A beautiful hand colored map of the City of St.Louis in 1874 from the Mitchell World Atlas of that year. The location of St. Louis was significant since pre-Columbian times due to the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers just north of the city and that confluence's effect on trade which continues to this day. At the time of the making of this map, St. Louis was a major part of the settling of the United States West due to the extent of territory accessible by the river system. The Lewis and Clark expedition used St. Louis as a supply depot and as a repository of the survey work done. It was pure geography that made St. Louis important. Even the street names reveal the intersection of cultures - Native American, French, & US state names.
The first bridge over the Mississippi River in the area, the Eads Bridge, was the longest arch bridge in the world, using true steel for the first time in a major project. It was completed in 1874, but is not shown on the map. This speaks to the time element involved in gathering information for the atlas, the data sometimes taking as long as 10 years for a publication of this magnitude.
The St. Louis general strike of 1877 is generally accepted as the first in the country. It branched from the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, which began in West Virginia in response to the cutting of wages. Organized largely by the Knights of Labor and the Marxist-leaning Workingmen's Party, the strike led about 500 people across the river as an act of solidarity. In all almost one thousand workers went on strike. The protest soon transformed from the disgruntlement of a couple hundred railroad workers to thousands of workers in several industries for an eight-hour day and ban on child labor. The strike was an effective, bloodless takeover by dissatisfied commerce and transportation workers. An elective committee was created to command the strike and continued to gain momentum with newsboys, boatmen, bakers, and many more joining the ranks. The general strike of St. Louis ended sadly when a couple thousand federal troops and special police killed about eighteen people in skirmishes around the city.
Archival print from high-resolution scan. 12" x 15"