Equal parts conference, research and reunion, the Austin Families Association annual convention is always a good time for those in attendance, and the 2015 convention, to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, promises to be no exception. Your convention committee has been scouting out venues and research facilities, and things are shaping up for a fun and interesting weekend! The convention will be held on the weekend of October 2nd – 4th, with the Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch serving as our convention hotel.
Besides being a chance to catch up with old friends and cousins and meet new ones, and to share your Austin research, there is so much to see and do in the St. Louis area!
St. Louis was established in 1764 by the French as a fur trading post, was part of Spanish Louisiana, and after the Louisiana Purchase in 1802 became a major port on the Mississippi River. Close to the geographic center of the United States, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, it was known as the Gateway to the West. From this area in 1804 the Lewis and Clark Expedition set out to find a water route through the newly opened western land to the Pacific Ocean.
The 630 ft. high Gateway Arch, set in a 90 acre park along the banks of the Mississippi River, was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the country, and is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. You can’t beat the view from the top - and our hotel is right in its shadow! Step back in time as you visit the nearby Basilica of Saint Louis and examine the museum exhibits at the Old Courthouse. From there, take a walking tour of many other historic buildings in Downtown St. Louis and cruise the mighty Mississippi on a 19th-century paddle-wheel boat replica.
For those interested in research, the Central Branch of the St. Louis Public Library, with a large collection of genealogical material, is less than a mile from the hotel. Other excellent facilities, 6 to 12 miles from downtown, are: the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center (at Forest Park), the St. Louis County Library, and the National Archives at St. Louis and National Personnel Records Center.
Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. Besides being home to the region's major cultural institutions - including the Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum and Science Center - it is a beautiful oasis in the midst of the city and was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair.
As you can see, there will be something for everyone in St. Louis! So plan on extra days to explore and enjoy the area. “Early arrival activities” will be arranged for Thursday and Friday - with speakers, workshops and a banquet on Saturday and Sunday. More details and registration information will be coming in the next newsletter and on our website, but for now, mark those dates on your calendar and plan to join your Austin cousins and friends in St. Louis on the first weekend in October.
See you at the Arch!
St. Louis Links:
Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch
St. Louis Public Library
Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center
St. Louis County Library
National Archives at St. Louis and National Personnel Records Center
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