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New Book: This Used To Be St. Louis, by NiNi Harris

August 24, 2018 Books, Featured No Comments

I’ve known historian/author NiNi Harris for many years, so I’m always pleased when I see she had a new book out.

St. Louis’s history is layered. Each layer, whether the French pioneers establishing St. Louis as a river trading post, or Swiss immigrants starting dairy farms and dairies, or immigrants from Europe putting on the uniforms of the American doughboy, has left an imprint on the city. This Used to Be St. Louis is a fun trip through those layers of history following the story of: the glamorous, urban lofts that had been the factory for ball turrets for World War Two Air Force bombers; the dock of the pasta plant where the Civil War ironclads were built; the elegant townhouse that once served as an Albanian Orthodox Church. (Reedy Press)

The premise of This Used to Be St. Louis is simple — talk about lots of places we know in St. Louis — what they were and what they are now. For example, the Schlafly Tap Room, where my husband and I had our first date, was originally a printing company. Nearby is the 2020 Washington condos, but most everyone knows the handsome building as the Sporting News building. The publisher occupied the building for decades.  Originally, however, it was Emerson Electric’s Ball Turret Factory. Who knew? NiNi Harris — that’s who.

Warning — this book is very addictive. I’ll let you explore the book to read about the Civil War secessionist camp within our current city limits.  The book has many photos — mostly black & white — but it does have a nice color section in the center. It’s mostly the City of St. Louis, but also includes entries from St. Louis County.

— Steve Patterson


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