Situated at the confluence of two great North American rivers — the Mississippi and the Missouri — the St. Louis region has been a favored destination since Lewis & Clark began their historic westward “Corps of Discovery” here in 1804.
Today, the pioneers of St. Louis are the engineers, scientists, business leaders, educators, artists and other innovative and creative professionals who are working at the forefront of a multitude of fields and endeavors. Thanks in large part to Washington University, other regional universities and key Fortune 500 corporations, St. Louis has developed into a national hub for important research and business development, especially in the fields of biotechnology and plant science.
Consistently ranked among the nation’s most affordable and best places to live and raise a family, the St. Louis region offers many opportunities to watch or participate in a wide range of sports, recreational activities and cultural events. Not far from St. Louis’ urban core are the beautiful rolling hills of the Ozark Mountain region and outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing and spelunking in some of Missouri’s more than 6,000 caves.
New St. Louisans discover the rich cultural life here in theaters, galleries, museums and festivals. The Saint Louis Symphony, among the finest in the nation, performs at historic Powell Hall. Symphony members bring their skills to the community through teaching and chamber concerts as well. In the downtown area, the rich St. Louis traditions in jazz, blues and ragtime music are continued in a number of lounges and clubs. The Community Music School of Webster University offers community music education to all ages, and COCA (Center of Creative Arts) is the largest multidisciplinary arts institution in the metropolitan area.
The Opera Theatre of St. Louis has been enormously successful, nationally and internationally, bringing English-language versions of the classics and presentation of contemporary operas to the stage. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has an extensive annual season, which includes experimental works and traditional dramas. The Stages St. Louis Theatre Co., Kirkwood Theatre Guild, West End Players Guild, Act. Inc. and the Saint Louis Black Repertory Company enrich the dramatic offerings available in the immediate area. On campus, Edison Theatre offers the highest quality in national and international programs in theater, dance and music. For open-air summer entertainment, the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis and The Muny, both in Forest Park, are prime destinations.
Broadway comes to St. Louis at the Fox Theatre, a renovation of a 1929 example of exotic cinema temple art. Galleries sprinkled throughout the area bring current visual arts to St. Louis, while antique shops remind us of the past. The St. Louis International Film Festival takes place every fall. Supplementing the standard movie fare available throughout the metropolitan area are two cinemas close to campus, the Hi-Pointe and the Tivoli, both offering excellent foreign and independent films.
When the Saint Louis Art Museum was built for the 1904 World’s Fair, much of the Washington University collection was housed in it. Ties with the Art Museum remain very close. Students in art and in business intern at the Art Museum, working in arts management and gallery organization. St. Louis also features Laumeier Sculpture Park, which displays large-scale sculptures by artists of international renown.
For recreation, St. Louisans may use any of the numerous parks that dot the metropolitan area. In Forest Park, which lies between the two Washington University campuses, are the Art Museum, The Muny, Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Zoo, municipal golf courses, tennis and handball courts, a skating rink, and acres of paths, picnic areas, gardens and wooded groves. Tower Grove Park is in south St. Louis, and adjacent is the Missouri Botanical Garden, world famous for its research, collections and facilities.
Farther afield, St. Louis residents find outdoor adventure in the countryside beyond the city. In the Ozark Mountains, on the rivers of Missouri, on the lakes of neighboring Illinois, variety abounds. Camping, hiking, floating, rock climbing and caving are among the many possibilities within a few hours’ drive of St. Louis. For those who like to sail, there is Carlyle Lake in Illinois. And for those with rod and reel, Missouri streams are made to order.
The Washington University Athletic Complex provides outstanding resources to athletes at every level of ability. Open to all members of the University community, it includes an eight-lane, 25-meter pool, two gymnasiums, weight rooms, racquetball courts, outdoor tennis courts and a track complex. Built on the site of the 1904 Olympic Games, this facility offers recreational opportunities year-round for students, faculty and staff.
For the spectator, St. Louis is a great sports town. For more than a century, it has hosted one of the oldest traditions in baseball — the St. Louis Cardinals. Dizzy Dean and the Gashouse Gang, Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Mark McGwire are all part of Cardinal history. The current Busch Stadium opened in spring of 2006 and played host to the 2009 All-Star Game.
The St. Louis Blues hockey team moved here in 1967 and enjoys loyal fans. St. Louis also supports a number of semi-pro sports teams.
Employment and university ties with St. Louis
St. Louis is a great place to work; job opportunities are varied and abundant. Many companies are distinguished for their excellent working conditions, and commuting is easier than in many other large cities.
Many major corporations are located here, as are a variety of retail, transportation and banking organizations. Among the top firms are Ameren, Boeing, Edward Jones, Emerson Electric, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Express Scripts. Many support services have grown up around these corporations — including law, accounting, data processing, advertising, public relations and design firms, as well as photographic and audio-visual studios.
Employing more than 20,000 people, the Washington University Medical Center (WUMC) is made up of the School of Medicine, the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The medical center generates an annual economic impact of nearly $4.3 billion for the St. Louis area, according to an economic model maintained by the St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association.
The John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University enjoys a rich and varied partnership with the business community. As a laboratory for internship opportunities, entrepreneurship study, and student practicums offered through Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning, St. Louis plays an integral role in the education of business students. In turn, Olin creates value for area businesses by matching top Olin talent with pivotal positions in their firms.
Similarly, the School of Law has close ties with the St. Louis legal community and, through its clinical program, offers internships in private and local government offices and in state and federal courts. In addition, the law school is fortunate in the active and interested role of the local bar associations in the development of the school’s special programs.
The George Warren Brown School of Social Work also is linked in many ways to the St. Louis social work community. Students find practicum assignments throughout the area, and both students and faculty do research and consult with local agencies.
A strong partnership exists between technology-based businesses and industries in St. Louis and the School of Engineering & Applied Science. There is a network of more than 80 faculty members associated with Department of Biomedical Engineering, representing numerous divisions of the university, including many from the School of Medicine.
In addition to their ties to local business, both the Danforth Campus and the School of Medicine at Washington University are dedicated to the support of K-12 education. Students from the medical school participate in a variety of outreach programs, including Students Teaching AIDS to Students (STATS), designed to teach awareness and responsible behavior to junior high school students; the Young Scientist Program, an interactive learning experience that brings high school students to the medical center; and health and preventive programs on drug and sex education.
In short, Washington University enjoys a special relationship with St. Louis.
Interesting St. Louis-area facts
St. Louis has many nicknames, including the “Gateway City,” “Gateway to the West,” “The Mound City,” “St. Louie,” “River City,” and “The Lou.”
There are more free, world-class attractions in St. Louis than any place in the nation outside of Washington, DC.
The Saint Louis Zoo was the first municipally supported zoo in the world and a pioneer in the use of open enclosures, placing animals in natural environments without bars.
Some of the world’s favorite foods were popularized and introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The ice cream cone, iced tea and hamburgers all became food favorites there. It is said that the fair was the first place where hot dogs met French’s mustard.
The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River, near the present site of the Gateway Arch, was the first arched steel truss bridge in the world. When it was first proposed, it was scoffed at as impossible to build. Completed in 1874, it is still in use today.
In 1904, the first World Olympics in the United States and the Western Hemisphere was held in St. Louis at Washington University’s Francis Field.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis contains the largest collection of mosaic art in the world.
In 1876, St. Louis hosted the first national political convention west of the Mississippi.
In 1927, a group of St. Louis businessmen gave financial backing to the first solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. The pilot was Charles Lindbergh and the plane was named “The Spirit of St. Louis.”
St. Louis’ McDonnell Douglas Corporation, now Boeing, designed and built the space capsule that carried the first men into space in the 1960s.
C.L. Grigg, a soft drink salesman, introduced a drink to St. Louisans in 1929 that would eventually become known as 7-Up.