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Fascinating Historical Photos Of St. Louis From The Early 20th Century

St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri state. The area was initially inhabited by Native Americans before the European Settlement. In the mid-19th century, a large number of German immigrants arrived in the city, and the population was multiplied from 20,000 in 1840 to over 160,000 by the end of the 1860s. After the civil war, the railroad network and several industries such as flour milling, machining, slaughtering, paper making, tobacco processing, and brewing were constructed in the city. St. Louis became home to whiskey distilleries. The city hosted the 1904 World’s Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics. The Prohibition-era brought heavy losses to the brewing industry of St. Louis, and unemployment rose to peak during the Great Depression. In the 1930s, relief operations were started in the city to aid the unemployment. After World War II, the population reached a peak of more than 880,000 in 1950.

These stunning historical photos show St. Louis from the early 20th century capturing streets, roads, landmarks, cityscapes, and everyday life of people.

#1 Broadway north from Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1900

Broadway north from Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1900

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#2 Fountain in front of Union Station, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1940

Fountain in front of Union Station, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1940

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#3 Eads Bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis, Missouri, 1901

#5 A young girl plays a violin while standing on lily pad in front of Linnean House at Shaw’s Garden, 1900–1910.

#6 Street crew backfilling after laying new underground utilities, Sarah Avenue near Washington Boulevard, 1912.

#7 Railroad tracks, St. Louis, Missouri, January 1939

#8 Street in oldest part of town which is being torn down, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1940

#9 Looking east on Locust Street (Lucas Place) from Sixteenth Street, 1914

#10 Street sweeper truck reading “Dust Is Death,” on an unidentified street in St. Louis, 1916

#11 Crowd watching a horse being pulled out of a hole. Photograph, 1910–1920.

#12 Intersection of Fourteenth Street and Washington Avenue, 1920s

#13 Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch, Jefferson near Franklin, St. Louis, 1910

#14 Exhibition Building, St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1906

#15 Street pavers at work on Compton Avenue north of Meramec Street, 1906

#16 Planters Hotel, Fourth and Chestnut, St. Louis circa 1901

#18 Burns Basement Branch, A dark dirty cellar, 3518 Evans Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1910

#19 Red St. Clair and his pals hanging around Murphy’s Branch, St. Louis, Missouri, 1910

#20 Two boys working in Inland Type Foundry, St Louis, Missouri, May 1910

#21 Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch, Jefferson near Franklin, St. Louis, Missouri, May 9, 1910

#22 Scraps of paper blowing on bridge, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1940

#23 Jefferson Street Gang of newsboys, St. Louis, Missouri, ,May 7, 1910

#24 Northwest corner of Twelfth and Market Streets, Prendergast Lumber Company is pictured at 1201 Market Street

#26 Intersection of Biddle and Thirteenth streets looking north, 1900

#27 Construction work on St. Charles Street east of Seventh Street, 1900

#28 Walter J. Noble Saloon featuring an Owl Brand Cigar billboard, 2 North Eighteenth Street or 2300 Chestnut Street, 1909

#29 Franklin and Fifteenth streets looking west, 1900-1910

#30 Southwest corner of Broadway and Locust, 1904-1914

#31 Shoppers gathered by sidewalk produce outside the Theodore Prieshoff Grocery, 1929

#32 Strand Motion Picture Theater entrance at 419 North Sixth Street featuring advertisement for the movie Bootles’ Baby, 1915

#33 Automobile fueling at one of the first gas stations in St. Louis, operated by the Pierce Oil Company at 4614 Washington Boulevard, 1916

#34 Two girls examining a bulletin board posted on a fence, ca. 1911–1921

#35 Adams Express Company, one of the many young boys working as assistants on express wagons, St. Louis, 1910

#36 The boy on the right, nicknamed Turk, St. Louis, May 1910

#38 Johnnie Burns, a newsie who sells on Grand Avenue, St. Louis, May 1910

#39 Newsies smoking at Skeeter’s branch, St. Louis, Missouri, May 9, 1910

#40 Newsies from Johnston’s Branch adjoining Saloon at 10th & Cass Street, St. Louis, Missouri. May 1910

#41 An eight year old newsie named Gurley at 18th & Washington Streets, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1910

#42 Downtown street on Sunday morning, St. Louis, May 1940

#43 Bundle Boys at Nugent’s, Washington and Broadway, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1910

#44 A hobo jungle along the riverfront in St. Louis, Missouri, March 1936

#45 Livers, a young newsie. St. Louis, Missouri, May 1910

#46 Street cleaner at Twenty-First and Chestnut streets, 1900.

#47 Posters covering a wall of the Louis Bohle Undertaking and Livery building at 1125–9 Market Street advertising vaudeville shows at the Talbot’s Hippodrome, 1907

#48 A pair of signs by the Housing and Sanitation Committee Civic League pushing for the abolition of public outhouses, 1910

#49 Group of men standing in front of the Globe Shaving Parlor at 1015 Carr, 1910

#50 An African-American drumming group perform on the back of a truck carrying a banner that reads “All Together All the Time Makes It Easy to Keep St. Louis Clean” on Market Street, 1912

#51 Movers pause for a break outside Harry Kram’s Missouri-Illinois Live Fish Market, 1307 Biddle, ca. 1914–1924

#53 Grain elevator on riverfront, St. Louis, Missouri, January 1939

#54 Joe Manning, a newspaper seller, St Louis, Missouri, May 1910

#55 Olive Street west from Sixth, St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1900

#57 Mo. Truants selling papers at Jefferson & Washington, St. Louis, May 9, 1910

#58 Truants like these may be found most any day between 11 a.m. & noon. Jefferson Street near Washington, St. Louis, Missouri, ,May 1910

#60 Southeast corner of Market and Fourteenth streets including Mielke’s Lunch Stand, Hotel Francis and Walter J. Noble Whiskey and Wine, 1900

#61 Magazines on display in the storefront window of the M.C. Kalis Drugstore at 4878 Easton Avenue, 1906

#62 Bystanders observing street construction at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Olive Street, 1907

#63 Detail of street lamps outside Louis Weil’s Gents’ Furnishings shop at 2822 Manchester Avenue, 1901

#64 A newsboy stands in the rubble of street repair work on Olive Boulevard looking west toward Grand Avenue, 1907

#66 Men going through a rubbish pile on the riverfront south of Municipal Free Bridge, 1910

#67 View looking north on Taylor Avenue from the intersection of Fairfax Avenue. Gruber’s Saloon and Buffet is at 1038 North Taylor Avenue, 1910

#68 Doorman and police officer in front of Globe Store, Seventh and Franklin streets, 1905–1915

#69 A woman bundled in winter wear at an unidentified street corner in front of advertisements for the movies The Round Up at the Olympic Theatre and The Girl from Rector’s showing at the Century Theatre, 1917

#70 North side of Market Street between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets, 1920

#71 Photographer Arthur Rothstein somewhere in St. Louis, January 1939

Photographer Arthur Rothstein somewhere in St. Louis, January 1939

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#72 Girls in a swimming class entertain an audience of neighborhood residents at Mullanphy Pool, at Eleventh Street, between Cass Avenue and Mullanphy, 1914

Girls in a swimming class entertain an audience of neighborhood residents at Mullanphy Pool, at Eleventh Street, between Cass Avenue and Mullanphy, 1914

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#73 A Pool Room at Chouteau & Manchester, St. Louis, May 1910

A Pool Room at Chouteau & Manchester, St. Louis, May 1910

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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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