The city of Saint Louis is the commercial metropolis of the
State of Missouri. It is situated on a limestone bluff, which rises
abruptly from the west bank of the Mississippi river, about
eighteen miles below its junction with the Missouri, one hun
dred and ninety miles from the mouth of the Ohio, and about
twelve hundred miles from New Orleans.
From one to two hundred feet from the river, in an ordinary
stage of water, just under the verge of the bluff, stores are
built, presenting limestone fronts, from two to four stories in
height, for a distance of a mile or more along the river, where
most of the commission and forwarding business is done.
The river has a bold shore, so that steamboats of all sizes
can moor close in, with their bows to the shore, to receive or
discharge their cargoes.
There are from fifty to sixty steamboats to be counted here
at almost any season of the year, destined either to New Or-
leans or up the Ohio; or to the Upper Mississippi, the Mis-
souri, or Illinois rivers, and their tributaries.
Saint Louis may be considered the head of navigation on the Mississippi for large boats, as the numerous smaller ones from
above tranship their freight here to the larger boats engaged
in the lower trade, either to New Orleans, or to ports up the
There are about one hundred steamboats enrolled here, be-
sides which, there are at least one hundred and fifty enrolled
elsewhere, that do their share of the carrying trade of the city,
enhancing the number of tons to nearly fifty thousand. The
capital invested in these boats cannot be much short of four
hundred thousand dollars.
Ten years ago, and Saint Louis was a mere trading village,
not exceeding seven thousand inhabitants. In 1837 it had
increased to fourteen thousand, including the present limits of
the city, which have been extended to embrace five miles along
the river, and from one to two miles back. The city now
contains about thirty-five thousand inhabitants, and is more
rapidly increasing than any town of its dimensions in the Union.
The street along the levee, in front of the stores alluded to,
on the river, is called Water, or Front-street; the next street to
this is called First, or Main street, which extends about two
miles along the river, where the principal wholesale dry-goods
business is done: then follow the other parallel streets—Sec-
ond, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, & c.
The streets which cross these at right angles, are named somewhat like those of Philadelphia, after the forest and fruit
trees of the country. Market-street commences where the
ferry boats land from Illinois, and divides the city about in the
centre and is one of the avenues leading to country.
The Episcopalians have three churches here, and Kemper
college , situated about five miles west fo the city, is under
their supervision, to which is attached a medical department,
and a building within the city where lectures are delivered
during the winter.— There is an orphan asylum under the su-
pervision of the females of this denomination.
The Presbyterians have six churches, including one Seceder,
or Associate Reformed Presbyterian. The Baptists have two
churches; the Methodists three; the German Lutherans one;
the Dutch Reformed one; the Unitarians one; the people of
color have one Methodist and one Baptist; the Disciples, or
those familiarly known by the name of the Campbell Baptists,
worship at present in the Lyceum; the Universalists have a
society, but no building; the Protestants generally, have an
orphan asylum, on Seventh-street, between Franklin-avenue
and Morga-street, which is under the supervision of an asso-
ciation of ladies.
The Catholics have six churches, including three now being
built. The Saint Louis Cathedral, which was dedicated in the
fall of 1834, is the oldest, and is situated on the corner of
Walnut and Second streets.
The College of Jesuits have an University, called the "St.
Louis," within the city, to which is attached a fine chapel re-
cently built, called "Saint Francis Xavier ." There is also a
medical school attached to this University, making two contem-
porary schools within the city. Thyere is also a free school for
boys, under the supervision of this college.
The Sisters of Charity superintend a charity hospital, situ-
ated on the corner of Fourth and Spruce streets, the only
hospital within the city; the City pays towards the support of
this Hospital about ten thousand dollars annually, and about
two thousand dollars is paid by the United States, with a pri-
vilege of sending a number of patients.
The order of the "Sacred Heart" have a convent in this south part of the city, to which is attached a female seminary.
On account of high water, the order of "Vissitation" from
Kaskaskia, have removed their female boarding-school to this
city, of which there are two, one on Sixth-street, near Pine,
and one in the late mansion of Mrs. Biddle, , on Broadway.
The City have three free schools, and have in contempla-
tion the establishment of a high school, and additional primary
There are several select schools of high reputation, among
which the "English and French Collegiate Institute ," superin-
tended by Professor and Mrs. Bonfils, , 11 south Fourth; Mr. Wyman’s, "English and Classical High School ," 25 North fourth; Mr. Jones, ’ "Commercial School ," and Mr. Ligget’s,
"Writing Academy ," corner of Fourth and Chesnut, are de-
serving of special mention.
The Court-house occupies a whole square, bounded by
Fourth, Fifth, Market and Chesnut streets, and is to be en-
closed by iron palisades. The old house is giving way for the
new one, now nearly completed, and when finished, will pre-
sent the form of a Grecian cross, with projecting colonades on
the four sides of entrance. The materials used in its con-
struction, are bricks, and a light gray limestone quarried in the
vicinity, which has the appearance of the Eastern grainte.
There is a rotunda in the centre, surmounted by a dome. The
estimated cost, for the completion of the whole, by the architect,
H. Singleton, Esq., is $230,000.
The Planters’ House is on the square next north of the
Court House, on Fourth-Street, extending from Chesnut to
Pine, 230 feet. It occupies half the depth of the suare from
Fourth to Fifthstreets. it si a fine brick building, erected by
a company, at an expense of about two hundred thousand
dollars; is five stories high, including the basement, and con-
tains two hundred and thirty rooms. It is kept by Mr. Ben-Stickney, , and is esteemed one of the best hotels in the
There are many hotels and public houses within the city, the bare mention of which by name would extend this brief
sketch far beyond its prescribed limits.
There are two tobacco-warehouses on the corner of Wash-
ington-avenue and Second-street, which cost about twenty-
thousand dollars, exclusive of the ground: one is two stories
high, one hundred and seven feet six inches, by one hundred
and thirty-seven feet; the other is ninety-six by one hundred
and eleven feet, and three stories in height. These are the pri-
vate property of Joshua B.Brant, . Esq., to whose individual
enterprise the planters, as well as the citizens, are indebted for
this indispensable accommodation in the business part of the
The State subsequently built a tobacco-warehouse on the
corner of Washington-avenue and Sixth-street, on a lot one
hundred and fifty feet square; the building is three stories
high, and one hundred and fifty by one hundred and thirty feet,
and cost, including the lot, twenty-five thousand dollars.
WilliamWaddingham, , Esq., has erected a hemp-warehouse,
on Main-street, between Cherry and Wash streets; the build-
ing is of brick, three stories high, one hundred and twnenty-four
by one hundred and twelve feet. The cost of this building was
between nine and ten thousand dollars, exclusive of the ground:
it is rensted by G. W.Jenks, , Esq.
Chouteau’s Pond, is a beautiful sheet of fresh water, sup-
ported by a small virulet, on which there is a paper-mill, and
by springs from the bottom and margin; the lower part of this
pond is in the central part of the city, at the junction of Market
and ninth streets, and it extends south and west, and then
north to Market-street again, forming part of a circle, or a half
moon, of about two miles in extent, averaging a quarter of a mile
The outlet of this pond is on the east side, where it propels
a flouring-mill, except in extremely dry weather. This fairy
lake affords sport for the angler, as well as for the oarsmen of
the Ripple and other boat-clubs.
On the southern limits of the city, three miles from Market-
street, is the United States Arsenal; three miles further down
the river, is the ancient French village of Carondelet; and four
miles further is the JeffersonBarracks, , the head quarters of the
Western army, being ten miles below the city of St. Louis.
There are in this State the villages of Florisant, Manchester,
and St. Charles; and in the State of Illinois opposite, Illinois
Town, Brooklyn, Belleville, Cahokia, and Alton, none of which
exceed a distance of twenty-five miles from St. Louis
The staple of this region, shipped to and from this city, are
tobacco, hemp, wheat, and other grain; flour, beef, pork, hides,
furs, peltries, live-stock, lead, &c.; and it will not be long be-
fore iron may be added, as the ore of the Merrimack cannot be
surpassed, to say nothing of the Iron Mountain.
The American Fur Company , located here, employ a capital of
over half a million of dollars, and give employment to several
There is good bituminous coal here and on the Illinois side
of the river, within from five to ten miles from the city. The
price varies from six to fifteen cents per bushel.
There are two steam-ferry companies, with two boats each,
constantly plying between this and Illinois Town. There is also
one boat running from the upper part of the city to Brooklyn.
In the north part of the city there are two tumuli, or mounds,
on the lower one of which the city has constructed a reservoir,
into which water is raised by steam power from the river, and
from thence conducted by iron pipes to the consumer
On the Upper Mound, Messrs. Vandewenter and Field have
built a pavilion, for a pleasure resort. This mound is situated
on Broadway, near the river, about one mile and quarter from
the Court-house. It is of an oblong shape, and about fitty feet
higher than the street which runs alog its base; and about
eighty or ninety feet above the river at this time, (November 30th, 1844.)
The pavilion is a wooden building, 80 feet long and two
stories high, from the top of which there is a magnificent view
up and down the river, and over a portion of the city.
Flour, white-lead, red-lead, linseed oil, castor oil,
&c., are manufactured here, and the business of iron casting,
sugar refining, tanning, stone cutting, boat building and repair-
ing, brick making, sawing of lumbar, planning, &c., are carried
on here toa considerable extent; and in fine, the handiwork
of the artizan is seen in almost every branch, adequate to the
wants of the city, for either use of ornament.
There is a cotton factory in progress in the rear of the store
on the north-east corner of Chesnut and First streets, by Messrs.
Meier & Co.company
There are, for the repairing of vessels and steamboats, one
inclined way, and one floating dock.
There are about fourteen flouring mills, propelled by steam-
There are about twelve steam saw mills located along the
river, within the city limits.
There are six breweries, two planing machines, one hemp,
cotton bagging, and rope factory, two white lead factories,&c.
There are seven daily papers, the Republican, the New Era,
Missourian, Reporter, Evening Gazette, Reveille, People’s
Organ, and the Saint Louis American, the latter advocating the
principles of the American party. There are eleven weeklies,
three tri-weeklies, and one semi-monthly.
There are two packing establishments, one in the south part
of he city, on Second-street, by Mr. Risley, , who slaughtered,
last year, 614 beeves and 6500 hogs; the other is in the north
part of the city, on Broadway, corner of Wash-street, by Messrs.
Sigersons, who slaughtered, and packed, last year, 800 beeves
and 13000 hogs.
The city is divided into six wards, and is governed by a
mayor and two boards of councilmen, chosen annually and bi-
ennially, called the Boards of Alderman and Delegates.
The present mayor, is the Hon. BernardPratte, .
There is a Lyceum, with a good library, in rooms on the
corner of Pine and Third streets.
The Mechanics’ Institute have a lecture room, on Third
street, between Market and Chesnut streets.
The apprentices are preparing a reading, or lecture room,
under the Unitarian Church, on the corner of Pine and Fourth
streets: a highly commendable enterprise.
This year will long be remembered, for the unusual rise of
water in the Mississippi and its tributaries, occasioned by re-
peated heavy rains at the norht and west: so remarkable has
this rise been, that it will form an epoch of reference for future
generations and historians of this great valley; and may it be
long before they have its parallel to record!
After the usual spring rise in the river, which was higher
than it had been since the great rise of 1826; on the 11th of June, the river had fallen about four feet, and on the 12th it
commenced again to rise from six to ten inches in twenty-four
hours, and continued about the same ratio on the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th of June, and on the 17th it had attained a height
of six inches above the late spring rise.
On the 18th, it rose 2 inches
" 19th, — 9 "
" 20th, — 10 "
" 21st, — 15 "
On the 22d, it rose 7 inches
" 23d, — 14 1/2 "
" 24th, — 11 "
" 25th, — 4 "
on the 26th, 2 inches, and came to a stand this day, at 6 o’clock,
P.M.: on the 27th, it remained stationary until 4’ o’clock, P.M.,
entirely submerging the first stories of the buildings on the Levee, or Water-street, attaining a height, as will be seen by
the inscription on the Monument, of 38 ft. 1 in. above low water
mark, and 7ft. 7 in. above the city grade. On the 28th, the water
began gradually to recede, and had fallen, the first twenty-four
hours, four and a half inches:
On the 29th, it fell 6 1/2 inches
" 30th, — 9 1/2 "
" July 1st, — 11 "
" 2d, — 10 "
" 3d, — 9 1/2 "
" 4th, — 9 "
" 5th, — 7 1/2 "
" 6th, — 7 "
On the 7th, it fell 4 inches
" 8th, — 2 "
" 9th, it rose again 1 inch
" 10th, it fell again 1 1/2 "
" 11th, — 1 1/2 "
" 12th, — 3 "
" 13th, — 3 "
and at this date (14th of July) it had just left the first floor of
the stores on the Levee, and continued to fall gradually until
the latter part of August, or 1st of September.
The citizens have erected a Monument on a line with the
curb-stone on Water-street, opposite the centre of the east front
of the Market-house, to commemorate this deplorable visitation,
on which is the following inscription:—
June 27, 1844.
7 Feet 7 Inches
The City Directrix.
38 Feet 11 Inch
Low Water Mark."
This Monument is a plain obelisk, of limestone, 16ft. in height,
set in a pedestal of the same material, about 4ft. square, and
3 ft. thick. It was designed by the city engineer, Mr. Kayser, .
and wrought by Mr. — Wood, , stone-cutter.
There have been between five and six hundred good substan-
tial brick buildings built here this year, and there would have
been a larger number had not the high water cut off the means
of procuring sand, which suspended building operations for two
months at least: besides these, there are many smaller buildings
and shanties, not included in this estimate.
There are from forty to fifty millions of brick made here an-
nually, and put into buildings here and in the vicinity.
The extent of this valley, of which this city is destined to
be the interior metropolis, is from north to south about twelve
degrees, by ten east and west, and embraces an area of five
hundred and thirty-two thousand square miles, with fifteen
thousand miles of steamboat navigation.
The Mississippi river is navigable from the gulf of Mexico
to the falls of St. Anthony, a distance of twenty-two hundred
The trade of this city, connected with the mining districts,
the fur trade, the trade with Mexico by way of Santa Fe, added
to the increasing agricultural trade of this State, of Illinois, Wis-
consin, and Iowa, will guarantee to St. Louis, dimensions, pros-
perity, and ultimate wealth, second only to New Orleans in
this immense valley, watered by its Father of Waters and tri-
butaries, dotted by its hundred cities, destined shortly to be
peopled by untold millions.