St. Louis History is Steamboats, Blues Music and Route 66

Route 66

Since 1926, driving down Route 66 has been the experience of a lifetime for travelers, adventurers, desperadoes and dreamers. Being the oldest Route 66 resource on the web, the Historic 66 web site is dedicated to provide information for all those who want to learn more about the legendary Mother Road.

While officially Route 66 no longer exists, a great deal of it remains to be driven and enjoyed. The turn-by-turn road description will guide you on your journey through all eight states from Chicago to Los Angeles. Not only will it help you to stay on track, but you’ll also find some background information on the hundreds of roadside attractions that dot the landscape.  Saint Louis is the largest city on Route 66 between Los Angeles and Chicago. Over the years there have been many different options, a few of them will be all we can handle here. Many roadies prefer the Watson Road alignment, if it only were to stop at Ted Drewes.  The Historic Route 66 site will show you all the routes in St. Louis though Missouri to Springfield.

We carry ALL kinds of Route 66 products in stock.  From flags to fridge magnets and playing cards, we have a large selection of souvenirs to choose from.  Don’t see something, we can develop products with your attraction name and logo.  This ads a great advertising opportunity for your attraction, plus is a great souvenir for your visitors.  Call us at 314-991-8776 to discuss your custom designed Route 66 products today.  Route 66 is as popular today as it was years ago.  Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to stock these products in your gift shop.


Here are a few of our Route 66 Stock Items:



Steamboats on the Mississippi River

Mark Twain made steamboats popular in his books Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Many others.  He was a famous Missourian who actually worked on the steamboats growing up.  that’s how he got his pen name Mark Twain.  Streamboats and paddle-wheel ferries are a huge part of Missouri history.  St. Louis was the gateway to the west and these boats were invaluable for trappers and traders.  They were the first delivery trucks and mass transit up and down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

The first steamboat up the Missouri River, the INDEPENDENCE, ran from St. Louis to the vicinity of the Chariton River as early as 1819.

By 1830, more than 200 steamboats operated on western rivers, and the number kept growing. In one month in 1836, nearly 80 steamboats arrived in St. Louis.

A decade later, the St. Louis riverfront was abuzz with hissing steamboats, stacks of freight and produce, and passengers snaking through the commotion. Fed by the the-great-mississippi-steamboat-race-from-new-orleans-to-st-louis-july-1870-by-currier-iveswater-borne boom, city population exploded. From 5,825 residents in 1830, it jumped to 77,680 by 1850. Five years later, it recorded 3,450 steamboat arrivals, more than New Orleans. St. Louis was a large hub for steamboats. it all came to an end when St. Louis got it’s first railroads in the 1850s. The Civil War turned the Mississippi into a highway for Union gunboats, and it became unsafe to travel, killing the steamboats as a form or transportation.

One fun note is the boat race that used to happen every year back when I was a kid in the late 60’s – early 70’s. It was a reenactment of the Great Mississippi Steam Boat Race from 1870 between the Robert E Lee and the Natchez. The Robert E. Lee won the race and got to the finish line in St. Louis in 3-Days 18 Hours and 14 Minutes. Too bad they don’t take advantage of that great history any more in St. Louis. Anyway, We at St. Louis Souvenirs and Fairway Manufacturing have numerous souvenirs for steamboat fans. Not only for St. Louis, But St.Charles too. Remember Lewis and Clark. They left for their journey of the west from St. Charles, MO. We would love to create some fantastic steamboat and paddle-wheel souvenirs for your gift shop. Give us a call today and let’s make some awesome gifts and souvenirs together. 314-991-8776


Here are a few items we have with Steamboats in Stock:



St. Louis Blues & Ragtime – St. Louis is The Home of The National Blues Museum

St. Louis blues is usually more piano-based than other forms of the blues, and is closely related to ragtime, jump blues, and piano blues. It’s sometimes performed to a “Saint Louis shuffle” beat; a drum rhythm with heavy on-the-beat accents. It’s not just piano music as St. Louis blues can often have a small number of singers, of course a pianist and a few other musical instruments (used primarily for rhythm) to make up a band. In later years, it became common for guitarists to play lead, even playing the parts normally played on the piano.
Notable St. Louis Blues Musicians:

Chuck Berry                  James Crutchfield
Teddy Darby                 Walter Davis
Johnnie Johnson         James “Stump” Johnson
Jeremiah Johnson       Lonnie Johnson
Charley Jordan             Robert Nighthawk
Yank Rachell                 Bennie Smith
Roosevelt Sykes           Henry Townsend
Ike Turner                     Albert King
Little Milton                 W. C. Handy


A St. Louis composer known for ragtime is Scott Joplin (ca. 1868–1917) He became famous through the publication of his piano tune “Maple Leaf Rag” (1899) and then a string of ragtime hits such as “The Entertainer” (1902). Years passed and he was all but forgotten except for a small, dedicated community of ragtime aficionados. When his music was payed at a major ragtime revival in the early 1970’s, his popularity grew again. For at least 12 years after its publication, “Maple Leaf Rag” heavily influenced subsequent ragtime composers with its melody lines, harmonic progressions and metric patterns.

Joplin was born in Texas but moved to St. Louis in 1900, where he continued to compose and publish music, and regularly performed for the St. Louis community. The home Joplin rented In St. Louis from 1900-1903 was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and was saved from destruction by the local African American community. In 1983, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources made it the first state historic site in Missouri dedicated to the African American heritage.

So as you can see just by this information, blues and rag music is a large part of St. Louis. In fact St. Louis is now the home of the brand new National Blues Museum. Not Chicago, but St. Louis. That’s because St. Louis was a huge part in the blues music scene and continues to be today. Why not sell blues and ragtime associated gifts in your shop. People who come to St. Louis want to take home a part of it, so why not stock blues and ragtime merchandise? We can develop your own special line of products you can sell in your gift shop. Call us and let’s talk music souvenirs!

Check out The National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri


Here are some Ideas for St. Louis Blues Music:



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