American History and Genealogy Project

Saint Louis City, Missouri

Saint Louis, City, and capital of St. Louis co Missouri, is the largest place in the state, and is situated on the w. bank of the Mississippi, 18 ms. by water below the junction of the Missouri. Ii is in 38° 36' n. lat., and 89° 56' w. Ion, for Greenwich, and 13° 14' w. Ion. from W.; 30 ms. below the junction of the Illinois; 200 above that of the Ohio; 1,800 miles, by the course the river, above New Orleans; 1,100 below the Falls of St. Anthony; 120 E. Jefferson City; 808 from Washington. The population in 1810 was 600; in 1820, 4,598; in 1830, 6,694; in 1840, 16,469, of whom 1,531 were slaves. Employed in commerce, 845; in manufactures and trades, 2,012; navigating rivers, &c, 891; in the learned professions, &c, 188.

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The situation of the city is pleasant and healthy. The ground rises gradually from the first to the second bank of the river; and on the second bank, which is about 40 feet higher than the first, the city is chiefly built. It presents a beautiful appearance as seen from the opposite side of the river, or as it is approached on the river. At the distance of about half a mile from the river, the ground attains its highest elevation, and spreads out in a plain to the west. There are five principal streets running parallel with the river, which are crossed by many others, at right angles. Two streets along the river are narrow, but those which have been more recently laid out, on the second bank, are regular and spacious, and present many commanding situations. The compact part of the city extends about a mile and a half along the river; but there are suburbs on the n. and s. making the whole extent five miles. It contains many neat, and some elegant buildings. The more recent houses are been built of brick, made of an excellent quality in the immediate vicinity; some are of stone, quarried on the spot, and generally white-washed. Many of the houses have spacious and beautiful gardens attached to them.

Front-street is open on the side toward the water, and on the other side is a range of ware-houses four stories high, built of limestone, which have a very commanding appearance, and are the seat of a heavy business. In First-street, he wholesale and retail drygoods stores are seated; and in the streets back of this are the artisans and tradesmen.

The city is watered from the Mississippi. The water is raised by steam power to a reservoir situated on an elevated ancient mound, whence is distributed in iron pipes through the city. A company is also formed for lighting the city with gas. The country around St. Louis, and w. for 15 miles, is a very fertile prairie. The city is admirably situated for commerce, and already surpasses in its trade every other place n. of New Orleans. The Mississippi and the Illinois to the n.; the Ohio and its tributaries to the s. e.; and the Missouri to the w., give it a ready access to a vast extent of country; and to the s. the Mississippi furnishes an outlet to the ocean for its accumulated productions. It is the principal western depot of the American Fur Company, who have a large establishment in the place, and nearly 1,000 men in their employ. A vast amount of furs of every description is here collected; and 10,000 dried buffalo tongues have been brought in in a single year. Numerous steamboats ply from this place in various directs. The steamboat arrivals, in a single year, have amounted to over 800, with a tonnage of over 100,000. The total tonnage of this port in 1840 was 11,259.

Among the public buildings, the City Hall, a splendid building of brick, several of the churches, and particularly the Roman Catholic Cathedral, deserve notice. The Cathedral is 136 feet long, 84 feet wide, and the walls are 40 feet high. The front of the edifice is 58 feet high, above which the tower of the steeple rises 20 feet square to the height of 40 feet. This is surmounted by an octagon spire covered with tin, crowned with a brass gilt ball 5 feet in diameter, surmounted by a cross of gilt brass 10 feet high. In the steeple is a peal of 6 bells, the three largest of which weigh from 1,600 to 2,600 pounds each. The front of the building is of polished freestone, with a portico of 4 massive Doric columns. There is also a U. S. land office, a Theatre, and a Concert Hall.

There are several literary and benevolent institutions in the city. The St. Louis University is under the direction of the Catholics, and has 15 instructors, 60 students, and 7,900 volumes in its libraries. It has a spacious building in the city, and is amply endowed. The commencement is on the 31st of July. Kemper College is under the direction of the Episcopalians, and is beautifully situated 4 miles from the city, with extensive grounds around it. Its medical department is within the city, and has a spacious building capable of accommodating 400 students, a hall for lectures, chemical laboratory, &c. The Western Academy of Sciences has an extensive museum of natural history and mineralogy, &c. There is also a Museum, containing Indian antiquities, fossil remains, and other curiosities.

The Convent of the Sacred Heart is an institution of nuns, for conducting female education. The Protestant ladies conduct an Orphan Asylum; and there is a Catholic Orphan Asylum conducted by the Sisters of Charity.

There are 14 churches in the city, 2 Episcopal, 2 Methodist, 2 Presbyterian, 2 Roman Catholic, 1 Associate Reformed Presbyterian, 1 German Lutheran, 1 Baptist, 1 Unitarian, 1 African Methodist, and 1 African Baptist.

The city has a bank and 2 insurance companies. In the southern limits of the city is a U. S. arsenal, and 14 miles distant from it are the U. S. Jefferson Barracks, capable of accommodating 600 or 700 men.

There were in 1840, 1 foreign commercial and 24 commission houses, with a cap. of $717,000; 214 retail stores, with a cap. of $3,875,050; 17 lumber yards, with a cap. of $237,529; 40 persons employed in internal transportation, together with 37 butchers and packers, employed a cap. of $141,500; furs, skins, &c, valued at $306,300; machinery $169,807; 2 tanneries, cap. $54,500; 1 distillery, and 6 breweries, capital $48,800; 1 ropewalk, cap. $10,000; 2 flouring m., 1 grist m., 6 saw m., 1 oil m., cap. $106,500; 22 printing offices, 6 daily, 7 weekly, and 5 semi-weekly newspapers, employed a cap. $49,650; 210 brick and stone, and 130 wooden houses, cost $761,980. Total cap. in manufac. $674,250. 10 acad. 577 students, 7 sch. 713 scholars.

This place was founded in 1761, by the French from Canada, as a trading post with the Indians; but during the French and Spanish possession of it, it remained an inconsiderable village.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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