River Des Peres, St. Louis, MO
The River Des Peres runs through St. Louis and forms the backbone of the sanitary and stormwater systems of the city. In the 1930s, the river was channelized by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Horner & Shifrin, and the WPA as a flood control and public health measure. The river extends from University in an arc to south St. Louis to empty into the Mississippi River. Portions of the “River” are underground, particularly through Forest Park.
The work done by the WPA to line the muddy banks of the river was done in response to infestation of mosquitoes in the open canal and an outbreak of encephalitis in 1933 that affected about 1100 people, killing 200.
The pictured section is in south St. Louis and shows the limestone lining of the River Des Peres flood control/drainage canal. There is a mosaic that was restored in the 2000’s that reads “1935-1940, Safety First, WPA, Be Careful.”
Project originally submitted by Charles Swaney on April 5, 2013.
Additional contributions by Anne Pancella.
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