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While I have made endless Tourist Treks of the city of Saint Louis, they have all been made at street level. On the Fourth of July, however, I was finally able to make my first tour of the city from high in the sky. Well, at least forty stories high from the top of  Metropolitan Square the tallest building in downtown Saint Louis while attending the wedding and reception of my nephew and niece.  As you can see, Kemoll’s … a historic Saint Louis dining establishment — 1927 … has a great view of the city. So when I wasn’t taking part in the wedding festivities I was aiming my camera out of the windows.

It was a bit hazy in the late afternoon, and people coming to celebrate the Fourth at Fair Saint Louis were slowly starting to arrive. The Fair with its popular entertainment and fireworks shows had been hit by extremely heavy thunderstorms the previous afternoon and evening and was cancelled leaving thousands of fair-goers to trudge home rain-soaked and disappointed. You can also see the that the levee, Wharf Street and the Grand Staircase to the Arch are all still underwater from the spring flooding.

On the northern edge of the Arch grounds you can see the historic Eads Bridge. It was the first bridge built across the Mississippi River in 1874 and was the longest bridge (6,444 feet) in the world at that time.  Built as a twin deck bridge with an upper deck for vehicular traffic and a lower deck for rail traffic, it is still in use today with the MetroLink Train system operating on the lower deck. It’s also the most handsome bridge crossing the river.

Looking farther north, you can see two of the large islands in the Mississippi River.

Closer to downtown you can see the Edward Jones Dome where hopefully they’ll be playing football in a couple of months.

This is the Shrine of Saint Joseph which was the first Catholic parish built the serve the German immigrants in the 1840s. This was the first church my great-grandfather attended in the US. The family grew up in the area north (behind) the church. The houses in front of the church are a more recent development.

WESTWARD HO!  This is a view looking west across the city of Saint Louis. The original trail that the western expansion wagon-trains followed started on the street to the left directly below the building from which I took this photo.

Looking down Broadway!  That’s the Old Saint Louis Court House where the Dred Scott case began. There are no theaters on Broadway in Saint Louis anymore.

Looking downriver as the sun sets. Notice that the arch grounds are now full of spectators and the entertainment for the evening had begun. As soon as the barges loaded with the evening’s fireworks display move in position behind the arch, I moved in position to head for home and beat the massive after fireworks traffic jam.



And now, for day 17 … I have to be thankful that I went out yesterday to roam the streets with my trusty camera. Mainly  because the skies opened up again and deluged everything in sight.
For the last couple of months I’ve been seeing signs all around town encouraging people to expand their horizons get out and Discover Saint Louis like the above bus shelter at the Forest Park Metro Station. Also at the Forest Park Metro Station residents and tourists of the city can catch one of the colorful Forest Park Trolleys that will allow you to visit all of the more than 12 different tourist attractions located within the park’s fields, meadows, prairies, lakes, cascades, rolling hills, zoological garden, museums, theaters and more!And did it mention the residents of Saint Louis are extremely friendly to visitors to their fair city? Even I have been more than willing to point out don’t miss sights around town. (Though I do have limited communication skills in French, German and Italian.) 

So how do you get around town to discover the wonders of Saint Louis?  Well, I’m a member of The TEN TOES Express Program that schedules twelve weekly programs that combines a walking program with Metro Train and Bus trips to different locations around town. If you’re into cycling you’re invited to Bike Saint Louis.

And there’s an air-conditioned bus or train that will get you to almost anywhere in the city.Oh, you can also drive, too.  But I’m not guaranteeing you a parking space.

So be CREATIVE for your summer vacation … come Discover The Wonders Of Saint Louis!





For day two of my thirty days of creativity I’m going to take you on a Tourist Trek of the Wicket City searching for SIGNS OF CREATIVITY.


Some signs are rather obvious, but did the road end here or did the work?

Some signs are totally confusing unless you’re looking at them in a mirror.

Some signs are always confusing especially if you’re looking at them on three different streets in three different parts of the city going in three different directions. 

Does anyone really know how the mother road actually went through the city of Saint Louis?

Some signs are somewhat gross. Especially when you find them plastered all over town on bus stop benches. Would you really want to sit there?

Others are a bit more limited in distribution, but still distasteful.

Some signs make you think … I’m not a math major, but shouldn’t that really be the First and Two Thirds Bank?

And what’s with sushi? How much raw fish can anyone eat?

And how do you make hybrid raw fish and is that a before or after illustration?

I don’t mind food signage, but I want something wholesome, artistic, educational …

And spiritually good for you!

Also I like signs that graphically tell you everything you need to know. Like BOOKS INSIDE!Or PARK YOUR EMPTY CARTS HERE!



But this post is about CREATIVITY … especially when two billboards get together  to offer cultural criticism.









After an exceeding miserable and somewhat stormy winter and spring weather-wise,  the promise of the temperature reaching the near- and even possibly mid-90’s last Wednesday had me jumping at the chance to get out of the house and do a little trekking around town.

My site of choice was a special exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden —  better known to the locals as Shaw’s Garden.

Henry Shaw was an Englishman who at age 18 arrived in the then little river town of Saint Louis in 1818. He planned to sell the hardware that his father manufactured in England to the settlers who were moving west. And he became the richest man in the Saint Louis by the time he decided to retire and enjoy life — prior to reaching age 40.

He had always had an interest in botany, and on retiring he traveled to England to research his second passion. Returning to Saint Louis in the 1840’s he purchased several hundred acres of prairie land west of the city’s boundaries. His plan was to build a country home for himself, and inspired by the Chatsworth Gardens in England if would include a garden where he could continue his study of botany.

In 1859 he opened his gardens to the public —  founding the Missouri Botanical Garden which is now the oldest continuously operated botanical garden in the United States.

This year the Garden is hosting a TREEmendous year in celebration of the United Nations International Year of The Forest. And to kick things off they just opened the exhibit of EXTREME TREE HOUSES which I set out to visit.

The exhibit consists of nine different tree houses constructed of recycled and salvaged materials and located through the garden grounds.

1 – THE NOMAD NESTThis house is made of salvaged branches and saplings woven and joined together to create a strong dome structure around a Sycamore tree. Tree stump chairs fill the interior and planters filled with wild edibles are mounted outside.

2 — A “LIVING” ROOM IN A GARDEN  This tree house is constructed entirely of recycled Christmas trees. It is build around an Amur Cork.

The carpet of this “living” room is made for fir and pine needles. The smell of this tree house could almost make visions of sugar plums dance in your head!

3 — TREEHENGE Built around a Silver Linden this house is made from bamboo and re-used utility poles.

4 — INSIDE THE TREE HOUSEBuilt around a Red Oak tree, what little girl wouldn’t like to play house here?Yes, the house is sprouting from the giant “helicopter” seed pods of the maple tree. It also features solar power and a recycled rain water system. Notice even a robin dropped by to visit.

5 — THE AMAZE-ING RINGSThis house built as a maze around a Ginkgo Tree was inspited by the structure of tree rings.The two-way maze is lined with panels explaining the functions of the different parts of a tree.

6 —REFLECTIONS TREE HOUSEThis structure built around a Sycamore Tree mimics the canopy of the tree overhead as well as the root structure.

7 — HOUSE + TREE=PHIThis abstract house built under a Chinese Elm was basically Chinese to me.I guess you’re supposed to sit inside and contemplate nature and the universe. Write if it inspires you.

8 — A TREED PLACE OF PLAYBuilt around a Tulip Tree this is a tree house that would have ruled back when I was a kid. Is it a pirate’s ship?

Is it a fort?

It’s a place for pretending … and play!And for older kids … it’s a great place just to sit and look at the mighty tree overhead.

9 — SWEET GUM TREE HOUSEThis tree house was designed to create a structural pathway allowing the visitor to view areas of the garden from a new perspective.I won’t explain the negative perspective it left with me. It was constructed from re-purposed materials like shipping pallets.

And that was the exhibit! So, which tree house would have turned you on when you were a kid?

And since I took over 250 photos during my sunny day garden walk, expect a few more visits to other area’s of Mr. Shaw’s Garden.  Coming up soon!