Saint Louis University Has 46-Year History of Negotiating with Protesters

Danny Wicentowski
Hundreds of students and protesters gathered around the Saint Louis University clock tower in October, and organizers demanded an end to "white supremacy."
Saint Louis University is having a bit of a statue problem.

The statue, a proposed monument to the Occupy SLU movement of students and protesters who camped out on the school's midtown campus for six days in October, has raised the self-righteous hackles of some of the Jesuit university's alumni. Some donors have threatened to cut off support. One alumna told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she closed her wallet because SLU president Fred Pestello chose to negotiate with the protesters, a sign that the St. Louis institution is becoming a "liberal environment."

Indeed, with all the hubbub over Pestello's handling of Occupy SLU and subsequent donor condemnation, you'd be forgiven for thinking the recent news coming out of SLU is, well, new. You would be wrong. A look back at the 1969 occupation of SLU's Ritter Hall reveals that negotiating with protesters has long been part of the university's heritage.

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For Sale: Stunningly Detailed 1875 Maps of Old St. Louis

Categories: History

The Eads Bridge, as recorded in the equivalent of the 1875 version of Google Maps.
If you could take a hot air balloon in 1875 and drift through the squalid sky above St. Louis, you'd see a city bustling with breweries, horse-drawn carriages, trains skimming the riverfront and ferries chugging beneath the Eads Bridge.

Such was the view granted to a group of artists who took to the skies between 1874 and 1876 to furiously sketch St. Louis -- each home, building and street in the burgeoning metropolis. The result was a staggeringly detailed perspective map, arguably the most impressive ever made, titled Pictorial St. Louis: The Great Metropolis of the Mississippi Valley, a Topographical Survey Drawn in Perspective A.D. 1875.

The map has attracted a cult following among cartography buffs, and first editions can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. So it came as a bit of shock when Brandon Clark nabbed a largely intact original for less than $100 at an estate sale last May.

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Archaeologists Dig in Brooklyn, IL for Signs of Slave-Freeing Founder Priscilla Baltimore

Categories: History

Danny Wicentowski
Joseph Galloy and a team of archaeologists are digging into Brooklyn, Illinois this week.
Brooklyn, Illinois has two things going for it: History and strip clubs. Even with a population of just 650, the village is arguably the Sin City of the Metro East.

Yet, just a few blocks away from the neon fleshpots on South 3rd Street, the other side of Brooklyn is coming to life. On the corner of Madison and South 6th streets, a team of state archaeologists are digging for evidence of the home owned by Priscilla "Mother" Baltimore, a former slave who founded the settlement in 1829. Not only did Baltimore become a well-known abolitionist who sheltered runaway slaves in the home that the archaeologists are searching for, the town she founded ended up becoming the first in the nation to be incorporated with a black-majority population.

"People still venerate her, they see her as the founding mother of the town," says Miranda Yancey-Bailey, a research archaeologist with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey.

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Love for Van Halen, Dirty Dancing Ranks Missouri at No. 5 for 1980s Nostalgia

Categories: History

All maps via Estately
Illinois decided to "just say no" to the '80s, it seems.
Do you still wear slap bracelets, bubble necklaces or jellies? Do you have to blow on your video games before they'll play right? Have you used a Skip-It in the last year?

You may be part of the reason why Missouri ranks at No. 5 when it comes to having serious nostalgia for the 1980s.

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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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