Lessons Learned in the City

Eleventh grade students took their History of St. Louis studies right out of the classroom and to the streets of their city this week. Students chose one of four different trips that offered insight into various parts of their studies.

Walking Tour of Downtown

Students participated in a walking tour of downtown that covered the classics like the Arch Grounds, Old Cathedral and Old Courthouse as well as other highlights that focus on the early history and architecture of the city. They visited the sites of some early businesses and banks and learned about how trade evolved in the region.

Soldiers Memorial

Students toured the newly renovated monument to the soldiers from Missouri who served in different wars and participated in a guided activity focusing on St. Louis soldiers. Much of the history covered was based on the World Wars and individual soldiers’ personal accounts of their experiences in those wars and students learned how significantly our communities were affected.

Bellefontaine Walking Tour

Students participated in a walking tour of Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum, learning about important historical families and individuals that lived in St. Louis. The cemetery is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is the final resting place of many significant people in and to St. Louis, including Missouri Governor William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame, William Greenleaf Eliot, the founder of our school, and Adolphus Busch many other members of the Busch family. Suffragette Virginia Minor and Susan Blow, founder of the first kindergarten in the country here in St. Louis, are also interred at Bellefontaine.

National Blues Museum & The Federal Reserve Museum

Students spent an hour in each of the two museums learning more about St. Louis’ economic and cultural history. They focused on the evolution and birth of Blues as a music form and enjoyed a concert from a blues musician who also shared information about musical styles. At the Federal Reserve Museum, students tested their knowledge about economic and monetary policy to free themselves from an escape room.

The four groups of students and their teachers met back up for lunch, enjoying time outside at either Kiener Plaza or on the Arch grounds. Then, all the students boarded buses for a driving tour of St. Louis led by professional guides. “We went through parts of the city to show historic sites and share stories that perhaps they hadn’t heard before,” said Carla Federman, JK-12 History Department Chair. The buses drove through South City, Soulard and Carondelet. Downtown, the guides spoke about early business and how the city grew. In north St. Louis, students saw Homer G. Phillips Hospital, Fairground Park and other locations that have been historically significant to immigrant and African American communities.

This informative day helped students explore and experience first-hand the political, cultural and economic decisions that have led to St. Louis’s current status, climate and divisions, bringing to life the lessons from their classroom.