history

If walls could talk, then those of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri would have a lot to say.

Historian Burton Boxerman worked with a group of prominent attorneys and district court judges to capture some of the court’s tales in “And Justice for All: A History of the Federal District Court of Eastern Missouri.”

The court got its start in 1822, less than a year after Missouri became a state. Many of the court’s early cases were related to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Missouri History Museum employees dig through ash and scrap metal for artifacts on Jan. 29, 2015, at the burned-out Fashions R Boutique in Ferguson.
Emanuele Berry / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri History Museum and Washington University are making sure artifacts from Ferguson are preserved.

Evelynn Johnson, second from left, and her family meet with genealogist Kenyatta Berry, second from right, at Union Station in St. Louis during filming for PBS' 'Genealogy Roadshow.' Johnson's story will be shared in the show's Feb. 10, 2015, episode.
Courtesy of Jason Winkeler / PBS

When PBS’ “Genealogy Roadshow” asked for queries from St. Louis residents last year, Evelynn Johnson gave them her great-grandfather's name.

“I was asking my mom if were kin to another family that shared our last name,” Johnson told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. “She said ‘Well, this is your great-grandfather’s name. See if they know him.’”

Thomas Jefferson Statue in lobby of New Masonic Temple
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Owners of the New Masonic Temple on Lindell Boulevard in Midtown St. Louis hope the New Year brings renewed interest in the building, which is for sale. Building manager John Vollman has spent years volunteering at the space.

“It’s a pleasure to come in here most days. You just feel the history,” said Vollman.

First use of fingerprinting. First drive-up bank teller. First cocktail party. First nighttime Major League Baseball season opener.

As St. Louis celebrates 250 years, several books have explored the city’s history. Add one more to the list, but this one tells the tales through timelines.

“St. Louis: An Illustrated Timeline” offers a tour through St. Louis’ past (and future, as the book ends in 2016) with vignettes for noteworthy years. It also has what author Carol Ferring Shepley calls a “wide-angle view” of the city.

For almost 100 years, Famous-Barr was a St. Louis shopping destination. Its holiday window displays in particular drew shoppers from throughout the St. Louis area to Famous-Barr’s downtown location. Many of those displays, and other well-known Famous-Barr events, were directed by Helen Weiss, the store’s public relations maven.

Amanda Honigfort

During World War II, thousands of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers took to the skies daily. The planes were a crucial part of campaigns, from the bombing of Dresden to D-Day, and were flown by the likes of Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart and Lt. Col. Basil Hackleman.

Hackleman, who now lives in Springfield, Mo., was the original pilot of the Nine-o-Nine, a celebrated B-17 that is said to have never lost a crew member or abort a mission because of mechanical failure. The plane was scrapped after the war.

A turret lathe operator machines parts for transport planes at the Consolidated Aircraft Corp. plant, Fort Worth, Texas, in October 1942.
Library of Congress

Iconic Rosie the Riveter got a lot of attention during, and after, World War II, but women have always worked.

Before the war, women made up approximately 25 percent of the manufacturing workforce, said Alice Kessler-Harris, an American history professor at Columbia University. Except for the poorest, women often left the workforce when they got married or had children. That’s what the war changed.

Fred Fausz
University of Missouri–St. Louis

St. Louis founder Auguste Chouteau set out with a simple goal: he wanted to build one of the nation’s finest cities.

Historian Fred Fausz believes St. Louis is living up to that goal.

“I think the vibrancy of the city, the spirit of the city is still here, even if you have to include 90 other communities because we’ve created a metro area,” said Fausz, a University of Missouri–St. Louis associate history professor whose new book explores the area’s history, “Historic St. Louis: 250 Years Exploring New Frontiers.” “It is a truly vibrant city as the founders envisioned.”

The Ville book and Silvia and John Wright. The Wrights have written some books together.
Amazon and provided by the Wrights

Events in Ferguson may have started with the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black man, at the hands of a Ferguson police officer, a white man, but John Wright believes there’s more to it.

“You never know what spark is going to ignite the incident,” he said. “I think Ferguson is a wake-up call to all of us. We can’t just keep going, business as usual in some areas, without having another explosion.”

Wright, who has written several books about African-Americans in St. Louis, said this was one of only a few racially charged events in the region’s history.

Wikipedia Commons

St. Louis played a key role in the Civil War. Not only was it a significant naval base, but a riot at the edge of town led to the creation of Missouri’s militia and the effects of the war can still be felt today.

Romiyus Gause, right, plays troubled teenager Bobby, in St. Louis Now.
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Updated with St. Louis on the Air interview.

The "Teens Make History" Players and are getting paid to act — but first they have to work through very serious issues and distill their findings into a play. Since 2007, this work-based program of the Missouri History Museum, brings together students to research, design and mount exhibits at the museum or to bring St. Louis history to life through their plays.

“It feels like I’m on Broadway,” said Romiyus Gause, who has been with the program for six years.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

That old Nike missile launch site that’s been in the news lately could have been yours for $227,000, but since you missed that real estate gem, perhaps broker Wayne Keller could interest you in a Show-Me State version of Stonehenge.

Keller, whose buy-a-farm.com usually sells farms with silos that hold grain not Hercules missiles, says he’s marketed some unique properties in the past -- including a kitty litter plant. But selling a Cold War relic has been a blast.

“It’s certainly been the highlight so far,’’ he said.

Courtesy Missouri History Museum

Holiday encore broadcast.

On Friday, February 14, 2014, The Missouri History Museum hosted “A Great City from the Start,” a one-day symposium commemorating the founding of St. Louis. The foremost experts on early St. Louis history spoke before an audience that included representatives from Quebec, France, Spain and the Osage Nation.

Oscar C. Kuehn / Missouri History Museum

To mark the 100th anniversary of St. Louis’ incorporation as a city, an imposing array of “gasbags” assembled at the edge of Forest Park in 1909 for the St. Louis Centennial balloon race.

(A bunch of politicians were there, too.)

How would Theodore Roosevelt govern if he were president today? Who better to ask than Doris Kearns Goodwin - a Pulitzer-Prize winning historian who has studied and written about Lyndon Johnson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and now Theodore Roosevelt.

In The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism she documents the friendship between Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, as well as their relationship with the journalists who covered them.  

via Wikimedia Commons

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are most famous for leading the expedition that began in St. Louis in 1804, took them up the Missouri River, over the Rocky Mountains to the west coast and back.

But their connection with St. Louis didn’t end there. In 1807, Thomas Jefferson appointed Lewis and Clark to leadership positions in the Louisiana Territory, with a home base in the St. Louis region.

Wikipedia

Beginning this fall, St. Louisans will be able to see the actual document that made what is now Missouri part of the United States.

In 1803, the United States bought more 828,000 square miles of land from France for $15 million – roughly four cents an acre – in a deal known as the Louisiana Purchase.

The parcel immediately doubled the size of the country and eventually became part or all of 14 states from Louisiana to Montana, including Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is unusual among American cities in having so many streets and places with French names.  Over centuries, its residents have also adopted some unusual ways of pronouncing them.

While these interpretations could make many modern French speakers cringe, some echo the original dialect of the city when it was still a part of New France. In other words – maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad about how we pronounce “Chouteau” these days.

 

 

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