About St. Louis

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St. Louis encompasses an independent city in the state of Missouri and its metropolitan area.  It is the second largest city in Missouri after Kansas City, but has the state’s largest metropolitan area population.  In relation to the Midwest region, the City of St. Louis is the 10th largest city in population (between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Wichita, Kansas). The city has a population of 352,572.  The Greater St. Louis area, which includes counties in the states of Missouri and Illinois, is the 18th largest in the United States, with a total population of 2,698,672 as of the 2000 census.  [Wikipedia]


Founded by French fur traders in 1764, St. Louis was a French and Spanish settlement built at a strategically important spot near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.  The founders named the city for Louis IX, the Crusader King of France.

When Thomas Jefferson sent explorers Lewis & Clark from St. Louis to chart the new Louisiana Territory in 1804, more than 1,000 people, mostly French, Spanish, Indian and free and slave blacks, lived in the city that was the center of the fur trade in America. After the triumphant explorers returned from the Pacific with their Corps of Discovery, St. Louis became the last stop for mountain men and trappers heading to the newly opened frontier.  St. Louis became know as the “Gateway to the West.”

The first steamboat arrived in St. Louis in 1817, heralding a new era of commerce and travel along the Mississippi River.  Soon it was common to see more than 100 steamboats lining the cobblestone levee during the day.  This was the Mississippi River Mark Twain came to know as a riverboat pilot and later as an author.

By 1890, the U.S. Census declared that the frontier had closed and America held no more unexplored and undiscovered lands. To honor St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States, civic leaders planned a grand World’s Fair – the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which took place in 1904. The celebration, held in Forest Park, attracted 20 million visitors and exhibits from 43 countries over seven months.  The fair, and the 1904 Olympic Games, which took place on the fairgrounds and at Washington University that same summer, defined St. Louis as a world-class city.


The city is divided into 79 neighborhoods throughout the City of St. Louis.  Each neighborhood is different - some hold avenues of massive stone edifices built as palaces for heads of state visiting the 1904 World’s Fair while others offer tidy working-class bungalows, or “trendy” loft districts.  Listed below are a few of the most popular neighborhoods with law school students.

The Central West End

A distinct turn-of-the-century neighborhood stretching along the city’s western edge and including Forest Park.  The CWE first grew in popularity with the 1904 World’s Fair and the fame of the Chase and Park Plaza Hotels.


The county seat of St. Louis County.  The city was organized in 1877 and is named after Ralph Clayton, who donated the land for the courthouse.  Many students take advantage of the fun restaurant and shopping scene, as well a fun apartment living in the Westmoorelands and DeMun neighborhoods.  

Delmar Loop

The Loop is located in University City in St. Louis County and is an entertainment, cultural and restaurant district.  Washington University’s Campus lies on the southwestern edge of U-City and has had a profound effect on the development of the community, which is considered one of the most liberal and integrated in the Saint Louis area.  The area gets its name from the streetcar turnaround, or loop, formerly located in the neighborhood. 


A traditionally Irish-American neighborhood south of Forest Park.  Dogtown is a part of the Clayton-Tamm neighborhood, which bosts mainly small, single-family homes with backyards.  The St. Patrick’s Day parade through Dogtown is one of the highlights of the year.

The Hill

Its name is due to its proximity to the highest point of the city, formerly named Saint Louis Hill, which is a few blocks south.  A mostly Italian-American neighborhood since the late 19th century.  The neighborhood is home to a large number of locally renowned Italian restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, and two bocce gardens.  Baseball greats Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola grew up on the Hill, including four of the five St. Louisans on the US soccer team that defeated England in the 1950 World Cup, a story that is told in The Game of Their Lives.


A historic French neighborhood south of downtown St. Louis.  It is a residential neighborhood filled with bars and pubs, among other businesses and is one of the oldest communities in the city.  Soulard is a thriving, eclectic area, and is home to the 2nd largest Mardi Gras celebration in the US, the nation’s oldest Farmers’ market, and the world headquarters of Anheuser-Busch.

Interesting Facts

  • St. Louis has many nicknames including the “Gateway City”, “Gateway to the West”, “Baseball City USA”, “St. Louie”, “River City”, “Baseball Heaven”, “The ‘Lou”, and “The STL”.
  • There are more free, world-class attractions in St. Louis than anyplace in the nation outside of Washington, DC.
  • The St. Louis Zoo was the first municipally supported zoo in the world and a pioneer in the use of open enclosures, placing animals in natural environments without bars.
  • Some of the world’s favorite foods were popularized and introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.  The ice cream cone, iced tea and hamburgers all became food favorites there.  And, it is said that the Fair was the first place where hot dogs met French’s mustard.
  • The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River was the first arched steel truss bridge in the world.  When it was first proposed, it was scoffed at as impossible to build.  Completed in 1874, it is still in use today. 
  • In 1904, the first Olympiad in the U.S. was held in St. Louis at Washington University’s Francis Field. 
  • The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis contains the largest collection of mosaic art in the world.
  • The first daily newspaper in the country was the St. Louis Herald started in 1834. 
  • In 1876, St. Louis held the first national political convention west of the Mississippi
  • In 1927, a group of St. Louis businessmen gave financial backing to the first solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.  The pilot was Charles Lindbergh and the plane was named “The Spirit of St. Louis.”
  • St. Louis’ McDonnell Douglas Corporation, now part of Boeing, designed and built the space capsule that carried the first men into space in the 1960s.
  • The Wainwright Building, located on 7th Street in downtown St. Louis, was the world’s first skyscraper.
  • C.L. Grigg, a soft drink salesman, introduced a drink to St. Louisans in 1929 that would eventually become known as 7-Up.
  • Anheuser-Busch is one of the world’s largest brewers.  Their trademark Clydesdales, which you can see at the brewery, were originally a gift from August Busch to his father making the end of prohibition.   


One of Forbes’ 150 Best Metropolitan Areas in America in 2005, Greater St. Louis is a community that shines in numerous areas, from business environment and cost of living to health care and quality of transportation.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s top 50 Smart Places to Live lists St. Louis as the 18th smartest place to live in the nation.  The list assessed economic vitality and quality of life, factoring in cost of living, homes, crime, health care, climate, environment, and education. 

Named as one of Forbes’ Best Places for Singles based on the quality of the nightlife, cultural activities, job growth, and cost of living alone. 

St. Louis has been named as one of America’s 50 Fabulous Gay Friendly Places to Live according to a new, same-titled book by author Gregory Kompes.  He cited St. Louis’ tolerant environment, extensive cultural attractions and fun nightlife.   

The canine-savvy experts of www.dogfriendly.com have named St. Louis as one of the Top 10 Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in North America.  The Gateway City was recognized because of the number and quality of dog-friendly accommodations, pet paraphernalia shops, and fun attractions.

The St. Louis Zoo was named the top zoo in the county by Zagat’s U.S. Family Travel Survey.  The same survey also included Grant’s Farm and the Magic House.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital (affiliated with Washington University) jumped two places this year to No. 6 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of Best American Hospitals

St. Louis Children’s Hospital this year was named as one of the 10 best pediatric hospitals in the nation by Child magazine for the second year in a row.

The City of St. Louis ranks #1 in the country for library services, according to a study of America’s Most Literate Cities.

Family Fun magazine named St. Louis Top Midwest City for Visitors

The New York-based Project for Public Spaces named the St. Louis City Museum in 2005 one of the World’s 10 Best Public Spaces

St. Louis was named the second-most affordable large metropolitan area in the country by the National Association of Home Builders in 2005. 

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport ranked third in on-time departures and seventh in on-time arrivals, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

St. Louis ranked No. 2 in a Shell study of cities best for motor vehicles.  The study measure traffic congestion, road conditions, motorists’ use of quality gasoline and motor oils, and routine car maintenance practices.  

The American Public Transit Association named MetroLink in 2003 the best large transit provider in North America