Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

The Story of Stagger Lee 

A special You Are Here presentation.

The Story of Stagger Lee originates from a shooting that occurred on Christmas night, 1895, near the Third ward, also known as "Chestnut Valley" or the "Bloody Third district." The central character was a main named Lee Shelton, variously referred to in legend as Stagger Lee, Stagolee, Stack-A-Lee, and Stack O'Lee.

On Dec. 28, 1895, the Globe-Democrat described him as a cab driver, identifying him as "Lee Sheldon" — also known as "Stag." Newspaper reports and death certificates refer to him as "Stag," "Stack" or "Stock" lee.

Shelton, it's said, owned a nightclub called the Modern Horseshoe Club. "Lee Sheldon belonged to an exotic group of pimps in St. Louis called 'Macks'," writes Cecil Brown.1 These men, Brown writes, were "not just 'urban strollers'; they presented themselves as objects to be observed."

Click here to download a pdf booklet of this story.

Editor's note: In combination with this feature, Riverfront Times and Timothy Lane are producing a small number of bound and signed copies of the Stagger Lee story. A free copy will be sent to the first 50 readers who send a request, along with full contact info, to:
Timothy Lane "Stagger Lee" chapbook
c/o Riverfront Times
6358 Delmar Blvd., Ste. 200
St. Louis, MO 63130

or via letters@riverfronttimes.com.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation