Discovery of human skull in CWE may be linked to cholera outbreak in 1849

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS – Dirt, weeds, and old sticks are normally the debris construction workers discover while setting up the foundation for any project.

However, on Monday something a little different arose at a construction site in the Central West End.

Surprisingly, a human skull appeared.

“There’s people in a lot of places under our feet that we don’t know,” historian Amanda Clark said.

Clark is the community tourist manager for The History Museum in Forest Park.

When we told her the area where the skull had been found, she immediately knew where the skull may be remnants of.

“When you’re building and digging within the city limits of St. Louis, you run the risk of finding people because we’ve lived here for so long,” said the historian.

Clark says back in 1849 cemeteries had to be built to bury the nearly 5,000 people who died from a cholera outbreak.

At one point, she says nearly 100 people were dying from it per day with no explanation.

“At the time, they thought maybe it was in the air,” said Clark. “Maybe it was on vegetables, maybe it was coming from God that if you sin then you get cholera. And at the same time, the city is growing quickly.”

Deaths started slowing down in August of 1849 and now some 170 years later a skull from that time is discovered.

While the St. Louis Medical Examiner tries to piece together more information on this unknown skull, Clark says discoveries like this should come as no surprise as we try to find more space in areas that were once resting places.

“History is never really that far away.”

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News