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I First Arrived in St. Louis 21 Years Ago Today!

August 11, 2011 Steve Patterson 12 Comments

ABOVE: Arsenal & Lemp, August 1990

It was twenty-one years ago today that I first drove into St. Louis from Oklahoma City.  My college friend Mary Ann and I were on our way to Washington D.C. where were going to be roommates. Our first stop was her mom’s house on Lemp. I was just 23.

The buildings along I-44 got my attention immediately. Exiting I-55 onto Arsenal and then turning right onto Lemp I was blown away but what I saw.  I was less impressed by what I smelled, the wind was blowing the hops smell from the brewery that direction.

ABOVE: Looking north on Lemp, August 1990.

The next day, a Sunday, her mom and a gay couple she knew gave us the grand tour of St. Louis. If I wasn’t already sold based upon what I saw upon arrival, I was by the end of that day. I had my first concrete from Ted Drewes, saw the Central West End along Euclid & Maryland Plaza, Forest Park, etc.

I decided I would not be moving to D.C., St. Louis would be my new home. I removed most of my stuff from Mary Ann’s Civic wagon and placed it in her mom’s basement. We drove to D.C., I still wanted to see it.  After a few days I took the train to Chicago, my first time there, and caught a train into Kansas. From there I got a bus to Oklahoma City.

I loaded up my car that I had left at my parents’s house and drove up I-44 again. The last 21 years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with St. Louis. I nearly moved away in 1994 & 1999. Both times I got sucked back in. I’m glad, because I don’t think I would have enjoyed Portland or Seattle as much as St. Louis.

Tonight the author of For the Love of Cities, Peter Kageyama, will give a free presentation tonight at the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) 6128 Delmar, 6pm-7:30pm.  How could I miss such an event on such an important anniversary?

– Steve Patterson

 

 

Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. dphunk says:

    I was less impressed by what I smelled, the wind was blowing the hops smell from the brewery that direction.

    I’m sorry you feel that way. but you were actually smelling wort, which in my opinion is one of the best smells in the world. and the beauty of it, is that it’s the same smell no matter on the quality of beer you are making.

    glad you decided to stay all these years.

     
  2. dphunk says:

    I was less impressed by what I smelled, the wind was blowing the hops smell from the brewery that direction.

    I’m sorry you feel that way. but you were actually smelling wort, which in my opinion is one of the best smells in the world. and the beauty of it, is that it’s the same smell no matter on the quality of beer you are making.

    glad you decided to stay all these years.

     
  3. Thanks, I love the smell now.

     
  4. Nick Kasoff says:

    > I don’t think I would have enjoyed Portland or Seattle as much as St. Louis.

    Are you insane?

     
  5. Nick Kasoff says:

    > I don’t think I would have enjoyed Portland or Seattle as much as St. Louis.

    Are you insane?

     
    • Eddy Ohlms says:

      Quite. I personally am hoping to move to one of those cities within the year and only my current lack of money prevents me from leaving right now.

       
    • Douglas Duckworth says:

      Portland and Seattle are nothing compared to Vancouver and Toronto.  That being said neither of the aforementioned cities can top St. Louis in terms of architecture.   Unless you like glass.  Endless seas of glass.   

       
    • Nick Kasoff says:

      Eddy – I’d love to live in either of those places, except for one problem: The rainy season. I like sunshine. And I’ll take Oregon’s thousands of hiking trails over some nice architecture in south city any time. And then, there’s the beautiful Oregon coast. And the coffee kiosks. And on and on and on …

       
  6. Eddy Ohlms says:

    Quite. I personally am hoping to move to one of those cities within the year and only my current lack of money prevents me from leaving right now.

     
  7. Douglas Duckworth says:

    Portland and Seattle are nothing compared to Vancouver and Toronto.  That being said neither of the aforementioned cities can top St. Louis in terms of architecture.   Unless you like glass.  Endless seas of glass.   

     
  8. Nick Kasoff says:

    Eddy – I’d love to live in either of those places, except for one problem: The rainy season. I like sunshine. And I’ll take Oregon’s thousands of hiking trails over some nice architecture in south city any time. And then, there’s the beautiful Oregon coast. And the coffee kiosks. And on and on and on …

     

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