top of page
  • Elise K. Long

Missouri - The Gateway to the West

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

I grew up in St. Louis Missouri. In a city called Kirkwood. I had always heard it said that the Arch in downtown St. Louis was the landmark that represented the statement- Gateway to the West. But not until recently did I truly understand how impactful that really is.

Pennsylvania is known for a large German community. But so is St. Louis. I was recently researching some of my classmates parents and noticed all the German type names. When I reviewed some of the 1940 Census I was so surprised to see the column that asked for country of birth for Father and Mother. It was filled with Germany or other close by countries. But there have been a number of times in our history that the German people migrated to America. In the late 1700's and in the mid-1800's as well. My Great Grandfather Konrad Kern came over in the mid-1800's. He came almost directly to Missouri and settled around Blue Springs just outside of Kansas City.

Many people came to Missouri thinking they could get away from the Civil War. But it too was taken into the war. With that, many moved on to Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and even Washington, to avoid the war. I had great uncles that moved to Montana, from the Hightower line and the Kern line.

The first 40 years of the 1800's was a growing and prosperous time in St. Louis. Mountain men came in with their wares and hides for sale. The men from steamboats from back east were there to buys goods to take back with them. St. Louis was the trading mecca of the mid west.

(St. Louis on the Mississippi river by night. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial aka. Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse are visible.

By St_Louis_night_expblend.jpg: Daniel Schwenderivative work: ←fetchcomms (St_Louis_night_expblend.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons)

26 views0 comments
bottom of page