Economic History of St. Louis
The Gateway Arch is a monument that renders St. Louis, MO as the Gateway to the West. However, it was not until 1764 that Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau declared the land along the Mississippi river as the city of St. Louis (The Authority of the United States of America, 1904). St. Louis was not a city that developed overnight. According to The Authority of the United States of America (1904), it took over a half of a century for the population to reach 5,000. Land farther west of the Atlantic Ocean was still unfamiliar territory, which may attribute to the lack of growth. The Authority of the United States of America considered the middle of the 19th century as a notable economic expansion in St. Louis because of the increase of trade via the Missouri river, the railroad expansion, and the rise of major factories. St. Louis reached one of its peaks in regards to the economy during this time and for continued several more decades. Despite the enhanced economy, Primm (1981) discussed the deterioration of the government. A government in dispute can create a troubled community.
The decline of the government was not the only problem facing the city. Primm (1981) claimed that the products manufactured in St. Louis had less of a demand, which slowed industry growth. Additionally, Primm discussed the hardships of the Great Depression during the years of 1893 to 1897. It took years to recover from the turmoil the Great Depression inflicted through the United States. Primm stated that the value of St. Louis’ manufacturers only rose by 2 percent and the industry never fully recovered. According to Primm, Adolphus Busch successfully led St. Louis to prosperity by bringing his brewery company, Anheuser Busch, to number one in the country. Again, St. Louis became one of the most successful cities. The success and power of the city prompted city officials to try to secure the Columbian Exposition, the 400th anniversary of America (Primm, 1981). Despite the loss to Chicago, Primm stated that the city fiercely fought to hold the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the World’s Fair, to St. Louis, in which they prevailed.
St. Louis held the World’s Fair after several years of planning. The fair, in 1904, took place at Forest Park, which resulted in worldwide publicity (Primm, 1981). The newfound recognition of the city created the assumption that the population would grow exponentially; however, it was the beginning of St. Louis’ downfall. Although the weakening industries in St. Louis initiated its deterioration, the most significant impact was the segregation law passed in 1915 (Primm, 1981). According to Primm (1981), the law denied certain races and colors from moving into an area unless 75% or more of the residents were of the same race and color. Due to the racism at the time, St. Louis City became primarily African American, while Caucasians proceeded to move to the suburbs.
After the segregation law...