All Roads Lead to Saint Louis

Chief Pontiac on the Hood of a 1940 Deluxe

I heard it on NPR that the nation’s champion chess team is moving to Saint Louis. Last year, I reported that the World Chess Hall of Fame moved to Saint Louis. This week, I learned that the entire Texas Tech chess team followed its ‘Queen’ to Webster University. The Texas chess program had grown rapidly, but Texas Tech wasn’t ready to grow with the program, is the story in the news. Coach Susan Polgar said, “Saint Louis today is the center of chess in America. It just seemed like a perfect fit.” Apparently so, because her entire team followed her.

Chief Pontiac’s father was a Odowa and his mother a Ojibwa. He grew up in 18th century Detroit. He lived peacefully there with the French, but then the French lost the Seven Years War and ceded the Northwest Territories to the British. British and Indian relations soon went from bad to worse, and culminated in Pontiac’s Rebellion. Pontiac unsuccessfully besieged Fort Detroit, but the rebellion did succeed in capturing eight other British forts, from Ohio to Indiana to Northern Michigan. After the war, Pontiac retreated to Illinois. He was murdered in Cahokia, some say assassinated. There was a £200 price on his head. He is buried somewhere in Saint Louis.

OK, so I have provided only two roads to Saint Louis, and one ended badly. There are many more, but these two I learned of this week. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that both Anne and Dan are alumni of Webster. As an aside, last month Webster announced an expansive building plan. Planned in multiple phases over multiple years, it is scheduled to eventually replace the art building. Dan won’t recognize his alma mater.

Saint Louis is enamoured with its former Saint Louis residents. So much so, it almost takes on the George Washington slept here caricature. It is also academic if its prodigal sons ever return. If you don’t really have a hometown, then you adopt one. I’ve lived in many towns over the years. By the time that I graduated from college, my dorm address was my longest residency. Now, after over thirty years, it is Saint Louis. Who says that a rolling stone cannot gather some moss? Maybe a truer title should be, all roads lead through Saint Louis. We do claim to be the gateway to the west, and Kansas City, our neighbor to the west claims that Saint Louis is really the gateway to the east. I guess that makes us the crossroads of America.

2 thoughts on “All Roads Lead to Saint Louis

  1. Your “cousinniece” Janet is rather familiar with Cahokia, having worked 3 summers at Dickson Mounds Museum’s archaeological site and having visited Cahokia every summer she was there…

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