Best Urban Myth - 2002
How Dogtown Got Its Name
It's a puzzler. Was it a pack of stray dogs that patrolled the streets in the 1800s and swept away small children? Did a sudden crime wave prompt resident coal miners of this working-class neighborhood to keep guard dogs in their back yards? Or the most widely held belief: Could it have been the group of Igorot people from the Philippines who set up a village for the 1904 World's Fair in an area near Highway 40 and Forest Park -- and who shocked many by ordering dogmeat for dinner? Another theory comes from a book written by a local, P.J. O'Connor. He mentions a 1927 reference that suggests the area was called Dog Town because of the many squatters who lived in shacks in the area. The Missouri Historical Society doesn't want to get in the middle of the speculation and says no one knows how Dogtown got its name. Of course, the best way to get another opinion -- and probably start an argument -- is to visit the mayor of Dogtown. You'll find one in every bar in Dogtown.