36 Amazing Photos That Capture St. Louis in the Early 20th Century

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St. Louis was booming in the early twentieth century, growing beyond its frontier boundaries at a rapid rate. The St. Louis Street Department documented these growing pains, both to record the challenges it faced and show how much work was being done. Charles Clement Holt marshaled a force of photographers to shoot street work in progress, dilapidated areas needing improvement, finished municipal projects and -- quite by chance -- the daily life of a burgeoning city. At its peak, the project knocked out 6,000 photographs a year. Many of these were eventually thrown out, but a historian rescued some 300 prime images.

Joseph Heathcott and Angela Dietz collected some prime images in the new book Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis. The book is really more of a time machine, showing a St. Louis that is familiar but vastly different: Horses being hoisted out of holes in the street are a rarity these days, and Market Street never has musicians on flatbed trucks anymore urging us to keep the city clean. Get a sneak peak of these amazing photos right here, then head to the Missouri History Museum to see this free photo exhibit. For more information about the exhibit and to purchase the book, visit mohistory.org/capturingthecity.

Photos courtesy of the Missouri History Museum.

September 8, 2016