The Greatest Balloon Voyage Ever Made

So John Wise characterized his cross-country flight in 1859. All in all, the label is fairly accurate even now

John Wise, known during his lifetime as the Father of American Ballooning, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1808. He made many contributions to American airmanship and to the literature of aerostatics in a career which extended over forty years and included 446 free balloon ascensions. Unlike most of the American aeronauts of his day who used the great globes for entertainment at fairs and carnivals, Wise’s approach was scientific.

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City Station

ONCE THE VERY HEART of downtown St. Louis, Union Station has come through hard times to celebrate its one hundredth birthday—and even though the trains don’t pull in here anymore, it’s still an urban draw


The country’s largest railroad station as well as once one of the busiest will turn one hundred on September 4, and preceding the anniversary will come a summer’s worth of celebrations.Read more »

The Very Odd Vision Of F.W. Guein

Fitz W. Guerin, shown here in a moment of solemn whimsy, was a St. Louis photographer who ordinarily took his work very seriously. Born in Ireland in 1846, he joined the Union Army at fifteen, apprenticed himself to a photographer after the war, and then, until shortly before his death in 1903, made a good living photographing well-to-do citizens of his city.Read more »

The Social Evil Ordinance

—More than a century ago, the city of St. Louis enacted a well-thought-out plan to legalize vice. What went wrong? Everything .

A little over a century ago an ambitious woman named Kate Clark, who kept a house of prostitution at 112 South Eighth Street, St. Louis, decided to move her business to larger quarters at Sixth and Elm. In any other American city she would have kept her intentions secret or quietly arranged to pay off the police. But this was St. Louis; and on March 14, 1873, Madam Clark confidently wrote directly to the chief of police for “a permit to keep the house on the northwest corner of 6th and Elm Streets for bawdy house purposes.Read more »