Professor, students dig in Laclede's Landing, find debris from Great Fire of 1849

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ST. LOUIS • Stick a shovel where humans have trod for centuries, and something fascinating will turn up.

Michael Fuller, professor of anthropology at St. Louis Community College at Meramec, took his class to modern-day Laclede’s Landing for a month of digging in a vacant lot near Lucas and First streets. They hoped to find evidence of American Indian villages from the time of the Mound Builders.

No such luck. But Fuller said they believe owners of the original stone-and-brick building on the lot used debris from the city’s Great Fire of May 17-18, 1849, to fill in the basement.

As evidence, he showed off shards of old brick cracked by heat, melted window panes, darkened soils stained by ash and bits of bottles and dishes that may have been on shelves the night the fire erupted. Read more.
Great Fire of 1849 ravaged riverfront

ST. LOUIS • Crewmen doused a mattress fire on the steamboat White Cloud, moored on the north end of the city’s landing. They aired the bedding on deck, then dragged it back into a cabin.

They must have missed an ember. About 10 p.m., flames burst from the passenger deck. Watchmen along the crowded landing clanged bells of alarm. Volunteers of Missouri Fire Co. No. 5, first to the scene, saw fire leaping from the White Cloud onto the adjoining steamboat, the Edward Bates.

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Rough Landing • Drivers on Laclede’s Landing will get some relief from the pounding their vehicles take as they bounce along the entertainment district’s decaying cobblestone streets. But don’t worry: The cobblestones aren’t disappearing. Federal money will cover most of the $1.46 million cost of removing cobblestones, rebuilding the deteriorated street bases and resetting the pavers.