I don’t know what to say about the new Grand Viaduct, as I don’t plan on every using it, as despite all the expense, the exit off of Highway 40 will remain just as dysfunctional as before. And I assume the traffic will be just as bad.
And sadly, I have a feeling it will be torn down in fifty years anyway, all of its pseudo-historical elements and blocks of styrofoam.
Maybe then I’ll be able to snap a picture of the old original bridge’s stone left in situ under the roadbed on the north side of the bridge.
I know one thing for sure; Chouteau and Grand will remain vacant, devoid of life, nothing more than sewers spewing traffic on either side of the bridge.
One of my few vices is battered fish, so I stopped in the Captain D’s; the staff was very friendly and implored me to post their picture on the internet. I sat and chatted with the staff for a couple of minutes; they were sad to hear the Pevely Building was being demolished as well. Behind the facade of that decadent Cape-Cod Revival fast food restaurant is some real heart.
I’ve begun to spot the towers of the new Mississippi Bridge all over town, whether at the corner of Washington and 14th, or in the photo above, as I was driving eastbound down Natural Bridge Avenue south of Fairgrounds Park.
The two towers are proceeding rapidly, and I imagine next year they’ll start to lay the bridge deck. While I’m not claiming this is the second coming of the hugely important Eads Bridge, I think it is notable that this is the first bridge across the Mississippi River at St. Louis since the 1960’s, when the Poplar Street Bridge was built.
All this means permanent change for the empty land on both sides of the river, particularly the vast open spaces of the old National Stockyards. Will Armour Meat Packing Plant soon face the fate of its two comrades?
As I remarked recently, for some St. Louisans, this will be the third Grand Viaduct over Mill Creek in their lifetimes. Let us hope it is the last. I still can’t believe they tore down the old one; august and massive, it was our own Brooklyn Bridge, right in the heart of the city. But alas, as you can see at 3:34 in this old movie, it fell victim to “progress.”
Now sixty or so years later, I was driving on the exit ramp under the new bridge, and spotted these large white monoliths. I finally realized they were huge blocks of styrofoam, which are also being used in the filling of the old Tucker Tunnel downtown. I even glimpsed some of the old masonry for the original bridge, but I was not able to photograph before it was covered by new construction.
Regardless of the cost of revamping the original bridge, I can’t imagine it being more than the cost of building two new bridges in its place in as many generations.
I gave my friend in from China a tour around the city and parts of Illinois, and these are some of the shots he took.
Above, Armour Meat Packing Plant, and below a corner store in North City.
Below, I think this house is in Old North St. Louis.
Taking a shot of some houses while we were driving creates an interesting visual effect in the foreground.
The lines of the McKinley Bridge never cease to amaze me as well.
And finally, the view of downtown from the old National Stockyards. The day we were there the prostitutes out along Route 3 were wearing Santa Claus hats.
All photos by Jeff Phillips