Sunday, October 4, 2015

Brief History & Culture of the City of St. Louis

Given recent coverage of events shining a negative spotlight on the city as a whole, I want to shine a more positive one on a city in which I was born, raised and currently still reside. Despite its acknowledged problems, I still love St. Louis and wish for others to appreciate it again as well.

Founded in 1764 by Pierre Lacl├Ęde and his stepson Auguste Chouteau, the City of St. Louis offers an eclectic experience for both local residents and tourists alike. Whether self-guided or in an organized group tour, its rich history and culture can be revealed on the cheap too. From the centrally located Forest Park – housing renowned fixtures like the
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Public Zoo, St. Louis Science Center and Muny Theater – to the award-winning Missouri Botanical Garden, cultural institutions abound for days of exploration. Or, there are local favorites like Anheuser-Busch, with its popular brewery tour, and Grant’s Farm, with its family-friendly petting zoo. Alternatively, those with tastes that are more eccentric can visit the City Museum, Contemporary Art Museum or the artful Museum of the Dog (located in west St. Louis County). Of course, one cannot forget to visit the iconic Gateway Arch guarding over the city from the downtown riverfront. Visitors can take in the breathtaking view from the top or learn the history of westward expansion throughout the Louisiana Territory in the museum below.

With its multicultural population, the area has always boasted a diverse and unique array of neighborhoods, establishments and cuisines for every discerning palate to enjoy as well. Between the Blues, Cardinals and Rams, visitors can attend one of three major sporting events depending on the season – on the rare occasion even in the same day. And while cities like Austin, Memphis and New Orleans garner attention for their music scene, St. Louis is no slouch in that department when it comes to musical entertainment. As it is, opportunities are plentiful for both the novice and the discerning visitor to the city. St. Louis also is home to a handful of Fortune 500 companies, including Edward Jones, Express Scripts and Monsanto, who very much invest in their adopted hometown through their charitable, although occasionally maligned, philanthropy.

As a born and bred St Louisan who still loves his city, I hope we can rebuild its prominence as a class city known for its worth rather than remembered for all its ills.

©2015 Steve Sagarra

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