Common Fields: An Environmental History of St. Louis / Edition 2

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The confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers supported some of the earliest settlements in America.  From the Cahokia Mounds civilization to the flood of 1993, residents of the St. Louis region have depended on this landscape even as they have threatened its bounty.

In Common Fields, thirteen original essays tell of the city's constant tension between urban growth and environmental sustainability.  Geographers, archaeologists, and historians examine the relationship between the city's diverse residents and the environment on which their well-being depends.  Whether channeling the river, laying streets, or clearing the air of coal smoke, St. Louisans have shown great ingenuity in overcoming the hazards of city development.

And yet, our solutions to making the best use of the environment have only highlighted more basic societal questions:  How do we ensure liberty while providing equal opportunities?  How do we recognize uniqueness while eliminating barriers that prevent others' success?  The answers have everything to do with our ability to make sensible use of our environment-just as the rivers, fields, and city streets will forever shape the character of this city.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Missouri Historical Society Press can take considerable pride in having published Common Fields. This is a book that should add much to the conversation among St. Louis area residents about the past and present condition of their environment. At the same time, it should enjoy a much wider readership as well." --Phillip V. Scarpino in Public Historian, spring 1998

"Common Fields may inspire a new genre in the field of environmental history that focuses attention on individual cities. In fact, other volumes are now being crafted with the organization of Common Fields as a model." --Martin V. Melosi in Journal of American History, March 1998

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883982157
  • Publisher: Missouri History Museum Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 319
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor

Andrew Hurley is associate professor of history at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he teaches urban and environmental history.  He received his Ph. D. from Northwestern University.  He is the author of Environmental Inequalities:  Class, Race, and Industrial Pollution in Gary, Indiana, 1945-1980.

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Table of Contents

Common Fields: An Introduction 1
The Environmental Setting of the St. Louis Region 13
Culture and Environment in the American Bottom: The Rise and Fall of Cahokia Mounds 38
Contested Terrain: Environmental Agendas and Settlement Choices in Colonial St. Louis 58
Where Did the Villages Go? Steamboats, Deforestation, and Archaeological Loss in the Mississippi Valley 73
Paving St. Louis's Streets: The Environmental Origins of Social Fragmentation 90
Draining the Metropolis: The Politics of Sewers in Nineteenth-Century St. Louis 107
Re-Imagining the Urban Landscape: Fire Risk and Insurance in Nineteenth-Century St. Louis 126
Busby's Stink Boat and the Regulation of Nuisance Trades, 1865-1918 145
Environmental Justice in the American Bottom: The Legal Response to Pollution, 1900-1950 163
"The Land of a Million Smiles": Urban Tourism and the Commodification of the Missouri Ozarks, 1900-1940 176
The Struggle for Smoke Control in St. Louis: Achievement and Emulation 199
River Dreams: St. Louis Labor and the Fight for a Missouri Valley Authority 221
Floods, Rats, and Toxic Waste: Allocating Environmental Hazards Since World War II 242
Contributors 263
Notes 267
Acknowledgments 311
Index 313
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