Valerie Battle Kienzle

About the Speaker

Valerie Battle Kienzle is a Nashville, Tennessee, native. Writing has been an important part of her personal and professional life for 40+ years–reporting facts for a daily newspaper; creating concepts and programs for a corporate public affairs department; writing advertising copy as an agency account representative; generating copy for school district communications; completing proposals, speeches, and scripts as a freelance writer; and conducting extensive research and authoring books. Her grandmothers instilled in her a lifelong love of history. She and two family members own Tennessee's Beech Hill Farm, a National Register property owned by family members since 1796.

What's With St. Louis? The Quirks, Personality, and Charm of the Gateway City

Why are turtles incorporated into the wrought iron fence at The Old Court House? Can beaver be eaten during Lent? Why are pieces of metal track embedded in some local streets? How many times did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speak in St. Louis? These and other questions about St. Louis routinely perplex both natives and newcomers to the area.

Digging through countless archives and talking to local experts, Kienzle continues the quest to find answers to some of The Gateway City’s most puzzling questions. Part cultural study of The River City and part history lesson, the presentation reveals the backstories of dozens of local places, events, and beloved traditions. Want to know why St. Louisans are so obsessed with soccer or why the acclaimed Missouri Botanical Garden contains a Japanese garden? Look no further. Like the book, What's With St. Louis? The Quirks, Personality, and Charm of the Gateway City, this presentation provides informative and entertaining answers to those and many other questions. The presentation is audience interactive. A question-and-answer segment follows the presentation.

Lost St. Louis: Lost Landmarks of the Gateway to the West

St. Louis has been a shining beacon on the shores of the Mississippi River for more than 250 years, and many iconic landmarks have come and gone. The city hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, the World's Fair, in 1904, with acres of beautiful buildings, gardens, and fountains, nearly all of which are lost to time. Famous Busch Stadium now sits on an area that was once a vibrant community for Chinese immigrants. St. Louis Jockey Club was an expansive and popular gathering spot in the late 19th century until the state outlawed gambling. The Lion Gas Building was home to a unique mural featuring more than seventy shades of gray in tribute to famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. In order to construct The Gateway Arch, 40 blocks of downtown St. Louis buildings and residences were razed. This presentation, like the book Lost St. Louis: Lost Landmarks of the Gateway to the West, details some of the fantastic forgotten and lost landmarks of St. Louis, Missouri.