11 February 2019

St. Louis City Streets Now and Then

Queries about St. Louis streets, their locations, old and new names, and numbering, pop up often in our StLGS Facebook group because of their importance to genealogists, so this week, we have put together a few resources to guide you in finding your way through that part of St. Louis's history.

St. Louis City Streets: Numbering

StLGS treasurer, Viki Fagyal, found the following information describing the way the streets in St. Louis were numbered:

“The present system of numbering the houses in the city was adopted by an ordinance of the Common Council, and approved December 18th, 1866. The numbering of all houses fronting on public streets in the city of St. Louis shall be in conformity to the following rules, to wit: the odd numbers apply to the north and west sides of the streets, the even numbers to the south and east sides. Market street is the dividing line north and south, at which line numbering begins and increases at the rate of one hundred for each block.

On all streets running in a westerly direction from the river, numbering begins at the wharf in like manner of one hundred to each block. The general rule being that one hundred numbers shall represent each block going west from the river, also the same north or south from Market Street."

Above from: Henry Tanner and John B. Lee, compilers, St. Louis City Guide and Business Directory, Being a Full and Comprehensive Guide to the Public Buildings, Churches, Places of Amusement, Halls, Parks, Hotels, Railroads, and Objects of Interest in and Around the City, also a Classified Business Directory of the Leading Wholesale and Retail Business Houses, Manufactories, etc., St. Louis: St. Louis Book and News Co., 1868, 26.

St. Louis City Streets: Neighborhoods

The City of St. Louis has historically been made up of neighborhoods. In 1978, Norbury L. Wayman published a series of neighborhood histories for the St. Louis Community Development Agency, and the text is now online. Twenty-seven historic neighborhoods are located on a map of St. Louis and each link to the left of the map is live. You can click here to go to the website. Be sure to explore each link in each neighborhood for the wealth of information contained there.

St. Louis City Streets: Street Names

As with most cities, over time the names of streets have changed. For a comprehensive guide to the changes in St. Louis, you will want to look at the two columns on the website created by genealogist Steve Morse. This is a bare-bones list of old and new names that may help unlock a few mystery streets for you. Click here to go to the site.

For modern street names connected to maps, try this website run by Geographic.org that includes streets in St. Louis City and County. Each link goes to a Google map, many of which are satellite views. Once you have pinpointed your location, you can get directions via Google maps or save the map. Click here to go to the site.

St. Louis City Streets: Maps

Finally, having old maps at hand while you are searching is especially valuable. Washington University has a page of maps from various time periods that might be helpful; you can find it by clicking here.

One of the very best places online for maps in general is the exciting collection accumulated by noted cartographer David Rumsey. A recent search yielded ninety-two maps of St. Louis. The website is easy to navigate and filled with treasures. Click here to access the home page. Once you are there, use the "Search the Collection" field in the upper right corner to narrow your search. Have fun!

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