History | St. Louis Public Radio

History

Astronomers Studying an Eclipse painted by Antoine Caron in 1571
Wikimedia Commons

The furor over the coming solar eclipse is reaching a fever pitch, causing us to ask: has it always been this way? On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the ways eclipses have been viewed in the past.

From Babylonians’ scientific tracking of eclipses to frequent myth and lore about the relationship between solar eclipses and animal feeding habits, we discussed how old views of solar eclipses impact our viewing of them today.

Forest Park turns 140 years old this year.
henskechristine | Flickr

Whether you’re new to St. Louis or you’ve been here a long time, you’ve probably heard the factoid that Forest Park is bigger than New York’s Central Park by nearly 500 acres, clocking in at a total of 1,293 acres. It’s one of the many things we love about the park.

But how did the park come to be and how has it changed over time to become what it is today?

An example of an image found in "Capturing the City," which features workers at the intersection of Grand and Olive circa 1907.
Capturing the City

This segment was originally produced on November 26, 2016 and re-aired on August 8, 2017.

Charles Clement Holt was many things: an engineer, a draftsman, a surveyor for the St. Louis Streets Department. He became so good at the latter that he eventually became head of the Streets Department.

Donna Rogers-Beard, Emma Riley and Rev. Doris Graham joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the history Clayton's historical, displaced African-American neighborhood.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Picture the affluent St. Louis suburb of Clayton. Great schools. Flourishing businesses. A lively restaurant scene.

But how Clayton came to be synonymous with such commercial affluence is entwined with a little-known part of the suburb’s history.

From the 1800s to the 1950s, Clayton was home to a flourishing African-American community. The area’s black residents were pushed out of the area through rigorous “urban renewal” zoning policy to make room construction of the vaunted commercial center of the suburb. The black community in Clayton all but disappeared.

Detail of Katherine Dunham in Choros, undated
Missouri History Museum | Provided

If you took but one class with dance legend Katherine Dunham, it became immediately apparent that her approach was one that cultivated the dancer as a whole and made the Dunham Technique more of a “way of life.” Dunham, considered the “queen mother of black dance,” lived from 1909 to 2006, making her home and the center of her dance work in East St. Louis for much of her adult life. 

Marcia and Tim Dorsey's fully rehabbed 1850s stone house in Carondelet. Marcia lived in this house when she was a girl, but after it left her family's hands, the home fell into disrepair. In 2014, the Dorseys began the process of rehabilitating it.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Just east of Broadway in the Patch neighborhood of Carondelet stands a small, rough-cut stone house. The structure, over 160 years old, is set to receive a 'Most Enhanced' building award from the Landmarks Association of St. Louis this Thursday evening.

Maureen Kavanaugh recently released an updated version of Elizabeth McNulty’s popular book “St. Louis Then and Now,” which pairs archive and contemporary photographs that tell the story of St. Louis through its landmarks.

On Tuesday, Kavanaugh joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the updated book.

“Some of it is exactly the same,” Kavanaugh said of the book.

In most circumstances, the ‘then’ and ‘now’ photos are taken from the same angle, though Kavanaugh said that wasn’t possible in every instance because of new construction.

A mob stops a street car during the East St. Louis race riots, which started on July 2, 1917.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Libraries

The East St. Louis race riots have gone down in history as some of the worst examples of race relations in the St. Louis region. This Sunday, May 28, is the 100-year anniversary of the first, smaller riot. July 2 is the 100-year anniversary of one of the bloodiest race riots in the 1900s.

Related: St. Louis History in Black and White: East St. Louis Race Riot

Today marks the 274th anniversary of the birth of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.
Rembrandt Peele | Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, April 13, 2017 marked the 274th anniversary of the birth of American founding father Thomas Jefferson.

On St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh looked back on the complicated legacy of the United States' third president and explored the impact of his presidency regionally with Washington University professor Peter Kastor.

Lincoln School, the county's first public school for African Americansthe county's first public school for African Americans, prior to the construction of its new building in 1911 is one of many photos archived in Madison Historical.
Provided | Madison Historical and the Madison County Historical Society

Madison County has a new online archive that documents local history through century-old photographs, articles and recorded interviews.

The Madison Historical website produced by Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville invites exploration of the Metro East county’s history, sorting content by era (19th, 20th, or 21st century), theme (industry, education, government) and community.

Rebecca Copeland, Rob Maesaka and Suzanne Sakahara discussed the history and legacy of Japanese internment, almost 75 years after the executive order that paved the way for it was signed.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Retired Lindenwood University professor Suzanne Sakahara was just six years old when she witnessed two FBI agents enter her house on Vashon Island, Washington, in 1942. They searched the house from top to bottom, looking for hunting rifles and radios for confiscation.

“They even looked in the kitchen at the length of our knives,” Sakahara said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “If you had too long of a knife, they confiscated it.”

Dick Henmi is a noted St. Louis architect, best known for the so-called "flying saucer" building on Grand, but his journey to St. Louis started during a dark period of American history.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you don’t know Richard (Dick) Henmi by name, you definitely know one of his most iconic contributions to St. Louis’ architectural assembly: the so-called "flying saucer" building in Council Plaza off of Grand Boulevard. Henmi designed that building in 1967.

What is the story behind Natural Bridge Road?
AA Roads

If you’ve ever wondered where in the world the “natural bridge” in Natural Bridge Road comes from, you’re not alone. The answer is tied to Missouri's abundance of caves and the underground world of St. Louis.

It’s a question Joe Light, vice president of the Meramec Valley Grotto and member of the Missouri Speleological Survey, gets asked all the time. Several Curious Louis questioners have wondered the same thing.

A traveling museum in St. Louis highlights the achievements of black inventors. From left, across: Granville T. Woods, Lonnie Johnson, Sarah Boone, George Washington Carver, Bessie Blount, Elijah McCoy, Madam CJ Walker, Marjorie Joyner, Philip Emeagwali.
Wikimedia Commons

In 1996, Loretta Ford founded the Museum of Black Inventors with the idea of highlighting the achievements of often unsung African Americans who contributed greatly to the fields of science, household goods, engineering and technology.

Housed for a while in the Central West End, the organization eventually outgrew its location and in 1998 the museum reemerged as a traveling museum and now visits schools, workplaces, and community organizations across the Midwest.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or just moved to St. Louis, you’ve probably noticed the, erm, particularities of the way St. Louisans speak. From the “ar” pronunciation that creeps into words like “forty” (fahr-ty) and “wash” (warsh) to the Nelly-esque “here” (hurr) to area-specific vocabulary like “hoosier” or “catty corner,” there is something different going on here.

David Cunningham is a professor of sociology at Washington University. His research centers on hate groups.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In the past few weeks you’ve heard a lot of reports about hate crimes, white supremacy and the ‘alt-right.’ What does it all mean? And, importantly, do hate groups exist here, in St. Louis, and how are they active?

Pearl Harbor survivor Bill Johnson reads the list of names inscribed in the USS Arizona Memorial.
Chief Journalist David Rush | U.S. Navy

Walter Schoenke was 9 years old when he survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Schoenke was not an active military member at that time, though he would go on to serve in the Air Force during the Korean War, but his father was. His father, Raymond, had moved to Hawaii to help construct the Schofield Barracks at Pearl Harbor, one of the targets of the attacks and Walter was born on the islands.

Slinkies are one of the toys on exhibit in the Missouri History Museum's "Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s" exhibit. https://www.flickr.com/photos/southpaw2305/4291636470/in/photolist-7xeL1f-64TFJk-64XYyu-4DfKXx-8hNXsa-e44sdM-oGHS7T-e44ri4-e4a5i1-ixGSpw-mk
Clare Black | Flickr

Baby Boomers, rejoice! A nostalgic throwback exhibit has rolled into town highlighting the toys of yesteryear. Hailing from the Minnesota State Historical Society, you can view collections of toys from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s through January 22, 2017 at the Missouri History Museum.

Sharon Smith, curator of Civic and Personal Identity at the Missouri History Museum, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the exhibit and what separates toys of Baby Boomers’ childhoods from the rest.

Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau are credited with the founding of St. Louis in 1764.
Wikimedia Commons

The common version of the founding of St. Louis goes something like this: Pierre Laclède was told by the French government to travel from New Orleans and construct a trading post near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in 1763. Bringing along his stepson, Auguste Chouteau, in early 1764, Laclède opened a trading post 18 miles south of the confluence in what would become St. Louis.

St. Louis resident Imre Jokuti, who fought in the Hungarian resistance, drinks a toast to those lost during the 1956 failed revolution against the Soviet Union during a commemoration Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Friday marked the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union's crackdown that ended the Hungarian revolution. 

Imre Jokuti of St. Louis fought with the resistance before he fled. He shared the memories of his escape from Budapest:

Imre Jokuti, who escaped from Hungary while fighting in the revolution, sings the Hungarian national anthem at St. Mary of Victories Church on Nov. 4, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Wearing a ribbon with the Hungarian flag’s red, white and green colors attached to his lapel, Albert Futo sang a hymn in his native tongue with the St. Mary of Victories Church choir in St. Louis Friday morning.

For Futo, this special Mass commemorating the 60th anniversary of Hungary’s uprising against the Soviet Union has personal significance.

Did you know Pixy Stix got their start in St. Louis?
bryan t | Flickr

Attention trick-or-treaters: The candy haul you’re preparing to collect tonight might just have some candy in it with St. Louis origins. Pixy Stix, in all their sugary goodness, for example, got their start here when they were invented by Sunmark Corporation (formerly Sunline Inc.) in 1942. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, in honor of Halloween, we heard from a local food historian about candies that got their start in St. Louis — and what candies are still manufactured in St. Louis today.

Thomas Harvey, of Arch City Defenders, said Ferguson city prosecutors were trying to send a "chilling" message to people who would come there to protest.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Are protests effective agents of social change? What actions are justified during a protest? How does the language used to describe protests impact people’s perceptions of certain events?

Throughout history, individuals have joined together in groups of various sizes to protest against powerful authority figures or perceived injustices.

In 1916, women in St. Louis brought an era of non-violent protest to the women's suffrage movement.
Wikimedia Commons | http://bit.ly/2bzknmM

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we looked back on a movement 100 years ago in St. Louis when 3,000 women marched to remind Democratic National Convention attendees that women still didn’t have the right to vote. That was in June of 1916, four years before women won the right to cast ballots on Aug. 26, 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution.

The start of the marathon race at the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis.
Missouri History Museum | http://bit.ly/2bqId2E

As the Rio 2016 Olympics begin to wind down, it is worth remembering that St. Louis once played host to the Olympics: the 1904 Olympics, the first to be held on U.S. soil — and they were a mess. Doping, shameful “Anthropology Days” competitions among “savages” and minimal international participation were a recipe for a games that the Wall Street Journal once dubbed “Comedic, Disgraceful And 'Best Forgotten.’”

Ironically, St. Louis wasn’t even supposed to host the 1904 Olympics. As Sharon Smith, Curator of Civic and Personal Identity at the Missouri History Museum, relayed it on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air: “St. Louis took those Olympics from Chicago.”

Fabulist bat is sucking the life out of a downed soldier
Provided by St. Louis Art Museum

Francisco de Goya’s “Disasters of War” is considered one of the most personal and influential print series in the Western canon. This will be the first time the complete series will be shown in St. Louis. Elizabeth Wyckoff, the art museum's curator of prints, drawings and photographs, says the work that was created more than 200 years ago remains relevant today.

St. Louis Fire, illustration in a German book from 1857.
Henry Lewis | Wikimedia Commons

Fires, floods, tornadoes, oh my! St. Louis has been witness to many kinds of disaster over the years and on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we talked about the most disastrous ones … and where you can find remnants of their existence still today.

Jesse Francis has worked his whole career to preserve historic French vertical log homes.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area’s storied French past is well known — but do you know much about historic French architecture in the region? On Monday, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the hallmarks of traditional French architecture, the vertical log home, with Jesse Francis, the cultural site manager for the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum-St. Louis is one of fourteen locations across the United States that hold the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The first draft of the Bill of Rights. The paper Einstein’s E=Mc2 was written on. Noah Webster’s first dictionary. These are three influential documents that are included in collector David Karpeles’ largest private collection of original manuscripts in the world — three of over one million such documents.

Henry Schvey and Carrie Houk, of Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Tennessee Williams was not the world’s biggest fan of the town he grew up in. But that’s not stopping the first-ever Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis from happening here in tribute to one city's greatest playwrights and most beloved iconoclasts.

Pages