Built St. Louis > > St. Louis Riverfront


Summer 2001.


Summer 2001.

Downtown riverfront
Given the extreme conditions, what stands on the riverfront falls into two extremes - flimsy, short-term, and transient, or mighty, long-term and enduring.

The levee itself falls into the latter category. Though its vintage granite cobblestones are gradually eroding and slipping into the river, the levee remains largely unchanged from the time of the steamboats. Huge chains, to which boats once moored, were only removed in the 2000s.

The levee is sometimes used as a parking lot. When it is clear, however, it is quite magnificent.


Summer 2001.


Spring 1997.


Spring 1997.


Spring 1994.

The Arch grounds and their periphery contain a number of simple, elegant details, such as the globe-shaped lamps, and this quiet, understated railing, its simple chain mirroring both the arc of the Eads Bridge nearby and the mooring chains criss-crossing the levee below it.

The Arch grounds are beautifully and elegantly laid out, a quintessential example of mid-20th century landscape architecture, aspiring to a single purpose: to serve as a contemporary frame for the Arch itself.

Two gargantuan concrete walls mark the north and south ends of the grounds.


Eads Bridge - September 2006.

Away from the Arch, the sights here are not necessarily tourist-friendly. They are more subtle, at the very least.

But there is much to see to the discerning viewer. One can stand on cobblestones that are regularly under ten or twenty feet of water. The weathered stones are the same ones that rivermen and steamboats nosed up to in the city's early days, over a hundred years ago. The modern age has wrought further wonders in this place -- powerful tugboats, enormous barges, mighty bridges, and the incomparable Arch itself.

A number of constructs of architectural interest also stand along this segment of the river. See:

  • The Eads Bridge

  • The Admiral - May 2006.

  • The Admiral riverboat
  • The MacArthur Bridge
  • Cahokia Power Plant
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