Departures: St Louis Photos Oct 2005

In October of 2005, I went to St Louis. I didn't emerge with anecdotes, but I did have a lot of photos. There was a lot of construction going on. St Louis was restoring itself, turning abandoned buildings into new housing. Good for them. I took photos of things, including some buildings I figured I'd better photograph now--because they might not be there next time.

[Photo: Bryan, Benjamin, and Elissa at Castlewood State Park] I was in town to visit Bryan, Benjamin, and Elissa Clair. On Saturday we went to Castlewood State Park. We took a littl hike along the river. We didn't keep going along this path--there was a sign saying that this was the way to the Stinging Nettle Trail. Who wants to hike something called the Stinging Nettle Trail? Not us.
[Photo: Clairs at Castlewood] It's Benjamin, Elissa, and Bryan Clair. They walk among trees, dappled by sunlight. But sometimes they stand still and smile.
[Photo: Benjamin is Driving] Benjamin says, "Wait a minute--under the hair, this thing is hollow."
[Photo: Castlewood State Park at the Beach] At Castlewood State Park, there was a beach on the river. Or a shore, if you prefer. Some scoutish troop was there, with lots of kids and parents.
[Photo: Diggers] So this scout troop at the beach--the kids were digging a hole. The stated purpose of this hole was to tunnel under the river. I think they mostly thought that digging is fun.
[Photo: St Louis Lawn] The first time I visited St Louis, I was surprised by the lawns, sites of long-abandoned buildings. This lawn was being torn up by construction equipment. Yay construction! Maybe next time I come to this spot, it won't just be a lawn.
[Photo: St Louis Ruin] A lot of St Louis was getting rebuilt, but not this lot. But there was plenty of new construction, plenty of new lofts. It was good to see that a lot of the abandoned buildings were... uhm, rebandoned or something.
[Photo: Rock] It looks like there was once an explanatory plaque on this rock. But no more.
[Photo: New Door] Did I mention that there was new construction going on in St Louis? There was. Check out this new door.
[Photo: Brick Building] St Louis still has plenty of old buildings, and fortunately folks are preserving some of them. I liked this old brick building.
[Photo: Brick Building (detail)] I liked this building enough such that I took another photo of it.
[Photo: Brick Building (detail)] I liked this building enough such that I took yet another photo of it. But then I stopped.
[Photo: Grocers Terminal] This area of town looked like a good place to buy a truckload of produce early in the morning. I was on foot and it was late morning, so never mind.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] I liked this old power plant. I took many of photos of it.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] I really took many photos of it.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] Yes, I took many photos of it. Sorry about that.
[Photo: Covered Conveyor Belt] Three years before, I'd visited St Louis, and regretted not taking closer photos of this covered conveyor belt. But it had been so cold that I hadn't done anything about it.
[Photo: Admiral] In its day, the Admiral was the biggest riverboat somewhere. I don't remember where. I finally got around to taking a riverboat tour. Not on the Admiral, but on a much smaller vessel.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] The riverboat tour allowed me to take more photos of the Union Light and Power building.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] Unfortunately, I don't have much to say about the Union Light and Power Building. It would be nice to have some words to attach to each of these photos.
[Photo: Cement Conveyor] This conveyor belt transported cement from a silo down to a waiting riverboat. Back during the Someplace world's fair... uhm, the Panama Pacific Exposition? Uhm, during some world's fair, St Louis or some company in St Louis sold a lot of cement for the construction of that fair. More than half? Maybe more than half. Why didn't I take notes?
[Photo: Illinois] On the other side of the Mississippi River is Illinois.
[Photo: Grain Conveyor] This conveyor belt transports grain. The birds love it. It looks like they fill up one end of the barge before the other--the end furthest from the hose.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] Since I don't have anything else to say about the Union Light and Power building, I should mention that the Clairs and I went to Favazza's on The Hill for dinner on Sunday, but they were closed. Most of the Hill is closed on Sundays. So I almost had a genuine St Louis Italian meal, but not quite.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] Instead of Favazza's, we went to Romano's Macaroni Grill. It was OK.
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] Oh, and we went to Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood, which had pub food. Bryan said that you had to know what to order. Some things they could make OK, some things were pretty awful. I had some marinara pasta. It was good. (This photo isn't of the bottleworks. This is another photo of the Union Light and Power building. I didn't take any photos at the bottleworks.)
[Photo: Union Light and Power Building] Also, we went to the zoo. The St Louis Zoo has a pretty good herpetarium. They had a king cobra. Holy moly, king cobras are really big. Way too big to fit in some fakir's basket. (This photo isn't of the zoo. This is another photo of the Union Light and Power building. I didn't take any photos at the zoo.)
[Photo: Mississippi Queen] You can take a multi-day riverboat cruise along the Mississippi. Do I want to do that? Maybe.
[Photo: Covered Conveyor Belt] I was tempted to go back to East St Louis to take some more photos of this, but I didn't.
[Photo: Covered Conveyor Belt] Benjamin was three years old. He was talking quite a bit. He was learning to say what he wanted instead of crying and hoping that folks would figure out what he wanted.
[Photo: Abandoned Power Plant] If you can't make it to London to check out the old Battersea Power Plant, this place exhibits a similar spirit. Albeit not as nice-looking.
[Photo: Railroad Bridge] This used to be part of Route 66. There used to be a pedestrian path on the top deck. The first time I came to St Louis, I wasted some time trying to find the long-closed pedestrian access to that top deck. Stupid old maps.
[Photo: Covered Conveyor Belt] I heard that the Chocolate Bar was no longer a place that just served hot choclate and candy. It had turned into some boringly ordinary restaurant. Oh well. Overall, St Louis had a lot more life to it.
[Photo: Downtown] Downtown was full of construction.
[Photo: Downtown] It was great that they were preserving so many buildings.
[Photo: City Museum Parking Lot] Unfortunately, this was a Monday, and the City Museum was closed.
[Photo: A Hippo Surveys His Domain] Did you know that They Might Be Giants now record childrens' music. They're pretty good. They have this one song called "Violin". It has this lyric "Hippo, hippo." And when I saw this hippo looking out over downtown, that's what I thought about.
[Photo: Hippo] Hippo.
[Photo: Lofts for Sale] It almost seems like you could get whiplash watching this downtown going from falling-apart to building-up in just a few years.
[Photo: City Museum Exterior] I still think my favorite part of the downtown restoration is the City Museum. Those guys don't get so swept up with the preservation that they forget to keep things interesting.
[Photo: Gateway CDI] Heading West, I unexpectedly spotted the GoogleStore warehouse. Oh my gosh, it's where our schwag ships from!
[Photo: Schwag] I went into the warehouse's entryway, where there was a display case. Unfortunately, the entryway was so small that my camera couldn't take in the whole case in one shot--I had to stitch this together.
[Photo: Lawn] There is still plenty of undeveloped land in St Louis
[Photo: Scott Joplin House] The Scott Joplin House has tours. Here, Cookie the tour guide worked a player piano, playing A Real Slow Drag from Joplin's ragtime opera Treemonisha. When rewinding the player piano's paper, the piano played super-fast. So I guess that was The Real Fast Drag. The tour can take a while if it's just you, Cookie, and a couple of folks researching for an article for their RV travel magazine, but you might learn more that way.
[Photo: Lawn] No Trespassing on this lawn. It must stay abandoned, by state decree.
[Photo: Dawn] I left early Tuesday, watching the sun rise over the train station. On my arrival in St Louis, my train had been stuck in the station for more than 20 minutes. Why? Because that dick Cheney fellow's plane was taking off from the airport. And trains couldn't run while that happened because... that would disrupt the evil zombie witchcraft keeping that bloodsucker alive? He was coming from a thousand-dollar a plate fundraiser. You'd think he could have kicked down with five bucks for me to apologize for making my train late.


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