Visit St. Louis in 2014 to Help Celebrate 250th Birthday Celebration

Do not miss the opportunity to share in the celebration of this very special event in the heartland of the USA. The Heritage Tourist heartily recommends your consideration.

St. Louis, Missouri, is prepared to show how a city celebrates a 250th Anniversary. Three years of planning for the full year of 2014 was kicked off on December 31, 2013 with the First Night in Grand Center New Year's Eve event with a 250th birthday theme. All elements of the city participated. Grand Center is a four block arts and entertainment district located in midtown St. Louis near Saint Louis University. See many more details at the official website:, including a free app.

The Missouri History Museum has accepted the challenge of "how do you crystallize 250 years" of the city with their "250 in 250" exhibit with showcases snapshots from the history of St. Louis. This exhibit will focus on 50 people, 50 places, 50 moments, 50 images, and 50 objects that reflect the diversity, complexity, and richness of the city's history. The exhibition will run from February 14th through February of the following year (2015).

The city was officially founded in 1764 as a fur trading post by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau. Chouteau was a very young man when he stepped off a small river boat of Laclede's onto a spot on the grounds now occupied by the Gateway Arch, constructed in 1964. At the time, it was chosen as "little more than a sloping bluff clearing" where shelter was available from the swelling Mississippi River compared to other lowland spots. When Laclede arrived to see the progress on the trading post at the site, later in 1764, he named it "St. Louis in honor of St. Louis IX, the famed 13th century medieval king of France and patron saint of the current king, Louis XV."

A series of events were held on Valentine's Day weekend, February 14-16, to observe the historic founding of St. Louis. Historians agree the founding occurred in February, but documents that might pinpoint the exact date have been lost to antiquity.

During the 10 months from March through December 2014, a strong sense of civic pride or "community attachment" in its citizens will be spotlighted each month with 10 indicators celebrated: social offerings, leadership, openness, economy, aesthetics, safety, education, social capital, basic services, and civic involvement. A leader was quoted as saying, "We want the region to carry this excitement into the next 50 years."

The St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL, during the summer, will host the special exhibition "From Chouteau to Scharf: The Early Histories of St. Louis." Through rare manuscripts and numerous published histories, visitors will see how the city's history was explored and interpreted through time. Established in 1846 by civic leaders and philanthropists, the Mercantile exists today as a vibrant cultural resource for St. Louis.

Running from May 9 through Sunday, August 3, the  Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will host the "Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World's Fair" selection of artworks from the Museum's permanent collection. Located near the corner of Skinker and Forsyth Boulevards, the Kemper Art Museum is directly west of Forest Park on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis.

Fair Saint Louis this year, Thursday, July 3, at noon, to Saturday, July 5, at 8 pm., moves to Forest Park for an entirely new celebration experience in addition to Fair Saint Louis favorites, such as headlining concerts, spectacular fireworks and a Kids Zone. Get detailed information on the Fair Saint Louis celebration at:

These are just a few samples of the many events throughout the year for your education and entertainment during the 250th Birthday Celebration of St. Louis, Missouri. I hope you are able to visit sometime during this distinctive year of activities.


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About TheHeritageTourist

Dr. Bill Smith is the author of The Heritage Tourist, a monthly column in The In-Depth Genealogist which focuses on the social context of travel and history when applied to our genealogy. He can be found blogging at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories. Dr. Smith is also author and creator of "The Homeplace Saga" series of historical family stories (currently four books) set in a rural community in the southern Missouri Ozarks, drawn from his family history and genealogy passions and life experiences.

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