A new book, Amazing Webster Groves, has gone into pre-press production and will be available in May. EE Co-editor Don Corrigan will do a Missouri book tour starting in May with first presentations scheduled for book outlets in St. Louis and Webster Groves.
America’s Heartbeat can be found in the St. Louis suburb that’s been a Time magazine cover story, the subject of a CBS-TV documentary, and a magnet for pollsters at presidential election time.
In Amazing Webster Groves, you will discover Old Orchard, where prime real estate was sold out of President Ulysses S. Grant’s log cabin. You’ll find Webster Park, where a governor, a senator, and many of St. Louis’s business geniuses once lived.
You can read the true tale of the Webster TV housewife who nicknamed her hubby “Fang,” the man whose election to governor was held up when Democrats cried fraud, a zoologist who advocated for “charismatic megafauna,” an atomic age activist who collected 300,000 baby teeth for Strontium 90 detection, and a female author who won a Pulitzer at 24.
You will also learn about the town’s remarkable college, Webster University, and the revered Eden Seminary where theologians who advised presidents taught beneath its Oxford Tower.
Of special interest to Environmental Echo readers are his pieces in the book on outdoor advocates and environmentalists such as the “Bug Man” Marshall Magner, the “Bird Woman” Phoebe Snetsinger, Jack Lorenz of the Izaak Walton League, and zoologists George Schaller and William Conway.
Local author Corrigan profiles the town he is proud to have covered for four decades as editor of the Webster-Kirkwood Times. A writer and journalism professor at Webster University, he was a teaching colleague of Missouri’s Poet Laureate and “the post- Auschwitz Catholic” professor who took on Holocaust deniers. As a reporter/editor, he interviewed TV and theatre stars like Phyllis Diller, Charlotte Peters, and Marsha Mason, the “Goodbye Girl.”
Corrigan is co-editor of EnvironmentalEcho.com. He is an award-winning author who was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2020 for his work as a journalism professor and community newspaper editor.
At Webster University, he received a Messing Research Award in 1990, the Kemper Outstanding Teacher Award in 1994, and the Presidential Faculty Scholar Award in 1998. Corrigan has reported for his newspaper group from Russia, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and Vietnam.
He won a Gannett Foundation Award and the Lewis C. Green Environmental Service Award for his environmental writing. He is the author of eight books, including Environmental Missouri and Show-Me Natural Wonders.
Allow me to provide a few talking points about what appears in the book, Amazing Webster Groves:
• General Ulysses S. Grant’s log cabin, known as Hardscrabble, went mobile and spent time in downtown St. Louis, at the 1904 World’s Fair, and as a real estate office on Log Cabin Lane in Webster Groves.
• Land-locked Webster Groves was home to famous steamboat captains. Captains Richard Lockwood and John Swon both had streets named for them. Swon captained the Big Missouri, which was greeted by cannon fire as a welcome whenever he landed on the St. Louis riverfront.
• Tennessee Williams won a silver plate and first place in a Webster Groves Theatre Guild playwriting contest in 1936. Later he scribed a few more winners such as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
• Webster Groves became ground zero for the St. Louis hippie scene in the 1970s when its Old Orchard businesses sold waterbeds, rolling papers and black lights. Hippie-dippy stores included The Looking Glass, The Smoke Shop, Saturday’s Child, and The Great Pyramid Cheops.
• A hotbed for literary types, Webster Groves has nurtured major authors. National Book Award-winner Jonathan Franzen recalls his primal fears growing up in Webster, including anxiety over “school dances, hardball, puberty, music teachers and the school cafeteria.”