Old Trees, New Trees


IMG_8876These pictures were taken from the same spot on the Gateway Arch grounds, looking north toward the Arch. The top photo was taken in October 2014, just before workers started removing all of the rosehill ash trees that lined the walkways. The ash trees were threatened by the emerald ash borer, and for that and other reasons, CityArchRiver, the group that is spearheading the renovation of the grounds, decided to remove them all at once.

They are being replaced by London plane trees, which are said to be much heartier and more disease resistant. The bottom photo was taken last week; the walkways and new paths around the Arch have been reopening in increments, and this area just became available a couple of weeks ago.

It will be a while, though, before the new trees will provide much shade.

(You can read more about the trees here, and about the overall CityArchRiver project here.)

Back To The Arch

Construction of the new museum that will be mostly underneath the Arch grounds.

They’re making some progress on the Arch grounds. More than a year ago, contractors for CityArchRiver project started cutting down all of the ash trees, and when they did that, they closed off all of the sidewalks that criss-crossed the park. Just in the last couple of weeks, they reopened some of the sidewalks, and today—sunny, and although it was a chilly 35 degrees, it was the warmest it’s going to be over the next week—may have been my last chance to get over there before the end of the year.

It turns out only the north end is open, and not fully open at that. But it’s definitely better than it was over the summer, and it’s nice to be able to stretch your legs and not be confined to the construction zone right in front of the Arch legs.

According to the project’s website, most everything will be done soon except for the construction of the new museum and visitor center, which is scheduled to be done in the summer of 2017 (a little optimistic, maybe?). It will sure be nice when the whole thing is finished and all of the temporary chain-link fence and construction vehicles are gone. At least, by the time it starts to warm up again in the spring, we’ll have a lot more of the park we can walk in.

Out Of The Trees

Your city may have an ocean. It may have mountains. It may have an NBA franchise, or even a Major League Soccer team. It may have real subways. It may have a happily integrated population and a vibrant downtown nightlife. But unless your city is my city, it doesn’t have an Arch. Or at least not one as grand as the Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the St. Louis riverfront.

At 630 feet tall, the Gateway Arch is supposedly the tallest man-made monument in America, and the tallest stainless-steel monument in the world (these facts according to Wikipedia, which has more than you’ll ever want to know about the history of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial). True, it is tall—the tallest structure in Missouri, in fact—but more importantly, it’s beautiful. It’s basically a long, triangular tube of stainless steel, shaped into a graceful centenary curve.

You can ride to the top and get a great view of the city and the Mississippi River, but, for me, the Arch is best appreciated from the ground. It rises out of a hill that itself rises from the river, and stands benevolently watching over the city. Its surface is stainless steel, shiny enough to reflect the light, but also rough enough to scatter the light and make the sunrise and sunset particularly spectacular.

The photograph above is one of my favorites, because it makes it appear that the Arch has sprouted out of the forest, with nothing else man-made visible. The picture was taken from Eads Bridge, not far from Memorial Drive, while the bridge is still over land. That vantage point also works vertically, as you’ll see below.

Anyway, the Arch is one of my favorite photographic subjects. Below are a few more shots I’ve taken over the years. (You know the drill: click on the thumbnails for a better view.) Hope you like ’em.

The Arch At Sunrise

Spring Break for my family meant that I could leave home early this morning; a clear sky meant that I was able to do something I’ve never done before, which is to stroll around the Gateway Arch grounds at sunrise.

It was a combination of my favorite photographic subject and my favorite time of day.

Click on the thumbnails below for some of the results.