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The Industries of Saint Louis

The Industries of Saint Louis

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Excerpt from The Industries of Saint Louis: Her Relations as a Center of Trade, Manufacturing Establishments and Business Houses

There is no luck of evidence of the fact that the spot upon which St. Louis now stands, and the country contiguous to it, formed the habitation, centuries ago, of races now extinct or represented only by a debased progeny, long since transplanted to other climes. The inquiry into the traits and characteristics of the Mound Builders and the measure of their advancement from barbarism, while interesting to the ethnologist or antiquarian, has no material bearing upon the history of St. Louis, which began, so far as the present has any important connection with it, one hundred and twenty-three years ago.

The record of the city since then has been one of steady and sturdy growth. Originally established as a fur trading pose, and aspiring to nothing greater for nearly half a century, the town began to develop, after the American occupation, a position as an important distributive point, and to assume, as population and productiveness increased in the vicinity, the place for which she was so eminently lined by her incomparable location and the physical advantages which had been so bountifully bestowed upon her by Nature. Later, by deliberate but sure and substantial advancement, the manufacturing interests of the city grew from small beginnings to gigantic proportions, and the city of to day, one of the greatest, wealthiest and most prosperous on the continent, and the undisputed metropolis of the Mississippi Valley, is the result of the patient but sanguine industry, the sagacious improvement of opportunities, the energy and enterprise of her progressive citizens.

AS an appropriate introduction to the presentation of the facts and statistics of the present, it will be proper to briefly sketch a few of the salient features of the city's early history, showing the progressive stages of the wonderful development of a primitive hamlet into a city of the first class.

Pioneer Days.

DeSoto crossed the Mississippi in 1511: Marquette sailed down it to the mouth of the Arkansas River in 1673, and La Salle explored its entire length in 1682. All these events, with the inspiring narratives of those who participated in them. offered the Stimulus and prepared the way for the settlement of the Mississippi Valley and, as a consequence, of St. Louis, its center and metropolis.

St. Louis had its origin in the adventurous and enterprising spirit of a business man, bound on a business errand. The firm of Maxent, Laclede & Co., of New Orleans, obtained in 1762, from the Governor General of Louisiana, a grant of exclusive control of the fur trade with the Missouri and other tribes of Indians inhabiting this region.

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