December 31, 1928

Marlin Perkins, host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and director of the St. Louis Zoo, was bitten by a Gaboon viper and became one of only a few people to ever survive such a bite. 


Cholera warning

December 28, 1848

The steamboat Amaranth arrived in St. Louis carrying cholera. The city was bulging with people waiting for Spring so they could head west in the 1849 Gold Rush. The cholera spread quickly and one out of every ten people in the city died. 


Charles Lindbergh Spirit of St. Louis

December 27, 1926

Charles Lindbergh was turned down by his boss, William B. Robertson, for help in financing his solo Trans-Atlantic flight. He already had $1,000 from Albert Bond Lambert. The Post-Dispatch also turned Lindy down, but business leaders Harry Hall Knight and Harold Bixby would say yes.


Bottle of whiskey in wooden box

December 26, 1878

A carrier of the US Mail said that he was near Rocheport on this day when two men with drawn pistols stopped him and forced him to drink a bottle of whiskey before he moved on. (What do you think?)


Sign warning of slip and fall danger

December 25, 1898

W. J. Catron of Neosho lived above the Big Spring. On this morning he went to get a bucket of water and stepped off his porch onto a sheet of ice. He slid head-first to the bottom of his hill and then off the bluff falling 12 feet to the path below, landing on his head.  No serious injuries but a bad way to start the day.


December 24, 1881

Jolly old Jesse James dressed as Santa Claus for his two children, Jesse Jr., age 6, and Mary, age 2. It was to be Jesse's last Christmas.


Old steam engine chugs down the railroad tracks.

December 23, 1852

The first train ran on the first railroad west of the Mississippi River, the Pacific Railroad of Missouri from St. Louis to Cheltenham, a distance of five miles.  (Cheltenham is now known as the Dogtown Neighborhood and is right across from the zoo.) 


December 22, 1953

George Olds, editor of Springfield’s weekly news journal, Bias, commented on an unexpected impact of manufactured artificial Christmas trees. He claimed that back in the “primitive days,” when you told someone you had bought a Christmas tree, no one asked, “What color was it?"


The Mayan Calendar

December 21, 2012

This date in Missouri history: Nostradamus, the Mayan calendar, and others predicted that on this day, 12-21-12, the world would end.  (Congratulations if you are reading this!) 


Betty Grable

December 18, 1916

Birthday of actress, singer, and pin-up girl, Betty Grable from St. Louis.  Lloyds of London insured her legs for $1 million.