Thursday, November 24, 2016

Busch Stadium (St. Louis, Missouri)

One of the reasons for our visit to St. Louis, Missouri in September was to catch a Cardinal’s baseball game at Busch Stadium. On September 11, 2016 we walked from our RV Park across the Mississippi River to catch an afternoon game between St. Louis and Milwaukee. Busch Stadium is set in the heart of downtown St. Louis and is dwarfed by the surrounding high rises, and most notably the impressive Gateway Arch. Milwaukee won this particular game 2-1 in the 9th inning, keeping things interesting up until the very end. It was definitely a full house that afternoon; the stadium seats 43,975 and attendance that day was 44,703. Not having to worry about parking was a huge relief! 

It’s always fun to find out a little about the team we’re watching Here, possibly, are some lesser known and interesting facts about the Cardinals:

  • Formed in 1882, the original name of the St Louis Cardinals was the Brown Stockings; In 1891 they changed their name to the St. Louis Browns; In 1889 the names was changed to the Perfectos; and in 1900 the name was changed to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • The Cardinals have won more than 9,300 games, 11 World Series Championships, 18 National League Pennants, 3 National League Eastern Division Titles, and 8 National League Central Division Titles.
  • The Cardinals teams in the 1930's were known as The Gashouse Gang. They got the nickname because of the unkept appearance.  According to one version, the nickname stuck when shortstop Leo Durocher said, "they think we're a bunch of gashousers," referring to workers in the plants which produced gas for heating and lighting in cities.  
  • Although St. Louis loves their Cardinals, 90% of their fans come from outside the city.
  • Cardinals legend Stan "The Man" Musial got his 3,000th hit off the arch rival Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.  He finished with 3630 hits:  1815 at home and 1815 on the road.

 This marks our 25th visit to a Major League Baseball Park, and the last for the 2016 season, with only five remaining to complete the list!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Gateway Arch (St. Louis, Missouri)

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, is the city’s most notable landmark. Constructed of stainless steel, soaring 630-feet into the air, and built in the form of an inverted, weighted, catenary arch, it is the world’s tallest arch, and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. Designed by Eero Saarinen, and built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and has become an internationally famous symbol of St. Louis

The Gateway Arch is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world with over four million visitors annually, of which around one million travel to the top. The arch is hollow to accommodate a unique tram system that transports visitors to an observation deck at the top. Visitors are tucked into little pods that seat about five adults, that take 4 minutes to ride to the top, and 3 minutes to come back down, and is definitely not for the claustrophobic. The arched observation deck itself isn’t much roomier, only 65 feet long and 7 feet wide. Sixteen windows per side, measuring 7 x 27 inches offer views up to 30 miles to the east across the Mississippi River and southern Illinois, and to the west over the city of St. Louis.

The underground Visitor Center is well done with an excellent movie that takes you through the 2.5 year construction process (February 1963 to October 1965) and really gives you an idea of the complexity involved in creating and constructing something on this scale, and belies the elegant simplicity the monument exudes.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

St. Louis, Missouri

As summer 2016 drew to a close, we made our final stop in St. Louis, Missouri, completing our five city tour of the Midwest for this year. We landed at the Casino Queen RV Park, actually located in East St. Louis, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River which marks the border between Missouri and Illinois. Utilizing the Eads Bridge, we were able to take several of our trips into St. Louis by foot, quite convenient, and much easier than taking our big truck into a congested downtown area. The state boundaries are depicted in stone midway across the bridge, so it is possible to stand over the Mississippi River with a foot hoovering over each of the states. We had four goals while here: Attend a Cardinal's game at Bush Stadium, visit the Gateway Arch, explore downtown St. Louis, and tour the Anheuser-Bush Brewery. I plan to split these visits into four separate posts, with this first post covering our walking tour of the downtown area.

Visiting only as much territory as we could cover on foot, our exploration of the downtown area was confined to the Gateway Arch, the surrounding high rise buildings, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. The Memorial Park is located near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and was established to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase, the first civil government west of the Mississippi River, and the debate over slavery raised by the Dred Scott case. The memorial consists of a 91-acre park along the river and on the site of the earliest buildings of St. Louis, including the Old Courthouse, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and of course, most notably, the Gateway Arch.

Below are a few pictures of the downtown area of St. Louis.