Inside the City's "Vault": Cardinals' 1917 Incorporation Papers and More [PHOTOS]

Categories: Cardinals, History

St. Louis Recorder of Deeds
The modern St. Louis Cardinals were birthed from these incorporation papers, signed 1917. (Read the full documents on the next page.)
There's a mess in the bowels of City Hall, but St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Florida is digging through it. With gusto.

"It's almost a million documents, so we have an overwhelming hurdle," says Florida, describing the massive trove St. Louis history stockpiled in the four storage areas managed by her office.

Appointed by Mayor Francis Slay last month after then-Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter admitted to dabbling in nepotism, Florida says she's found many of the office's records in dire need of preservation. But there are treasures to find as well, like the perfect reproductions of the Cardinals' 97-year-old incorporation documents.

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Steve McQueen's Missouri Years, an Illustrated History

Categories: Arts, History

Illustration by Tim Lane
Long before actor Steve McQueen famously hopped behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang in Bullitt or broke out of a POW camp in The Great Escape, the actor -- once dubbed the "King of Cool" -- was a rejected child, living on a hog farm in central Missouri.

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How a St. Louis Pilot Stopped a Helicopter Prison Break

Categories: History

Paula Enders
St. Louis' late, great Allen Barkalge, demonstrating the art of not getting hijacked.
In case you missed the news over the weekend, Quebec is having a bit of a problem with hardcore criminals escaping prison by helicopter. On Saturday, a green-colored chopper landed in the courtyard of a detention center in suburban Quebec. It took off with three inmates, two of whom are facing murder charges.

The escape is Quebec's second daring helicopter prison break in two years. In March 2013, a helicopter pilot was forced at gunpoint to hover over a different prison while two inmates shimmied up rope ladders.

This got us thinking: Somebody has to tell Quebec about Allen Barklage.

A former Vietnam combat pilot, Barklage nearly died on May 24, 1978 while foiling a passengers' attempt to hijack his helicopter for a prison break in Marion, Illinois.

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St. Louis' Gay History On Display at Cherokee Street Gallery Before Big Move to Museum

Categories: History, LGBT

Photos courtesy of PHD Gallery
Lee Maynard and a Cher-inspired feathered Indian costume from 1973.
Remember the gay-history exhibit coming to the Missouri History Museum? The one that revealed the homophobic worst in St. Louis' online commenters?

Turns out, there's no need to wait for the history museum to catalog and archive before seeing Steven Brawley's collection of historical LGBT artifacts reaching back six decades. A sampling of the collection is on display at the phd gallery's exhibition, "A History of Queer: Selections from the St. Louis LGBT History Project," through February -- one final stop before officially becoming part of the museum's conservancy.

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10 Places to Hold St. Louis' 250th Birthday Celebration That Aren't Forest Park

Categories: History

Forest Park Forever
Forest Park's World's Fair Pavilion.
Don't get us wrong: Forest Park is a jewel.

Larger than Central Park, our urban oasis sees more visitors each year than the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium combined. We totally understand why folks organizing St. Louis' 250th birthday party want to host it at Forest Park over Valentine's Day weekend.

What if -- just hang in there with us for a minute -- we held St. Louis' 250th anniversary in a place that wasn't wilderness when the city was founded? What if we chose a location closer to the heart of the city instead of a park founded 112 years later?

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The Best Homophobic Freak-Outs Over the LGBT Exhibit at Missouri History Museum

Categories: History, LGBT

bark on flickr
Missouri is on the verge of launching the first mainstream queer museum collection in the region, prompting some epic freak-outs from anti-LGBT commenters on Facebook.

The collection of gay St. Louis historical artifacts -- including drag-queen outfits, protest signs, pride-parade souvenirs and more from the last 60 years -- sits in Steven Brawley's basement for now, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Missouri History Museum is eyeing the piles of memorabilia, called the St. Louis LGBT History Project, for a queer history exhibit.

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Why Don't We Hang at the Arch More? 5 Amazing Ideas to Get St. Louis to the Gateway

Categories: History

Dougtone on Flickr
We should go here more.
A particularly tech-savvy park ranger is behind a growing online conversation over attracting more people to the riverfront for events at the Gateway Arch.

"National Park Service wants you to come hang out at the park," posts law enforcement ranger Coty Stief on Reddit. "What kind of programs would you like to see us host to accomplish that?"

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Local Photographer "Blends" Old St. Louis With New in These Photos

Categories: History

Francis Horton
Oftentimes the history of a city can be drowned out and forgotten by the present. But Francis Horton decided to create a reminder of the past by blending it with the present.

In these seven photos, Horton, a 30-year-old IT professional, journalist, photographer, and army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, found historical photos of different locations in St. Louis and used Photoshop to blend them with new photos. The result is haunting and fascinating.

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Cab Driver David Riordan is the Keeper of St. Louis' Haunted History

Categories: History

Photos by Benjamin Hoste
David Riordan, the man behind tours of haunted St. Louis
Ghosts are said to roam St. Louis' riverfront where thousands have succumbed to cholera, duels and other untimely deaths, and, for a price, David Riordan -- a former commodities-baron-slash-lawyer-slash-millionaire-turned-cab-driver -- will be your guide.

Walking through Laclede's Landing at night is scary enough without the promise of spooky stories. Riordan takes tourists under subway tracks and through dark alleyways near the Gateway Arch, corners typical St. Louisans avoid at night.

"If someone comes out of the woods with a chainsaw, run like hell; it's the real thing," Riordan tells his tours.

A seventh-generation St. Louisan, Riordan meets groups at Morgan Street Brewery, then guides them to spots like Clamorgan Alley, which Riordan calls "the most haunted place in St. Louis by far," where thousands of bodies were stacked during an 1849 cholera outbreak until Irish immigrant workers moved them across town.

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Portraits of the Spooky, Abandoned Ballroom in the Jefferson Arms (PHOTOS)

Categories: History

Courtesy Michael Allen
Your credit's fine, Mr. Torrance.

"Hi, Lloyd. Little slow tonight, idn't it?"

Yes, it is Mr. Torrance. That's because since roughly the 1950s, the Gold Room at the Hotel Jefferson -- later renamed the Jefferson Arms when it became senior housing -- was essentially shut down. And though hidden and dilapidated, the spacious room appears roughly the same as it did some 80 years ago when it was declared "brilliantly decorated with gold the predominating color" in an advertisement in the Belleville News-Democrat in 1928.

That's all according to Michael R. Allen, who wrote a wonderful post about it on his blog for the Preservation Research Office. Click through to see a collection of haunting portraits of the room. Happy Halloween, Mr. Torrance.

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