Vintage: Streets of St. Louis, Missouri (early XX Century)

Vintage: Streets of St. Louis, Missouri (early XX Century)


When Missouri became a state in 1821, St. Louis County was created from the boundaries of the former St. Louis subdistrict of the Missouri Territory; St. Louis city existed within the county but was not coterminous with it. Starting in the 1850s, rural county voters began to exert political influence over questions of taxation in the St. Louis County court. In 1867, the county court was given power to assess and collect property tax revenue from St. Louis city property, providing a financial boon to the county government while depriving city government of revenues. After this power transfer, St. Louisans in the city began to favor one of three options: greater representation on the county court via charter changes, city–county consolidation, or urban secession to form an independent city.

During the decades after the Civil War, St. Louis grew to become the nation’s fourth largest city, after New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. It also experienced rapid infrastructure and transportation development and the growth of heavy industry. The period culminated with the 1904 World’s Fair and 1904 Summer Olympics, which were held concurrently in St. Louis.

In addition to industrial growth, the 1880s and 1890s were a period of significant growth in downtown commercial building. The retail district was centered at Fourth Street and Washington Avenue, while banking and business was centered to the south, at Fourth and Olive streets. During the 1890s, significant retailers and businesses moved westward; among the new buildings constructed as a result of this movement was the Wainwright Building. Designed by Louis Sullivan in 1891, the Wainwright was the tallest building in the city at the time of its construction and remains an example of early skyscraper design.

Sidewalk on the 3500 block of Olive Street, 1907

Sidewalk on the 3500 block of Olive Street, 1907

Sidewalk scene on a street in St. Louis, ca. 1900s

Sidewalk scene on a street in St. Louis, ca. 1900s

Sixth Street looking south from Lucas Avenue, 1906

Sixth Street looking south from Lucas Avenue, 1906

Snow Truck and Cleaning crew on the 2800 block of Chouteau Avenue, 1909

Snow Truck and Cleaning crew on the 2800 block of Chouteau Avenue, 1909

Southwest corner of Leonard Avenue and Locust Street, ca. 1900s

Southwest corner of Leonard Avenue and Locust Street, ca. 1900s

Spruce Street looking toward Second Street, ca. 1900s

Spruce Street looking toward Second Street, ca. 1900s

Broadway and Locust, southwest corner, 1909

Broadway and Locust, southwest corner, 1909

St. Louis City Hall, ca. 1900s

St. Louis City Hall, ca. 1900s

St. Louis Public Library at 1301 Olive Street, ca. 1910

St. Louis Public Library at 1301 Olive Street, ca. 1910

St. Nicholas Hotel, 407 North Eighth Street (northwest corner of Eighth and Locust Streets, also known as the Victoria Building), 1905

St. Nicholas Hotel, 407 North Eighth Street (northwest corner of Eighth and Locust Streets, also known as the Victoria Building), 1905

Store front window of a liquor store on Chouteau Avenue, ca. 1900s

Store front window of a liquor store on Chouteau Avenue, ca. 1900s

Store front window of M.E. Croak and Company Clothier on the southeast corner of Olive and Tenth Streets, 1904

Store front window of M.E. Croak and Company Clothier on the southeast corner of Olive and Tenth Streets, 1904

Store front windows for Fellhauer Brothers (August and Martin) Saloon at 3315 Olive Street, 1907

Store front windows for Fellhauer Brothers (August and Martin) Saloon at 3315 Olive Street, 1907

Street cleaner at work on Twelfth Street between Olive and Locust Streets, 1909

Street cleaner at work on Twelfth Street between Olive and Locust Streets, 1909

Street workers using a steam roller to repair Twelfth Street between Chestnut and Pine Streets. Photograph, 1910.

Street workers using a steam roller to repair Twelfth Street between Chestnut and Pine Streets. Photograph, 1910.

Broadway looking north from Keokuk Street, ca. 1900s

Broadway looking north from Keokuk Street, ca. 1900s

Talbot's Hippodrome posters posted on buildings at 1123 - 1131 Market Street, ca. 1900s

Talbot’s Hippodrome posters posted on buildings at 1123 – 1131 Market Street, ca. 1900s

Washington Avenue looking east from Seventh Street, ca. 1910

Washington Avenue looking east from Seventh Street, ca. 1910

Washington Avenue west from Eighth Street, 1903

Washington Avenue west from Eighth Street, 1903

Charles Meder Grocery store at the corner of Ninteenth and Dodier Streets, ca. 1900s

Charles Meder Grocery store at the corner of Ninteenth and Dodier Streets, ca. 1900s

Colonel Frederick Dent Residence at the southwest corner of Fourth and Cerre Streets, 1915

Colonel Frederick Dent Residence at the southwest corner of Fourth and Cerre Streets, 1915


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