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NorthSide Regeneration Project white paper - History and Demographics, by Missouri Wonk

NorthSide Regeneration Project white paper - History and Demographics, by Missouri Wonk

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Published by nextSTL.com
NorthSide Regeneration Project white paper - History and Demographics, by Missouri Wonk
NorthSide Regeneration Project white paper - History and Demographics, by Missouri Wonk

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Published by: nextSTL.com on Jan 16, 2013
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 www.mowonk.com
1
NORTHSIDE
HISTORY & DEMOGRAPHICS
NorthSide: History and Demographics
ThisstoryisaboutanareaoftheCityofSt.Louisthatwasonceoneofthemostdenselypopulatedareasinthecity.Thearea’sgrowthwasmorerapidandsteepthanSt.Louis’sanditsdeclinewasmoredramatic.ItbeginswiththefoundingofSt.Louis.
St.Louis
Atthetimeofitssettlement,fewwouldexpectSt.LouistobecomethefourthlargestcityoftheUnitedStatesandtheGatewaytotradeandexpansioninthewest.After“thepeaceofParis,in1763,madetheMississippithelinebetweenthepossessionofEnglandandFrance,”whatwouldeventuallybecometheGatewayCityreceiveditsfounder,PierreLacledeLiguest,inMarchof1864;henameditafterthereigningkingofFranceatthetime,LouisXV(Shepard,11).Atirst,St.Louisgrewatarelativelyslowpace.Thecity’spopulationwas925inhabitantsin1799and1,400in1810(Shepard,42).Inbetweenthattime,theUnitedStatespurchasedtheterritoryencompassingSt.LouisandallofMissouriinthemuchrenownedLouisianaPurchase.Theexplorersassignedtosurveytheterritory,MeriwetherLewisandWilliamClarke,wouldreturnandeachgovern
Summary
Atitspeak,St.LouiswasthefourthlargestcityintheUnitedStates.Itscentrallocation,availabilityoftransportationoptions,andproximitytoagriculturalresourceshelpedthecitygrowandprosperformorethanacenturyafteritsincorporationbyMissouri.However,inthemiddleofthetwentiethcentury,acombinationofforcescausedthecitytodeclineinpopulation,industry,andnationalprominence.ThisdeclineismostapparentintheareaimmediatelynorthofdowntownSt.Louis,theNorthSide,whereamassiveexodusofresidents,failedhousingprojects,andsegregationpolitics,amongotherfactors,hasproducedanareawiththehighestunemployment,thelowesteducationattainment,andthelowestincomesofanyotherareainthecity.
 
 www.mowonk.com
2
NORTHSIDE
HISTORY & DEMOGRAPHICS
theterritoryofLouisiana,Lewisfrom1807until1809andClarkefrom1813untilMissourienteredthefederalunionin1821.Duringthattime,St.Louis“wasgovernedbyaboardofiveTrustees,electedannuallybythepeople,whoappointedaregistertowriteouttheirordinancesandseethattheywereenforced,”(Shepard,63).JohnA.Paxton,aSt.Louiscitizenatthetime,publishedhisSt.LouisDirectoryandRegisterandprovidedasnapshotofthecity’scommerce.Thedirectoryincluded:“threenewspapers,threelargeinns,thirteenshoemakers,twenty-eightcarpenters,ifty-sevengroceries(saloons),andtwenty-sevenattorneys…bookstores,binderies,gunsmiths,stonecutters,bricklayers,plasterers,bakers,cabinetmakers,wheelwrights,hatters,abrewery,anailfactory,apublicmarket,professionalmusicians,andivebilliardhalls”(Primm,104).Shortlyafterthestatewasadmittedintotheunion,theMissourilegislatureadoptedSt.Louis,designatingitastheCityofSt.Louisandprovidedforitsgovernancestructure(Shepard,66).Beforelong,St.Louis’seconomywouldrelyonitslocation,speciicallyitsproximitytotheMississippiRiver.Consequently,steamboatswereanearlydriverofthecity’ssuccess.Thenumberof
Figure1:TheSettlementofSt.Louis
 
 www.mowonk.com
3
NORTHSIDE
HISTORY & DEMOGRAPHICS
steamboatsthatanchoredinthecity’sharborincreasedfrom290in1827to1,355in1836,whichhelpedSt.Louis’sprimaryindustry,furtrade,growduringthesametimeperiod(Primm,104-105).IftherewasanydecadethatwasparamounttoSt.Louis’ssuccess,perhapsitwasthe1830s.Whilestillinitsinfancy,theMissourilegislatureandtheCityofSt.Louisenactedpoliciesthatwouldstrengthentheeconomyandcreateopportunitiesforitscitizens;thestatecharteredanumberofrailroadsthatcriss-crossedthestateandthecitystartedapublicschoolsystem.Duringthemiddleofthe19
th
century,industriesgrewinthecity,takingadvantageofSt.Louis’suniqueandadvantageouslocationandproximitytoagriculturalcommodities(Troen,3).CommunityleaderssuccessfullyadvocatedfortheexpansionoftherailroadindustryinSt.LouisaswellasMissouri,whichfurthersharpenedtheregion’seconomicprowess.Thecity“ledthenationinlour-milling,anditsmeatpacking,metalworking,brewing,andsaddle-andharness-makingindustriesgrewrapidly”(Primm,129).Asthecity’sindustriesexpanded,sodiditspopulation,increasingto6,649in1830,morethandoublingfromthatamountin1840to16,439,andthennearlygrowingatarateofivetimesthatamountin1850withacountof77,680(Shepard,95)(Primm,113).Thecity’spopulationcontinuedtogrowatafeverishpace,doublingtwiceinthenexttwentyyears,increasingtomorethan160,000in1860andthentomorethan310,000in1870
2
.Bytheendofthenineteenthcentury,St.Louishadgrownsomuchthatitwasthefourthlargestcity.Shortlybeforetheturnofthecentury,agentlemanbythenameofWilliamReedypublishedanessayinhismagazine,TheMirror,whichchallengedSt.LouisanstoworktowardhostingaWorld’sFairin1904asatributetothe100
th
anniversaryoftheLouisianaPurchase.Residentsofthecitymethischallenge,introducinganewcommitmenttocivicengagementinSt.Louisatthedawnof
Population 4,800EstimatedAnnualValueofTrade $600,000AssessedValue <$1,000,000TaxesCollected <$4,000NumberofHousingUnits 600
Table1:St.LouisFacts(1821)
Source:EarlyHistoryofSt.LouisandMissouri(Shepard,63-65)

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