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Scribe Report ~ James Webster ~ November 21, 2019

President Bob opened the meeting promptly at noon.  The Pledge of Allegiance and the four way test were recited by all.

            This routine beginning gave way to a somewhat impromptu rendering of “Row, row, row your boat”, perhaps a traditional American holiday song with which the writer was unfamiliar.

            President Bob then reported on several ‘thank yous’ that had been received including  appreciation for the work done by mentors at the Young Citizens award event, and a report from St.Patrick’s Center that the coat give-away had produced winter clothing for one hundred veterans.

            Upcoming events were described with the dates as follows:

11/24    Rolling for Rotary

11/29    Turkey Burp

12/5      Webster University singers  +  holiday cards for USO

12/13    Holiday Party

            It is quite possible that I missed some of the events while engrossed in my spinach salad, so I would refer you to other sections in this ‘Pepper Box’ edition for a more complete description of the upcoming programs

            Contributions to “The Giving Tree” were solicited.  Community Services identifies needy families who have spent thirty days in a homeless shelter.  The requests range from cash (for bus passes), to stocking caps, gloves and soccer balls for the children. Gifts need to be returned by the  12/12/19   deadline.

            A recap of “Old Newsboys Day” was given with the top collectors being recognized.  Kent Steinbruck headed the list with a personal collection of $354.  In discussing this successful result with Kent he denied that his energetic dancing interpretation of “Newsies” was the reason but rather the enormous volume of traffic coming off exit 7 this morning.  A total of $1,356.64 was raised.

            Mike Regan stood in for our insouciant sergeant at arms, Dan Conway,  and welcomed today’s guests.

            Today’s speaker, Thomas Grady was introduced by Jim Conway, explaining that Tom is a leading history buff concerning the St.Louis area.

            Thomas Grady has recently published a book titled, “The Lost Riverfront, 1930 – 1943″.  Tom’s passionate presentation traced the history of the riverfront back to ‘The Whitecloud Fire” of 1849.  This relates to a steamboat named “Whitecloud” which blew up causing the devastation.  Tom related that in the late 19th century St.Louis had been a major shopping center supplying the goods for the Western Expansion.  The infrastructure which had been built as a result was the subject of the book.  Tom presented a panoply of old photographs of these important buildings.  They included: Commercial Seed Distributor, Wharf Street, Chouteau Building, Raleigh Candy, The Old Rock House a French building dating back to 1818, and many more.  There were some interesting insights one of which was that the railway trestle was built in order to by-pass the Eads Bridge where tolls were considered too expensive.

            Tom mourned the loss of these structures and the extent of the demolition, 20 intact hotel buildings, boarding saloons, 200 businesses were removed, a total of 450 buildings were destroyed. Saved was the Old Cathedral and even this structure had been earmarked for removal further from the river.

            Two buildings with significant historic importance have gone:

The Old Merchants Exchange, dated to 1859. where the financing of the Eads Bridge was negotiated.

Papin Building Federal District Court. The federal trial of the Dread Scott case was argued here.

            From the many photographs one could appreciate the fine architecture, the large glass windows, the cast iron edifices.

            Subsequently some of the cast ironwork had been recovered and stored in warehouses that were to become museums on the Arch grounds.  Unfortunately, the outbreak of World War II scuppered the plans and the iron work for lost when the warehouses were bulldozed.  A sad end to a very interesting presentation.

            Final order of business was the potential payout of $1,083 for drawing the ace of clubs.  Beth Russell drew the winning ticket but after an intense inspection of the card deck, drew……………………………………………………….the five of diamonds.

            So, the pot remains intact for our next meeting on December 5th. (no meeting next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday).

            Bob rang the bell to close the meeting just after 1:00 pm

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