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12, December 2017

An Art Deco Jewel in Forest Park

When artwork showing the proposed design for the “new” Jewel Box appeared in St. Louis newspapers, some residents were less than impressed. One anonymous reader wrote a prickly letter to the editor calling it “simply grotesque” and “not suitable for any public building that is to stand for generations.” Read more »

7, December 2017

How Baby Teeth Put an End to Nuclear Testing

“Any child with a wobbly baby tooth is a person of consequence in St. Louis, Mo.,” announced Newsweek in April 1960. Why would a national magazine make such a proclamation? Because St. Louis scientists were actively seeking the baby teeth of children raised during the 1950s and 1960s in order to test for exposure to nuclear radiation. Read more »

1, December 2017

William Carr Lane: St. Louis's First Mayor

William Carr Lane had a restless nature, floating from academic studies, to work, to militia fighting, to medicine. Eventually, President James Madison appointed him as “garrison surgeon’s mate” at Fort Belle Fontaine, north of St. Louis. Lane served there until 1819, when he settled in St. Louis. By this time, Lane was nearly 30, and although he maintained a continuous medical practice and served as chairman of the Department of Obstetrics at Kemper College, he began to turn more of his attention toward public office. Read more »

17, November 2017

St. Louis's "Billionaire" Businessman

John O’Fallon barely knew his father, James, but the lingering tales of him as a “reckless, debt-ridden adventurer” undoubtedly contributed to John’s lifelong obsession with business success. Read more »

13, November 2017

Scoring an NHL First in St. Louis

Long before the St. Louis Blues took to the ice at the Arena, another National Hockey League team called St. Louis home—and scored an important first in NHL history. Read more »

11, November 2017

WWI Victory Celebrations and Homecomings

World War I ended on November 11, 1918, with the declaration of an armistice. The four-year fight claimed millions of lives and displaced millions more. The United States played a brief yet pivotal role in the war, spearheading the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that forced Germany’s surrender. Read more »

7, November 2017

Elijah Lovejoy: An American Martyr

“Elijah Parish Lovejoy died in Alton, Illinois, on November 7, 1837. He died, so far as is known, as the only martyr in the United States of America to the cause of the Freedom of the Press.” So reads the legal motion to close the case of Lovejoy’s estate, 100 years after his death sparked new passion in the abolitionist movement. Read more »

31, October 2017

Spirits in St. Louis

“The Misses Fox, the original and genuine Spirit Rappers, or Rochester Knockers are in St. Louis.” That was the headline in Glasgow, Missouri, in June 1852. Obviously eager to witness the phenomenon firsthand, the editor of the town’s Weekly Times newspaper finished the notice with a plea: “Send them up this way, gentlemen of the press.”

The “Misses Fox” to whom the article referred were sisters Kate and Maggie Fox, the unlikely founders of an obsession that swept the nation in the 1850s. Read more »

26, October 2017

Gaines v. Canada: A Monumental Civil Rights Victory

Of the several groundbreaking civil rights cases to originate in St. Louis and reach the US Supreme Court, Gaines v. Canada ranks high. The 1938 decision struck a resounding blow to the heart of segregation in higher education. It also signaled the beginning of the end of legal segregation, which had been put in place by the High Court’s 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that established the doctrine of “separate but equal.” Pioneering NAACP attorneys Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall were determined to reverse the Plessy v. Read more »

20, October 2017

A Personal Quest to Prove St. Louis the Best

For much of the United States of America’s first century, its national capital was a half-built city in a swamp. As the country expanded westward, and particularly in the years just after the Civil War, loud voices clamored for the removal of the US capital from Washington, DC. They argued that it was simply common sense to move it to the geographic center of the country: St. Louis, Missouri. Read more »