Tag Archives: St. Louis

Food in Nineteenth Century St. Louis

Join Camp­bell House Muse­um and Han­ley House Direc­tors Andy Hahn and Sarah Umlauf for a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion on food in nine­teenth cen­tu­ry St. Louis city ver­sus St. Louis coun­ty. In hon­or of the recent pub­li­ca­tion of The Gild­ed Table: Recipes and Table His­to­ry from the Camp­bell Housethe pre­sen­ta­tion will be fol­lowed by a tast­ing of nine­teenth cen­tu­ry dish­es pre­pared by Gild­ed Table author and food his­to­ri­an Suzanne Corbett.

This event will be held in the Great Hall of the Church of St. Michael & St. George (Clay­ton, MO) and is com­plete­ly free to the gen­er­al pub­lic, but reser­va­tions are required. Click here to con­tact the Clay­ton Cen­tu­ry Foun­da­tion or call (314) 290‑8553 to reserve your spot.

Celebrate the Gilded Table at the Missouri History Museum

Yule­tide Tra­di­tions: From the Gild­ed Age to Today | Through­out the Mis­souri His­to­ry Museum
The Gild­ed Table: Recipes and Table His­to­ry from the Camp­bell House, writ­ten by food his­to­ri­an and St. Louis author Suzanne Cor­bett, fea­tures 178 recipes from Vir­ginia Camp­bel­l’s orig­i­nal hand­writ­ten col­lec­tion and pro­vides an inti­mate glimpse at how the wealth cre­at­ed by Robert Camp­bel­l’s rugged wilder­ness life as a pio­neer­ing fur trad­er trans­formed into a wealthy lifestyle of sump­tu­ous din­ners and high soci­ety events dur­ing the 1860s and ’70s. Join us for a day filled with fam­i­ly-friend­ly activ­i­ties, including:
11 am to 4 pm: Ongo­ing hands-on activ­i­ties includ­ing gin­ger­bread dec­o­rat­ing (while sup­plies last)
12 pm: “Enter­tain­ment in the Gild­ed Age” video vignettes by Etc. Senior Theatre
1 pm: The Gild­ed Table pre­sen­ta­tion and book sign­ing with Suzanne Corbett
2:30 pm: Pan­el dis­cus­sion — Chang­ing hol­i­day tables and traditions

Don’t for­get to treat your­self to a “Gild­ed Brunch” at Bixby’s!


Glorious Gowns” on Display

ladue2If you haven’t had a chance to stop by Camp­bell House in the past cou­ple of months, you’re in for a treat on your next vis­it. Now through the end of Decem­ber 2013, we’re hold­ing a spe­cial exhi­bi­tion of ‘Glo­ri­ous Gowns’ from the Camp­bell House col­lec­tion.  A par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ing aspect of this dis­play can be found in our third floor exhi­bi­tion rooms, where we’re get­ting the chance to show off some pieces in our col­lec­tion that nor­mal­ly don’t get to see the light of day—a dozen mag­nif­i­cent wed­ding dress­es. (Look for a future blog post here about Vir­ginia Camp­bel­l’s gowns also cur­rent­ly on display.)

Our friends over at the Ladue News stopped by last week to snap some pho­tos and do a fea­ture on these incred­i­ble works of art, as well as get the sto­ry out about Camp­bell House­’s fash­ion­able past and its once-exten­sive cos­tume col­lec­tion.  Here’s a taste of what they had to say…

ladue3At the Camp­bell House Muse­um, a col­lec­tion of his­toric wed­ding gowns show­cas­ing the metic­u­lous orna­men­ta­tion and painstak­ing detail found in attire from decades past cur­rent­ly is on exhibit.

On dis­play are 11 his­tor­i­cal gowns rang­ing approx­i­mate­ly from 1871 to 1960. A vintage–inspired mod­ern dress also is on dis­play, com­plet­ing the tran­si­tion­al jour­ney of bridal fashion.

The awe-evok­ing crafts­man­ship is show­cased in details such as heavy smock­ing, bead­ing and petite pleat­ing. A vari­ety of old­er sil­hou­ettes are on dis­play, rang­ing from high to scoop neck­lines, hour­glass-shap­ing puffed shoul­ders to hip-enhanc­ing bus­tles. A selec­tion of dress­es even have acces­sories; items like broach­es, shoes, veils and occa­sion­al­ly pho­tographs com­ple­ment the exhibit.

ladue7Pro­cras­ti­na­tors inter­est­ed in see­ing the col­lec­tion should know that Hahn esti­mates the next dis­play will be in “at least a dozen years, if not longer—especially with Mrs. Campbell’s gowns. If not a whole gen­er­a­tion, then the bet­ter part of one.” The ratio­nale behind the wait? “Part of it is to pre­serve them, and also it is a mon­u­men­tal effort to under­take the installation.”

At the start of 2014, the lav­ish gowns will begin mak­ing their way back into stor­age. When not on dis­play, the wed­ding dress­es are kept in lined, spe­cial­ty box­es, par­tial­ly stuffed with acid-free tis­sue paper to avoid any sharp creas­es or folds. “The care is pro­long­ing its even­tu­al demise,” Hahn says. “Fab­ric can last a long time, but no fab­ric will last for­ev­er.” When the dress­es are—delicately—touched, they are done so while wear­ing white cot­ton gloves to keep any dirt or oil on hands off the dress­es. Hahn notes a sim­ple touch might not do any­thing now, but could leave oil-caused dis­col­oration vis­i­ble with­in the next decade.

Pre­serv­ing the gowns, even if they can­not last for­ev­er, is pre­serv­ing a small part of the city. “I think one of the very inter­est­ing things about these gowns is that they are all con­nect­ed to St. Louis,” Hahn says of the donat­ed pieces. “They speak a lot to the wed­ding tra­di­tions in our own com­mu­ni­ty. In a larg­er sense, I think it informs peo­ple how these wed­ding tra­di­tions have changed and evolved over time.”

Click here for the com­plete arti­cle with more images

Thank you to the Ladue News for help­ing us tell the sto­ry of these unique fashions.


Missouri Park and Lucas Place

The small park behind the St. Louis Pub­lic Library is called Lucas Park in hon­or of the fam­i­ly that once owned the land.  In about 1810 Judge J.B.C. Lucas pur­chased a large par­cel of land that includes today’s Lucas Park.

In 1850 the Lucas fam­i­ly devel­oped a new res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood on their land, which they not sur­pris­ing­ly named Lucas Place. From its con­cep­tion this neigh­bor­hood was intend­ed to be very dif­fer­ent with wide build­ing set­backs and deed restric­tions ban­ning com­mer­cial activ­i­ties. The new street Lucas Place was also off­set 50-feet from the city street grid.


Mis­souri Park and Lucas Place, from “Pic­to­r­i­al St. Louis”, 1875

A defin­ing fea­ture of Lucas Place was a new green space called Mis­souri Park, which the Lucas fam­i­ly had deed­ed to the city in 1854. Mis­souri Park was bound­ed by 13th, Olive, 14th and St. Charles streets. The park stretched across Lucas Place pre­vent­ing through traf­fic into the neigh­bor­hood and was a key ele­ment in defin­ing the neigh­bor­hood as “a place apart”. By 1875 Mis­souri Park boast­ed, “an iron foun­tain, 116 bench­es, 368 shade trees, 277 shrubs, and was sur­round­ed by a wood­en pick­et fence.”  It was also the first park in St. Louis to have gas light­ing along its pathways.

As com­mer­cial devel­op­ment began to encroach on Lucas Place in the ear­ly 1880s, Mis­souri Park was select­ed as the site for St. Louis’ grand­est build­ing of the peri­od, the Music and Expo­si­tion Hall. Com­plet­ed in 1884, this mas­sive build­ing was St. Louis’ first con­ven­tion cen­ter and encom­passed the entire 4‑acre foot­print of the old Mis­souri Park.  Mea­sur­ing 146,000 square feet the Exhi­bi­tion Hall host­ed the 1888 and 1904 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tions and the 1896 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. The Music Hall sat 4,000 and was the first per­ma­nent home to the Saint Louis Symphony.


Music and Expo­si­tion Hall, cir­ca 1890

The Music and Expo­si­tion Hall was demol­ished in 1907 hav­ing been replaced by a larg­er and new­er St. Louis Col­i­se­um. The site was then select­ed for the new St. Louis Pub­lic Library, built with a $1 mil­lion gift from Andrew Carnegie. Because the Library was designed to use only two-thirds of the old expo­si­tion site the north­ern part of the old Mis­souri Park was restored to green space and renamed Lucas Park. At the same time Locust Street was cut through the space between the new Library and the restored park. When the street was cut through it result­ed in the unusu­al curve at 13 and Locust streets, which can still be seen today.  By 1918 Lucas Park had been plant­ed with “forty-five thou­sands shrubs and flower plants…set out in artis­ti­cal­ly designed beds” and was one of the finest parks in St. Louis.  After 1950, all the old res­i­den­tial build­ings in the vicin­i­ty of Lucas Park had van­ished (except for the Camp­bell House) as down­town was trans­form­ing into an exclu­sive­ly com­mer­cial district.

Like this post? Look for the new exhib­it Lucas Place: The Lost Neigh­bor­hood of St. Louis’ Gold­en Age open­ing March 22 at the Land­marks Asso­ci­a­tion of St. Louis. Exhib­it made pos­si­ble through a grant from the Mis­souri Human­i­ties Coun­cil.


Lucas Park and the St. Louis Pub­lic Library, from a cir­ca 1920 postcard.

Campbell Contemporaries » 4.5.12

One of the was­cal­ly wab­bits at City­gar­den. Alas, he does not have a sup­ply of choco­late, cream-filled eggs.

Look­ing for some­thing to do over the next cou­ple of weeks? Here are some staff rec­om­men­da­tions to keep your social cal­en­dar hop­ping (ter­ri­ble pun clear­ly intended):

Fri­day, April 6

Sat­ur­day, April 7

Sun­day, April 8

Thurs­day, April 12 through Sat­ur­day, April 14

Fri­day, April 13

Sat­ur­day, April 14 through Sun­day, April 15

Sat­ur­day, April 14

  • After you’re done run­ning and hang­ing out with art­sy intel­lec­tu­als at the Chase, sup­port Camp­bell House at our Mag­i­cal Spring Thing fundrais­er at the Mag­nif­i­cent Mahler Ballroom.

Hap­py Fri­day Eve, and be sure to send an email to shel­ley [at] camp­bell­house­mu­se­um [dot] org if you have a spe­cial soiree for us to fea­ture in our next Camp­bell Con­tem­po­raries install­ment in two weeks.