St. Louis is a place I love to visit! Not because of the famous Gateway Arch, but because of the Historic presence it has. Downtown St. Louis itself has some of the most old and Historic buildings in the world. And most of them are easy to recognize because of the landmark plaque on front of the building. During this trip, I stayed downtown at the Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, which is within walking distance to some of the most popular sites and attractions. My first stop was The Old Courthouse on North 4th Street. It was pretty busy in the area because people were walking and driving over to Busch Stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. From there I walked across the street into Kiener Plaza Park, which looks much different from the last time I was there. Closed since February 2016, the park underwent a massive $23.7 million renovation. The revamp includes more open space, a grassy concert area west of the Old Courthouse, a large playground and multiple fountains. Gone is the sunken amphitheater on the park’s west end, which held about 500 people. The new concert area on the east end can hold 2,000 to 3,000 people. The fountain featuring William Zorach's “The Runner” statue is smaller to bring visitors closer to the park’s center. LED lights were added to change the water colors for special events. On the north side is a gravel-paved picnic and rest area with lots of shade. Much of the park now features marble, granite and concrete pavers. I was more than impressed seeing the final results.
Walking through the park, I stopped to photograph the landmark and Historic red-bricked Wainwright State Office Building. The Wainwright Building is considered to be among the first early skyscrapers in the world. It was designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, who also designed the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. It was built between 1890 and 1891. In May 2013 it was listed by a PBS program as one of "10 Buildings That Changed America" because it was "the first skyscraper that truly looked the part" with Sullivan being dubbed the "Father of Skyscrapers". After that, I photographed thee fountain of all fountains in St. Louis…Carl Milles' “The Meeting Of The Waters” fountain on Market Street across from Union Station. From there I headed to Citygarden, which has some of the best sculptures I have ever seen. The centerpiece of the park is Igor Mitoraj’s “Eros Bendato” (Head) sculpture. I even went back that night to photograph it. It’s an amazing piece of work!
After that, I drove to the St. Louis Art Museum. It was a nice, cloudy day which made for a cool dramatic photo of the “Apotheosis of St. Louis”, a statue of King Louis IX of France, the namesake of St. Louis, Missouri. Outside the museum were Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s “Giant 3-Way Plug” sculpture and Roxy Paine's “Placebo” sculpture. Back near my hotel, I photographed the newly opened National Blues Museum, the Historic Bradford-Martin Building and the One U.S. Bank Plaza skyscraper next to a US Bank branch. Before heading into the hotel, I snapped another Igor Mitoraj piece…“Torso di Ikaro” inside the Old Post Office Plaza. I later came back out at night and photographed the landmarked Old Post Office. After hearing that the St. Louis Zoo has 5 cheetahs (my favorite animal), before heading in for the night, I decided to take a quick trip to check them out. And of course when I get there, they were nowhere to be found. Needless to say, I won’t tell you how I felt, but I’m sure you know! The only animals I was able to catch outside were a spotted hyena stretching out, an asian elephant eating, an American white pelican, a western lowland gorilla just chillin’ and a humboldt penguin.