Main Births etc
St. Louis
—  Independent city  —
City of St. Louis
From top left: Forest Park Jewel Box, MetroLink at Lambert - St. Louis International Airport, Apotheosis of St. Louis at the St. Louis Art Museum, Gateway Arch and the St. Louis skyline, Busch Stadium, and the St. Louis Zoo

Official seal of St. Louis
Nickname(s): Gateway to the West,[1] Mound City,[2] The Lou[3] Rome of the West[4]
Location in the State of Missouri

St. Louis is located in the USA
St. Louis, Missouri
Location of the city of St. Louis, Missouri
Coordinates: 38°37′38″N 90°11′52″W / 38.62722, -90.19778Coordinates: 38°37′38″N 90°11′52″W / 38.62722, -90.19778
Present Country United States
Former Country Kingdom of France, Kingdom of Spain, Republic of France
State Missouri
County Independent city
Metro Greater St. Louis
Founded 1764
Incorporated 1822
 • Type Mayor–council government
 • Mayor Tishaura Jones (D)
 • Independent city 66.2 sq mi (171.3 km2)
 • Land 61.9 sq mi (160.4 km2)
 • Water 4.2 sq mi (11.0 km2)
 • Urban 923.6 sq mi (2,392.2 km2)
 • Metro 8,458 sq mi (21,910 km2)
Elevation[5] 466 ft (142 m)
Population (2020)[6]
 • Independent city 301,578
 • Rank 69th
 • Density 5,140.1/sq mi (1,983.6/km2)
 • Urban 2,150,706 (20th)
 • Metro 2,807,338 (20th)
 • CSA 2,911,945 (19th)
Demonym St. Louisan
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Area code(s) 314

St. Louis /snt ˈlɪs/ is an independent city[7] and a major United States port in eastern Missouri. The city reaches the western banks of the Mississippi River, which forms Missouri's eastern border with Illinois. At the 2020 census, St. Louis' population was 301,578 making it the 69th-most populous U.S. city and the second largest city in the state. The St. Louis metropolitan area, known as Greater St. Louis (CSA), includes the city as well nearby areas in Missouri and Illinois and is among the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the United States with a population of 2,900,605.

The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and named for Louis IX of France. After the Louisiana Purchase, it became a major port on the Mississippi River. In the late 19th century, St. Louis became the fourth-largest city in the United States. It seceded from St. Louis County in March 1877, allowing it to become an independent city and limiting its political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the 1904 Summer Olympics. The city's population peaked in 1950, then began a long decline that continues in the 21st century. Immigration has increased, and it is the center of the largest Bosnian population in the world outside their homeland.

The economy of St. Louis relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism. The city is home to several major corporations, including Express Scripts, Peabody Energy, Ameren, Ralcorp and Sigma-Aldrich. St. Louis is home to three professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful Major League Baseball clubs, the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League, and the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. The city is commonly identified with the Gateway Arch, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in downtown St. Louis.


The area that would become St. Louis was a center of Native American Mississippian culture, which built numerous temple and residential earthwork mounds on both sides of the Mississippi River. Their major center was at Cahokia Mounds, active from 900 AD to 1500 AD. The major earthworks within St. Louis boundaries were the source of the city's early nickname, the "Mound City." Historic Native American tribes in the area included the Siouan-speaking Osage people and the Illiniwek.

European exploration of the area was recorded in 1673, when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette traveled through the Mississippi River valley. Five years later, La Salle claimed the region for France as part of La Louisiane.

The earliest European settlements in the area were built in Illinois Country (also known as Upper Louisiana) during the 1690s and early 1700s at Cahokia, Kaskaskia, and Fort de Chartres. Migrants from the eastern French villages founded Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, across the Mississippi River from Kaskaskia. In early 1764, after France lost to the British in North America, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteau founded the city of St. Louis.[8] The early French families built the city's economy on the fur trade with the Osage, as well as with more distant tribes along the Missouri River. They used African slaves as domestic servants and workers in the city.

From 1764 to 1803 European control of the area west of the Mississippi to the northernmost part of the Missouri River basin, called Louisiana, was assumed by the Spanish as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, St. Louis was attacked by British forces, mostly Native American allies, in the Battle of St. Louis.[9]

19th century[]

St. Louis was transferred to the Republic of France in 1800, then sold to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The city became the territorial capital and gateway to the western territory. Shortly after the purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis in May 1804 to explore the vast territory, reaching the Pacific Ocean in summer 1805, and returning on September 23, 1806. Both Lewis and Clark lived in St. Louis after the expedition. Many other explorers, settlers, and trappers (such as Ashley's Hundred) would later take a similar route to the West. The city elected its first municipal legislators (called trustees) in 1808.

Steamboats first arrived in St. Louis in 1818, improving connections with New Orleans and eastern markets. Missouri was admitted as a state in 1821, in which slavery was legal. The capital was moved from St. Louis to a more central location. St. Louis was incorporated as a city in 1822, and continued to see growth due to its port connections. Slaves worked in many jobs on the waterfront as well as on the riverboats. Given the city's location close to the free state of Illinois and others, some slaves escaped to freedom. Others, especially women with children, sued in court in freedom suits, and several prominent local attorneys aided slaves in these suits.

Immigrants from Ireland and Germany arrived in St. Louis in significant numbers starting in the 1840s, and the population of St. Louis grew from less than 20,000 in 1840, to 77,860 in 1850, to more than 160,000 by 1860. By the mid-1800s, St. Louis had a greater population than New Orleans. To this day, St. Louis is the largest city of the former French Louisiana territory.

An illustrated map by F. Graf; Saint Louis in 1896.

South Broadway after a May 27, 1896, tornado

Settled by many Southerners in a slave state, the city was split in political sympathies and became polarized during the American Civil War; in 1861, 28 civilians were killed in a clash with Union troops. The war hurt St. Louis economically, due to the Union blockade of river traffic to the South. The St. Louis Arsenal constructed ironclads for the Union.

After the war, St. Louis profited via trade with the West, aided by the 1874 completion of the Eads Bridge, the first bridge so far downriver over the Mississippi. Industrial developments on both banks of the river were linked by the bridge.

On August 22, 1876, the city of St. Louis voted to secede from St. Louis County and become an independent city. Industrial production continued to increase during the late 19th century. Major corporations such as the Anheuser-Busch brewery and Ralston-Purina company were established. St. Louis also was home to Desloge Consolidated Lead Company and several brass era automobile companies, including the Success Automobile Manufacturing Company;[10] St. Louis is the site of the Wainwright Building, an early skyscraper built by noted architect Louis Sullivan in 1892.

20th century[]

In 1904, the city hosted the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics, becoming the first non-European city to host the Olympics.[11] Permanent facilities and structures remaining from the fair are Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri History Museum.

In the aftermath of emancipation of slaves following the Civil War, social and racial discrimination in housing and employment were common in St. Louis. Starting in the 1910s, many property deeds included racial or religious restrictive covenants. During World War II, the NAACP campaigned to integrate war factories, and restrictive covenants were prohibited in 1948 by the Shelley v. Kraemer U.S. Supreme Court decision, which case originated as a lawsuit in St. Louis. However, de jure educational segregation continued into the 1950s, and de facto segregation continued into the 1970s, leading to a court challenge and interdistrict desegregation agreement.[12]

St. Louis, like many Midwestern cities, expanded in the early 20th century due to the formation of many industrial companies, providing employment to new generations of immigrants. It reached its peak population of 856,796 at the 1950 census.[13] Suburbanization from the 1950s through the 1990s dramatically reduced the city's population, and this was exacerbated by the relatively small geographical size of St. Louis due to its earlier decision to become an independent city. During the 19th and 20th century, most major cities aggressively annexed surrounding areas as they grew out away from the central city, however St. Louis was unable to do so. The city of St. Louis contains only 11% of its total metropolitan population, while the central city averages 24% of total metropolitan area population among the top 20 metro areas in the United States. Although small increases in population were seen in St. Louis' population during the early 2000s, the city of St. Louis lost population from 2000 to 2010. Immigration has continued, with the city attracting Vietnamese, Latinos from Mexico and Central America, and Bosnians, the latter forming the largest Bosnian community outside their homeland.

Several urban renewal projects were built in the 1950s, as the city struggled to improve old and substandard housing. Some of these were poorly designed and resulted in problems, of which Pruitt-Igoe became a symbol of failure and was torn down.

Since the 1980s, revitalization efforts have focused on downtown St. Louis, and gentrification has taken place in the Washington Avenue Historic District.[14] Because of its strategic efforts and the upturn in urban revitalization, St. Louis received the World Leadership Award for urban renewal in 2006.[15]



Rivers in the St. Louis area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, St. Louis has a total area of 66.2 square miles (171 km2), of which 61.9 square miles (160 km2) is land and 4.2 square miles (11 km2) or 6.39%) is water.[16] (Not shown on simple maps of the city, the land at its airport is owned by the city, served by its fire department and others and is an exclave of St. Louis.) The city is built primarily on bluffs and terraces that rise 100–200 feet above the western banks of the Mississippi River, in the Midwestern United States just south of the Missouri-Mississippi confluence. Much of the area is a fertile and gently rolling prairie that features low hills and broad, shallow valleys. Both the Mississippi River and the Missouri River have cut large valleys with wide flood plains.

Limestone and dolomite of the Mississippian epoch underlie the area, and parts of the city are karst in nature. This is particularly true of the area south of downtown, which has numerous sinkholes and caves. Most of the caves in the city have been sealed, but many springs are visible along the riverfront. Coal, brick clay, and millerite ore were once mined in the city, and the predominant surface rock, the St. Louis limestone, is used as dimension stone and rubble for construction.

Near the southern boundary of the city of St. Louis (separating it from St. Louis County) is the River des Peres, practically the only river or stream within the city limits that is not entirely underground.[17] Most of River des Peres was confined to a channel or put underground in the 1920s and early 1930s. The lower section of the river was the site of some of the worst flooding of the Great Flood of 1993.

The city's eastern line is the Mississippi River, which also separates Missouri from Illinois. The Missouri River forms the northern line of St. Louis County, except for a few areas where the river has changed its course. The Meramec River forms most of its southern line.


Westward view of St. Louis skyline, September 2008.
Westward view of St. Louis skyline, September 2008.


The city is divided into 79 government-designated neighborhoods.[18] The neighborhood divisions have no legal standing, although some neighborhood associations administer grants or hold veto power over historic-district development.


The Captains' Return statue inundated by the Mississippi River, 2010.

St. Louis lies in the transitional zone between the humid continental climate type and the humid subtropical climate type (Köppen Dfa and Cfa, respectively), with neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. The city experiences hot, humid summers and cold winters. It is subject to both cold Arctic air and hot, humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. The average annual temperature recorded at nearby Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is 57.1 °F (13.9 °C). Both 100 and 0 °F (
  - Invalid output type
{4}="def", in {{Convert|100|and|0|def|...}}. ) temperatures can be seen on an average 2 or 3 days per year.[19] Average annual precipitation is about 41.0 inches (1,040 mm),[19] but annual precipitation has ranged from 20.59 in (523 mm) in 1953 to 57.96 in (1,472 mm) in 2008.[20] The city has four distinct seasons:

  • Spring (March through May), is typically the wettest season, with 11.7 in (297 mm) of precipitation, although dry spells lasting one to two weeks are possible during the growing seasons. Spring produces severe weather ranging from tornadoes to winter storms. St. Louis has thunderstorms 48 days a year on average.[21] Especially in the spring, these storms can often be severe, with high winds, large hail and tornadoes. Lying near the hotbed of the Tornado Alley, St. Louis is one of the metropolitan areas with most frequent tornadoes. The area has an extensive history of damaging tornadoes.
  • Summers are hot and humid; temperatures of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher occur 43 days a year.[22] The daily average temperature in July is 80.0 °F (26.7 °C). The record high temperature is 115 °F (46 °C) on July 14, 1954.[23] July 2012 was the hottest month in the 138-year recorded weather temperatures in St. Louis history starting in 1874, with an average daily temperature of 88.1 °F (31.2 °C).[23] The 25th of that month also tied the all-time record warm daily minimum of 86 °F (30 °C), first set July 24, 1901.[20]
  • Fall is mild and sunny, with lower humidity and can produce intermittent bouts of heavy rainfall, with the first measurable snow usually falling around December 4.[19] Peak fall foliage occurs in mid-to-late October.[24] Some late autumns feature a period of warm weather known as Indian summer; some years see roses in bloom as late as early December.
  • Winters can be brisk, as high temperatures below freezing occur 25 days per year, on average. Each winter regularly has at least one major snowstorm accumulating 4 inches or more. The season can also bring comparable amounts of rain; nonetheless, it is typically the driest season. Winter storm systems, such as Alberta clippers and Panhandle hooks, can yield heavy freezing rain, ice pellets, and snowfall, typically followed by a few days of clear but very cold weather. The daily average temperature in January is 31.8 °F (−0.1 °C). The official record low is −22 °F (−30 °C) on January 5, 1884, although there were unofficial readings of −23 °F (−31 °C) on January 29, 1873;[23] the record cold daily maximum is −5 °F (−21 °C) on Christmas Eve 1983.[20] The average amount of winter precipitation is 7.5 in (191 mm). The average seasonal snowfall is 17.7 inches (45 cm), historically ranging from 1.5 in (3.8 cm) in 1953−54 to 67.6 in (172 cm) in 1911−12.[20]
Template:St. Louis weatherbox

Flora and fauna[]

Tower Grove Park.

Before the founding of the city, the area was mostly prairie and open forest. Native Americans maintained this environment, good for hunting, by burning underbrush. Trees are mainly oak, maple, and hickory, similar to the forests of the nearby Ozarks; common understory trees include eastern redbud, serviceberry, and flowering dogwood. Riparian areas are forested with mainly American sycamore.

Most of the residential areas of the city are planted with large native shade trees. The largest native forest area is found in Forest Park. In autumn, the changing color of the trees is notable. Most species here are typical of the eastern woodland, although numerous decorative non-native species are found; the most notable invasive species is Japanese honeysuckle, which is actively removed from some parks.

Large mammals found in the city include urbanized coyotes and white-tailed deer. Eastern gray squirrel, cottontail rabbit, and other rodents are abundant, as well as the nocturnal Virginia opossum. Large bird species are abundant in parks and include Canada goose, Mallard duck, as well as shorebirds, including the Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. Gulls are common along the Mississippi River; these species typically follow barge traffic.

Winter populations of Bald Eagles are found by the Mississippi River around the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The city is on the Mississippi Flyway, used by migrating birds, and has a large variety of small bird species, common to the eastern US. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, an introduced species, is limited in North America to the counties surrounding St. Louis. The city has special sites for birdwatching of migratory species, including Tower Grove Park.

Frogs are commonly found in the springtime, especially after extensive wet periods. Common species include the American toad and species of chorus frogs commonly called spring peepers, which are found in nearly every pond. Some years have outbreaks of cicadas or ladybugs. Mosquitos, no-see-ums, and houseflies are common insect nuisances, especially in July and August; because of this, windows are nearly universally fitted with screens, and screened-in porches are common in the older homes constructed before air-conditioning was common. Invasive populations of honeybees have sharply declined in recent years. Numerous native species of pollinator insects have recovered to fill their ecological niche. Due to a warming climate, Armadillos have been regularly seen throughout the St. Louis area, especially since 2005.[25]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 1,600
1830 4,977
1840 16,469 230.9%
1850 77,860 372.8%
1860 160,773 106.5%
1870 310,864 93.4%
1880 350,518 12.8%
1890 451,770 28.9%
1900 575,238 27.3%
1910 687,029 19.4%
1920 772,897 12.5%
1930 821,960 6.3%
1940 816,048 −0.7%
1950 856,796 5.0%
1960 750,026 −12.5%
1970 622,236 −17.0%
1980 452,801 −27.2%
1990 396,685 −12.4%
2000 348,189 −12.2%
2010 319,294 −8.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[26]
Racial composition 2010[27] 1990[28] 1970[28] 1940[28]
White 43.9% 50.9% 58.7% 86.6%
—Non-Hispanic 42.2% 50.2% 57.9%[29] 86.4%
Black or African American 49.2% 47.5% 40.9% 13.3%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 3.5% 1.3% 1.0%[29] 0.2%
Asian 2.9% 0.4% 0.2% (X)

The racial makeup of St. Louis in 2010. (Each dot represents 25 people: red dots are Caucasian; blue dots, African-American; green, Asian; orange, Hispanics of any race; gray, other.)

St. Louis grew slowly until the American Civil War, when industrialization and immigration sparked a boom. After years of immigration and expansion, it reached its peak population in 1950. That year, the Census Bureau reported St. Louis' population as 82% White and 17.9% African American.[28] After World War II, St. Louis began losing population to the suburbs, first because of increased demand for new housing, the ease of commuting by subsidized highways, and later, white flight.[30] St. Louis has lost 62.7% of its population since the 1950 United States Census, the highest percent of any city that had a population of 100,000 or more at the time of the 1950 Census. Detroit and Youngstown, Ohio are the only other cities to have seen population declines of at least 60% in the same time frame.

According to the 2010 United States Census, St. Louis had 319,294 people living in 142,057 households, of which 67,488 households were families. The population density was 5,158.2 people per square mile (1,990.6/km²). About 24% of the population was 19 or younger, 9% were 20 to 24, 31% were 25 to 44, 25% were 45 to 64, and 11% were 65 or older. The median age was about 34 years.

The population was about 49.2% African American, 43.9% White (42.2% Non-Hispanic White), 2.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American/Alaska Native, and 2.4% reporting two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.5% of the population.[31]

The African-American population is mostly centered in the north side of the city (the area north of Delmar Boulevard is 94.0% black, compared with 35.0% in the central corridor and 26.0% in the south side of St. Louis [32]). Among the Asian-American population in the city, the largest ethnic group is Vietnamese (0.9%), followed by Chinese (0.6%) and Asian Indians (0.5%). The Vietnamese community is most prevalent in the Dutchtown neighborhood; Chinese are concentrated in the Central West End.[33] People of Mexican descent are the largest Latino group, and make up 2.2% of St. Louis' population. They have the highest concentration in the Dutchtown, Benton Park West (Cherokee Street), and Gravois Park neighborhoods.[31] An estimated 70,000 Bosnians live in the metro area, the largest population outside their homeland. St. Louis is home to the only Bosnian-language newspaper in the U.S.[34]

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $29,156, and the median income for a family was $32,585. Males had a median income of $31,106; females, $26,987. Per capita income was $18,108.

Some 19% of the city's housing units were vacant, and slightly less than half of these were vacant structures not for sale or rent.

In 2010, St. Louis' per-capita rate of online charitable donations and volunteerism were among the highest among major U.S. cities.[35]

As of 2010, 91.05% (270,934) of St. Louis city residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 2.86% (8,516) spoke Spanish, 0.91% (2,713) Bosnian, 0.74% (2,200) Vietnamese, 0.50% (1,495) African languages, 0.50% (1,481) Chinese, and French was spoken as a main language by 0.45% (1,341) of the population over the age of five. In total, 8.95% (26,628) of St. Louis' population age 5 and older spoke a mother language other than English.[36]


Barnes-Jewish Hospital, which is affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine

The 2011 Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) of St. Louis was $133.1 billion, 21st-highest in the country.[37] According to the 2007 Economic Census, manufacturing in the city conducted nearly $11 billion in business, followed by the health care and social service industry with $3.5 billion, professional or technical services with $3.1 billion, and the retail trade with $2.5 billion. The health care sector was the biggest employer in the area with 34,000 workers, followed by administrative and support jobs, 24,000; manufacturing, 21,000, and food service, 20,000.[38]

Major companies and institutions[]

As of 2013, the St. Louis area is home to nine Fortune 500 companies: Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Monsanto, Reinsurance Group of America, Centene, Peabody Energy, Ameren, Graybar Electric, and Edward Jones Investments.[39]

Other notable corporations from the area include MasterCard, Citigroup, Microsoft, Bank of America, TD Ameritrade, BMO Harris Bank, Arch Coal, Cassidy Turley, AT&T Communications, Scottrade, Wells Fargo Advisors (formerly A.G. Edwards), Energizer Holdings, Heritage Home Group, Kerry Group, Patriot Coal, Post Holdings, Inc., United Van Lines and Mayflower Transit, Ralcorp, Hardee's, and Enterprise Holdings (parent company of several car rental companies). Health care and biotechnology institutions with operations in St. Louis include Pfizer, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the Solae Company, Sigma-Aldrich, and Multidata Systems International. General Motors manufactures automobiles in the area, although Chrysler closed its production facility in nearby Fenton, Missouri.

Several once-independent pillars of the local economy have been purchased by other corporations. Among them are Anheuser-Busch, purchased by Belgium-based InBev; Missouri Pacific Railroad, which was headquartered in St. Louis, merged with Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific Railroad in 1982;[40] McDonnell Douglas, whose operations are now part of Boeing Defense, Space & Security;[41] Mallinckrodt, purchased by Tyco International; and Ralston Purina, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestle.[42] The May Department Stores Company (which owned Famous-Barr and Marshall Field's stores) was purchased by Federated Department Stores, which has its regional headquarters in the area. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in downtown is one of two federal reserve banks in Missouri.[43]

St. Louis is a center of medicine and biotechnology.[44] The Washington University School of Medicine is affiliated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the fifth-largest hospital in the world. The two institutions operate the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.[45] The School of Medicine also is affiliated with St. Louis Children's Hospital, one of the country's top pediatric hospitals.[46] Both hospitals are owned by BJC HealthCare. The school's Genome Sequencing Center played a major role in the Human Genome Project.[47] St. Louis University Medical School is affiliated with Tenet Healthcare's St. Louis University Hospitals and SSM Health Care's Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. It also has a cancer center, vaccine research center, geriatric center, and a bioethics institute. Several different organizations operate hospitals in the area, including BJC HealthCare, SSM Health Care, Tenet and Mercy Healthcare.

Boeing employs nearly 15,000 people in its north St. Louis campus, headquarters to its defense unit. In 2013, the company said it would move about 600 jobs from Seattle, where labor costs have risen, to a new IT center in St. Louis.[48][49] Other companies, such as LaunchCode, see the city's potential to become the next major tech hub.[50]

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, the top employers in the St. Louis metropolitan area as of June 1, 2013, are as follows:[51]

# Employer # of Employees
1 BJC Health Care 25,039
2 Boeing Defense, Space & Security 14,868
3 Washington University 14,091
4 Scott Air Force Base 13,000
5 SSM Health Care 11,898
6 Mercy 10,946
7 Schnuck Markets 10,919

According to St. Louis' 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[52][53] the top employers in the City only for 2012 are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Washington University 14,705
2 BJC Health Care 13,241
3 St. Louis University 10,096
4 City of St. Louis  8,098
5 Defense Finance and Accounting Service  6,379
6 Wells Fargo  5,653
7 St. Louis Board of Education  4,992
8 State of Missouri  4,240
9 AT&T Services  4,016
10 US Postal Service  3,973


The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

View of the Arch from Laclede's Landing.

With its French past and waves of Catholic immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries, from Ireland, Germany and Italy, St. Louis is a major center of Roman Catholicism in the United States. St. Louis also boasts the largest Ethical Culture Society in the United States, and consistently ranks as one of the most generous cities in the United States, ranking ninth in 2013.[54] Several places of worship in the city are noteworthy, such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, home of the world's largest mosaic installation.[55]

Other locally notable churches include the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River and the oldest church in St. Louis; the St. Louis Abbey, whose distinctive architectural style garnered multiple awards at the time of its completion in 1962; and St. Francis de Sales Oratory, a neo-Gothic church completed in 1908 in South St. Louis and the second-largest church in the city.

The city is defined by music and the performing arts, especially its association with blues, jazz, and ragtime. St. Louis is home to the St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, which has toured nationally and internationally to strong reviews. Until 2010, it was also home to KFUO-FM, one of the oldest classical music FM radio stations west of the Mississippi River.[56]

The Gateway Arch marks downtown St. Louis and a historic center that includes the Federal courthouse where the Dred Scott case was first argued, a newly renovated and expanded public library, major churches and businesses, and retail. An increasing downtown residential population has taken to adapted office buildings and other historic structures. In nearby University City is the Delmar Loop, ranked by the American Planning Association as a "great American street" for its variety of shops and restaurants, and the Tivoli Theater, all within walking distance.

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in Saint Louis, Missouri, Route 66 location

Unique city and regional cuisine reflecting various immigrant groups include toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, provel cheese, the slinger, the Gerber sandwich, the St. Paul sandwich, and St. Louis-style pizza, featuring thin crust and provel cheese. Some St. Louis chefs have begun emphasizing use of local produce, meats and fish, and neighborhood farmers' markets have become increasingly popular, as well as one downtown. Artisan bakeries, salumeria, and chocolatiers also operate in the city.

Also unique to St. Louis is the Ted Drewes "Concrete," which is frozen custard blended with any combination of dozens of ingredients, served in a large yellow cup with a spoon and straw. The mixture is so thick that a spoon inserted into the custard does not fall if the cup is inverted.[57] Ted Drewes owns and operates a pair of frozen custard shops in St. Louis, which have been highlighted in the national media on several occasions. In 2006, the Route 66 (Chippewa) location was featured on the Food Network show Feasting on Asphalt, hosted by Alton Brown. In 2010, it was recommended by Bobby Flay on the "Sweet Tooth" episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. In 2011, it was featured in a special "Route 66" episode of Man v. Food Nation, hosted by Adam Richman.


The architecture of St. Louis exhibits a variety of commercial, residential, and monumental architecture. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, the tallest monument constructed in the USA at 630 feet.[58] The Arch pays homage to Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis' position as the gateway to the West. Architectural influences reflected in the area include French Colonial, German, early American, and modern architectural styles.


An aerial view of many skyscrapers and other buildings, with a dark blue river cutting down through the upper half.

A cluster of skyscrapers is located just west of the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River.

Some notable post-modern commercial skyscrapers were built downtown in the 1970s and 1980s, including the One US Bank Plaza (1976), the AT&T Center (1986), and One Metropolitan Square (1989), which is the tallest building in St. Louis. One US Bank Plaza, the local headquarters for US Bancorp, was constructed for the Mercantile Bancorporation in the Structural expressionist style, emphasizing the steel structure of the building.

During the 1990s, St. Louis saw the construction of the largest United States courthouse by area, the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse (completed in 2000). The Eagleton Courthouse is home to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The most recent high-rise buildings in St. Louis include two residential towers: the Park East Tower in the Central West End and the Roberts Tower located in downtown.

Landmarks and monuments[]

St. Louis Union Station.

Several examples of religious structures are extant from the pre-Civil War period, and most reflect the common residential styles of the time. Among the earliest is the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (locally referred to as the Old Cathedral). The Basilica was built between 1831 and 1834 in the Federal style. Other religious buildings from the period include SS. Cyril and Methodius Church (1857) in the Romanesque Revival style and Christ Church Cathedral (completed in 1867, designed in 1859) in the Gothic Revival style.

Only a few civic buildings were constructed during the early 19th century. The original St. Louis courthouse was built in 1826 and featured a Federal style stone facade with a rounded portico. However, this courthouse was replaced during renovation and expansion of the building in the 1850s. The Old St. Louis County Courthouse (locally known as the Old Courthouse) was completed in 1864 and was notable for having an early cast iron dome and for being the tallest structure in Missouri until 1894. Finally, a customs house was constructed in the Greek Revival style in 1852, but was demolished and replaced in 1873 by the U.S. Customhouse and Post Office.

Because much of the city's early commercial and industrial development was centered along the riverfront, many pre-Civil War buildings were demolished during construction of the Gateway Arch. The city's remaining architectural heritage of the era includes a multi-block district of cobblestone streets and brick and cast-iron warehouses called Laclede's Landing. Now popular for its restaurants and nightclubs, the district is located north of Gateway Arch along the riverfront. Other industrial buildings from the era include some portions of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which date to the early 1860s.

St. Louis City Hall, built in 1904

St. Louis saw a vast expansion in variety and number of religious buildings during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The largest and most ornate of these is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, designed by Thomas P. Barnett and constructed between 1907 and 1914 in the Neo-Byzantine style. The St. Louis Cathedral, as it is known, has one of the largest mosaic collections in the world. Another landmark in religious architecture of St. Louis is the St. Stanislaus Kostka, which is an example of the Polish Cathedral style. Among the other major designs of the period were St. Alphonsus Liguori (locally known as The Rock Church) (1867) in the Gothic Revival and Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis (1900) in Richardsonian Romanesque.

The central branch of the St. Louis Public Library, designed by Cass Gilbert (1912)

Early in the 20th century (and during the years before and after the 1904 World's Fair), several churches moved to the Central West End neighborhood, near Forest Park and the fairgrounds. The neighborhood features the Holy Corners Historic District, which is a concentration of several historic religious structures, such as the First Church of Christ, Scientist (1904).

By the 1900 census, St. Louis was the fourth largest city in the country. In 1904, the city hosted a world's fair at Forest Park called the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Its architectural legacy is somewhat scattered. Among the fair-related cultural institutions in the park are the Saint Louis Art Museum designed by Cass Gilbert, part of the remaining lagoon at the foot of Art Hill, and the Flight Cage at the St. Louis Zoo. The Missouri History Museum was built afterward, with the profit from the fair. But 1904 left other assets to the city, like Theodore Link's 1894 St. Louis Union Station, and an improved Forest Park.

Louis Sullivan designed Charlotte Dickson Wainwright's tomb on the north side of Bellefontaine Cemetery, surrounded by a collection of similar tombs for the great old St. Louis families, interesting for their late-Gilded Age artwork.

Shortly after the Civil War, St. Louis rapidly increased its school system and hospital system. One of the earliest structures and the oldest extant hospital building in St. Louis is the St. Louis Insane Asylum (now the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center). The asylum is built of brick in the Italianate style, complete with cast iron dome and cupola reminiscent of the Old Courthouse.

As St. Louis expanded, the city hall was moved further west of downtown to its present location in 1904 (construction began in 1892). St. Louis City Hall, still in use, was designed by Harvey Ellis in the Renaissance Revival style. City Hall also is reminiscent of the famed Hôtel de Ville, Paris, France.

Other significant civic buildings from the late 19th century and early 20th century include the U.S. Customhouse and Post Office by Alfred B. Mullett (1873) and the stately St. Louis Public Library by Cass Gilbert (1912). While the Old Post Office has been renovated, the St. Louis Public Library is slated for renovation as of 2010. In 1923 the city passed a $87 million bond issue for re-development of the Civic Plaza along the lines of the City Beautiful movement. This development resulted in some of St. Louis's major civic architecture: the Soldiers' Memorial, the Civil Courts Building, and Kiel Auditorium.

Then into the 1940s and 1950s a certain sub-genre of St. Louis modernism emerged, with the locally important Harris Armstrong, and a series of daring modern civic landmarks like Gyo Obata's Planetarium, the geodesic-dome Climatron, and the main terminal building at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The Poplar Street Bridge, a 647-foot (197 m) long (197m) deck girder bridge, was built in 1967 and continues to carry three Interstates and one U.S. route. St. Louis also was the headquarters for postwar modernist bank designer Wenceslaus Sarmiento, whose major work in St. Louis is the Chancery Building (1965) on the grounds of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The culmination of St. Louis modern architecture is Eero Saarinen's magnificent stainless-steel gesture, the Gateway Arch, centerpiece of the 91-acre (368,000 m2) riverside Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

A panoramic view of the St. Louis skyline, dominated by the 630-foot (190 m) Gateway Arch.
A panoramic view of the St. Louis skyline, dominated by the 630-foot (190 m) Gateway Arch.


Major league sports teams in St. Louis
Club Sport League Venue Titles
St. Louis Blues Ice hockey National Hockey League Scottrade Center None
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Major League Baseball Busch Stadium 11
St. Louis Rams American football National Football League Edward Jones Dome 1

St. Louis is home to professional Major League Baseball, National Football League, and National Hockey League teams, notable collegiate-level soccer teams, and has hosted several collegiate sports tournaments.

Professional sports[]

Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis

The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball, and have won 19 National League titles, which are the most pennants for the league franchise in one city, and 11 World Series titles, with the most recent in 2011. They play at Busch Stadium. The Gateway Grizzlies and the River City Rascals of the Frontier League (which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball) also play in the area. The St. Louis Rams, an American football team in the National Football League play at the Edward Jones Dome and have won three NFL championships, including one Super Bowl victory in 2000. The St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League play at the Scottrade Center, and the region hosts NHRA drag racing and NASCAR events at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Additionally, the city is home to the St. Louis Chess Club, which hosts the U.S Championships every year, and since September 2011, home to the World Chess Hall of Fame, with the city becoming a major national chess hub.

Amateur sports[]

At the collegiate level, St. Louis has hosted the Final Four of both the women's and men's college basketball NCAA Division I championship tournaments, and the Frozen Four collegiate ice hockey tournament. Although the area does not currently support a National Basketball Association team, it hosts an American Basketball Association team called the St. Louis Phoenix. St. Louis University has won 10 NCAA Men's Soccer Championships, and the city has hosted the College Cup several times. In addition to collegiate soccer, many St. Louisans have played for the United States men's national soccer team, and 20 St. Louisans have been elected into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. St. Louis also is the origin of the sport of corkball, a type of baseball in which there is no base running. The St. Louis TV market is the largest in the nation without a Division I college football team.


The Jewel Box, a greenhouse and event venue in Forest Park

The city operates more than 100 parks, with amenities that include sports facilities, playgrounds, concert areas, picnic areas, and lakes. Forest Park, located on the western edge of city, is the largest, occupying 1,400 acres of land, making it almost twice as large as Central Park in New York City.[58] The park is home to five major institutions, including the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Muny amphitheatre.[58] Another significant park in the city is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a National Memorial located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The centerpiece of the park is the 630 feet (190 m) tall Gateway Arch, designed by noted architect Eero Saarinen and completed on October 28, 1965. Also part of the historic park is the Old Courthouse, where the first two trials of Dred Scott v. Sandford were held in 1847 and 1850.

Other notable parks in the city include the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove Park, Carondelet Park and Citygarden. The Missouri Botanical Garden, a private garden and botanical research facility, is a National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States.[58] The Garden features 79 acres of horticultural displays from around the world. This includes a Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home and a geodesic dome called the Climatron.[58] Immediately south of the Missouri Botanical Garden is Tower Grove Park, a gift to the City by Henry Shaw. Citygarden is an urban sculpture park located in downtown St. Louis, with art from Fernand Léger, Aristide Maillol, Julian Opie, Tom Otterness, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Mark di Suvero.[59][60] The park is divided into three sections, each of which represent a different theme: river bluffs; flood plains; and urban gardens. The park also has a restaurant – Joe's Chili Bowl. Another downtown sculpture park is the Serra Sculpture Park, with the 1982 Richard Serra sculpture Twain.[61]


St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in 2009

The city of St. Louis has a mayor-council government with legislative authority vested in the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis and with executive authority in the Mayor of St. Louis and six other separately elected officials.[62] The Board of Aldermen is made up of 28 members (one elected from each of the city's wards) plus a board president who is elected city-wide.[63] The 2014 fiscal year budget topped $1 billion for the first time, a 1.9% increase over the $985.2 million budget in 2013.[64] 236,253 registered voters lived in the city in 2012,[65] down from 239,247 in 2010, and 257,442 in 2008.[66]


St. Louis is one of the 41 independent cities in the U.S. that does not legally belong to any county.[67] St. Louis has a strong mayor–council government with legislative authority and oversight vested in the Board of Aldermen and with executive authority in the mayor and six other elected officials.[62] The Board of Aldermen is made up of 28 members (one elected from each of the city's wards) plus a board president who is elected citywide.[68] The 2014 fiscal year budget topped $1 billion for the first time, a 1.9% increase over the $985.2 million budget in 2013.[64] 238,253 registered voters lived in the city in 2012,[69] down from 239,247 in 2010, and 257,442 in 2008.[70]


Citywide office[71] Elected Official
Mayor of St. Louis Tishaura Jones
President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis E. Reed
City Comptroller Darlene Green
Recorder of Deeds Michael Butler
Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly
License Collector Mavis T. Thompson
Treasurer Adam Layne
Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner
City of St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones in 2017

The mayor is the chief executive officer of the city and is responsible for appointing city department heads including; the director of public safety, the director of streets & traffic, the director of health, the director of human services, the director of the airport, the director of parks & recreation, the director of workforce development, the director of the Community Development Agency, the director of economic development, the director of public utilities, the director of the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency, the register, and the assessor, among other department-level or senior administrative positions. The President of the Board of Aldermen is the second highest-ranking official in the city. The President is the presiding officer of the Board of Aldermen which is the legislative branch of government of the city.

Municipal elections in St. Louis are held in odd-numbered years, with the primary elections in March and the general election in April. The mayor is elected in odd-numbered years following the United States presidential election, as are the aldermen representing odd-numbered wards. The president of the board of aldermen and the aldermen from even-numbered wards are elected in the off-years. The Democratic Party has dominated St. Louis city politics for decades. The city has not had a Republican mayor since 1949, and the last time a Republican was elected to another citywide office was in the 1970s. As of 2015, all 28 of the city's aldermen are Democrats.[72]

Forty-seven individuals have held the office of mayor of St. Louis, four of whom—William Carr Lane, John Fletcher Darby, John Wimer, and John How—served non-consecutive terms. The most terms served by a mayor was by Lane, who served 8 full terms plus the unexpired term of Darby. The current mayor is Tishaura Jones, who took office April 20, 2021, and is the first African-American woman to hold the post. She succeeded Lyda Krewson, the first female mayor of the city, who retired in 2021 after serving for four years. The longest-serving mayor was Francis Slay, who took office April 17, 2001, and left office April 18, 2017, a total of 16 years and six days over four terms in office. The shortest-serving mayor was Arthur Barret, who died 11 days after taking office.

Although St. Louis separated from St. Louis County in 1876, some mechanisms have been put in place for joint funding management and funding of regional assets. The St. Louis Zoo-Museum district collects property taxes from residents of both St. Louis City and County, and the funds are used to support cultural institutions including the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Similarly, the Metropolitan Sewer District provides sanitary and storm sewer service to the city and much of St. Louis County. The Bi-State Development Agency (now known as Metro) runs the region's MetroLink light rail system and bus system.


United States presidential election results for St. Louis, Missouri[73]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 21,474 15.98% 110,089 81.93% 2,809 2.09%
2016 20,832 15.72% 104,235 78.68% 7,420 5.60%
2012 22,943 15.93% 118,780 82.45% 2,343 1.63%
2008 24,662 15.50% 132,925 83.55% 1,517 0.95%
2004 27,793 19.22% 116,133 80.29% 712 0.49%
2000 24,799 19.88% 96,557 77.40% 3,396 2.72%
1996 22,121 18.13% 91,233 74.78% 8,649 7.09%
1992 25,441 17.26% 102,356 69.44% 19,607 13.30%
1988 40,906 26.96% 110,076 72.55% 732 0.48%
1984 61,020 35.20% 112,318 64.80% 0 0.00%
1980 50,333 29.48% 113,697 66.59% 6,721 3.94%
1976 58,367 32.47% 118,703 66.03% 2,714 1.51%
1972 72,402 37.67% 119,817 62.33% 0 0.00%
1968 58,252 26.37% 143,010 64.74% 19,652 8.90%
1964 59,604 22.28% 207,958 77.72% 0 0.00%
1960 101,331 33.37% 202,319 66.63% 0 0.00%
1956 130,045 39.14% 202,210 60.86% 0 0.00%
1952 144,828 38.00% 235,893 61.89% 427 0.11%
1948 120,656 35.10% 220,654 64.19% 2,460 0.72%
1944 134,411 39.54% 204,687 60.22% 821 0.24%
1940 168,165 41.79% 233,338 57.98% 948 0.24%
1936 127,887 32.23% 260,063 65.54% 8,880 2.24%
1932 123,448 34.57% 226,338 63.38% 7,319 2.05%
1928 161,701 47.67% 176,428 52.01% 1,065 0.31%
1924 139,433 52.70% 95,888 36.24% 29,276 11.06%
1920 163,280 57.77% 106,047 37.52% 13,325 4.71%
1916 83,798 51.72% 74,059 45.71% 4,175 2.58%
1912 46,509 33.14% 58,845 41.93% 34,973 24.92%
1908 74,160 52.76% 60,917 43.34% 5,473 3.89%
1904 57,547 49.70% 51,858 44.79% 6,387 5.52%
1900 60,597 48.64% 59,931 48.11% 4,046 3.25%
1896 65,708 56.16% 50,091 42.81% 1,197 1.02%
1892 35,528 49.94% 34,669 48.73% 942 1.32%
1888 33,656 53.40% 27,401 43.48% 1,969 3.12%

St. Louis is split between 11 districts in the Missouri House of Representatives: all of the 76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, and 84th, and parts of the 66th, 83rd, and 93rd, which are shared with St. Louis County.[74] The 5th Missouri Senate district is entirely within the city, while the 4th is shared with St. Louis County.[74]

At the federal level, St. Louis is the heart of MO's 1st congressional districtWp globe tiny.gif, which also includes part of northern St. Louis County.[74] A Republican has not represented a significant portion of St. Louis in the U.S. House since 1953. Correspondingly, despite voting Republican prior to 1928 in presidential elections, from then on the city has become a Democratic stronghold at the presidential level. George H.W. Bush in 1988 was the most recent Republican to win even a quarter of the city's votes in a presidential election.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri are based in the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. St. Louis is also home to a Federal Reserve System branch, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) also maintains major facilities in the St. Louis area.[75]

The Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC-MPR) located at 9700 Page Avenue in St. Louis, is a branch of the National Personnel Records Center and is the repository of over 56 million military personnel records and medical records pertaining to retired, discharged, and deceased veterans of the U.S. armed forces.[76]


Since the mid-1990s, St. Louis index crime rates have declined, although rates of violent crime and property crime in the city of St. Louis remain higher than both the state and United States national averages.[77] St. Louis also frequently is ranked among the "most dangerous" in the country by CQ Press, although these rankings are controversial and do not reflect the crime rate of Greater St. Louis.[78][79] In 2012, St. Louis ranked at number 4 of the top 5 most dangerous cities in America comparing violent crime rates, behind Flint, Michigan, Detroit, and Oakland.[80]


St. Louis University High School is the oldest secondary educational institution in Missouri.

The St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) operate more than 75 schools, attended by more than 25,000 students, including several magnet schools. SLPS operates under provisional accreditation from the state of Missouri and is under the governance of a state-appointed school board called the Special Administrative Board, although a local board continues to exist without legal authority over the district. Since 2000, charter schools have operated in the city of St. Louis using authorization from Missouri state law. These schools are sponsored by local institutions or corporations and take in students from kindergarten through high school.[81] In addition, several private schools exist in the city, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis operates dozens of parochial schools in the city, including parochial high schools. The city also has several private high schools, including secular, Catholic and Lutheran schools.

The city is home to two national research universities, Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis University, as classified under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been ranked among the top 10 medical schools in the country by US News & World Report for as long as the list has been published, and as high as second, in 2003 and 2004.[58]

In addition to Catholic theological institutions such as Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis is home to three Protestant seminaries: Eden Theological Seminary of the United Church of Christ, Covenant Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America, and Concordia Seminary of the St. Louis-based Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.


FOX 2 Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne at Busch Stadium in St. Louis

Greater St. Louis commands the 21st-largest media market in the United States, a position roughly unchanged for over a decade.[82] All of the major U.S. television networks have affiliates in St. Louis, including KTVI 2 (Fox), KMOV 4 (CBS), KSDK 5 (NBC), KETC 9 (PBS), KPLR-TV 11 (CW), KDNL 30 (ABC), WRBU 46 (Ion), and WPXS 51 Daystar Television Network. Among the area's most popular radio stations are KMOX (AM sports and talk, notable as the longtime flagship station for St. Louis Cardinals broadcasts), KLOU (FM oldies), WIL-FM (FM country), WARH (FM adult hits), and KSLZ (FM Top 40 mainstream).[83] St. Louis also supports public radio's KWMU, an NPR affiliate, and community radio's KDHX. All-sports stations, such as KFNS 590 AM "The Fan", WXOS "101.1 ESPN", and KSLG are also popular.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the region's major daily newspaper. Others in the region include the Suburban Journals, which serve parts of St. Louis County, while the primary alternative newspaper is the Riverfront Times. Three weeklies serve the African-American community: the St. Louis Argus, the St. Louis American, and the St. Louis Sentinel. St. Louis Magazine, a local monthly magazine, covers topics such as local history, cuisine, and lifestyles, while the weekly St. Louis Business Journal provides coverage of regional business news. St. Louis is also home to the nation's last remaining metropolitan journalism review, the Gateway Journalism Review, based at Webster University in the suburb of Webster Groves.[84] Furthermore, St. Louis is served by an online newspaper, the St. Louis Beacon, which operates in partnership and shares facilities with KETC 9 TV.[85]


Interstate 70 in downtown St. Louis

Road, rail, ship, and air transportation modes connect the city with surrounding communities in Greater St. Louis, national transportation networks, and international locations. St. Louis also supports a public transportation network that includes bus and light rail service.

Roads and highways[]

Four interstate highways connect the city to a larger regional highway system. Interstate 70, an east-west highway, runs roughly from the northwest corner of the city to downtown St. Louis. The north-south Interstate 55 enters the city at the south near the Carondelet neighborhood and runs toward the center of the city, and both Interstate 64 and Interstate 44 enter the city on the west, running parallel to the east. Two of the four interstates (Interstates 55 and 64) merge south of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and leave the city on the Poplar Street Bridge into Illinois, while Interstate 44 terminates at Interstate 70 at its new interchange near N Broadway and Cass Ave.

The 563-mile Avenue of the Saints links St. Louis with St. Paul, Minnesota.

Major roadways include the north-south Memorial Drive, located on the western edge of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and parallel to Interstate 70, the north-south streets of Grand Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, both of which run the length of the city, and Gravois Road, which runs from the southeastern portion of the city to downtown and formerly was signed as U.S. Route 66. An east-west roadway that connects the city with surrounding communities is Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, which carries traffic from the western edge of the city to downtown.

Light rail / subway[]

St. Louis MetroLink train leaving St. Louis Union Station

MetroLink map (article version).svg

Light rail service consists of two lines operating on double track. They both serve all the stations in the city, and branch to different destinations beyond its limits. Both lines enter the city north of Forest Park on the western edge of the city or on the Eads Bridge in downtown St. Louis to Illinois. All of the system track is in independent right of way, with both surface level and underground subways track in the city. All stations are independent entry, while all platforms are flush-level with trains. Rail service is provided by the Bi-State Development Agency (also known as Metro), which is funded by a sales taxes levied in the city and other counties in the region.[86] The Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center acts as the hub station in the city of St. Louis, linking the city's light rail system, local bus system, passenger rail service, and national bus service.


Control tower and main terminal at Lambert St. Louis

Lambert St. Louis International Airport, owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, is 11 miles northwest of downtown along highway I-70 between I-170 and I-270 in St. Louis County. It is the largest and busiest airport in the state. In 2011, the airport saw 255 daily departures to about 90 domestic and international locations and a total of nearly 13 million passengers.[87] The airport serves as a focus city for Southwest Airlines and was a former hub for Trans World Airlines and former focus-city for American Airlines and AmericanConnection.[87] Air cargo transportation is available at Lambert International and at other nearby regional airports, including MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, Spirit of St. Louis Airport, and St. Louis Downtown Airport.

The airport has two terminals with a total of five concourses. International flights and passengers use Terminal 2, whose lower level holds the Immigration and Customs gates. Passengers can move between the terminals on complimentary buses that run continuously, or via MetroLink for a fee. It was possible to walk between the terminals until Concourse D was closed in 2008.[88]

Port authority[]

River transportation is available through the Port of St. Louis, which is 19.3 miles of riverbank on the Mississippi River that handles more than 32 million tons of freight annually. The Port is the 2nd largest inland port by trip-ton miles, and the 3rd largest by tonnage in the United States, with more than one hundred docking facilities for barge shipping and 16 public terminals on the river.[89] The Port Authority added 2 new small fire and rescue craft in 2012 and 2013.

Railroad service[]

An eastbound Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis freight train passing under the Hampton Avenue viaduct. Scott Nauert photo

Inter-city rail passenger train service in the city is provided by Amtrak. All Amtrak trains serving St. Louis use the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center downtown. Amtrak trains terminating in the city include the Lincoln Service to Chicago, Illinois and the Missouri River Runner to Kansas City, Missouri. St. Louis is an intermediate stop on the Texas Eagle route which provides long-distance passenger service between San Antonio, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois.[90]

St. Louis is the nation's third-largest freight rail hub, moving Missouri exports such as fertilizer, gravel, crushed stone, prepared foodstuffs, fats, oils, nonmetallic mineral products, grain, alcohol, tobacco products, automobiles, and automobile parts.[91] Freight rail service in St. Louis is provided on tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway, Foster Townsend Rail Logistics - formerly Manufacturers Railway (St. Louis), Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, and the BNSF Railway.

The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (reporting mark: TRRA) is a switching and terminal railroad jointly owned by all the major rail carriers in St. Louis. The company operates 30 diesel-electric locomotives to move railcars around the classification yards, deliver railcars to local industries, and ready trains for departure.[92] The TRRA processes and dispatches a significant portion of railroad traffic moving through the city and owns and operates a network of rail bridges and tunnels including the MacArthur Bridge (St. Louis) and the Merchants Bridge.[93] This infrastructure is also used by commuter rail and long-distance passenger trains serving St. Louis.

Primary train classification yards in St. Louis, their approximate location in the city, and the main rail lines or major customers served:

Union Pacific Railroad

Modern Union Pacific EMD SD70ACe locomotive 1982, painted in Missouri Pacific Railroad livery. Missouri Pacific was headquartered in St. Louis until 1982, when it merged with Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific.

  • Lesperance Yard - Carroll Street & South 1st St., Desoto Subdivision (St. Louis - Poplar Bluff, MO) and Jefferson City Subdivision (St. Louis - Jefferson City, MO)
  • 12th Street Yard - South 14th St. between I-64 & Gratiot St., Desoto Subdivision and Jefferson City Subdivision

Norfolk Southern Railway

  • Luther Yard - E. 3rd St. & E. Carrie Ave., St. Louis District (St. Louis - Moberly, MO)[94]

Foster Townsend Rail Logistics - formerly Manufacturers Railway (St. Louis)

  • Brewery Yard - S. 2nd St. & Arsenal St., Anheuser-Busch Brewery[95]

BNSF Railway[96]

  • Lindenwood Yard - Jamieson Ave. & Arsenal St., Cuba Subdivision (St. Louis - Springfield, MO), River Subdivision (St. Louis - Turrell, AR), and Hannibal Subdivision (St. Louis - Burlington, IA)
  • Chouteau Yard - S. Vandeventer Ave & Tower Grove Ave., local industry and interchange with Union Pacific Railroad
  • North St. Louis Yard - Hall St. & Humboldt Ave., Hannibal Subdivision (St. Louis - Burlington, IA) and local industry

Bus service[]

Bus passing under the St. Louis Science Center walkway

Local bus service in the city of St. Louis is provided by the Bi-State Development Agency via MetroBus, with more than 75 routes connecting to MetroLink commuter rail transit and stops in the city and region. The city is also served by Madison County Transit, which connects downtown St. Louis to Madison County, Illinois. National bus service in the city is offered by Greyhound Lines and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, with a station at the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center, and Megabus, with a stop at St. Louis Union Station.


Taxicab service in the city is provided by private companies regulated by the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission. Rates vary by vehicle type, size, passengers and distance, and by regulation all taxicab fares must be calculated using a taximeter and be payable in cash or credit card.[97] Solicitation by a driver is prohibited, although a taxicab may be hailed on the street or at a stand.

Notable residents[]

Sister cities[]

St. Louis has 16 sister cities.[98]

See also[]

  • Saint Louis cuisine
  • List of tallest buildings in St. Louis
  • Downtown St. Louis
  • Downtown West, St. Louis
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • Caves of St. Louis
  • Great Flood of 1993
  • Heat wave of 2006 derecho series
  • LaClede Town
  • List of Mayors of St. Louis
  • History of the Jews in St. Louis
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in St. Louis (city, A–L), Missouri
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in St. Louis (city, M-Z), Missouri
  • St. Louis in the Civil War
  • St. Louis smog episode (1939)
  • Neighborhoods of St. Louis



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  3. ^ on "The Lou".
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