When the voters of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County went to the polls in August 1876 they approved a plan that would forever change the economic, social, and political structure of the region. The voters agreed to separate two political entities that had long been at odds with one another. Rural-urban divisions, corruption, economic self-interests, and the political upheavals of the Civil War all played a part in a scheme that the residents of our region continue to struggle with to this day. Christopher Gordon will examine the origins of what became known as the Great Divorce and its consequences over the last one hundred and thirty-nine years.
Christopher Gordon is the Director of Library and Collections for the Missouri History Museum. He grew up in southwest Missouri and at-tended Missouri State University where he received a B.A. in political science and M.A. in history. Prior to moving to St. Louis in 2002 to begin his career at MHM, he served as the director of the Henry County Museum and Cultural Arts Center in Clinton, Missouri. Christopher is currently writing Fire, Pestilence, and Death: St. Louis, 1849, a book focusing on the dramatic events of the year 1849 in St. Louis.