FROM A GRAND HOTEL
Coming across an old envelope,
empty but full of history . . .
from a grand St. Louis hotel,
during a troubled time in U.S. history.
The Planters House Hotel, in downtown St. Louis,
made famous by Charles Dickens
and at one time "the largest hotel in the country."
Famous visitors were often in residence
during the turbulent and troubled 1860s . . .
Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson,
Ulysses S. Grant and Charles Dickens,
who stayed here during his U.S. tour.
(Dickens, notably critical of the country -- and St. Louis --
wrote favorably about the Planters House.)
The most historic meeting there was a fateful confrontation
between Brig. General Nathaniel Lyon, Sterling Price
and Claiborne Jackson, drawing a line between
"an imperfect and uneasy peace in Missouri"
and outright war between Secessionists and Unionists.
At the end of this meeting, General Lyon stood up, declared war
and thus the Civil War came to the streets of St. Louis.
(I saved the envelope for the stamp,
not knowing the importance of the hotel or its place in history.)