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Useful Notes / St. Louis

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St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch and... well, actually, that's pretty much what it's known for. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition (more widely known as the "St. Louis World's Fair") was held there in 1904. Also headquarters of one of the world's largest brewing conglomerations, before they were bought by another of the world's largest brewing conglomerations, though St. Louis is still the North American headquarters.

St. Louis sits just south of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, a naturally strategic place for a major settlement (the ancient Native American city of Cahokia, the largest pre-Columbian settlement in what would become the US, was more or less just on the other side of the river) which helped it grow into a huge city and made it a big deal back when riverboats were considered a speedy form of transportation. However, the city has been gradually declining in importance (and population) for quite a while now. It's lost population in every census since 1950 and is no longer even the largest city in Missouri, though some of those people just moved to the suburbs and the metropolitan area still has a larger population than Kansas City's. The suburbs across the river in Illinois go by the description "Metro East" for obvious reasons.


Its nickname is "the Gateway to the West" (cf. the Gateway Arch), presumably because a gateway is a place you go through to get to where you were actually interested in going. Missourians who live more than a couple of dozen miles from the Arch may instead call it "the Exit from the East." Politically, St. Louis is a fairly deep blue stronghold in an otherwise mostly pink-to-red state, a trait it shares with Jackson County (Kansas City) and Boone County (the University of Missouri–Columbia). Speaking of counties ... Missouri has 114 counties, plus the City of St. Louis, which is not in any county. It used to be part of St. Louis County but voted to secede in 1876.

The Gateway Arch has a viewing area at its apex which can be reached by so-called tram cars that ascend either leg of the arch. Each tram consists of a chain of cars with circular cross-sections, which remain horizontal as they travel up and down the changing inclines. Definitely not for the claustrophobic, however, since each car holds five people with no standing room, and looks a bit like a washing machine drum.


St. Louis is home to:

  • The St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball; used to be home to the football ones also, but they moved to Arizona. The Cardinals are second only to the New York Yankees in total World Series titles won.)
  • The St. Louis Blues (NHL). One of six teams that joined the NHL when it doubled in size in 1967, they went to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first three seasons, aided greatly by a league format that saw the "Original Six" in one conference and the expansion teams in the other. However, they lost all three, twice to Montreal and once to Boston. In the middle of the 2018–19 season, it looked like they'd continue their ignominious streak of being the only active team from the 1967 expansion never to lift Lord Stanley's Mug, seeing that they were dead last in the league. They then pulled a 2015–16 Leicester City,note  making the playoffs and then winning their first Stanley Cup.

The city was home to the St. Louis Rams (NFL); they moved to town a few years after the Cardinals left.... before they moved back to Los Angeles in 2016. As the Greatest Show on Turf, which lasted from 1999 to 2001, they won the Super Bowl in 1999 by one yard against the Titans, made it to the big game in 2001 but lost to the Patriots on a last-second field goal. From 1999 to 2006, they went 78-40 and made the playoffs five times, with a 6-4 record.

These days almost nobody says "Saint Louie" unless they're joking. Or they're referencing Yogi Bear.

People from St. Louis (and vicinity)

In fiction

  • Defiance is set in the city formerly known as St. Louis — the Gateway Arch survives (and is host to a radio station) while much of the city ended up buried underground.
  • Meet Me in St. Louis, of course.
  • The Spiral Zone episode "Island in the Zone" is set in St. Louis.
  • The sitcom Work It is about two St. Louis men who see no option but to dress as women to get employed.
  • The John Larroquette Show
  • The City appears in National Lampoon's Vacation.
  • Masters of Sex, based on the real-life studies of Masters and Johnson at Washington University in the '50s.
  • In The Lightning Thief, Percy goes up the Gateway Arch, then in an emergency jumps straight into the Mississippi River. No, really. In real-life, he would have been swatted before he even reaches the street separating the complex from the river, because there's a freaking stairway in front of the arch. A gently sloping stairway.
  • Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter.
  • Lackadaisy is set in Prohibition-era St. Louis.


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