Lee F. Mindel Visits the Architectural Landmarks of St. Louis

On a recent trip to the west coast with a connecting flight at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (designed by World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki) I couldn’t get the old song “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis” out of my head to get. The tune was written in 1904 to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. She later rose to fame in a 1944 Judy Garland film of the same name.

As the lyrics kept rewinding in my head, I was determined to discover the land that Lewis and Clark were exploring. This city with around 320,000 inhabitants was founded in 1764 after the French King Louis IX. Named that was included in the Louisiana purchase of 1803 and has been referred to as the “Gateway to the West” since pioneering times. It is a dynamic metropolis full of aesthetic delights.

The past is present throughout St. Louis. Steamboats still travel up and down the Mississippi, and the city’s business district is home to one of the world’s first skyscrapers, completed in 1891. The lavish grounds of the world exhibition’s Beaux Arts Revival are still wonderfully intact. And of course, how could anyone ever forget that bow? The Gateway Arch by Eero Saarinen, clad in stainless steel in 1968, is the tallest in the world and a sculptural frame that encompasses the city where art and trade meet.

“Meet me in St. Louis, Louis,

Meet me at the fair

Don’t tell me the lights are on

anywhere else than there

We’re gonna dance the hoochie-koochie

I’ll be your Tootsie Wootsie

When you meet in St. Louis, Louis,

Meet me at the fair. “

Click here to take Lee F. Mindel’s architectural tour of St. Louis.

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