Silhouette image of the pope, illustrating Pope John Paul II visiting St. Louis in January 1999. Adobe Stock photo.

January 26, 1999

This date in Missouri history: One of the most famous guests in St. Louis history, Pope John Paul II, touched down at Lambert Airport for a 31-hour visit. The Pope was greeted by President Bill Clinton.

December 30, 1949

The May Company announced the construction of the Southtown Famous-Barr, a massive, three-story department store being built at the corner of Chippewa Street and Kingshighway Boulevard in south St. Louis.

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. 

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.

Damaged nuclear fallout shelter

December 15, 1951

The mayor of St. Louis approved plans to appoint 5,000 auxiliary police officers to help in the event of nuclear attack.  Their jobs would be to patrol devastated areas.

Old school room with crowd of students seated.

December 10, 1932

The St. Louis schools were overcrowded and the school board blamed the depression. They said the kids couldn’t find jobs so they were staying in school.

Beaver working on its dam

Shining Times: Missouri’s Fur Trade Story

Fur played a vital role in the early Anglo settlements. It was animal pelts, not tobacco, that the early Virginia colonists first exported. The North American fur trade had a tremendous impact on exploration, colonization, and international politics.

Sign for St. Louis Lambert International Airport

December 6, 1875

Birth of Albert Bond Lambert, the eighth balloon pilot in America and the person who bought, cleared, and leveled a flying field that is now an international airport at St. Louis.

Young girl views a hippopotamus at the St. Louis Zoo.

December 2, 1913

On this date in Missouri history: St. Louis Mayor Kiel signed an ordinance establishing a zoo in St. Louis in Forest Park. The idea was almost killed because of a lawn-mowing dispute.