A City Misunderstood

St. Louis does not deserve the bad reputation it has


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The Mississippi River flows infront of the well-lit city.

From the tall, silver Arch to the blue and gold masses in the Enterprise Center, growing up in the St. Louis area has been nothing but exciting. There are plenty of adventures to embark on whether it is taking a visit to Union Station or drinking a milkshake at Crown Candy. Some of the best memories can be made cheering on our beloved sports teams. For my entire life, I have been comfortable exploring my city, which is something that may shock outsiders. When I am enjoying a delicious meal onThe Hill, I am not thinking about how I am in the heart of the ‘murder capital of the U.S.’ After spending seventeen years in this city, one thing is very clear: St. Louis does not deserve the awful reputation that has been placed on it.

It may be odd that a city with so much to offer has such a poor reputation, but there is an explanation for this. The history dates back to August 22, 1876, when St. Louis city and St. Louis county underwent the ‘Great Divorce’, according to stltoday.com. Voters decided to separate the city and county. In the years after the Civil War, business leaders in the fast growing city became frustrated under the St. Louis county government, according to stltoday.com. The city declared itself independent on March 18, 1877 and has remained so ever since.

The irony of the ‘Great Divorce’ is that it ultimately ended up hurting the city. After the growth of the suburbs during the 1950’s, people began moving outward. The city became less populated and businesses left to go to the county. There have been attempts to reconcile the divide throughout history, but all have failed. In 1926, the county denied the measure. In 1962, both sides of Skinker Boulevard rejected a New York-style borough plan, according to stltoday.com. Recently, the ‘Better Together’ plan posed a city-county merger. However, the proposal has lost steam since May of 2019 and the odds of a vote are unlikely.

The reason this has a significant effect on St. Louis’s current reputation is that when crime rates are measured, only St. Louis city is taken into consideration. Most major cities, such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, all incorporate the metropolitan areas, or counties, with their census. Because of the city-county divide, this is not possible for St. Louis. Therefore, the crime rates are hiked up and unfairly compared to the rest of the country.

St. Louis offers an abundance of culture and history. Early immigrants included settlers from Germany, Italy, Ireland and Poland, and today’s population includes new arrivals from Bosnia, Ethiopia, Africa, Asia, Latin America and throughout Europe, according to explorestlouis.com. The Italian neighborhood, The Hill, offers world renowned cuisine, such as Zia’s and Charlie Gitto’s. Dogtown, the tight-knit Irish section, has a rich history and delicious restaurants.

Along with the cultural backgrounds, there is an excess of ways to stay entertained. Forest Park contains some of the city’s best attractions: The Muny, The Zoo, The Art Museum, and The History Museum. The newly renovated Union Station with the St. Louis Aquarium , rope course and ferris wheel provides a fun experience for anyone. Hometown favorites, such as toasted ravioli and Imo’s Pizza, are widely available to consumers, while Ted Drewes Frozen custards and Crown Candy have delicious desserts that all can enjoy. The Gateway Arch is sure to offer scenic panoramas of the whole city. The reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues, as well as the eleven time World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, offer the opportunity for any sports fan to kick back and enjoy a game. By 2022, the Major League Soccer team will arrive, and the city will be home to three professional sports teams yet again.

I firmly believe that St. Louis is one of the most underestimated cities in the U.S. There are so many fun things to do, as well as a rich history that many can appreciate. Crime is a real problem and needs to be addressed, but it is unfairly presented to outsiders as ‘the most dangerous city in America’. St. Louis offers a unique big city feel with a midwestern charm. From the top of the Arch to the bottom of the Mississippi river, St. Louis is the city for me.