The wholesale grocery trade, which is the largest separate business here, and which last year amounted to
more than twenty-two millions of dollars, is mostly confined to Second street and the levee.
Many houses engaged largely in the foreign and domestic liquor business, are situated on these streets, and
also on Third street, and those cross streets leading from the levee.
Produce and commission merchants, of whom there are many, are to be found on Front and Commercial
streets, generally, some few on Maine and Second, many on the cross streets, while Broadway, Fourth, Fifth
and Market streets. Franklin avmue, Carondeiet avenue and Seventh street, are mainly devoted to the retail
trade. But on all these streets there are wholesale houses also, and numerous manufacturing establishments,
besides many private dwelings.
Space will not admit of a specification of the business linns of this city, only in a general manner; it must
therefore, suffice to say, that their number is largely over six hundred, and the stocks of goods in all depart
ments, are ample and commensurate with the greatly increasing demand in every branch of business.
Many of these merchants in the various classes of business, are the direct importers from Europe of their
own stocks, and find it to their interest constantly to increase their imports.
But commerce is not now the only business of Saint Louis. Manufacutures are increasing rapidly, and her
position being as well adapted to these as to commerce, the time is not distant when Saint Louis will be
recognized as a large manufacturing city.
Iron, being of the first importance, and its manufacture most diversified, entering as it does, into almost all
)ther branches and employments, and Bow being more extensively used than in the past, it is proper to
give it the first place in this brief notice.
It was about the year 1830, that attention was first turned to the necessity of a foundry and machine shop
in Saint Louis, able at least to repair, if not manufacture, the machinery for those steamboats which were
accessible to this point.
In 1828, or 1829, a steam ferryboat was brought around from the Ohio, as a substitute for the horseboats,
until then plying between Saint Louis and the Illinois shore opposite. This boat for a time answered every
purpose, but afterward, needing some repair, had to lie sent to Cincinnati to have it done. Subsequently.
about the time we have indicated, what is now known as the Mississippi Foundry, was started. The honor
of this effort belongs to Mr. Newell, since dead; but it is proper to state that the present worthy head of that
establishment, Mr. Samuel (Jaty and another of the present proprietors were among the earliest of the
workmen. The foundry proper, belonged to Mr. Wm. K. Rule. It did not then, it is true, have its present
ample dimensions, but it was well adapted to the purpose then in view, and was a beginning.
“Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth.” The place was found adapted to such an enterprise.
It prospered. True, its founders had to struggle with formidable difficulties, but they persevered, and finally
Numerous enlargements of the old establishment have now almost encompassed the square on which
they are located, furnishing a multitude of hands employment, and turning out work of all kinds equal to
any in the country.
It would be improper in so brief a notice ns this is designed to be, to enter into any more of history in this
line of business than we have; suffice it to say, that, at the present time, February, 1857, there are in sue
ful operation in Saint Louis, twenty extensive foundries, nearly all of which have machine shops for the
manufacture of steam engines, boilers, nulls, &c., connected with them. Besides these, there are four machine
shops which are not connected with general foundries. There are also, one locomotive manufactory; four
establishments extensively engaged in manufacturing boilers, exclusively; four extensive stove manufactories;
four ornamental iron works, casting railing, grates, columns, window caps, frames, &c., &c.; five brass and
bell foundries; four scale manufactories; six safe and vault manufactories; two iron pump establishments;
four rolling mills; four plough factories; two saw manufactories and one file factory.
Besides these there are other foundries now building, and other machine shops preparing to commence
business in various departments; nor are we certain that we have enumerated all now in operation.
But the supply of these establishments is not, and never has been, equal to the demand. Although, in
the last two years some new ones have been erected, and all the old more or less enlarged, they are now
farther from furnishing an adequate supply, In any one branch, than they ever were before.
The same remarks may, in a measure, apply to several other branches now successfully prosecuted here;
as, for Instance, furniture, upholstery, trunks, saddlery, saddlery hardware, planes, bellows, &c., &c.
The glass works of Saint Louis have not had a fair chance; still there are two establishments which promise
to do well, and are being prosecuted with considerable energy.
Saint Louis is peculiarly adapted to this species of manufacture. In no part of the country is there to be
found a finer article of sand, every way accessible and cheap; lead and other commodities entering into the
manufacture are abundant, and close by are inexhaustable supplies of potter’s clay, equal to any in the world.
To these add the opening for sales, and the distance competing articles must be transported, and the supe
riority of Saint Louis as a place for the manufacture of glass, must be apparent.
To the above we must add four extensive steam rope and bagging works, and several hand rope works.
The former possess the most unproved machinery, and as Saint Louis is the great primary hemp market, it