St. Louis, part II

Here's the remainder of the photos from my St. Louis excursion two months ago.

The downtown, which is west from the Arch. [Click for bigger on all of these.]

One thing I wasn't expecting was just how big the arch was. At night when the arch was lit, from the city on the west site the top of the arch stood out above the skyline--the silver curve was quite a weird shape to be above the tops of buildings.

It's 630 feet tall. The curve of the arch is hyperbolic cosine, if you're into trig. This means two things: the arch is as wide at the base as it is tall and the arch curves in such a way that it is only compressed--there is no shear stress in the legs (from holding itself up at least, when the wind blows it'll shear a little). Additionally if you hold a string or rope from its ends and let it droop, it'll make a cosh curve. In a typical arch, an ellipse or circle, the bricks would slide out away from the center if they could, that's the shear stress.

(By the way, it's $10 to the top and the elevator is a set of tiny...cans of perhaps a diameter of 5 feet, each with 5 seats.)

The observation area. In the summer when it's busy they use both legs. Another surprise: there was a national park ranger stationed in the tiny observation area. Turns out the arch is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson.

The downtown is immediately west of the arch. The next place I went was into the Old Courthouse in the center.

The arch from the courthouse steps.

The Old Courthouse is now a museum about the history of St. Louis. It's got that capitol feeling.

Several important court cases were heard in the building. The Dredd Scott case is probably the most well-known. The courtroom that it was argued in doesn't exist anymore, but they have restored the courtroom above it to how it would have looked.

After that, my friend and I stopped by the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis. I'd say that's the cleanest and sharpest factory I've seen. It was dark by the time we finished that so we drove around a little before leaving.

I was pleasantly surprised how nice St. Louis was. To be honest, having grown up near Midwestern cities that dried up after factories left, like Detroit but not as extreme, I was expecting the same sort of thing in St. Louis. However around the downtown and for a few miles west through the area where the college campuses are out to the park where St. Louis' World Fair was held in 1904, the city seems to be on the upswing. There were a few blocks of empty grass but other than that, the buildings and streets looked nice, there seemed to be new construction, and there were several areas with storefronts that were alive.