Last updated: November 15, 2016
Historic St. Louis: 250 Years Exploring New Frontiers, by J. Frederick Fausz. San Antonio: HPN Books/University of Missouri, 2014.
History professor and author Frederick Fausz has penned a very good book celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis. Fausz presents a well-researched 155-page essay that offers many details on social forces, good and bad, that drove the story of St. Louis. His narrative is scholarly and comes from years of research and classroom lectures.
Fausz begins with a lengthy description of city founder Pierre Laclede and his prosperous and peaceful relations with the powerful Osage tribe. The author describes ethnic and economic conflicts as the city grew to become a major industrial power.
Fausz traces how a collection of newcomers from Southern states, Germany, Ireland and other countries came together and managed to assimilate and thrive during difficult times of growth and change in the city’s history.
He later delves into the 1904 World’s Fair, suburban development, civil rights struggles and the downtown area’s repeated efforts to remake itself.
The hardcover book includes a separate section of 75 articles on local institutions, organizations and companies. They were prepared by the entities themselves, who paid to be sponsors. Sponsorship revenue helped underwrite the high-quality production of this book. The illustrations are magnificent and, thankfully, all contain photo credits - a plus for researchers and other interested parties.
Explaining his work, Fausz writes, “A knowledge of history is required for a meaningful patriotism that goes beyond mere flag-waving. Because it provides details about the sacrifices of earlier generations in solving social crises.”