Back To The Arch

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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.

The Captains’ Return … Returns!

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There have been 161 posts on Shoulblog so far. And the one that, by far, gets the most traffic over time is About That Statue, a series of pictures of the Lewis & Clark Statue on the St. Louis riverfront. The statue, named “The Captains’ Return,” was somewhat unique in that it was regularly inundated by Mississippi River water whenever the river rose close to flood stage. Because the river level is always changing, the sculpture seemed to be in a different setting every time you saw it, and it was therefore one of my favorite things to photograph in St. Louis during my lunchtime walks. I’m guessing that a lot of people saw the statue, Googled it to find more information about it or pictures of it, and were led to that blog post.

Unfortunately, though,  it’s apparently not a good thing for a bronze statue to regularly be underwater for long periods of time. A year or so ago, at the beginning of a long riverfront-renovation project, the city removed the statue, with the promise that it would be refurbished and relocated to a new spot at a higher elevation.

Recently, the statue returned to the riverfront, with a new finish and a new location. It’s now further south from Eads Bridge, and up on Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd., which itself was raised by two feet as part of the riverfront project. The statue is thus protected from many of the high-water events in St. Louis, but by no means all of them. Just this last December, it would have been completely underwater, for example. Still, if the goal is to prevent it from getting inundated every year, this location will work better. I’m just glad to see it back.

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About That Statue…

Note: This statue has been moved. You can read a June 2016 update to this post  here.

Just downriver from Eads Bridge in St. Louis, on the St. Louis riverfront, is a statue called The Captains’ Return. It depicts the return of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, along with their dog, Scout, from their famous trip to explore the Missouri River. It was sculpted by Harry Weber.

I said it was “on the riverfront,” but it is sometimes more accurately described as “in the river.” In what I consider a brilliant placement, the statue was set in the cobblestones on the St. Louis wharf. The river level is subject to notoriously large swings; in the last 20 years, it has been as low as 0 feet and as high as 50 feet on the St. Louis gauge. This picture was taken when the stage was about 29 feet, which is one foot below the flood stage. (Don’t confuse “stage” with “depth.” Even at zero feet on the St. Louis gauge, there is still more than nine feet of water in the main channel of the river. Zero on the gauge refers to the “low water reference plane,” which I wouldn’t try to explain, even if I understood it.)

That’s Clark, in the picture, who appears to be waving at us for help. Less fortunate are Lewis and Scout; they’re below the surface in this photo, although you can see them in some of the pictures below.

This statue is one of my favorite things about St. Louis. I’m sure I’ve taken hundreds of photos of it over the last six years. It’s just a few feet south of Eads Bridge, another of my favorite things about St. Louis. And about half a mile away is yet another favorite, the Gateway Arch.

The statue was dedicated in September 2006, the 200th anniversary of the end of the Voyage of Discovery. There’s a plaque on the statue that reads: “At noon on September 23, 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition ended on the St. Louis riverfront after a journey along the Missouri River to its headwaters, a passage of the Rocky Mountains, and a descent to the Pacific Coast via the Columbia River. Returning by roughly the same route, they arrived at St. Louis after two years, four months and nine days of exploring the lands and encountering the peoples of the American West.”

Here are a few more pictures of the statue (clicking on any of the thumbnails below will bring up a gallery you can scroll through). The last one, the only one in which you can also see the Arch, was taken this morning (February 27, 2012), when the river stage was about 4.25 feet.

A New Way To Look At St. Louis

Malcom Martin keeps an eye on the Gateway City.

April 20 was the day I’d been waiting for for months. Warm, but not too warm. Plenty of sunshine. Not a terribly busy day at work. And the trees are greening up nicely, filling out enough so that, from a distance, they look pretty darn summery.

I took my camera to work. And at lunchtime — actually a few minutes early — I packed up and headed for … Keep reading