Monday morning, NPR in one of their sub-minute fillers commemorated the 100 year anniversary of Air Force One, the president’s airplane. Well sort of, Monday was the hundred year anniversary of the first airplane flight by a president of the United States. On October 11, 1910 former president Teddy Roosevelt took an airplane ride. What NPR left out of their coverage was that Teddy’s flight took place in Saint Louis on the site of its present day airport, Lambert Field. Here is a link to a period photograph. Saint Louis is a city steeped in history, with a new story around almost every corner. Here’re a few:
Plans have been made and continue to be refined to redesign the grounds around the Arch. The main thrust of the redesign effort is to better connect the Arch grounds with the rest of downtown Saint Louis. Currently, Saint Louis and its Arch are separated from each other by traffic on Memorial Drive and the noise of a sunken I-70. Other changes are also planned, like a Beer garden and moving the parking structure, but these features seem less important. This last summer, the architecture firm was selected, but I am not holding my breath on the speedy completion of this re-landscaping. From the time that the first crowbar was raised in demolition to the time that the apex section of the Arch was raised into place took twenty-five years. I’m bracing for the long haul.
This second picture shows the Eads Bridge, the first bridge across the Mississippi in Saint Louis. This bridge was designed, built and named after James Eads. One bit of notoriety associated with this bridge was an outbreak of caissons disease, what we now call the bends. The cause of what is now a deep sea diver’s disease was the pneumatic caissons used to construct the piers for the bridge. Fifteen workers died, two other workers were permanently disabled, and 77 were severely afflicted. The statue sitting in the still flooding Mississippi River is of the explorers Lewis and Clark. They began their 1804 expedition of discovery near this spot. The dog, Seaman, was Lewis’ Newfoundland.
The northern terminus for Saturday’s Open Streets bicycle ride was Crown Candy. This little soda shop in the Old North neighborhood has been around for years. It is usually crowded and was especially so last Saturday. Last summer, I met four strapping young men that were cycling across the country. When I met them on the Katy Trail, they were headed to Saint Louis for a Saturday night. There were two things that they want to see in Saint Louis, the Arch and Crown Candy. This link back is for the girls, so enjoy!