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Monday, December 28, 2015

A Visit to St. Louis - Part I

November seemed like a nice time of year for a drive to the south.  St Louis, the city with the arch, is only about six hundred miles from the Twin Cities but we have seldom passed through the area.  We headed out for a long weekend about November 7th.

St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch and there may not be a hotel room in the area that doesn't include some view of the arch.  Here are two.
StLouisTrip-01 StLouisTrip-29

I took several pictures of the arch myself.  This one is my favorite.

My personal interest in St. Louis arises from the fact that William S. Burroughs developed his adding machine here in the years 1880-1898.  As I have researched the St. Louis of the late nineteenth century, nothing has impressed me as much as the collection of pictorial maps drawn and published by  Compton and Dry in 1875.  There were over 100 pages of detailed drawings such as this example of plate 19.

The Missouri History Museum has assembled a large exhibit built around these drawings.  It is open through February 14, 2016 and is well worth a long drive to see.
StLouisTrip-02  StLouisTrip-04

The museum has assembled the Compton and Dry plates into a single composite image hanging just inside the exhibit entrance.  Whether you might have an interest in St. Louis, history or photography, I think you'll find the image "awesome" in contemporary parlance.

Other parts of the exhibit illustrate many facets of St. Louis life in 1875 from wages to school buildings.
StLouisTrip-08 StLouisTrip-07

If the Compton and Dry plates are of interest to you, they are all available free from the Library of Congress website in stunning detail.

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