Unseen STL History - Live!
Announcing a new St. Louis history speaker series
Welcome to another Unseen STL, your place for all of the weird and underappreciated stories about St. Louis history. Today I’d like to introduce an exciting new opportunity to enjoy the stories of our city’s past: the brand new Unseen STL History speaker series!
How did this happen?
Back in early January, I attended an interesting, casual talk at Spine Indie Bookstore & Cafe about the research happening around English Cave. (For those who don’t know, English Cave runs under Spine as well as Benton Park and was once used as a brewery cave and local attraction.)
As I sat there, I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be cool to be able to come to more of these talks?” And I went to Mark Pannebecker, Spine’s owner, to see if he’d be interested in doing these kinds of things regularly. He loved the idea, and we got started right away.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Unseen STL History talks will take place every third Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:00 PM, and we recommend arriving early as seating is limited) at Spine Indie Bookstore and Cafe, 1976 Arsenal St.
Each month we will feature some of the most passionate local history buffs and storytellers who will share stories of lesser-known aspects of St. Louis history. These talks are free and open to the public. (While you’re at Spine, you can also purchase coffee, tea, and assorted adult beverages, as well as books by indie authors.)
Our very first history talk will take place on February 16th. Amanda Clark and Jackie Dana (that’s me!) will be sharing our favorite stories about the city's rich history.
Amanda will take us on a visual tour of nearly forgotten historic architecture and the stories behind these lost treasures. She will also talk about her unconventional career path and her favorite areas of STL history. Meanwhile, I plan to delve into the history of the River Des Peres, particularly where it meanders through Cheltenham (the area around Hampton and Manchester), the site of a former sulfur spring and resort followed by extensive clay mining and manufacturing.
About the speakers
Amanda’s a St. Louis transplant who has spent over a decade sharing her passion for the city’s gorgeous architecture and complex history. In 2012 she founded Renegade Tours, known for tours such as The Whole Damn City and Badass Babes. Her unique, unscripted approach to public history has been featured in the New York Times and the St. Louis Business Journal. In 2020 she brought Renegade to the Missouri History Museum under a new name, See STL Tours. At MHS, her job includes not just tours (which are amazing!) but research, writing, and exhibit design. Amanda volunteers for Landmarks Association of St. Louis and the National Building Arts Foundation in Sauget, IL. She lives in Webster Groves with her two kids and two cats.
As for me, I was born and raised in St. Louis. I received a MA in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After expatriating to Austin, TX, for a number of years, I returned to St. Louis in 2019. As a fiction writer wanting to set novels in St. Louis, I started digging into the history of various locations around the city that I wanted to use as settings for my novels, and that’s how this Substack Unseen St. Louis was born.
In March, look for a great double bill. We will welcome Chris Naffziger, a researcher in the archives of the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds, who will talk about Adam Lemp’s Cave (a different cave from English Cave) and how German immigrants used these caves to pioneer lager beer in St. Louis. Also, in March we’ll feature Mark Zeman, author of the brand-new book Historic Tales of St. Louis, who will share stories connecting the evolution of technology to little-known historical events in our area.
We’re still building the schedule for the months ahead and confirming speakers, but look for talks about under-appreciated local architecture, captivating stories about local legends, a trip down Route 66, and more. You don’t need a trolley to stay in the loop (sorry, I couldn’t resist), but you will want to subscribe to Unseen St. Louis!
Share with your friends!
If you know anyone who might enjoy attending our talks, please share this with them. And if you know of anyone who might make a perfect speaker, please let them know about what we’re doing.
Thanks for reading, and if you’re in St. Louis, I hope you can join us for these talks. Either way, stay tuned for the next history article coming your way soon!
Wish I were in St. Louis! Will share with my readers!
That's awesome, Jackie! Congratulations on the new endeavor. Will these be recorded, or will you be giving a synopsis here after they are done?