St. Louis: A Quintessential American City

St. Louis is a quintessential American city — baseball, beer, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, music, nightlife, and all things cultural. In the midst of this bustling city and its attractions resides pockets of solitude.

The landmarks of St. Louis in this Pxley story wear a different cloak at dawn. From the Gateway Arch to Laumeier Sculpture Park, the hues of the dawn light are seldom interrupted by its solitude. Take a walk, go for a run, or simply enjoy the time passing while the city awakens from its sleep.

As dawn turns to daylight, St Louis offers several free opportunities to explore — the St. Louis Art Museum, Citygarden, Old Courthouse, and more.

Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River. An engineering and design marvel, the Gateway Arch is a fine representation of American grit and valor. I recommend watching the "Building the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Part 1 & 2" that is freely available online.

"The arch, born in the depression, symbolizes the pioneer spirit of the men and women who won the West, and those of a latter day to strive on other frontiers." The Spokesman-Review, October 29, 1965.

Old Courthouse of St. Louis County

A tour of the Old Courthouse gives the visitor an insight into the 19th century American judicial system. As a property associated with legal challenges to slavery, the Old Courthouse is listed in the U.S. National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network To Freedom. The National Park Service defines the Underground Railroad as the "historic resistance to enslavement through escape and flight."

Aesop’s Fables by Mark di Suvero, Citygarden

Located in downtown St. Louis, Citygarden is a sculpture garden that features 24 pieces of modern and contemporary sculpture by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The Citygarden is an example of how a multi-faceted public space can be tied into the culture of a city and its region.

Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is the second-oldest Jesuit university in the United States and oldest west of the Mississippi River. The lens through which Jesuit educational institutions view their mission makes a difference in how these institutions of learning form individuals to engage in the world.

As with many higher educational institutions in the U.S., several campus events at Saint Louis University are free and open to the public. A visit to the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art is worth the time to appreciate "the world's first interfaith museum of contemporary art that engages religious and spiritual themes."

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis' dedication ceremony was completed in 1914 but consecration did not take place until June 1926. The cathedral is dedicated to Jesus Christ and the Capetian King of France Louis IX, also known as Saint Louis.

An architectural masterpiece, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis bears a Romanesque and Byzantine styles, with its towers and large domes. One of the largest mosaics in the world comprising more than 41 million pieces is located inside the cathedral. Guided and self-guided tours are available but call the reservation office in advance.

Saint Louis Art Museum

"Dedicated to Art and Free for All." Located in Forest Park, admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum is free every day and featured exhibitions are free on Friday. The Museum, founded in 1879, was originally built as a “palace” for the 1904 Meet Me in St. Louis World’s Fair. There are over 300,000 works of art in the Museum. In December 2015, the Saint Louis Art Museum announced the acquisition of “Sunday Morning Breakfast,” a 1943 painting by African-American folk artist Horace Pippin.

Laumeier Sculpture Park

The Laumeier Sculpture Park is an open-air sculpture park and museum. The Park houses over 60 outdoor sculptures and is free and open to the public year-round, with the exception of special events. Paid guided tours of the Park are "designed to engage participants in exploring the relationship between art and nature."

Falling Man/Study (Wrapped Manscape Figure) by Ernest Trova, Laumeier Sculpture Park

Ernest Trova was best known for his Falling Man series, forged in the belief that "man is first of all an imperfect (or) fallen creature." The historical reference to Falling Man/Study (Wrapped Manscape Figure) extends from Egyptian to pop and comic book action figures. "It's pose is that of the machine that no longer knows its [sic] a living being, or vice versa."

The Mississippi River, Gateway Arch, and the Old Courthouse, St. Louis

An aerial view of the Mississippi River, Gateway Arch, and the Old Courthouse. The Mississippi River is the largest river system in the U.S. The River and its tributaries have always been important trade routes. Since 9000 BC, native peoples lived and farmed along the Mississippi river banks and traveled its waters.

Beginning in March or April, helicopter tours are available 7-days a week. No reservations are required and you can choose from four tour options. I recommend a tour that covers the riverfront, Busch Stadium, and Botanical Garden.

Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Busch Stadium is home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Founded in 1882, the the Cardinals were called the St. Louis Brown Stockings. In 1883, the team changed its name to the St. Louis Browns. Since joining the National League in 1893, the St. Louis Cardinals have won 11 World Series Championships.

Busch Stadium tours, which provide a unique look at the home of the Cardinals, are offered year-round. Better yet, take in a Cards game!

Monks Mound, Cahokia

Located approximately nine miles from St. Louis, Cahokia Mounds is located on the site of a pre-Columbian Native American city. In 700 AD, Late Woodland people established small settlements in Cahokia. In 800 AD, emergent Mississippian culture developed. By 1250 AD, Cahokia was larger than London.

The Monks Mound in Cahokia is the largest man-made earthen mound on the North American continent. The mound has a north-south dimension of 954.7 feet and an east-west dimension of 774.3 feet. Palisade walls were built around central Cahokia with a circumference of almost two miles. Cahokia was the hub for millions of Native Americans before the society was devastated by foreign diseases.

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