Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saint Louis in 1817

View of Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - 1817

This engraving on a ten dollar note issued by the Bank of St. Louis in 1817 provides the earliest known illustration of St. Louis.
— from an exhibit at the Old Courthouse, in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri.
This illustration shows a European-style walled town on the first terrace above the river, a vertical-log building to the left, and a watch-tower in the background.


  1. I happened to find census figures from 1790 to 2000. From the 1850 to the 1960 St. Louis was among the top ten cities in the Nation. At one time there were almost 900,000 people occupying the city proper. I believe that the city has seen a very small turn around it was has been almost a century of population decliine!

  2. Back in the 1870s, St. Louis City cut itself off from Saint Louis County, and so it had no more chance of expanding its city limits; otherwise it possibly could have continued its population growth.

  3. Yes I was very aware of that. There is a huge underutilized infrastructure now in St. Louis proper. Perhaps it will someday be the grand city it once was!

  4. I've heard that the City sells off much of its tap water to Saint Louis County. However, the city also has a large weekday worker population, something like double the resident population, so a lot of the infrastructure is actually used. But there are large vacant areas in the city, destroyed by urban renewal and poverty. However, a hundred years ago, Saint Louis was considered to be greatly overcrowded with much poverty or 'urban squalor'.

  5. The thing I miss most about St. Louis is the Famous Barr windows at Christmas! The Chicago Fire is often spoken of as a great disaster, however it was a great source of renewal. Old wooden structure were replaced and huge slums were wiped away. While the Great Cyclone was a disaster for St. Louis it didnt compare to the Chicago fire. For someone who has moved away and always returns coming from the east, there were always two huge scares on St. Louis proper, the huge brown cloud that has been noticeably reduces over the past 40 years and East St. Louis which unfortunately looks like someone dumped their trash on St. Louis's front door step!