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Lecture On Late Victorian East St. Louis

A recent Mississippi River Bridge project at St. Louis has given the opportunity to take a look back in time.  Excavations took place near I-70 and the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge.

The research uncovered  information about a prehistoric civilization at the site.  But Dr. Claire Dappert, Historic Archaeologist at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, says a lesser publicized part of the project involves residential neighborhoods that existed about 100 years ago around the St. Louis National Stockyards.

She'll talk more about it at this week's Illinois State Museum Science Lecture in Springfield.  

"This is the largest urban archaeology project that has ever happened in the State of Illinois," Dappert said.    76 lots spread across 4 city blocks were investigated.

"We have not had the opportunity to look at such a large neighborhood and take that data and say things about the groups of people who lived there."

"I think our discoveries in East St. Louis are important because we all have a stereotype of what East St. Louis is now and it's all too easy to superimpose that stereotype on the past," she said. "What people don't realize is around the turn of the century, this part of the city was occupied by second generation white American singles and families, mostly from the midwest, some European immigrants and a few African Americans from the south."

"The goal of my research is to explore how these people of diverse backgrounds formed themselves into an American working class."

Dappert will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Illinois State Museum's Research and Collections Center, 1011 E. Ash St., Springfield.  The Paul Mickey Scoence Lecture Series event is free and open to the public.  

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