In 1849, St. Louis was little more than a frontier town straining under the pressure of rapid population growth and poor infrastructure, often trapped within the confines of ignorance and prejudice. A cholera epidemic and the Great Fire that year were both a consequence of those problems and—despite the devastation they brought—a chance for the city to evolve.
In his book, Fire, Pestilence, and Death: St. Louis 1849, author Christopher Alan Gordon offers a detailed study of these calamities. Drawing upon the archives of the Missouri Historical Society, including newspaper accounts, city and county records, letters, diaries and contemporary publications, Gordon reveals the story of 1849 St. Louis as it was experienced by people who lived through that incredible year.
Join us as Gordon not only provides an in-depth look at the city during one of the most turbulent years in its history, but also a glimpse into the struggles of a growing nation and the determination of its people.