What St. Louis looked like in the 1950s Through these Fascinating Photos

Step back in time to the 1950s, an era of poodle skirts, sock hops, and the soothing melodies of crooners filling the airwaves. Close your eyes and imagine the sweet scent of apple pie wafting through the window of a charming, all-American diner. As you stroll down memory lane, you’ll find yourself in the bustling heart of the Midwest: St. Louis, Missouri. This enchanting city stood as the Gateway to the West and a cultural epicenter during this iconic decade.

Let us take you on a nostalgic journey through the lively streets of St. Louis in the 1950s, when the city’s spirit was alive with the promise of progress and the excitement of discovery.

The city’s heart swelled with pride as the St. Louis Cardinals took to the baseball diamond. In the 1950s, the Cardinals were a force to be reckoned with, clinching the World Series title in 1957. Fans clad in red and white flocked to Sportsman’s Park to witness the legendary Stan “The Man” Musial swing his bat and cement his place in the annals of baseball history.

The city’s cultural scene also thrived, with the Gateway Arch beginning its ascent to the sky, forever altering the St. Louis skyline. Designed by the renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the gleaming stainless steel monument reached its apex in 1965, symbolizing the city’s role as the Gateway to the West and a testament to the indomitable spirit of the American people.

Amid the bustle of downtown St. Louis, the Gaslight Square entertainment district emerged as the crown jewel of the city’s nightlife. Gaslight Square, an eclectic mix of jazz clubs, bars, and theaters, was the stomping ground for local and nationally acclaimed artists. The air was alive with the smoky jazz notes as Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie graced the stages, casting their musical spells on eager audiences.

The city’s charm extended to its streets, where the clanging of streetcars and the hum of vintage automobiles created a symphony. Classic cars with fins and chrome accents gleamed in the sun, reflecting the optimism of a nation on the brink of unparalleled prosperity.

The spirit of innovation extended to the kitchen as well. The 1950s saw the birth of the iconic St. Louis-style pizza at Imo’s Pizza, where the thin, crispy crust and Provel cheese became a staple of the city’s culinary scene. As families gathered around Formica-topped tables, they shared slices of this local delicacy, savoring the flavors that have since become synonymous with the city.

In the 1950s, St. Louis was a city of dreams, where pursuing progress and embracing tradition intermingled to create a unique tapestry of American life. The echoes of laughter, music, and the chattering of friendly neighbors filled the air. At the same time, the clink of glass soda bottles and the whirl of malt shop jukeboxes provided a comforting soundtrack to this unforgettable era.

#1 The World’s Fair Pavillion at Forest Park, 1950.

#3 Anheuser-Busch Brewery – Newark Plant Picketers,1952

#5 Alcoholics Anonymous Bought This residence at 4522 Lindell blvd for a meeting plce, 1950

#7 Montclair Apartments – Sitting room with furniture, 1951

#8 First National Bank’s building at Broard and Locust street looked before remodeling began, 1956

#9 Winston Churchill Apartments – Looking northeast on Cabanne Ave, 1950

#12 Bank of St. Louis – Air Conditioning Installment, 1950

#13 Missouri’s present bar on branch banking is this $30,000 hole-in-the-ground. Lindell Trust Company, 2745 North Grand Bl., 1950

#14 Moving Day started yesterday for the Mississippi Valley Trust Company, 1950

#15 Manufacturers Bank and Trust Co. before modernization took place, 1950

#16 Mercantile Bank employes sitting in the staff longe on the 7th floor, 1950

#17 Boatmen’s Bank building on Broadway between Locust and Olive streets will be controlled by Superior Construction Company upon completion of a stock transfer now under way, 1950

#22 The new Loughborough avenue bridge over the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks was opened to traffic yesterday, 1957

#27 A wall of the old Telegraphers’ National Bank Building forms a pile of debris after its sudden collapse during wrecking operations at the Broadway and Pine street site, 1958

#28 Plaza Apartments – Area to be cleared for Plaza development, 1955

#33 Plaza Apartments – Buildings to be demolished for development, 1955

#34 Plaza Apartments – Construction, elevated view, 1950

#35 Plaza Apartments – Mayor Tucker swings the wrecking ball, 1955

#36 New Location For United Bank & Trust Company, 1958

#37 Exterior of Monticello Apartments, at 4535 Lindell Blvd. Henry R. Weisels Co., Realtors, 1957

#44 View of Market Street from Fifteenth Street before plaza clearance, 1955

#46 Anheuser-Busch Brewery – Elks Clebratory Arch, 1964

#47 St. Louis Building Named For Air Force Colonel, 1954

#50 Anheuser-Busch Brewery – Stable to be Razed, 1958

#54 Building A Northwest Corner of Grand & St. Louis ave. 1958

#57 The old Coliseum at Washington boulevard and Jefferson avenue, 1953

#58 Work progresses on the widening of South Broadway at its intersection with Jefferson and Chippewa, 1950

#62 The Largest Bank Under One Roof–Mercantile Trust Co, 1951

#63 Plaza Apartments – Debris from demolition, 1955

#64 The Carling Brewery Company’s Brewing Process, 1957

#65 Montclair Apartments – Exterior view of building, 1953

#67 The St. Mary Magdalen Boy Scout troops march in the school parade, June, 1955.

#68 Pigskin Park-and-Ride Scores at Union Station, 1959

#70 The gymnasium/auditorium of the National Hall of the Czechoslovak Society of America, located on Dolman and Allen avenues, 1950.

#71 The entrance of a bar located at 4055 Olive Street St. Louis, 1958

#75 Fleet of taxis parked outside the Black and White Cabs company. Eads Bridge in the background, 1956

#76 Anheuser-Busch Brewery – Beer Stacked for Shipment, 1957

#79 Anheuser-Busch Brewery – Machinist Union Picket, 1952

#81 Anheuser-Busch Brewery – Emission Reduction, 1951

#84 Sight of Downtown section space before it was built into a bank, 1951

#88 Families Of 77 Servicemen, 1951. Killed in WWII filed behind chaplains and an honor guard yesterday as they would through Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

#90 Boards and girders hang crazily after this one-lane bridge on Old Baumgartner road over Mattese Creek in south St. Louis, 1955

#93 The Unprotected Opening Of The McKinley Bridge, 1955

#94 Deteriorated Steel-Work On The Twenty-First Street Bridge, 1956

#95 Path of Fatal Plunge At The President Apartments, 1951

#96 Garment District Building, at the southeast corner of Thirteenth street and Washington avenue, figured in a trade last week, 1955

#97 A mud hole, attended by children, in the rear of 1100 block of Scott next to Jefferson Barracks, 1955

#99 Jefferson Barracks – Telegraph and Lemay Ferry, Aerial View, 1959

#100 Traffic safety pledges were signed by Flagstaff Brewing Corporation’s 125 truck drivers, 1953

#101 Police officers inspect scene of a bombing at the AFL bricklayers’ union, 1953

#102 Built In 176 Working Hours, 1953. This new addition for the Alligator Company at 4153 Bingham ave. was completed a month from the date it was started.

#104 MacArthur Bridge-Traffic Was Tied Up Again, 1957

#105 MacArthur Bridge workmen break up old pavement in preparation for resurfacing the span, 1985

#106 Heavy steel guard rails at the curb line protect curves on the east approach to MacArthur Bridge, where three persons have been killed in less than eight days, 1950

#107 The MacArthur Bridge, Formerly Named The Free Bridge, 1953

#109 Eads Bridge-Plunging 85 Feet, 1953. Plunging 85 feet in his taxicab from the eastern approach of Eads Bridge, an East St. Louis cab driver was killed last night.

#115 Rows of taxicabs parked outside the Black and White Cab company, 1950

#117 Twenty-Third and Cole Streets – Tenement Collapse,

#118 Bly-Moss West, the new Bly-Moss Furniture Company store at Clayton and Lindbergh roads in Ladue, 1953

#121 Police Stand Guard At Jefferson Bank and Trust, 1956

#125 Burlington Grain Elevator – On Its Way Down, 1954

#127 Demolition of the Burlington Grain Elevator, 1953

#128 Board of Education Building-Audio-Visual Demonstration, 1951

#129 Demolition of the historic Coliseum at Washington and Jefferson avenues, 1953

#134 Schematic of a Building for the State Division of Employment Security at Broadway, 1958

#135 New Building for the State Division of Employment Security, 1959

#136 Site for Office Building at Washington and Broadway, 1958

#138 New State Office Building at 505 Washington ave, 1955

#139 Throngs of women pour into the Shenandoah Theater (above) for two films on cancer presented at 23 St. Louis area theaters by The Globe-Democrat and the American Cancer Society’s St. Louis and St. Louis County unit, 1959

#140 Capacity crowd attends showing of cancer films at Loew’s Orpheum Theater, 1959

#144 the “Lift-Slab” Technique of Construction, 1955

#149 Architect’s conception of how the building at 819 Locust Street will appear after it is completely remodeled and converted into the Downtown Medical Building, 1958

#151 The A. And L. Dunn Load & Mercantile Company,1950

#153 The old Conroy building at Eleventh and Olvie streets, which was built in 1875, has become the new and modern Eleven Hundred Olive building, 1958

#155 Old company building at Eleventh and Olive, 1958

#157 A Veterinarian Went On Duty at the Dog Pound, 1953

#158 Exercise kennels are available for warm weather. They adjoin inside cages, 1955

#160 The City Harbor Office on St. Louis’ River Front, 1959

#162 Building a defense against itself, the Mississippi sends sand and silt from a dredge far out in the river through a submerged pipe and up over the bank to the location of a new earthen levee, 1959

#164 Industrial Acres for Warehousing, Packaging and Shipping, 1959

#165 A mass of balloons being released over St. Louis, 1956

#168 Residential with no cost limit was won by William T. Schoen… with a chimney star, 1955

#170 A winter scene with an animated Santa Claus and reindeer at the Winston Churchill Apartments, 1957

#171 Ice floes appear on the Mississippi for the first time at St. Louis this winter, 1955

#175 Nellie Fox filed out to Frank Robinson in short left field to end the second inning after the American League All-Stars had scored two runs, 1957

#181 Steamboat David R. Powell carrying varying cargo from St. Louis, 1952

#182 Close up view of the City Hall Building’s window, 1955

#184 Workers at the Central Concrete Company plant at 2231 Papin St. began repairing the long conveyor belt which carries cement and gravel to the mixer, 1953

#187 Catholic Women’s League Day Care Nursery 1515 N. Market: Playground: New “Climber” Creates Clamor, 1959

#188 City Hall, A New and Eye-Catching Landscape, 1957

#190 Bare flag pole, located between City Hall and the Municipal Courts Building, 1956

#197 City Hall was Bathed in a Symphony of red, green and amber harmony last night as teh colored spot lights denoting the Christmas season were turned on. In the background, looking west is the Federal Building, 1955

#198 Collapsed Wall at Controlled Casting Company foundry, 1952

#199 3617 Olive St. Formaly was Grand National Bank of St. Louis, 1958

#200 Exterior outdoor view of the Grain Silo with parked cars, 1954

#201 Before remodeling the commercial building northeast corner of Sixth and Olive streets, it looked like this in 1951

#206 A view of downtown St. Louis with a shot of City Hall, 1958

#213 Street Scene, looking east on Market street from Theresa street about 5 p. m., 1955

#215 Broadway street. Looking north from Chestnut, 1959

#218 South Broadway Street. Looking north from St. George Street, 1956

#219 Old cannon from World War I alarms small public area where Broadway curves slightly at Gasconade, 1956

#224 Life General American Insurance Co. Building, 1958

#227 Broadway Street. Looking south from St. Charles, 1956

#228 Building at 11th & Locust looking north on 11th, 1958

#229 The building of the First National Bank with people passing it by, 1950

The building of the First National Bank with people passing it by, 1950

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#230 Overflow crown protests Jefferson Barracks housing project, 1950

Overflow crown protests Jefferson Barracks housing project, 1950

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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