In Saint Louis, CWE stands for CENTRAL WEST END which is a historic part of the city where the elite (people and pets) meet to eat, shop and just people watch on sunny weekend days. Here is photographic mosaic I shot on Saturday when I was out with a couple of friends. You can click on the little images to view a larger version and read my commentary.
Our Saturday matinée movie was STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS.
Tourists always welcome in Saint Louis. And it’s a great place for a budget vacation.
Forest Park is a great place to visit, and one of the highest spots in the park is a spot call ART HILL. It’s the spot where you’ll find this statue of Louis IX Saint and King of France.
And behind his statue, you’ll find the building that gives this hill its name. The Saint Louis Museum of Fine Art designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert and built in 1904. Currently, a new expansion to the historic building is undergoing the final preparations for a grand opening in June of 2013. Many areas of the original building are being reconfigured for the expansion.
While I’ve often included many pictures of the building behind Louis’ statue, I’ve never really shown you the full view of what’s in front of the statue. Now with the aid of a panoramic camera, I’d like to show you the view of Art Hill and the City of Saint Louis that Louis IX sees.
If you click on the above photo, you’ll be able to see the enlarged panorama of Forest Park and the City Of Saint Louis on a sunny blue sky Saint Louis almost winter afternoon. ENJOY!
Thankfully, there are a lot of benches around the MOBOT grounds for foot-weary visitor who have completed the 2.5 mile trek around the grounds viewing all 26 lantern creations. The break was also necessary because we’re still in the midst of summer days, and the MAGIC can’t start until the sun has set which in garden time is about 8 pm. Also those in the know didn’t start showing up until shortly before eight. We had decided we weren’t going to repeat the entire trek around the garden, and we were just going to revisit a few of our favorites we wanted to see illuminated. Don’t forget you can enlarge any picture by clicking on it.
It was a great presentation and I encourage all who can to visit it — it will run up until August 19. Dining from 5:30 – 8:00 in the Sassafras Cafe/Visiter’s Center and from 6:00 – 10:00 at the The Lantern Festival Food Court in the Linnean Plaza.
As promised last week here is the second part of my tour of the Soulard Neighborhood … THE SOULARD FARMERS MARKET. The market is one of the oldest farmers markets in the country. It dates back to 1779 when it was just a flat meadow where farmers would come to sell the fruits, vegetables, dairy products and livestock they had raised to the French settlers and fur traders that made up the population of the village of Saint Louis.
Antoine Soulard owned the land where the meadow was located, and in 1841 after his death his wife Julia officially deeded the two block area where the market was located to the city to be forever used as a farmers market.
The current building was built in 1929 to replace the original 1840 building. The building consists of the Grand Hall which contains a number of stores and shops and two double lanes of exterior stall on either side of the main building.
I got so hungry walking through the market, I had to go across the street to Jimmy John’s for a roast beef sub.
Coming soon, the third episode and conclusion of my Soulard Tourist Trek!
Last week I took a tourist trek through one of the oldest residential areas in the city of Saint Louis. Back in the early 19th century the area directly south of central city was known as Frenchtown — mainly because most of the land was covered with farms owned by French landowners. One of the major landowners was Antoine Soulard, surveyor general of Upper Louisiana for the Spanish governor of the territory during the 36 years the territory was owned by Spain. He received a large grant of land in payment for his work as surveyor. This was the land that eventually became known as the Soulard Neighborhood of Saint Louis. And this is where I went trekking.
Soulard is a registered historic district of Saint Louis, and as such the historic buildings there are under a strict code regarding restoration and/or modification. In other words, walking down the streets of Soulard is like walking down the streets of a mid-19th century city. Especially when it comes to walking down the red brick sidewalks.
Prior to the Civil War a lot of German people began immigrating to the United States and Saint Louis in particular. (This included my German ancestors.) And the landowners in Soulard realized they could make a tidy profit by building houses for the newcomers which would also supply workers for the nearby fields, factories and breweries. And that is where the row houses entered the picture.
The row houses were designed to utilize every possible square inch of available land. They were built right up to the side walk and designed so that another house could be built right next to them it make a row of houses sometimes running for an entire block.
The German immigrants also brought their churches, like Sts. Peter and Paul Church which dates back to 1840. This current German Gothic building was built in 1874.
Down the block is Trinity Lutheran Church. The original wooden church was built closer to the river in 1838 and was the oldest Lutheran congregation west of the Mississippi. The current building was built in the 1870s.
Coming up the Trek continues with a tour of the Soulard Farmers Market that dates back to the late 1700s.
I usually take several hundred photos each week, and while going through them this afternoon I decided to select the one I liked best and post it as my PICK PIC OF THE WEEK.
Soulard is one of the oldest residential areas in the city. It is just six blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River, and many of the original structures built during the 1800s have been carefully restored. A lot of these were row houses which were built right up to the brick sidewalks and side by side to other row houses. Almost all of these were two stories with front and rear apartments on each floor. The rear apartments were reached through a narrow walkway from the sidewalk to the back entrance.
Walking along a block of row houses, I noticed this big guy guarding his home. He actually opened one eye to look at me when I stopped to take his picture. As you can see, his expression is pure, “Sheeze, another damn tourist!”
Watch for the entire Tourist Trek coming up this week. (As soon as I finish picking and choosing the photos.)
Tuesday, I made one of my periodic trips to downtown Saint Louis to make sure that it’s still there. Thankfully, it’s still there, but some of the parts that made it a great city aren’t doing so well. One of these parts was the ARCADE BUILDING.
It’s the building that’s being hidden behind the OLD POST OFFICE BUILDING in the foreground. It’s a classic building that was built during the early skyscraper era at the start of the 20th century. I remember it from when I was a kid in the 40s. First from visits to my ear doctor with my mom and later from regular shopping trips with my dad. The building got its name from a fabulous central shopping arcade that was entire city block long.
Unfortunately it hasn’t been doing very well during the last two or three decades. People stopped going downtown to shop, and more and more tenants moved their offices and shops to suburban areas. So the building was added to the list of classic downtown structures to be either restored, re-imagined or replaced … which meant its future rose and fell as the economy did. The last time I went past the building, a lot of work was going one inside. Tuesday, all the ground floor doors and windows had all been covered over. But instead of just nailing plywood over the doors and windows, whoever is responsible for the building had done it in a rather unique way.
They were covered with vinyl sheets imprinted with the interior and exterior architectural details of the building. This is the main entrance of the building. Only the two entrances and two of the ground floor windows retain the original detailed stone work around them. The rest of the windows had been replaced by rectangular display windows over the years.
But it is nice to see the giant blow-ups of the old stonework details. Maybe it will entice someone to restart the restoration and revitalization of this classic building.