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July 18, 2021

Picturing 1930s St. Louis: An Introduction

St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri, United States. It sits near the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers, on the western bank of the latter. It is the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the second-largest in Illinois, the seventh-largest in the Great Lakes Megalopolis, and the 22nd-largest in the United States.

A “Gamma” global city, St. Louis has a diverse economy with strengths in the service, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and tourism industries. It is home to nine of the ten Fortune 500 companies based in Missouri.

Major research universities include Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis. The Washington University Medical Center in the Central West End neighborhood hosts an agglomeration of medical and pharmaceutical institutions, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Among the city’s notable sights is the 630-foot (192 m) Gateway Arch in the downtown area. St. Louis is also home to the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Garden, which has the second-largest herbarium in North America.

These amazing photos from Missouri Historical Society will give you a glimpse into St. Louis in 1931.

"Then and now” photo of two Oldsmobile cars. The vintage 1897 model Oldsmobile is parked next to a new 1931 Oldsmobile. Photo by Ed Meyer, June 1931

A speaker addresses the crowd at the dedication of the new Castle Point subdivision at the corner of Halls Ferry and Chambers roads in north St. Louis County. Photo by Isaac Sievers, June 1931

Banquet held at the Forest Park Hotel for the nurses of St. John’s Hospital. Photo by Isaac Sievers, May 1931

Boat-shaped car used by Anheuser-Busch to promote the brand. Photo by Sievers Studio, May 1931

Dodge half-ton truck decorated with signs complaining about its poor quality. Photo by Isaac Sievers, May 1931

Family group gathered for the golden wedding anniversary of Conrad G. and Augusta Kempf. The party was held at 6324 Mardel, the home of their daughter, Bertha Meyer, and her husband, Adolph E. Meyer. Photo by Ed Meyer, March 1931

Group of school children posing with instruments on the steps of the Immaculate Conception parish school at 2912 Lafayette. Photo by Isaac Sievers, June 1931

Group portrait of Chase Hotel waiters, posed on the hotel's roof. Photo by Isaac Sievers, May 1931

Group portrait taken during the First Annual Convention of the Young People's Federation of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. The group was posing on the steps of the Bishop Tuttle Memorial Building at Christ Church Cathedral, May 1931

Large crowd waiting outside the doors at the grand opening of Elliott’s Cut Price Department Store at 5206 Gravois. Photo by Isaac Sievers, June 1931

Large group posed around three members of the clergy on the steps of the Holy Trinity Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church at the corner of Geyer and McNair. Photo by Isaac Sievers, April 1931

Man in the cab of a Columbia Terminal Company truck. Photo by Sievers Studio, April 1931

Model house, probably in St. Louis Hills, built by the Cyrus Crane Willmore Organization. Signs in the front yard advertise that the house is for sale. Photo by Isaac Sievers, February 1931

Monsanto Chemical Works employees posed in a chemical laboratory at the Monsanto plant at the corner of 2nd and Lafayette. Photo by Isaac Sievers, June 1931

Produce displays outside of Jim Remley’s Market at 6213 Easton in Wellston (later renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Drive). Photo by Isaac Sievers, June 1931

Product shot showing a 7UP soda display. Photo by Isaac Sievers, June 1931

Star Theater at 16 South Jefferson, at the corner of Market and Jefferson. Photo by Ed Meyer, June 1931

Street car union members voting on a strike at Unity Hall. Photo by Isaac Sievers, May 1931

Winners holding flowers after a marathon bicycle race held in O’Fallon Park. Photo by Uranus Hord, June 1931

Workers at the Slavin Hat Company factory at 1117 Washington. Photo by Ed Meyer, April 1931


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