Following our 21-day Great American Rail Trail Expedition from D.C. to the Mississippi River, Walt and I decided to follow the river south for a bit and spend a couple of days in St. Louis.
It is the city of Walt’s birth. Where he grew up and began his career in public service.
It is a verifiable fact that Walt predates The Arch in St. Louis’ chronological history.
Seeing the city through Walt’s jaundiced view was, of course, an eye-opener.
We took a little spin through the heart of the city. Because of course we did.
Walt wanted to show off Forest Park. Where they held the 1904 World Exposition. (To be fair, the 1904 Exposition predates Walt in St. Louis’ chronological history.)
This is a stainless steel tree in Forest Park. Redundant? You decide.
This is University City Hall, where Walt was an assistant to the city manager in the bloom of his young manhood.
They are very big on lions in University City.
This is St. Louis City Hall, where Walt also worked. He told me they erected a statue to him when he left. I was not convinced.
Walt took me down to The Loop to have a beer at Blueberry Hill. Chuck Berry (no relation to Walt Barry) played there frequently.
They are very high on Chuck Berry around here. I gather he’s St. Louis’ Tom Petty or something.
Which is not to say that Chuck is the only, um, eye-candy on the Loop.
This is an actual conversation:
Walt: This is a very famous fountain.
Me: Why is it famous?
Walt: It’s been here a long time.
This is the old courthouse where Dred Scott filed suit seeking his freedom from slavery.
On reflection, the U.S. Supreme Court screwed THAT opinion up royally.
They are very big on the Cards around here. I am given to understand the Cards play baseball.
St. Louis, of course, is known as the Gateway To The West. But as far as I could tell, all the actual gateways are headed East.
Still more cityscapes.
Walt seeking solace in the Basilica of St. Louis. Go in peace, Walt.
Walt took me to City Museum. Which I mistakenly assumed would be a museum about stuffy St. Louis city history.
Au contraire (that’s French for on the contrary). It looked more like a repository for old Stephen Spielberg movie sets.
I hardly knew where to begin.
We went to a sort of metal/punk/goth brewery in Dogtown where we fit right in. Walt told me his grandmother used to live in Dogtown. But she sold out to hipsters.
This has been Walt Barry’s St. Louis. Tomorrow we decamp for Ron Cunningham’s GNV.