St. Louis InformationSt. Louis, Missouri, is located along the western bank of the Mississippi River. In 1764, it was founded by Auguste Chouteau and Pierre Laclède. It was named after Louis IX, a medieval French king known for his piety.
St. Louis has an average annual temperature of 57°F, but it has cold winters and hot humid summers. It is exposed to both Arctic air coming from the north and humid tropical air coming from the Gulf of Mexico, and it doesn’t have big mountains or bodies of water than can moderate the resultant temperature extremes.
The Gateway Arch is probably the most famous landmark in St. Louis, and it is certainly one of the most visible. It stands 630 feet tall and is therefore the world’s tallest arch and the tallest monument in the Western Hemisphere. The Arch was built to commemorate the westward movement of Americans. During the 19th century, many people traveling west would go to St. Louis which had a bridge across the Mississippi. Construction on the Arch began in 1963, and it was completed four years later.
The Arch has an underground visitor’s center that includes a museum devoted to St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the U.S. Trams carry visitors up to the observation area near the top of the Arch. The observation area can hold 160 people and boasts 16 windows giving visitors an excellent view of the cityscape and the river.
The Arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a large park established in the 1930s. The park is also home to the Old Courthouse which was built with a cast iron dome. Construction on it had begun in 1816 and took 48 years to complete. It was the site of the hearings for the Dred Scott Case.
The Busch Stadium is the current home of the St. Louis Cardinals, the local major league baseball team. It replaced the Busch Memorial Stadium in 2006 and boasts nearly 44,000 seats. The stadium has also hosted college football games, professional soccer matches, and the occasional rock concert.
The Saint Louis Zoological Park or St. Louis Zoo was established in 1904 and its first exhibit was an aviary it acquired from the Smithsonian Institute. That aviary still stands and in now part of the Historic Hill section. The zoo is currently home to 19,000 animals and includes a children’s zoo and guided tours.
St. Louis Union Station is now a National Historic Landmark that was converted into an entertainment complex, shopping center and hotel in the 1980s. Built in the 1890s, it was originally a train station. At one point, it was largest and busiest train station in the world.
The Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, is more commonly known as the Old Cathedral. Built in the 1830s, it has the distinction of being the first cathedral to be built west of the Mississippi River.