Imagine a world without batteries. It would be a much different world, in which the automobile and the telephone would have developed differently and probably later, a world without many of the conveniences of modern life and without some of the necessities. The battery, ever smaller and more powerful, defines much of our modern comforts and advances. There were many scientific and technological advances on the way to those smaller and more powerful batteries.
In 1915, a tropical storm dropped nearly 11 inches of rain on St. Louis in just 17 hours, causing a devastating flood. Claiming 11 lives and the homes of 1,025 families, the flood focused public and government attention onto the problems of the river.
The Watkins Woolen Mill is among the best preserved examples of a Midwest woolen mill in nineteenth-century United States. Its machinery for preparing, spinning, and weaving wool reflects the existence of well-established textile industry in the country. It was designed and built by Waltus L. Watkins (1806-1884), a machinist and master weaver from Frankfort, Kentucky, who began operating his mill in 1861 in Clay County.
Clarifying the turbid waters of the Mississippi River for use as drinking water was a formidable challenge. The Chain of Rocks Water Purification Plant provided the first application of a system of flocculation, sedimentation, and rapid sand filtration for water purification.
The system played a major role in reducing the impact of St. Louis' typhoid and cholera epidemic of 1903 that claimed 287 lives. Continued improvements to the plant reduced that number to 91 by 1914. It is estimated that 1,900 lives were likely saved between 1903 and 1915 due to the filtration system.
Work began in 1887 on the high-level truss "Winner Bridge" crossing the Missouri River at Kansas City. The piers were completed in 1890, but for financial reasons the project was suspended. John Alexander Low Waddell, renowned civil engineer, prepared an alternate design for a lift bridge in 1895, which would ultimately be built as the Armour-Swift-Burlington Bridge.
In brilliant collaboration, Carl and Gerty Cori studied how the body metabolizes glucose and advanced the understanding of how the body produces and stores energy. Their findings were particularly useful in the development of treatments for diabetes. In 1947 the Coris shared a Nobel Prize for their discoveries.
The plaque commemorating the event reads: