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Old 01-12-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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What do you think?

Is St. Louis's overall population density (5,724.7/sq mi) is misleading considering it dense, vibrant western corridor? I'm from the Chicago suburbs and when I was in St. Louis last spring I really thought the central west end (from the very short time I was there) was really a lot like Chicagos Lincoln park. (with the high rises, universities and park nearby).

As much as Forest Park is a true gem of St. Louis, its enormous size (along with a huge cemeterey on the north end (from what I saw on google earth) as well as a couple other huge parks in the city (Tower Hill Park?)), in contrast to the city propers rather small size, makes St. Louis pop. density figure kind of small.

I really to see all the great changes there! It wasn't for the civil war cutting off river trade in the 1800s, St. Louis might be as big as Chicago today!
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:51 PM
 
Location: St Louis
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Keep in mind its overall. Some area may have 15k per square mile while other have 2k per sq mile. If you were to back out the parks and such the figure may be higher.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex?Il? View Post
It wasn't for the civil war cutting off river trade in the 1800s, St. Louis might be as big as Chicago today!
Huh?
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:33 PM
 
Location: South St Louis
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The population density of St Louis neighborhoods varies greatly. In the 2000 census, Tower Grove East had a density of 14,139 per square mile (which is actually higher than the density of Chicago). In contrast, the Riverview neighborhood had a density of only 176 persons per square mile (which is closer to that of Anchorage, Alaska.)
Overall, St Louis is one of the most densely populated U.S. cities, consistantly ranking in the top 20 among cities over 250,000 people. This is, of course, due in part to the relatively small geographic size of the city of St Louis.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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It wasn't for the civil war cutting off river trade in the 1800s, St. Louis might be as big as Chicago today!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kshe95girl View Post
Huh?
Back in the mid to late 1800s St. Louis and Chicago were rivals believe it or not, vying to become the transporation hub for the interior of the continent, ultimately to become the capital of the midwest.

St. Louis was bigger than Chicago throughout the 1800s until after the civil war.

Before there were major canals connecting the Great Lakes to the East Coast, the Great Lakes cities could not economically so much. With the opening of the Erie Canal through New York state the Great Lakes were finally opened which triggered the growth of Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Toledo. But other canals needed to be dug for that region to reach its full potential.

Meanwhile the wide, deep Mississippi didn't need any of that, and naturally where the big Missouri, as well as the Illinois river all met the Mississippi, naturally St. Louis became the hub for close to a century.

The building of Welland canal to bypass Niagara falls, the Illinois and Michigan canal to connect the Illinois river to Lake Michigan, all made Great Lakes cities boom overnight. Bceause these cities were closer to New York, Boston, etc. That region became the focus of trade and transportation that meant that St. Louis now had competition.

The one clinching event that put the nail in the coffin, that slowed St. Louis growth relative to Chicago was the civil war. The Misssippi ran through "enemy territory", the Great Lakes did not. Trade that was shut down because of this, never really returned to the full degree it did before the war.

Meanwhile, Chicagos fire in 1871, while people make a big deal of it, did not touch Chicagos stockyards, lumberyards, grain elevators, and freight train facilities, which allowed it to rebuild fairly quickly. This combined with its better location, where the I & M canal sealed the deal to overtake St. Louis as the biggest hub of the midwest.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
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^ Yes, I am aware that the Union blockade cut off trade from downriver to STL for like what, 4 years?
I have never, ever read anything to support your theory that the Civil War ruined STL. I'm a STL native, my family has been in the area since 1699, and I am an avid fan of history of the area.
Could you please provide links to support your theory?
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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"The Civil War extended the advantages conferred by geography and human initiative. St. Louis, an older and larger city, was Chicago's rival for the western trade. Chicago's railroad network was making the city more attractive to shippers, but Union forces delivered the decisive blow to St. Louis when they closed the Mississippi River during the war. Trade that shifted to Chicago did not return to St. Louis after the war."


Economic Geography

I wasn't suggesting that the blockade RUINED St. Louis. I am suggesting that it may have been a turning point that gave Chicago the advantage in trade.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Clayton, MO
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^ I've always read that the beginning of our downfall had to do more with corrupt St. Louis officials who were in bed with the steamboat companies. This provided a reluctance (+20yrs) to complete the Eads bridge and other STL Mississippi crossings. The rich barons in Chicago saw this and funded a crossing north of missouri that allowed them direct shipping to KC.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Chicago, Il
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^ Agree, I was always under the impression that our slow pace to accept the railroad was our downfall. Steamboats paid bribes to city officials to keep them out while Chicago embraced the iron horse. Once Chicago got the lead, they kept it.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:51 AM
 
5,870 posts, read 11,516,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STLMetro View Post
^ Agree, I was always under the impression that our slow pace to accept the railroad was our downfall. Steamboats paid bribes to city officials to keep them out while Chicago embraced the iron horse. Once Chicago got the lead, they kept it.
That maybe part of it, but it makes sense, and is documented that the civil war blockade and Chicagos closer proximity to east coast cities through the Great Lakes did play a very important role.

Honestly I think there is a touch of mythology/propaganda on Chicagos part to suggest that there was something unique and special about Chicago and its people from the very begining. When maybe in reality Chicago was largely a product of geographic and historical luck.
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