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.