Gateway to the West

St. Louis is the second largest city in the state of Missouri. It is located on the northeastern border of the state, on the bank of the Mississippi River. The city was founded by French explorers (thus the name), and it was also the city where Lewis and Clark started their expedition to explore the western part of America. In 1904, St. Louis was the site of the World Fair and the first Summer Olympic Games held outside Europe. The city reached its peak in population size in the 1960s but sinmce had been in decline. Today it is still one of the largest inland ports in the US and is the home of several Fortune 500 companies, though its influence was not as prominent as it was in its heyday.

Our visit to St. Louis during the coast-to-coast road trip was very brief. After lunch at Smoki-O’s in the North Riverfront area of the city, we drove downtown to briefly visit the Gateway Arch. The downtown area seemed to be a nice place to visit, and you can actually take the elevator up the Gateway Arch. There was also a neighborhood that seemed to be a happening place with stores and restaurants. We didn’t have time however, so we just found spots at the nearby park to take photos of the Arch, and then left before the rush hour started.

The city reminded me to Pittsburgh, where I lived for a couple of years when I went to graduate school. Both cities thrived in the 19th century and in the early part of 20th century due to manufacturing industry, but went on decline in the last few decades. But now both cities enjoyed a little bit of renaissance with the biotechnology and medicine industry related to the local research universities (Washington University in St. Louis and University of Pittsburgh). Both cities have nice downtown areas that are nice to visit, but driving through the suburbs you could feel the ‘blue collar’ nature of the cities.

The photo below was taken at the park near the Gateway Arch. This was the closest we could get where we could still get the whole Arch within the frame.

Gateway Arch

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