18 February 2009
"Welcome to St. Louis"
The caption of the first image (Illustration Number 23) reads: "The St. Louis entrance to its new $7,000,000 Municipal Bridge, looks like the approach to a frontier town." The link offers a Google Maps view of the "new" bridge (from 1917) located South of the Poplar Street Bridge. While cars have been banned from using the structure for years, trains still regularly cross the Mississippi using it. As a graduate student working on a studio project located in Chouteau's Landing, I climbed a fence and walked to the center of the span. I carefully walked around the busted out asphalt and concrete road deck and took some panoramic shots of the city. I was then startled and shaken by a train crossing the bridge on the lower level at a fairly high velocity. I wasn't clear I wouldn't end up in the river along with my camera.
This view at the end of the Eads Bridge is denser, more congested, and more disorderly than the "new" southern entrance to the city. This is the condition of the only non-river entry for many people for many decades. The Eads Bridge similarly provided vehicular and rail traffic. The rail lines at the St. Louis end of the Eads Bridge proceeded underground into the city in a manner similar to the existing Metrolink tunnel access.
Interestingly, the Poplar Street Bridge was not in existence at the time of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Competition in 1947 and the Eads and Municipal Bridges framed the site.
These views are taken from Harland Bartholomew's Problems of St. Louis, The City Plan Commission, St. Louis, Missouri, 1917.
My thanks to the St. Louis Brick website for directing me to this publication.