The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is across the Mississippi from Downtown St. Louis in modern Illinois. Cahokia was an immense Native American city inhabited from about AD 800-1400. Known for its striking earth mounds, it was home to some 20,000 people at its peak around 1300, making it by far the largest city in the Americas north of Mexico, and larger than London and Rome at the time. The 100-foot tall Monks Mound was once the residence of the paramount chief; other mounds were home to other prominent clans and families. Cahokia was a major center of the Mississippian culture, a group of mound-building societies that spread as far north as Wisconsin and across the Southeast as far as Florida. The city was abandoned by 1400, and other native peoples settled in the area. The Illinois state government acquired the site in 1923. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The grounds feature many mounds and other features, and the Cahokia Museum and Interpretive Center.
Downtown includes the historic core and central business district of St. Louis. It is home to many of its attractions, businesses, and major employers. With most major attractions within easy walking distance, Downtown St. Louis provides a good example of an important redevelopment strategy often overlooked in other cities’ downtown revitalization plans: the clustering of attractions in a compact, walkable area.
The Old Courthouse was the site of many historical events. The Dred Scott citizenship case was heard here in 1857.
Located next to Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village is a major redevelopment project spearheaded by the City of St. Louis and the Cordish Companies. Phase 2 is currently under construction. Even during away games, fans gather to watch the St. Louis Cardinals on the big screens.
Originally the Bavarian Brewing Company, the brewery became the E. Anheuser Company when German immigrant Eberhart Anheuser took it over in 1860. It adopted its present name when Augustus Busch, Anheuser’s son-in-law, joined the business in 1869. Anheuser-Busch pioneered the use of pasteurization and refrigeration in its quest to create the country’s first nationwide beer brand, leading to the successful introduction of Budweiser in 1876. The brewery is now one of St. Louis’ major employers and top tourist attractions; its various historic buildings still feature their original ornamentation. In 2008, the company was bought out by the Belgian conglomerate InBev, becoming Anheuser-Busch InBev; the St. Louis facility serves as the North American headquarters.
Article and images by Bill Delaney.