Streckfus Steamers

-Finding aid by Jane J. Lorenz

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May 1989

INTRODUCTION TO THE COLLECTION

As early as the 1940s, St. Louis businessmen with property along the Mississippi River began reacting to the temporary street layout plan proposed by the National Park Service as part of a future Memorial area. They expressed their concerns that nine of the twelve streets leading to the riverfront would be eliminated and that the three remaining streets were too narrow to handle traffic into and through the Memorial.

Objections to the street layout plan were voiced in a letter from the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce on July 29, 1941. This was followed by an extensive letter-writing campaign by area businessmen to Mayor William Dee Becker; Thomas N. Dysart, President of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce; and Luther Ely Smith, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association.

The campaign was organized by Captain Joseph Streckfus, general manager of Streckfus Steamers Inc., and urged the retention of four major east-west streets leading to the riverfront: Washington Avenue, Walnut Street, Clark Avenue, and either Locust or Olive Street. Andrew G. Munganest, sales manager for Streckfus Steamers, worked closely with Captain Joseph on this and other riverfront improvement projects.

Access to the riverfront emerged again in 1958 as a major concern to Joseph Streckfus and set off another flurry of letters, referring to the problem as "fencing off the river" and urging the retention of Washington Avenue as an access road.

When Captain Joseph Streckfus retired because of illness in 1959, he was succeeded as general manager of Streckfus Steamers by his brother, Captain Roy Streckfus. By 1960 Captain Roy had taken on his brother's role as "gadfly" to the JNEM administration. With Washington Avenue as an access road to the riverfront now a reality, Captain Roy turned his attention to other concerns on the levee, such as entrance ramps to the new roadway, new mooring ties, and replacement of water hydrants.

In 1961 Captain Roy began pressing George B. Hartzog Jr., JNEM superintendent, for three openings in the levee wall which was to be built in the near future. Each opening was to have a flight of 20-foot-wide concrete steps from the top of the wall to the city wharf, which was not JNEM property. Landing stage aprons would be placed in the openings so that passengers could board the Admiral, a Streckfus property, when the river was too high (22 feet or higher) for them to enter from the levee.

Much of Box 2 contains correspondence pertaining to the above-mentioned concerns. Later correspondence contains letters from Captain William Streckfus, the third brother to manage Streckfus Steamers. Also included are photographs of the St. Louis riverfront and newspaper clippings referring to the development of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Information obtained from this collection must be properly cited, whether used in publications or in other formats. A citation suggested for this collection is:

National Park Service
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Archives
Streckfus Steamers Inc. Records, 1888-1970
Box __, Folder __

Researchers are advised that before records, photographs, and any other unpublished materials from this collection can be published or exhibited, permission from the National Park Service must be obtained in writing.

ARRANGEMENT

When processing the records of Streckfus Steamers Inc. into an archival collection, the original order of the files was revised. To aid researchers using these materials, the records have been organized into six series.

Series 1. Correspondence of Captain Joseph M. Streckfus

Correspondence of Captain Joseph Streckfus with St. Louis businessmen concerning access to the riverfront is arranged chronologically from 1941 to 1959. Also included are fund-raising letters from JNEM, 1944-1953.

Series 2. Correspondence of Captain Roy M. Streckfus

Captain Roy Streckfus' correspondence is arranged chronologically from 1959 to 1964, and concerns entrance ramps to the new riverfront roadway, new mooring ties, and replacement of water hydrants.

Series 3. Correspondence of Captain William Streckfus

Included in this series are three letters from Captain William Streckfus, and drawings of proposed levee staircases.

Series 4. Miscellaneous Items

This series includes copies of St. Louis city ordinances, 1888-1945; a short history of the harbor and wharf supervisory position; board bill #157, 1944; copies of bond and power of attorney, 1950-1951; and memos.

Series 5. Photographs

Photographs of St. Louis, New Orleans, and St. Paul waterfronts, circa 1953, can be found in this series.

Series 6. Newspaper Clippings

Newspaper clippings pertaining to the St. Louis riverfront are arranged chronologically from 1944 through 1960.

If you have questions regarding archives holdings, contact Archivist Jennifer Clark at the JNEM Archives at (voice) 314-655-1600. Appointments are encouraged, if possible.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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