Art, architecture, history, travel

St.Louis and the World in 1907


How long could the Standard Oil Company stand against this competition?
It eventually should handle the entire business and compel Cleveland and Pittsburgh either to abandon their works or bring them to the oil country. In this boastful ambition they were encouraged particularly by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which naturally handled the largest percentage of the oil? ?
There was another interest as deeply concerned as Mr. Rockefeller in preserving Cleveland’s supremacy as a refining center and this was the Lake Shore and New York Central Railroads. Let the bulk of refining be done in the Oil Regions and these roads were in danger of losing a profitable branch of business. This situation in regard to the oil traffic was really more serious now than in 1868 when General Devereux had first given the Standard a rebate. Then it was that the Pennsylvania, through its lusty ally the Empire Transportation Company, was making the chief fight to secure a ‘”patent right on oil transportation.” The Erie was now becoming as aggressive a competitor. Gould and Fisk had gone into the fight with the vigour and the utter unscrupulousness which characterized all their dealings.

Standard Oil Trust Certificate 1896

Standard Oil Trust Certificate 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were allying themselves with the Pennsylvania Transportation Company, the only large rival pipeline system which the Empire had. They were putting up a refinery near Jersey City, and they were taking advantage shrewdly of all the speculative features of the new business.
As competition grew between the roads, they grew more reckless in granting rebates, the refiners more insistent in demanding them. By 1871 things had come to such a pass in the business that every refiner suspected his neighbour to be getting better rates than he did. The result was that the freight agents were constantly beset for rebates, and that the large shippers were generally getting them on the ground of the quantity of oil they controlled. Indeed it was evident that the [52] Where is the rest of the sentence?
However, Mr. Rockefeller was far from satisfied. He was a brooding, cautious, secretive man, seeing all the possible dangers as well as all the possible opportunities in things, and he studied, as a player at chess, all the possible combinations which might imperil his supremacy. These twenty-five Cleveland rivals of his-how could he at once and forever put them out of the game? He and his partners had somehow conceived a great idea-the advantages of combination. What might they not do if they could buy out and absorb the big refineries now competing with them in Cleveland? The possibilities of the idea grew as they discussed it. Finally they began tentatively to sound some of their rivals. However, there were other rivals than these at home. There were the creek refiners! They were there at the mouth of the wells. What might not this geographical advantage do in time? Refining was going on there on an increasing scale; the capacity of the Oil Regions had indeed risen to nearly 10,000 barrels a day- equal to that of New York, exceeding that of Pittsburgh by nearly 4,000 barrels, and almost equaling that of Cleveland. The men of the oil country loudly declared that they meant to refine for the world. They boasted of an oil kingdom which Where is the rest of the sentence?
Oct 1907Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis fines Standard Oil $29,240,000 – when John D. Rockefeller learns of it, he doesn’t bother to interrupt his golf game
The Mellons complete a pipeline from Tulsa to their refinery at Port Arthur, Texas, beating out Standard Oil for dominance of the Oklahoma oil fields – ~Standard Oil’s total dominance of the American oil business is slipping – ~the Mellons organize Gulf Oil in Texas, the first truly integrated oil company with full control of production
In those days the demand for oil being for heat and light

Early production of crude petroleum in the United States:[10]
 1859: 2,000 barrels
 1869: 4,215,000 barrels
 1879: 19,914,146 barrels
 1889: 35,163,513 barrels
 1899: 57,084,428 barrels
 1906: 126,493,936 barrels


By 1905 a group of fourteen railroads known as the Terminal Railroad Association dominated the field with ownership of the two bridges entering St. Louis: the Merchants Bridge and the Eads Bridge.
St. Louis already had a Union Depot, but it could handle only fourteen trains daily, so Wiggins continued to prosper. Gould, still in control of the Wabash and Missouri Pacific roads, created a monopoly of trans-river movement so he could set the tariff for trains to cross. Responding to this “arbitrary,” as it was called, the Merchants Exchange organized an effort in 1886 to build a Merchants Bridge at Bissell’s Point to break the Eads monopoly and to operate competitive lines open to any operator.
Not to be outdone, Gould organized the Terminal Railroad Association in October of 1889. The TRRA consolidated freight terminals and Union Depot via Eads Bridge and the St. Louis tunnel. Wiggins Ferry had a strong competitor, as did the Merchants Bridge, which opened the following year. The Merchants had problems connecting with freight lines, though, and offered no passenger service to Union Depot.2 after the Panic of 1893, Merchants was broke. The TRRA took over its debt and property August 13, regaining its monopoly over rail connections into St. Louis. The arbitrary continued into the twentieth century.
The TRRA used this “arbitrary” to set rates for freight entering or leaving the city by rail, so it had a direct impact on the cost of using St. Louis as a shipping terminal or warehousing center. It gave a certain impetus to businesses in Illinois, who chose to not pay extra overhead to bring goods into the city. It also provided a motive for businesses to relocate north or south of city, where it could ship goods without the heavy hand of the TRRA and its arbitrary .
Cupples Station attempted to remedy the problem for freight. After opening in 1891, Cupples handled most of the heavy wholesale trade in its warehouses (eighteen of them built over a thirteen-year period, ten of which remain) with its tunnel connections from the Eads Bridge via the TRRA. Some $200 million in freight passed through Cupples Station by the turn of the century. Some 93,000 trains entered and left St. Louis annually by the 1920s.
Cupples Station handled freight well enough, but travelers remained problematic. Union Depot opened in June 1875, between 10th and 12th on Poplar, but was always restricted in capacity by a design that limited the number of trains it could handle. Its 52 daily scheduled arrivals and departures meant that it could not handle the volume from the day it opened. The answer to the problem was a new rail station. When completed at 18th and Market in 1894, the new Union Station was the largest passenger station in the United States. It became a symbol of connection with the rest of the country for St. Louis travelers for eight decades.   After World War II, train travel began declining. As air travel and expressways made trains seem old-fashioned and slow, rail travel and Union Station fell on hard times. Down to just six trains a day, Union Station closed on Halloween in 1978.


1874 – Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church ,the spire, the tallest in the Soulard area, was added 15 years later (1899).
The Eads bridge, the engineering marvel of its age due to span and depth of the Mississippi river, is completed. Anew type of steel supplied by Keystone steel owned by tycoon Andrew Carnegie.
1876 America Chemical Society organized
1878 Congress of Berlin
1881 Assassination of Russian Czar Alexander II
1890 German Russian Three emperors league The Reinsurance Treaty Germany Russia not renewed. Considered by some to be a leading cause of WWI. By pushing Russia into an alliance with France, thus isolating Germany between two fronts.

1893 – Lava has been cleaning up America’s dirtiest hands for over a hundred years now. It was originally developed in 1893 by the Waltke Co. in St. Louis, Missouri. The Lava Bar has remained relatively unchanged over the years. Though the color and scent have been improved over the years, Lava’s powerful cleaning agents and pumice scrubbing power are basically the same that your great-grandfather used 80 years ago.
1896 The Republicans hold their National Convention in St. Louis. The Democrats meet in Chicago. The Democrats chose St. Louis for their convention a total of 3 times (1876, 1888, and 1904).
1889 Rothschild’s attempted cornering of copper market. Copper in short supply due to needs of telegraph.
1901 William McKinley twenty-fifth president of the United States US assassinated in Buffalo.
1902 – Ida Tarbell began publishing Standard Oil series in McClure’s Magazine.
1903 – May 23-August 1 – First transcontinental automobile trip, San Francisco to New York
December 17 – Kitty hawk, North Carolina, Wright Brothers made their first heavier than air powered flight – flight lasted 59 seconds
1904 – First plant for extracting natural gasoline (Casing head gasoline) from natural gas by the compression method built by Andrew Fasenmeyer near Drake Well at Titusville, PA.
Louisiana Purchase Exhibition and Olympics in St. Louis.
1906 Belleville manufactured more cigars than any other southern IL city (3,297,681 cigars). The town of Dupo was laid out and opened a post office. And the Missouri Pacific Railroad located its shops 7 miles south of East St. Louis because it was one of the highest points in the Bottoms for miles.
1906 Exotic dancer Josephine Baker born in St. Louis. 5/20/2007 William Borah first elected Senator from Idaho.
1907 see below
1908 October 1 – First Model T Ford built
First commercial natural gasoline plant built at Sistersville, W.VA.
Ferdinand The Tsar of Bulgaria, Ferdinand von Saschen-Coburg, a second cousin of Edward VII of England used the struggles between the Great Powers to declare Bulgaria a fully independent kingdom, with himself as Czar.  Abdicating after WWI he dies in exile at Coburg, Germany. Bulgaria was the last of the medieval Balkan states to regain complete independence from Turkey.
Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia-Herzegovina
A meat packing industry moved to the town of National City. In addition, at this time, the East Side Levee and Sanitary District pursued extensive construction of levees.
In Palestine, Jews establish their first kibbutz.
Standard Oil of NJ found guilty of Sherman Act violations, company dissolved into 37 independent organizations in 1911 date accessed 5/20/07
1910 – By 1910, significant oil fields had been discovered in Canada (specifically, in the province of Alberta), the Dutch East Indies (1885, in Sumatra), Iran (1908, in Masjed Soleiman), Peru, Venezuela, and Mexico, and were being developed at an industrial level.
1908 – 667,000 automobiles are registered in the United States
1912-1913 The First Balkan War was started by an alliance made up of Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro. It was a desire to liberate their kinsman and a response to repressive policies of the Young Turks (Ottoman Empire).
1913 Second Balkan War, Bulgaria takes on all belligerents from the First War, largely in a dispute with Serbia over Macedonia. Bulgaria loses Macedonia.
1914 WWI begins
1918 C E Caspari Great Uncle of ACS president Katie Hunt serves as local ACS chair.
1919 Gasoline replaced kerosene as product leader of the American petroleum industry
1920 C E Caspari serves the St. Louis section again, see 1918
8,500,000 automobiles & trucks registered in the U.S.
1927 – Charles A. Lindbergh made first successful trans-Atlantic flight


  1. Britain and Russia sign a treaty creating the triple entente with France.
  2. What is to be known as the Triple Entente is formed – Britain, Russia and France. It is not a military alliance, but Germany is upset.
  3. Adolph Hitler (18) applied to study art in Vienna but was rejected.
  4. Britain and Russia end their rivalry in Iran by dividing that land into two zones of influence, ending what had been known as the Great Game
  5. Jews are persecuted in Russia with attacks in Odessa resulting in emigration to the US.
  6. In 1907, the St. Louis National Stockyards and allied commercial interests were incorporated as National City.
  7. Eddie Cantor becomes Vaudeville star.
  8. The ‘Great White Fleet’ of 16 battleships departs from Hampton Roads.
  9. Variety publishes its first film review.
  10. The pogroms in Russia (1881-84 and 1903-06) increased the already heavy Jewish emigration to Western Europe and the United States. Because of the widespread persecution, the character of the Russian/Polish Jewish immigrant differed greatly from that of the German Jews who had mostly immigrated as single men; the Eastern European Jews came with their entire families. Among the Russian Jewish masses that came to America were the first groups of Hasidic Jews. Most Hasidim who immigrated to the United States observed a strict, orthodox way of life. 350 Years of Jews in America date accessed 5/14/2007
  11. Famine in Russia the US sends 600,000 tons of wheat. The Czar authorizes $3,000,000 in relief.
  12. Trotsky escapes while in transport to far north Siberia; traveling for a week by reindeer sled with a drunken guide, he eventually makes his way to the Urals, St. Petersburg, and abroad.
  13. Thousands are killed in an earthquake in Russian Central Asia modern Tadjikistan.
  14. Caucasus. 1907-1912 Large-scale migration of Armenians from the turbulent Ottoman Empire and Persia into slightly less turbulent Russian Armenia.
  15. A cholera epidemic strikes the Volga basin.11) Mothers’ day is first celebrated in Philadelphia. President Woodrow Wilson makes it the second Sunday in May 1914
  16. Follies of 1907,” premiered in NYC.
  17. New Zealand declared independence from UK
  18. Plaza Hotel at 5th Ave and 59th St. opened in NYC.
  19. Christmas seals went on sale for the first time to help fight tuberculosis, still a major killer.
  20. Dec 31, for 1st time a ball was dropped at Times Square to signal New Year.
  21. The St. Louis “New” Cathedral on Lindell Blvd. was begun. It was not finished until the 1990s and grew to possess the largest collection of mosaic art in the world.
  22. The US Army issues its first specifications for a military airplane
  23. The first retail drive-in gasoline facility in the United States opened in St. Louis. (WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
  24. Hermann Minkowski, mathematician, proposed a new geometry that added time to the three dimensions of space.
  25. Lee De Forest patented the “Audion tube,” a sensitive receiver for radio signals. He also invented the first method for putting sound on film. Eugenia H. Farrar becomes the first singer to perform live on radio, in a broadcast by Lee De Forest from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  26. Jun 11, Paul Mellon (d.1999), art lover, horse breeder (1964 Gold Baton), and philanthropist, was born to Andrew W. Mellon and Nora McMullen. Andrew Mellon was a financier and longtime secretary of the treasury. Mellon donations created the Yale Center for British Art, the Bollinger Prize for poetry, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
  27. Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev (b.1834), Russian chemist, died. He formulated the periodic table of elements in 1869 and authored the 1st modern chemistry text in Russia. In 2001 Paul Strathern authored “Mendeleyev Dream,” a history of chemistry.
  28. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid held up another bank. They sold their ranch in Patagonia to a beef syndicate and went to Bolivia where soldiers gunned them down after robbing a mine payroll.
  29. In Germany in Berlin Lorenz Adlon founded the Hotel Adlon on the Unter den Linden.
  30. Royal Dutch combines its oil operations with Shell Transport & Trading Co.
  31. Motorized taxicabs appear in New York City, imported from Paris.
  32. Construction begins on the Panama Canal under Geo Washington Goethals.
  33. The US $10 gold coin featured the head of Victory wearing an Indian headdress designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who died this year. (WSJ, 12/12/03, p.W15)
  34. Austria-Hungary halts the export of uranium ore and builds a radium factory in Joachimsthal.
  35. Marc Chagall painted his “Self Portrait with Seven Fingers.” In 1907 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he attended the school of the imperial Society for the Protection of the Arts and studied briefly with Leon Bakst, where he stayed until 1910 moving to Paris.
  36. an der Tauentzienstraße in Charlottenburg das KaDeWe – ,,Kaufhaus des Westens”. The largest department store in the world opens in Berlin
  37. Berlin officially becomes the largest city in Germany.


Figure 1 Mit alle zibn fingern

Marc Chagal These were years of hardship and poverty for Chagall. In Bakst’s studio he had his first contact with the modern movement, which was sweeping Paris, and it liberated his inner resources. His pictures of this early period are lyrical evocations of his childhood. In Study for Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers, Chagall presents us with the Jewish fascination with numbers. Art historian Sandor Kuthy suggests that the Yiddish folk expression Mit alle zibn finger, used to indicate the entirety of energy used in completion of a task explains this strange physical anomaly in the painting. He would later become a leader in the avant-guard.
1. Matisse painted his “Red Madras Headdress” which featured his wife as the model. The painting later became part of the Albert C. Barnes collection. [see 1925, Barnes] Matisse also painted “Blue Nude” in this year.
(WSJ, 11/28/95, p.A-12)(WSJ, 7/9/01, p.A26)

Figure 2 Matisse Red Madras Headdress
Figure 3 Matisse Blue Nude 1907

Wassili Kandinsky Focusing on the first half of his career, the exhibition begins with a series of early landscapes inspired by the exquisite Bavarian countryside and folk imagery from Russian fairy tales and legends. It then explores how Kandinsky’s style evolved after he moved to Germany and co-founded the groundbreaking Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group.

Milestones: Public Works and Utilities
At the turn of the century, St. Louis had two bridges over the Mississippi River, the Eads and the Merchants. The Terminal Railroad Association, a group that owned much of the rail infrastructure in the St. Louis area, owned both. The TRRA took advantage of this monopoly by charging what were considered to be excessive tolls. The issue came to a head when St. Louis hosted the 1904 World’s Fair. The city decided to build a public bridge over the Mississippi to break the monopoly.

Figure 4 Free Bridge

Work began on the St. Louis Municipal Bridge in 1909. Piers were built, and steel was ordered. The three main steel spans were in place by 1912. At that time, funding ran out, and three successive bonding issues failed to pass during elections. As a result, the bridge sat without the approaches being built. The only part that was finished was the 6-foot wide walkway, which hung off the downstream side of the structure (it has since been removed, but the brackets that supported the walkway are still in place and visible in one of the photos below). Several hundred people a day crossed the bridge on foot. Funding kicked in again after several years, and the roadway on the upper deck was competed. Now known as the Free Bridge, it opened to auto traffic in 1917. The city and the TRRA were still feuding, so the TRRA put a defacto boycott on the bridge. It was not until 1928 that an agreement was reached, and trains started to use the lower deck. The bridge was in full operation by 1931.

Despite being a city owned “Free Bridge”, a small toll was added in 1932. The money was used for depression relief. The bridge was renamed the General Douglas MacArthur Bridge in 1942 after the famous general. The bridge was designated as the route for US-66 from 1929 to 1935, having taken over that roll form the McKinley Bridge, and then giving it up to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. It was designated City US-66 from 1936 to 1955.

1900: The first experiments using lime and ferrous sulfate as water purifiers are conducted.

1904: The Water Division begins adding milk of lime (Ca (OH)2 ) and ferrous sulfate (Fe2SO4) to purify the water.

1908: A new Coagulant House is built at Chain of Rocks Plant to store lime and ferrous sulfate.

1911: Edward Wall is named Water Commissioner.

In 1911, Mr. Wall was made Water Commissioner. He immediately began to envision improvements and expansion of the Water Works to the 1930’s. A new intake was built mid-stream, and slightly upstream from the original raw intake. He also promoted the conception of a filter plant as a final step in the purification of the Water, which comprised Primary and Secondary Coagulation, followed by filtration and chlorination.

Union Electric Ameren

The Ashley plant downtown has been providing steam for downtown businesses for 3 years; it is still in operation today.
Eight percent of U.S. households are wired for electricity. It took until the 1920’s until most homes were wired with electricity. My uncle who grew up in rural Texas didn’t have it in his home until he was a teenager in the 1950’s.
Other famous trusts
International Harvester 1902
Capitalized at $120 million, the merger acquired other concerns as its lines diversified. The federal government brought action against the company, and in 1914 the Supreme Court found the company an illegal combination under the Sherman Antitrust Act and ordered division of the company’s property among independent corporations (United States v. International Harvester Company, 214 U.S. 987). date accessed 5/25/2007
Anaconda Copper
Amalgamated Copper Company War of the Copper Kings
War of the Copper Kings Greed, corruption, bribery and fraud, insiders getting fabulously rich while workers get robbed.
That was the great battle for Butte, Montana, at the dawn of the twentieth century when it was the richest hill on earth. Copper was the treasure, eagerly sought after for wiring the modern world, and the hard rock below Butte was riddled with veins of the precious metal. Open pit or strip mine. Nation’s largest Superfund site.


Thomas Edison, autodidact, and inventor of so many modern conveniences conceived of the modern R&D (research and development) laboratory and financed it all with private capital. There were no government grants in those days.

Blaise Pascal, this French philosopher is a favorite off my son Ted so I had to work him in here some how. It is 245 years since the death of this French mathematician. People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.
Blaise Pascal
You always admire what you really don’t understand.
Blaise Pascal
It is 2194 years since the birth of Archimedes another favorite.

Summing an infinite geometric series

I dedicate this series of articles to my children.

I thank to the superb editing skills of Dr. Lisa Balbes
Without whom these articles would have been unintelligible.
Nelson Aldrich senator Rhode Island revises American financial system

Senator Borah Idaho
Citing that “4% of the people of the United States own 80% if its wealth,” Borah advocated the lowering of tariffs to promote world trade, inflationary monetary measures such as paying depositors to put their money in circulation and reissuing silver, and, most importantly, the destruction of monopolies, which were “bleeding our people white.”3 date accessed 5/25/2007

1907: A Very Bad Year

In 1907 a bout of speculation on Wall Street ended in failure, triggering a particularly severe banking panic. J.P. Morgan was again called upon to avert disaster. By this time most Americans were calling for reform of the banking system, but the structure of that reform was cause for deep division among the country’s citizens. Conservatives and powerful “money trusts” in the big Eastern cities were vehemently opposed by “progressives.” But there was a growing consensus among all Americans that a central banking authority was needed to ensure a healthy banking system and provide for an elastic currency. Knickerbocker trust one of the largest banks in The United States at the time went bankrupt.

3 responses

  1. Cliff Cliffordson

    Hi, there good to see you up and blogging. I can’t wait to see the next post.

    July 11, 2007 at 3:45 pm

  2. Pingback: Montenegro » Blog Archive » 1907

  3. mrted57

    Dear friends
    Ill be blogging agin soon. Do you have a pref, Europe in the seventies or more family St. louis?

    September 2, 2007 at 8:30 pm

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