An Explosion Saves The City
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
Near this spot, once the corner of Market and Second streets, a firebreak stopped the flames that threatened St. Louis. In May 1849, a fire started onboard the steamboat White Cloud. Strong winds blew the flames from boat too boat along the river, then over the levee and into the city. People jumped to action and within two hours they pumped the city reservoir dry.
To save the city, the fire captains tried a drastic approach. They blew up buildings along Second Street to create a firebreak. The explosion saved the city and the Old Cathedral, but 15 city blocks, 23 steamboats, and tons of merchandise were lost in the fire. St. Louis rebuilt with wider streets and fireproof buildings made from brick and cast iron.
The city blocks destroyed in the fire
were in the area where the Gateway
Arch grounds are today.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work • Disasters • Waterways & Vessels.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Curves Ahead (a few steps from this marker); Speedy Delivery (within shouting distance of this marker); Freedom Denied, Freedom Gained (within shouting distance of this marker); Commercial Beginnings (within shouting distance of this marker); Gateway to the West (within shouting distance of this marker); Action and Reaction (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Captains' Return (about 300 feet away); Miles of Steamboats (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown.
1. Gateway Arch National Park
This marker was erected before the name of the National Park was formally changed. Prior to 2018, while popularly known as "The Gateway Arch," the park's formal name was the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 10, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 75 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 10, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.