Famous Folks from the STL
Stroll St. Louis’ Walk of Fame on Delmar in University City to get a taste of the city’s famous sons and daughters. Musicians with stars on the St. Louis sidewalk range from old-school celebs like Josephine Baker and Miles Davis to today’s top artists, like Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles and Nelly. Chuck Berry still plays regularly to sold-out crowds at Blueberry Hill on Delmar, and St. Louis was home to both Ike and Tina Turner. The Lou’s writing talent includes Tennessee Williams and Maya Angelou. Actors like Vincent Price, Phyllis Diller and John Goodman have stars on the walk, and St. Louis wouldn’t have been the same without local sports stars like Stan Musial and Ozzie Smith.
Food & Drink Origins In the Lou
In 1929, a sweet, bubbly beverage called “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda” was introduced in St. Louis by Charles Leiper Grigg. In 1936, the name was changed to 7-Up. No one is sure how Grigg chose the new name, but it’s been fairly successsful. Some other food products that were first introduced in St. Louis include toasted ravioli and fried ice cream. The hotel practice of placing a chocolate on your pillow originated here, as well, at the Mayfair Hotel. According to the Mayfair, the custom started when Cary Grant wanted to use chocolate to lure a woman into his bed. Grant laid a trail of chocolates from his parlor suite into the bedroom, leaving the final chocolate on the pillow. The Mayfair decided that was a great idea and a new tradition was born.
Other St. Louis Firsts
We usually think of innovation happening on the East or West Coast and trickling into fly-over country, but the truth is a lot of important things started smack-dab in the middle of the nation. The first public Kindergarten in the U.S. was opened at the Des Peres School at Carondelet in 1873. Mike Morgan of the St. Louis Browns was reportedly the first baseball catcher to wear a catcher’s mask, around 1877. The first Interstate highway to be constructed was I-70 in St. Charles in the late 1950s. St. Louis police was the first police department to use the new fingerprinting technique for identification, in 1904. St. Louis has always been a major sports town, and in 1904 the city was the first U.S. city to host the Olympics.
The Lou’s Biggest And Best
Did you know that St. Louisans consume more barbecue sauce than any other city population in the country? It’s true. In addition to the usual ribs and pulled pork, we also eat it on sliced pork butt, which is unique to the STL. We call the resulting meat cuts “pork steaks.” Our Gateway Arch is 630 feet tall, which makes it the tallest monument in the U.S. You can take a tram ride to the top of the arch and enjoy the spectacular views. There is an underground Museum of Westward Expansion beneath the Arch grounds, too. Another entry most St. Louisans would put in the “biggest and best” category is the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales. We are certain they are the biggest and most fabulous horses in the world. You can visit them at Grant’s Farm, one of the city’s best free attractions.
Some Other Tidbits
The Chain of Rocks Bridge, just north of the city, is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, and allows you to walk right across the mighty Mississippi. And here’s a not-so-flattering factoid: the movie “Escape from New York” was mostly filmed in St. Louis to get that gritty post-apocolyptic feeling.
Related: Top Bed & Breakfasts In St. Louis
Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com