Louis is a vibrant metropolis in the heart of the United States, with its fiercely independent border town roots mixed with the modesty of the Midwest. Commonly referred to as the “Gateway to the West”, this eclectic city is renowned for its iconic Gateway Arch, fiercely loyal sports fans, and blues music scene. The 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis was a place of firsts, introducing many technological devices, but one of the most beloved and still useful inventions that were presented at the fair was the ice cream cone.
Although a New Yorker invented the cone in 1896, it was independently created in the St. Louis Fair, where it became popular. To make the creamy dessert more portable (and delicious) for customers, an ice cream vendor bought waffles from a pastry chef next door, wrapped them in a cone shape and voila, a practical edible container. The story of St.
Louis that inspires much less pride than the Gateway Arch is its role in the United States of 1857. Dred Scott, a slave, had been brought by his owner from Missouri, a slave state, to live in Illinois and then Wisconsin, where slavery was illegal. Scott and his wife unsuccessfully sued for their freedom in Missouri at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis in 1846 on the grounds that their residence in Illinois and Wisconsin had freed them from slavery. The case reached the Supreme Court, which ruled that slaves who had resided in a free state or territory were therefore not entitled to their freedom and, moreover, that African Americans could never be citizens of the United States.
St. Louis is home to Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., founded in the 1860s by German immigrants Eberhard Anheuser and Adolphus Busch. Today, visitors can tour the original brewery in St. Louis and visit the historic Soulard neighborhood to see the world famous Clydesdale draft horses in their 1885 brick and stained glass stable.
Educator Susan Blow, who was born in Carondelet (now part of St. Louis), was very interested in German educational ideas, particularly those of Friedrich Froebel who had established revolutionary methods for teaching young children. Froebel had established a nursery school in Prussia originally called Child Nurture and Activity Institute which was later renamed Kindergarten or “Children's Garden”. He called it “a school for the psychological training of young children through play”.
After studying with a Froebel disciple in New York for a year, Blow opened the first public daycare center in the United States at Des Peres school in St. Louis in September 1873. The following year he established a training school for kindergarten teachers and within a few years St. Louis had become the focal point of early childhood education in the United States. Indigenous people in the area built numerous temples and residential embankment mounds on both sides of the Mississippi River with Cahokia Mounds as its regional center.
The many important earthworks of St. Louis earned it the nickname Mound City. These mounds were mostly demolished during city development but St. Louis is still home to several architectural landmarks such as Wainwright Building - a skyscraper designed by architect Louis Sullivan in 1892 - and Old Courthouse - completed in 1864 and noted for having a cast-iron dome and being tallest structure in Missouri until 1894. St.
Louis is also home to several 4-year colleges including Harris—Stowe State University - a historically black public university - Fontbonne University, Webster University, Missouri Baptist University, University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy (the former Saint Louis College of Pharmacy), University of Southern Illinois at Edwardsville (SIUE) and Lindenwood University. Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Blvd) is also located here - it is oldest continuously operating botanical garden in country.