St. Louis Rocks! (Part One)

by | Apr 30, 2018


I was at an event on Friday and one of the speakers mentioned that she moved to St. Louis with the plan of only living in the Lou for a year or two; sixteen years later she is still here. This is a common theme we St. Louisians hear over and over: St. Louis is a great place to live. However, we also have our issues (slow growth, the loss of so many of our great large companies, racial and social issues, getting jacked over by the NFL, etc.) and these issues often lead to an inferiority complex. This IFOD is about St. Louis, a pep talk for those of us who live here and good information for those who live elsewhere are are curious about this great city in “flyover country.”

  • Metropolitan Area Population as of 2016: 2,807,002 (20th in U.S.). Link to list of 50 largest metropolitan areas: 50 Largest MSAs
  • Elevation: 535 feet
  • The Gateway Arch – at 630 feet – is the nation’s tallest man-made monument.  The two legs of the arch are also 630 feet apart.
  • Founded:  By Auguste Chouteau in 1764.  Named after Louis IX of France.
  • The City of St. Louis is an Independent City, meaning that it is not located in a county.  The only other major U.S. city so organized is Baltimore.
  • St. Louis County is home to 90 independent municipalities (Yikes!).
  • Similarly, St. Louis is the leader in agricultural technology or “AgTech.” Ag Funder News in 2017 contemplated whether St. Louis is Silicon Valley of AgTech? The concentration of Monsanto (now Bayer), the Danforth Plant Science Center, talent from our research universities, AgTech incubators and startups have made St. Louis an AgTech powerhouse. How will we feed 9 Billion people? An important part of that answer will probably be found in St. Louis.
  • A great reason to start (or move) your business in St. Louis is the low cost of living.  The national average cost of living is 100.00 and the St. Louis Metro Area is 90.2 as of 2017 making it one of the cheapest of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in which to live (based on the Council for Community and Economic Research survey). As a comparison, NYC is the highest at 235 and SF area is second at 192.3. Missouri is the sixth cheapest state.
  • St. Louis is the home to many colleges and universities, most notably Washington University in St. Louis which the Wall Street Journal ranked as the 11th best university in the U.S.
  • Washington University’s medical school is ranked #8 in the nation and Barnes-Jewish Hospital is ranked #12 (both by U.S. News).
  • The Missouri Botanical Garden is among the top three botanical gardens in the world.
  • St. Louis offers more free, major visitor attractions than anyplace outside of the nation’s capital, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, Cahokia Mounds, Museum of Westward Expansion, St. Louis Science Center, Missouri History Museum, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Grant’s Farm and more.
  • St. Louis was the first American city to host the Olympic Games (in 1904 ). That Olympic games were the first to have golf and the marathon.
  • Forest Park, at 1,370 acres, is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. and is larger than Central Park in NYC by over 500 acres.
  • The first lung cancer operation was performed in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital remains one of the top lung hospitals in the U.S.
  • The soft drink Dr Pepper was introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. 7-Up also was invented in St. Louis.
  • The ice cream cone was invented at the 1904 World’s Fair. So was iced tea. Hot dogs and hamburgers were popularized to a wide audience at the Fair.
  • The largest collection of mosaic art in the world graces the walls and ceilings at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis in the Central West End neighborhood.
  • Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis is the largest beer producing plant in the nation.
  • The custom of placing chocolates on hotel pillows began here when the actor Cary Grant stayed at the Mayfair Hotel and used chocolate to woo a woman friend.
  • The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1880, the second oldest in the nation  and is considered one of the top symphony orchestras in the U.S.
  • The first successful parachute jump to be made from a moving airplane was made by Captain Albert Berry at St. Louis, in 1912.

Here’s a link to Part Two of why St. Louis Rocks!


  1. I believe, one of the biggest problems our cities in the US have is the existence of a large number of antiquated and unusable properties. We need to initiate programs to cause these eye sores and impediments to renewal to be tore down such that new structures (Institutions) can be constructed in there place. My view, as a former St. Louis area resident, is that the central core of St. Louis has to be reconstructed from the river for a distance of several miles in all directions for St. Louis to regain the grand status it once enjoyed. It will take great leadership and long commitment for that to happen. The time to start is NOW!!

  2. Thanks for the Civic Pep Talk. I needed it after a bike ride through downtown yesterday, and seeing the large number of vacant retail spaces. The assets of this region are tremendous from the renovated Arch grounds to Kiener Plaza, to City Garden to Forest Park, these are all World Class assets. Our cultural institutions and higher ed institutions, hospitals, and our ever expanding “start up” systems are putting The Lou back on the map!

  3. Thank goodness the Gateway Arch was not built when Captain Berry made the first successful parachute jump! #oopsie


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