I was browsing the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog the other day and found some great pictures of St. Louis taken during the 19th century. Since I think it gives a nice feel for what life was like in St. Louis during the 19th century and helps put the history of St. Louis baseball in context, I thought I'd share them with you.
First up is a picture of downtown St. Louis that was taken sometime between 1860 and 1865. This is basically where the Missouri Glass Company, where Merritt Griswold and Ed Bredell worked, would have been located. It's now essentially the northwest section of the Arch grounds and the Laclede's Landing area. This is what the city looked like when the earliest baseball clubs were being formed.
This is a print from 1874 showing the St. Louis Fairground just north of downtown. If you look at the far left of the picture, you'll see the beginning of an open field. According to most sources, this is where the first match game, between the Cyclone and Morning Star baseball clubs, was played.
Here's a picture of the Eads Bridge under construction that must have been taken around 1873. The first bridge that spanned the Mississippi at St. Louis, the bridge was opened in 1874. I think that the bridge is a symbol of the growth and maturity of the city that can also be seen in the entry of two professional teams into the National Association less than a year after the bridge was opened.
Another picture from the 1870's, this one shows the Olympic Theater.
Here's a series of pictures of the riverfront taken between 1870 and 1899 that give you a nice sense of the economic vitality of 19th century St. Louis.
Finally, a series of street scenes taken in the 1890's.