Monday, July 31, 2006

Porch Music

Yesterday, the family headed east across the Ole Mighty Miss to the Old Cahokia Courthouse. The 13th annual Old Time Music Fete was in full swing by the time we arrived. I had never been to the Fete but it was my understanding that it, maybe because of its relationship with DJ's at KDHX, drew lots of lively people from both sides of the river to sit around and watch the live music on the porch of the Courthouse. Not this year. Maybe it was the lack of alcoholic beverages or the scorching temperatures (it was over one hundred degrees) but the crowd was small and less than enthusiastic. Still, the Fete had some so-so musical acts--mostly bluegrass and old-time country bands...oh and cloggers--and managed to capture that old-timey feel.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Old North St. Louis

Where every visit to Old North St. Louis probably starts:
Art along North Market Street

Old intact doors

Old intact church

A cut-away view of a house

St. Louis Downtown within walking distance

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lafayette Park and neighborhood

These are some pictures from an early morning walk through Lafayette Park in St. Louis city.
The park is only 30 acres in size but there are many paths to take.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

DeMun Park

In the mid-late 1990's, Bill and I used to hang out at Kaldi's with some regularity. We'd meet friends for a coffee, sit outside in the summer heat, smoke cigarettes, and try to sort out the world's problems. Obviously, we weren't very successful but our meetings always resulted in some very interesting and humorous conversations. Today, Willa and I met Dona at Kaldi's for a morning walk around this Clayton neighborhood. Dona once lived here, in a really cool apartment building on Southwood Avenue, so she led the way. Although there is some architectural diversity, most of the home owners shared a devotion to the art of front lawn gardening. These weren't grand or formal gardens. Rather, the gardens were small, natural, and leisurely. Their casual friendliness was inviting and I had to stop myself from time to time from walking right up into someone's yard. It is an appealing curbside feature that you can find in many of our older St. Louis neighborhoods. We finished off the morning walk with a visit to DeMun Park. Willa enjoyed swinging, climbing, and, especially, sliding.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Carondelet Park Loop

At the far south end of Grand Av. in St. Louis City is Carondelet Park. A great park for a leisurely shaded walk. The park is crowded with architectural features embedded in the karst topography. Above are a few pictures of the bridges, ponds, and lakes....

Monday, July 10, 2006

Powder Valley

A 1.5 mile paved trail through scenic Powder Valley conservation area in Kirkwood, MO. The trails are very steep (for strollers). We saw lots of "wild"life. Willa especially enjoyed the fish, turtles, and mounted animals in the nature center.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tower Grove Park

Bill and I have lived in the shadow of Tower Grove Park for about ten years now. TGP is an often overlooked and unappreciated tresure in the city of St. Louis. Not quite as large or boastful as the more showy Forest Park, TGP was created in 1868 when Henry Shaw gifted this land to the City of St. Louis. We've spent a great deal of time in TGP over the last ten years--walking our dog Grover, riding bikes, attending various festivals, shopping at the TGP Farmer's Market, and wading in the fountain water with our daughter Willa. In fact, we loved TGP so much that we got married at the Piper Palm House (pictured below). If you have the time, you should check out the park. If not, here are some highlights from the short walk we took through Tower Grove Park.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Forest Park Grand Basin - Part 1

One of the features of the revitalized Forest Park is the renewal of the park-wide stream system. The waterways are now linked in a series of lakes, streams, waterfalls, and marshes that allows the water to circulate and oxygenate. The oxygenated water provides better habitat for all manner of wildlife. On just a short walk we came across herons, red-tailed hawks, finches, kingfishers, and several species of wood warblers.

The goldfinches hop from chicory to chicory along the foot paths

Little green herons inhabit the marshy areas of the Grand Basin

The city's name-sake strikes a pose above the Grand Basin

On top of the Art museum are these gilded eagles.

You can check out a Ipod Shuffle with a self-guided walking tour or download the tours from Forest Park Forever.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sights on the St. Louis Riverfront trail

Spelling is not required beyound this pointe.

Two of St. Louis' three surviving standpipes. There are only 7 of these left in the country. More info

Drainage from underground stream system under Merchant's Bridge. Awesome brick and stonework could only be done with cheap immigrant labour. Proubably created after choulera epidemic in 1847.

Bird friends aloung the trail.
More trail info.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Dona, Bill, and I met at the Laclede Power Plant on Lewis Street this morning to walk a portion of the Trailnet Trail that takes you northward along the Mighty Mississippi River. A friend had biked the trail a few years back so I had an idea of what to expect along the 11 mile trail.

Although we only walked about 5 miles round trip, from a historical and economical perspective, the scenery is rather interesting. Grain silos, power plants, sewer outlets, automobile shredders, train yards. You can see the geographic advantage of establishing a city on the banks of a powerful river like the Mississippi. And harnessing the organic power of the Mississippi was obviously crucial to the economic success of the St. Louis region. But, from a environmentalist point of view, the scenery along the trail is quite different, disappointing. The river appears to have little local environmental value. It's polluted, straightened, monitored, walled in, even tamed. People aren't expected to appreciate it's intrinsic value. In fact, you're not even supposed to get close enough to imagine that it might have one (it's inaccessible by foot in most places).

Is this thing on?

Hello. This is the beginning of what is sure to rock your world.