Compton & Dry in Color: Plate 39

It continues to be my favorite “thing” in St. Louis history. A map often referred to simply as “Compton and Dry” after the man who published it (Richard Compton) and the guy who drew it (Camille Dry), the map’s official name is Pictorial St. Louis, the Great Metropolis of the Mississippi valley; A Topographical Survey Drawn…

Robert Campbell, Mountain Man (& His Beer)

Last week, a new BBC documentary film titled Robert Campbell, Mountain Man made its North American debut in the Public Media Commons outside Channel 9 on Olive Street. Channel 9 is going to air it on television next week, and I am urging my Distilled History friends to see it. As many readers know, I’ve…

The Hyde Park Riot

Several years ago, I took part in a bike tour of north St. Louis and learned about a tragic event known as the “Hyde Park Riot”. As the story was told, on a hot summer day in 1863, a bunch of Union soldiers got really drunk and turned a day in the park into a…

Dogtown Days of St. Louis

Here’s a list of every municipality and neighborhood that I’ve lived in since I moved to St. Louis in 1995: Kirkwood, Ballwin, Clayton, Dogtown (first Hi-Pointe, then Clayton-Tamm), University City, Creve Coeur, and finally, Lindenwood Park (where I live today). I think that’s a fair amount of moving during a 23-year run in St. Louis. And…

My Gin Craze

Here’s a fun Distilled History tidbit. I briefly mention in it the “About” page on this blog, but the first version of Distilled History didn’t have anything to do with history. Initially, this blog was going to tell people how to drink. No joke. After brainstorming ideas with an old friend, I came up with an idea to write…

A Toast to Minnie Kleeman

Sometimes even the littlest of things can make a tremendous impact. I should know, because I watched it happen two years ago. And it all started with a little piece of paper with the name “Minnie” written on it. To be more specific, this little piece of paper is glued to the inside of a kitchen cabinet at the Campbell…

The St. Louis Water Towers

In the past few years, I have been fortunate for many opportunities that I have been given to share my take on St. Louis history. In presentations, tours, and talks to various groups and organizations, I’ve found that I really enjoy getting out and talking up the great history of this city. I also always try to…

The Hero of the Southern Hotel Fire

I know I must sound like a broken record, but please pardon my lack of activity here (again). But this time, I think I have a pretty good reason. I am happy to announce that I have a book coming out on April 15, 2017. It’s not Distilled History in book form (baby steps), but it was…

Closing Out the 2016 (& 1904) Olympics

Well, the Rio games are finally over. And I can say that it went well. Meaning, my absurd Olympic appetite was fully sated in the last two weeks.  I watched hours upon hours of every badminton match, fencing duel, and steeplechase that I could. During my sixteen-day obsession, I took the opportunity to post daily Olympic history tidbits over on…

George Eyser’s Big Day at the 1904 Olympics

Here’s what I typed into Google a few days ago: “What is that clicky thing on an Olympic bow?” While enthralled with NBC’s archery coverage of the Rio Olympics over the past week, I kept noticing this little piece of metal (or maybe it’s plastic) on an archer’s bow flip down and “click” (it makes an audible “click”) just before an arrow was…