The site on which St. Louis stands was selected, as far back
as 1763, by Mons.Laclede, , and in the following year the town
was laid off and named St. Louis, in honor of Louis Xv, the
reigning monarch of France, who claimed the whole territory
then designated by the name of Louisiana. The advantages of
its situation soon attracted attention, and in the year after its
settlement the French commandnt, St.Ange, , arrived at St.
Louis, and the town became the capital of Louisiana, and so
continued until the transfer of that territory to the U. States.
Up to the time when steam boats were used in the navigation
of the western waters, St. Louis, although the most important
point on the Mississippi river above the mouth of the Ohio, was
comparatively an inconsiderable town. Before that time navi-
gation was carried on by means of keel boats and barges, and
great dlays in intercommunication by water necessarily took
place. In 1817 the first steam boat was seen at St. Louis, the
General Pike. From that time the progress of St. Louis has
been steady and uniform. No city in the west has advanced
more surely, although some have been more rapid in their de-
velopment. Her commercial and mercantile operations have
been based on the solid capital, and not less solid integrity of
her citizens; and have received an impulse from the unquestion-
albe fact, that there is on the Mississippi, above the mouth of the
Ohio, no spot where a city could be located with so many ad-
vantages in its favor, as St. Louis. It is consequently, now, and
must continue to be, the most important point in the vast re-
gion which surround it. To it Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, a
large part of Illinois, and a portion of Arkansas, already look for
a market, and there is no reason to suppose that it claims, in
that respect, can be superceded to any extent by any place
which may hereafter spring up.
The growth of St. Louis until within the last seven years was
comparatively slow. In 1810, forty-six years after its establish-
ment, its population was only 700. In 1820 it was about 2,000;
in 1830, 6,252. But little increase upon this took place until
1834, when a flow of emigration commenced, which ahs steadily
continued to this time. Its population, within the corporate
limits, (which are very confined,) is 16,291. the suburbs, which
are in fact a part of the city, have a population of 6,349, making
a total of 22,640, and an increase in ten years of 16,388, or more
than 250 per cent. It is not unreasonable to suppose, that, at
the end of another ten years, the city will number between
40,000 and 50,000 inhabitatns, and will take rank among the
first cities of the Union.
St. Louis is peculiarly a commerical city. The attention of
her people has been but partially directed to manufactures until
recently, when the public mind seems to be turned towards
them. The commercial relations of the city are extended over
the entire west, and it will not be considered exaggerative, or
more than what is admitted by all who visit it, that St. Louis
must, at no distant day, be the commercial emporium of the
valley of the Mississippi. In the year 1839 there were 1,476
steamboat arrivals at St. Louis, and the amount of tonnage was
213,193. In 1840 the arrivals were 1721, and the tonnage
244,185. The increase has taken place in spite of the unfortu-
nate state of moneyed affairs over the whole country.
St. Louis has two Iron Foundries, conducted on a large scale,
which annually turn out a very large amount of castings, both
for home consumption and for export. There are, besides, two
White Lead Mills, a Type Foundry, a Sugar Refinery, two
Planing Machines, nine Saw Mills, which annually produce
lumber to the amount of about $170,000, and two steam and
one water Flouring Mills, which annually consme about 175,-
000 bushels of wheat, producing about 35,000 barrels of flour.
In addition to these, there is about to be established a Bagging
and Bale Rope Factory .) The advantages of St. Louis for an
establishment of this kind are very great, and the concern, if
prudently manged, cannot fail to be profitable. The manufac-
tures of St. Louis are, however, on a limited seale, and some
years will be required to incease and extend them in any very
The literary institutions of St. Louis are the St. Louis Uni-
versity , under the charge of Jesuits; Kemper College , (Episco-
pal;) the St. Louis Lyceum , and the Mechanics’ Institute . The
first named has been established for some years, and is in a high-
ly flourishing condition. Kemper College was more recently
established, but has been very successful. the two others are
actively useful, and present each during the winter a course of
lectures on literary subjects, by gentlemen of ability.
In addition to these, there has been established during the
past year a Medical College which bids fair to be permanent.
It is a branch of Kemper College , and has a faculty of able pro-
fessors, who seem very solicitous for the welfare of the institu-
tion. By the individual efforts of Professor McDowell, , from
who the project for the establishment of the school proceeded,
a hall, for the use of the Facutly, was erected during the past
year in a conspicuous and advantageous position. The amphi-
theatre for lectures will contain four hundred persons. Great
credit is due to Professor McDowell, for the energy and perse-
verance displayed by him in carrying out this laudable under-
The Western Academy of Natural Sciences is an institution
which was established in 1837, by a few scientific gentlemen.
It has been and is likely to be sustained by their praiseworthy
efforts, and to give an impulse to the cause of science in the city.
During the last few years, the cause of education has received
more attention than formerly. Schools have been multiplied,
under the care of competent teachers. The Directors of the
Public Schools have erected two capacious and substantial
school houses, in which between two and three hundred scholars
are taught by respectable and efficient teachers. It is con-
templation soon to lput up additional school houses, and to in-
crease the numbers as the means of the board of directors will
enable them to do so.
There are thirteen Churches in the city, some of which are of
considerable architectural beauty. There are two Roman Ca-
tholic, two Episcopal, two Presbyterian, one Associate Reform-
ed Presbyterian, one Methodist, one Unitarian, one Baptist, one
German Lutheran, and two African Churches.
St. Louiis supports six daily papers and one weekly paper.—
Of the daily papers five are political, and one neutral in politics.
they are all edited with ability, and all well supported.
Much complaint has been heretofore made against the hotels
of St. Louis. All cause of complaint on this point will soon be
removed. A new and splendid hotel, surpassed by few in the
country in dimensions and convenience, and to be called Lucas
House, is about to be finished and leased to two enterprising
gentlemen, who will doubtless afford every comfort which
the traveller can desire.
The public and private buildings of St. Louis, which have
been erected within the last few years, give evidence of much
taste and munificence. The Roman Catholic Cathedral, the
Episcopal and Second Presbyterian Churches, and the Hotel,
are beautiful and imposing specimens of architecture. The new
Courthouse, now in progress of erectin, will be a splendid
building, which would be creditable to any city in the country.
In addition to these ornamental public works, the city in inter-
spersed with private residences and warehouses, which present
striking specimens of costly, handsome and durable architecture.
There is much in the steady, onward progress of St. Louis to
gartify all who feel an interest in her prosperity. Her advance
in population, wealth, and importance, has been somewhat re-
tarded by the commercial difficulties under which the whole country has labored for some years past, but has not been stop-
ped. It is indeed difficult to imagine a state of things which could arrest it. A city, situated as St. Louis is, when once it
has attained the station of the principal mart of a great territory,
must become, in spite of all adverse circumstance, a great em-
porium. That St. Louis will, in no very great while, assume that rank and station, no one, who contemplates her present condition and her exhaustless resources, feels a doubt.