First city of the Trans-Mississippi West and second permanent settlement in Missouri. Founded, 1764, by the New Orleans Frenchman Laclede as a trading post to tap the rich fur resources of the Missouri Valley. Named for canonized Louis IX, French Crusader-King.
Here on March 10, 1804, Upper Louisiana, from which has come 6 states and parts of 7 others, was transferred to the U.S. Missouri, part of Louisiana later Missouri, Territory, became a state, 1820. The name Missouri, meaning "He of the big canoe," was adopted when Orleans Territory became the State of Louisiana, 1812. St. Louis served as colonial, territorial, and first state capital. Alexander McNair, first state governor, took office here.
Among a multitude of famous events, here first established west of Mississippi were a newspaper, the "Missouri Gazette," 1808, and a university, chartered as St. Louis University, 1832. Washington University was chartered, 1853. In 1780 a British and Indian attack on St. Louis was defeated. In Missouri, the Civil War began here at Camp Jackson, 1861. St. Louis became the Federal military base. It is of note that the Dred Scott Case began here.
Through this city of movement, a famous river port, early transportation hub, passed the westward surge of fur traders, explorers, and settlers. The Lewis and Clark Expedition
returned here in triumph, 1806. In 1851 track for the Missouri Pacific, first railroad west of the Mississippi, was laid. One of 7 bridges at St. Louis is the famous Eads Bridge, 1874.
In 1804 the city had a total French and American population of under 1000. Rapid growth through immigration from the states and later Europe, particularly from Germany. In 1950 St Louis, a raw fur market, grain, industrial, and medical center, was the eighth city in the U.S. St. Louis became an independent political unit, 1877. It had been seat of justice for one of Missouri's first 5 counties, earlier one of 5 Spanish districts.
There are several hundred commemorative markers and memorials in St. Louis. Among places of note are the Old Cathedral; City Art and Missouri Historical Society museums; Forest park; Mo. Botanical Garden; Campbell House Museum; Eugene Field Birthplace; Aloe Plaza; Soldiers' Memorial; the Old Court House in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.