top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureKay

Meet Me in St. Louis!

Judy Garland sang Skip to My Lou, The Trolley Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and the title song, Meet Me in St. Louie, Louie, in this classic 1944 musical. Set in 1904 just before the St. Louis World's Fair, the show takes place during a time when St. Louis and Chicago were rivals to become the economic center of the midwest.


Powerful steamboat interests ruled the Mississippi River during the first half of the 19th century, accelerating trade and the growth of St. Louis. But with the advent of railroads around 1840, the river became a natural barrier for St. Louis, making transporting cargo to western markets difficult. St. Louis’s steamboat companies resisted building a railroad bridge over the Mississippi River, so one was built up river at Dubuque, Iowa instead, linking Chicago to western markets at the expense of St. Louis. By 1880, Chicago had far surpassed St. Louis in population and trade influence.


James Eads finally convinced St. Louis to allow him to build a bridge across the Mississippi River. A self-taught engineer, visionary, and builder of iron-clad ships during the Civil War, Eads knew more about the bottom of the Mississippi River at St. Louis than anyone else at the time. He had started an earlier salvage operation and had actually walked the bottom of the river himself as a diver, so he knew the tremendous force and turbidity of the river. Eads decided the bridge should be built of steel and convinced Andrew Carnegie to provide the materials. The Eads Bridge was completed in 1874, the first steel bridge in the world and the oldest bridge still standing on the Mississippi today. However, just to be on the safe side before trains were allowed to cross the bridge, an elephant was led across first, as it was thought that elephants would not cross a bridge that was unsafe. The elephant toddled across without incident, and the rest is history.


A few miles south of the Eads Bridge, Adagio passed another engineering marvel, St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. Completed in 1965, the arch was designed by Eero Saarinen to commemorate the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and St. Louis’s role in America’s westward expansion. At 630 feet tall, it is the tallest arch in the world, and it‘s as wide at the base as it is tall. Although we had been to the arch years before with the kids, seeing it from the water made it truly resemble the ”gateway to the west” it was designed to represent.


Eads Bridge Over the Mississippi, St. Louis

Adagio and the Gateway Arch, St. Louis







67 views8 comments

8 Comments


Leslie Bingham
Leslie Bingham
Sep 26, 2022

Now WHO knew the arch was designed by Eero Saarinen! I do now, thanks to you!

Like

Guest
Sep 20, 2022

Still enjoying your journey! Beautiful pics!

Like

Guest
Sep 20, 2022

So good to hear from you and that is the best picture!

Like

Guest
Sep 19, 2022

Unbelievable! What a fabulous picture of Adagio under the arch. Your adventure is just incredible. Hh

Like
Kay
Kay
Sep 20, 2022
Replying to

Thanks! We are so grateful to a fellow looper for taking the photo. A Christmas card keeper❤️

Like

Guest
Sep 19, 2022

Sweet!


How are you two feeling?


Hugs,


Andrea & Peter

Like
Kay
Kay
Sep 19, 2022
Replying to

Hope y’all are!

Like
bottom of page