Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  7 (1883–84), 497–517.

St. Louis

William Henry Bishop


Essay, Travelogue


Pollution, Health, Crime, Architecture, Population, Progress, Education, Technology, Universities, Botanical Gardens, Patronage, Physical Geography, Engineering

    Notes that cities of the 'central West' like St Louis 'burn a soft and inferior coal, yielded them by the region round about, and [...] are more or less enveloped in smoke' (497). Indeed, any 'philanthropists abroad [...] could aid them by no other possible boon so much as by that of resolving the problem how the waste product of decomposition of the bituminous coal may be carried off, or prevented from arising', although St. Louis's 'inhabitants themselves [...] are rather proud of it, as they are of the clouded water of the Mississippi set upon the table to drink, and have theories of the benefit to health both of the one and the other' (498). Observes that the city's 'jail is perhaps unique, consisting of a great central cage of iron bars, upon which the cells open in tiers, and from which they are all equally under inspection' (503). Insists that 'population and wealth will grow in this fertile river valley and its capital even till the time shall come of some of those evils shown by Buckle as inhering in lands where the food supply is overabundant and men increase too rapidly' (505). Claims that the 'Manual Training School [...] under the excellent management of Professor Woodward, can not fail to inspire especial interest' (508), and argues that while 'Such schools are well known in continental Europe [...] here all such aids to dignifying labor, investing the mechanical trades with the fascination that rightly belongs to them with the youthful mind when rightly approached [...] are far too rare' [cf. HM1/11/3/3] (509). Declares that 'No stranger will have failed to hear of Shaw's Garden. It was opened to the public by an amiable gentleman of wealth, Mr. Henry Shaw, in 1849', and is a 'succession of conservatories of rare plants, and open-air spaces devoted to flower, fruit, and tree culture, and contains also a museum and a botanical library. It is part of the owner's private domain. He has attained a venerable age now, occupying the later years in the pleasant pursuit of writing a treatise on the rose; and he will be buried, as he has lived, in the midst of his garden' (512). Also reflects that 'floods are a cruel, constantly recurring fact' in this region, but insists that 'Some time, no doubt, enormous as the cost must be, we shall see the great river [i.e. the Mississippi] running as in a ditch through the heart of the continent, securely confined within its banks' (516).

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