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…

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…

The Map that Drove Me to Drink, Part II

Note: This is part two of a post that was originally published on June 12, 2015. Go read that one first, or you’ll end up as confused as I was when I wrote it. Here’s the link to The Map that Drove Me to Drink, Part I. Here’s an astounding fact. In the year 1875, no fewer than…

One Hell of a Summer

On a cold and dreary evening in late February 1849, a young man with a small journal tucked into the pocket of his overcoat stepped off the steamer Thomas Jefferson and onto the St. Louis riverfront. His name was Joseph J. Mersman, and his story isn’t much different from the thousands of immigrants who poured into St Louis in the years prior…

Kingshighway’s Way

This is going to sound a bit strange, but I sure do love roads. That’s right, roads. And by “roads”, I mean the streets, avenues, and parkways all of us frequently drive, bike, or walk on to get around this city. I believe roads play an integral part in delivering good history. A few years…

And Finally, the Bridge (The Summer of Eads, Part IV)

Note: This is the final post in a four-part series I have written about the life and work of James B. Eads. Previous entries can be found here:  Part I, Part II, and Part III From a distance, the Eads Bridge doesn’t really look like a big deal. It is, but its physical appearance doesn’t exactly tell…

Blood and Sand and Steam (The Summer of Eads, Part III)

Note: This is Part III in a series of Distilled History posts I am writing about one of the most remarkable St. Louisans to ever live, James Buchanan Eads. Part One, which details caisson disease during the building of Eads Bridge, can be found here. Part II, which gives a brief introduction to his life,…