The Iconography of St. Louis, Missouri is strongly informed by the city’s French and German heritages, physical features, and place in American history.
Long before Europeans settled in St. Louis, the Cahokia lived throughout the area and constructed many mounds. Though history and population growth would eventually see most of these mounds flattened and removed, the city still bears the nickname Mound City. Mounds have largely fallen out of the popular imagination, but some projects still reference their existence. Dan Martin‘s weekly cartoon in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which is about St. Louis culture and topics, is titled “Postcard From Mound City”.
The 2007 Master Plan for the Gateway Mall calls for a mound to be constructed at the mall’s terminus to afford a better view.
St. Louis is at the confluence of the Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers. The city was founded by Pierre Laclede as a fur trading post because he believed the location had great potential in shipping.
St. Louis has long been known for its barge traffic and steamboats. The writer Mark Twain is an icon of St. Louis in his own right, and wrote prolifically about the steamboats along the river.
The Missouri-Mississippi confluence has been appropriated for many uses over time. The local chapter of the Green Party, the Gateway Green Alliance, regularly publishes a periodically called The Confluence. Lindenwood University‘s department of History has an academic journal also called The Confluence. The term is a very popular reference for local politicians to make when speaking of great ideas intersecting. It is tied to the city’s identity through the rivers on the city flag and great seasonal floods.