Editor's note: High school seniors attending the Feb. 15 Scholar's Day at St. Bonaventure University and students in the SBU Jandoli School’s professional writing classes provided the content for this feature.
ST. LOUIS – The St. Bonaventure University men's basketball team takes on the Billikins at St. Louis University Saturday. Here are some facts you may not know about the university and the city it is in:
- French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau founded the city in 1764 and named it after Louis IX, the only French king canonized by Roman Catholic Church.
- St. Louis University, founded in 1818, is the oldest university west of the Mississippi and a Jesuit institution. Its mascot, the Billiken, is a mythical good-luck figure representing “things as they ought to be.”
- German immigrants founded the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in the city 1848. It is said to be the largest beer producing plant in the nation.
- Decades after the university was founded, a local educator, Susan Blow, founded America's first publicly funded kindergarten.
- The St. Louis Cardinals baseball franchise dates back to 1875.
- St. Louis has more free visitor attractions than any other city in America other than the nation's capital.
- From April 30 to Dec. 1, 1904, St. Louis was the site of a World's Fair, formally named the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and may have been the first place where many experienced iced tea, ice cream cones, Dr. Pepper, electric plugs and X-ray machines. But that does not mean they were invented there.
- In the summer of 1904, St. Louis also was the site of the first Olympics in America.
- Actress Clara Bow is believed to have hosted the first cocktail party in St. Louis; the year was 1917.
- Rapper/songwriter Nelly and his mom lived in St. Louis when he was young.
- The city reports it has the second largest Mardi Gras in America.
- Pork steaks were invented St. Louis during the mid-1950s.
- St. Louisans are said to consume more barbecue sauce per capita than in any other city in America.
- CL Grigg invented the lemon-lime soda known as 7up in October 1929, just before the Great Depression.
- In 1903, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis patented a peanut-butter-making machine.
- Panera Bread began as the St. Louis Bread Company in nearby Kirkwood, Missouri.
- American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, one of the largest repositories of canine-related art in the world, has been in St. Louis for the past 30 years, but is slated to return to its original home, New York City, soon.
- The Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made monument in the United States.
- The Arch's Observation Area has the story not only of Dred Scott, a slave who challenged America for his freedom, but of his wife, Harriet Robinson Scott, who did the same in the courts.
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