Beginnings, possibility and discovery – the story of St. Louis, the story of America.
Settled by French trappers Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau in 1764, St. Louis started as a business opportunity: a central location at the confluence of two of the country’s most majestic waterways, the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. It is the perfect gateway for people and goods from the north and south, east and west.
With the completion of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, St. Louis evolved from trading post to major inland port, providing supplies for pioneers making their way ever westward and ferrying grain and produce back to the east coast from western farms. Along with the cargo came settlers including Catholic missionaries and German, Italian, Polish and Irish immigrants. By the late 19th century the city’s population expanded after the Civil War to become one of the country’s leading centers of industry and innovation.