant district.
  • The Butterfly House is located in western Saint Louis County.
  • The Museum of Transportation is located in Kirkwood, a suburb in southwestern Saint Louis County.
  • Six Flags - St. Louis, known as Six Flags over Mid-America when it opened in 1971, is an amusement park located in Eureka, Missouri, in the far west of Saint Louis County.
  • St. Charles, seat of St. Charles County and first capital of the state of Missouri, is the location from which the Lewis and Clark Expedition began. It also has a downtown historic district with many small craft shops.
  • Cahokia Mounds, located near Collinsville, Illinois, are the ruins of a city of the ancient Mississippian aboriginal culture. Similar mounds within the city, utilized as construction fill in the 1800s, gave the city one of its nicknames.

Colleges and universities

Saint Louis is the home of several major universities:


Because of its colleges, hospitals, and companies like
Monsanto, Saint Louis is respected as a center of medicine and biotechnology.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the only major newspaper in the area. It was founded by Joseph Pulitzer in the 1800s. Pulitzer Publishing also owns the Suburban Journals, a collection of local newspapers. An alternative weekly called the St. Louis Riverfront Times exists, but its coverage is more social events and entertainment than news. A few neighborhood and suburban journals cover local news.


Like most American cities, the main method of transportation is the automobile. Use of the automobile is supported by the existence of many limited-access interstate highways (I-70, I-55, I-44, I-64, I-270, I-255, I-170, etc.) and many other roads. Also, located as an enclave in northern Saint Louis County, near the Missouri River, is the Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport, which is administered by the city of Saint Louis.

Mass transit is provided in two forms, both of which are controlled by one agency: the city bus system and Metrolink, a light-rail train system that mainly connects the airport to downtown and, recently, parts of the Metro East (the Saint Louis region in Illinois). Metrolink is currently being expanded to Clayton, the county seat for Saint Louis County, and to south Saint Louis County. Passenger train service is also available through a "temporary" (since 1980) train station set up near downtown by Amtrak; smaller, yet permanent, train stations exist in the suburb of Kirkwood and nearby Alton, Illinois.

Social issues

Saint Louis is, for the most part, a de-facto segregated city. African-American Saint Louisans tend to live in the poorest, most crime-ridden areas whereas most white Saint Louisans have moved into the better-off suburbs. In an attempt to counter this problem, Saint Louis has implemented a school desegregation program: some inner city African-American students are bused into Saint Louis County schools; and, in exchange, some County students are bussed into City magnet schools.

The whole Saint Louis area has been trying to fix its pollution problem. In Missouri, the state has required gasoline stations in the Saint Louis area to serve a special, reformulated gasoline; furthermore, the state has implemented an automobile pollution test which all cars (with some exceptions) owned by residents of Saint Louis and the counties of Saint Louis, Saint Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin must pass every other year.

See also: East St. Louis, Illinois

External links