[Click on photo to view full sized]
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!
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, 07:50 CDT — Since mom and I had cut the grass and done laundry the day before, I planned on sleeping in. But mom got up early and let the cat in and he naturally jumped on my bed and woke me up. This gave mom the opportunity to say, “Oh, you’re up too. Why don’t you make us some French toast for breakfast?” I slumped out of my bedroom and on the way to the kitchen I turned on the TV to see what was happening on NBC and the world. The scene on the TV was one of chaos and I called mom in from the kitchen. As we sat on the sofa the second plane hit the south tower and we were riveted to the TV. We spent the rest of the morning sitting on the sofa and crying. I never did make that French toast.
September 11, 2011 — Today I visited the 9/11 Remembrance Memorial that had been assembled on Art Hill in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum. It consisted of almost 3,000 3 x 5 flags on metal poles that had been arranged with perfect military precision … horizontally, vertically and diagonally … across the lawn of the hill. There was a flag for each of the victims of the attacks, and each flag pole showed the name, photo and details of the person it honored. A lot of the people who visited the flags of friends or relatives left messages or flowers taped to the flag poles.
Halfway up the hill I noticed an elderly gentlemen who had been walking up the hill searching from flag to flag. He stopped by one flag and knelt on one knee holding on to the flag pole. As I passed, I could see the tears streaming down his face. There was no way anyone could walk on dry-eyed.
The scope of so many flags spread across the hillside had an undeniably emotional effect on all of the viewers.
As I began to walk down the hill to go home, an actual parade of young and old, military and civilian, man and four-footer … moved toward the memorial carrying flags of their own. (Many dogs wore red, white and blue neck bandanas or tiny flag patches on their bandanas.)
The entire flag project was conceived by a local man and his wife who began putting the flags together in their garage. Soon they had many friends helping them and in the end, 290 people worked to get the flags in place on the hill.
The memorial began at sunrise with mayor and other city officials … and our own first responders many of whom had answered the call to work at Ground Zero. The day ended with a concert at the foot of the hill.
It’s not the same trolley that Esther Smith would have ridden from 5135 Kensington Avenue to Forest Park, that one is long gone. Actually, so is the Smith’s family home at 5135 Kensington. It was torn down a couple of years ago. The house the boy next door lived in is still standing, however.
The new Forest Park Trolley is a fleet of colorfully decorated MetroBuses that began operating this spring. I was able to get photos of both sides of the trolley’s recently.
The trolleys travel through the entire park making stops at all the places passengers would like to visit. The trolley ticket is good for the entire day for as many stops the passenger wishes to make.
The whimsical characters seen in the windows represent the many park attractions the trolley visits.
On this side of the trolley you can see from front to back … one of the baby elephants from the ZOO … Arthur Ashe from the ARTHUR ASHE TENNIS CENTER … a Native American maiden from the MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM … an astronaut from the MACDONALD PLANETARIUM … William Shakespeare from SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK … an opera singing from the MUNICIPAL OPERA which actually does musical shows and seldom an actual opera … and finally LOUIS IX KING OF FRANCE — saint and namesake of the city. The statue showing him triumphant on horse is located at the top of Art Hill overlooking the Grand Basin.
This side of the trolley shows Amelia Earhart who was the subject of dramatic presentation for kids in the auditorium at the MISSOURI HISTORICAL MUSEUM … a giraffe from the ZOO … a golfer from one of the two GOLF COURSES in the park … a couple of kids from the WORLD CLASS CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUND next to the VISITORS’ CENTER which just happens to the original TROLLEY STATION for the 1904 World’s Fair … Andy Warhol from the SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM which is the only remaining building built for the 1904 World’s Fair … and T. Rex from the SAINT LOUIS SCIENCE CENTER AND MUSEUM … by the way he’s holding an ICE CREAM CONE which is one of the items which first appeared at the 1904 World’s Fair and went on to become World Famous.
And guess what, that doesn’t cover all of the sites in Forest Park that you should see as a tourist. And it isn’t possible to go through all of them in a single day. But you can drive past all of them on the Forest Park Trolley.
My one quibble about the trolley … if I had been putting the trolley program together, I would added a recording to the bus’ audio system that would go CLANG, CLANG, CLANG at every stop the trolley made.