“We should do a St. Louis running tour,” suggested Maureen after her first semester of graduate school at WashU in St. Louis ended this week.
Sounded good to me. There was a even tour company offering one near the Gateway Arch. But for the Sunday we wanted to do the tour, it was not offered by the company. And we will be leaving St. Louis within a few days to head back to Colorado.
No problem! Ultimately we decided do it self-guided which gave us the freedom and flexibility to explore the area whenever we wanted and also saved some greenbacks. I mapped out notable landmarks on Bing maps and designated Maureen as our official tour guide. Thanks to Wikipedia, she was almost as good at telling about the places as she was at posing with statues.
We emerged from the Metrolink at Laclede’s Landing, where I had to do a double take to make sure we were not in France as we passed by a sign pointing the way to Rue de l’Église. From there we commenced the running tour. The total distance was about 1.8 miles, which we covered in under 1.5 hours. As you can see from the photos, it was drizzling all morning. No matter. It did not rain hard and—amazingly for December in St. Louis—it was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, comfortable enough to wear shorts.
These are the notable landmarks we passed by. All descriptions below are from Wikipedia.
- Laclede’s Landing: A multi-block collection of cobblestone streets and vintage brick-and-cast-iron warehouses dating from 1850 through 1900, now converted into shops, restaurants, and bars. The district is the only remaining section of St. Louis’ 19th-century commercial riverfront.
- Eads Bridge: When completed in 1874, the Eads Bridge was the longest arch bridge in the world, with an overall length of 6,442 feet (1,964 m). The ribbed steel arch spans were considered daring, as was the use of steel as a primary structural material: it was the first such use of true steel in a major bridge project. It was also the first bridge to be built using cantilever support methods exclusively.
- Old Courthouse: Missouri’s tallest habitable building from 1864 to 1894.
- Gateway Arch: The world’s tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri’s tallest accessible building.
- Old Cathedral: Formally called the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, it was the first cathedral west of the Mississippi River and until 1845 the only parish church in the city of St. Louis, Missouri.
- Busch Stadium: The baseball park for the St. Louis Cardinals that opened on April 4, 2006.
- Citygarden: A two-block urban park that opened on July 1, 2009. St. Louis’ Gateway Foundation, a not-for-profit organization supporting public art, funded the design and construction of the garden.
- Soldiers’ Memorial Military Museum: dedicated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 and officially opened to the public on Memorial Day, 1938. Contains display cases with military displays and memorabilia from World War I and subsequent American wars.
- Wainwright Building: a 10-story red brick office building built between 1890 and 1891. It is among the first skyscrapers in the world.
Afterwards we went to Hardee’s near the Wainwright Building and the ballpark to devour some All-American grub. This was the first time Maureen or I have ever been to Hardee’s and we tried their Thickburgers. We agreed that they were tasty.