City on the Mississippi River, chiefly a commercial center, because of its central location in the United States and its excellent transportation facilities.
The city is located on gently rolling hills (limestone plateau) extending from the western levee of the Mississippi River. The area rises gently from the downtown area near the Mississippi River.
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Manufacturing and commercial facilities are located along both sides of the Mississippi-including in East Saint Louis, Illinois-and in recent decades have been established along railroad and highway corridors in the western part of St. Louis County.
Large numbers of skyscrapers built since World War II in western suburbs such as Clayton rival downtown St. Louis as office and business districts.
Universities: St. Louis University (1818), Washington University (1853), the University of Missouri-St. Louis (1963), Webster University (1915), Concordia Seminary (1839), Fontbonne College (1917), Harris-Stowe State College (1857), and Maryville College (1872).
Between 1950 and 1990 (396,685) the number of inhabitants in St. Louis declined by almost 54 percent. The metropolitan area grew by nearly 115 percent, and by 1990 (2,444,000).
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White settlement of the area began in 1764. Pierre Laclède Liguest, a French merchant, selected St. Louis (or Saint Louis) for the site of a trading post. The city was named for Louis IX of France.
Major cities near St.-Louis:
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