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A Detailed Look at the Old & New Luther Ely Smith Square

December 8, 2015 Downtown, Featured, Parks 2 Comments

Following the Arch’s 50th Anniversary on October 28th I posted that the Luther Ely Smith Square Flagpole Will Replace Flag on Top of Old Courthouse Dome. At the time the newly redesigned Luther Ely Smith Square wasn’t open yet. Late last month it opened.

Before taking a look at the new I thought we should first look at the old.

Looking East toward the Arch from the top of the steps at 4th Street, July 2014
Looking East toward the Arch from the top of the steps at 4th Street, July 2014
Looking West toward the Old Courthouse, October 2014
Looking West toward the Old Courthouse, October 2014
Looking North on Memorial Dr from Olive. Luther Ely Smith Square is on the left, July 2010
Looking North on Memorial Dr from Olive. Luther Ely Smith Square is on the left, July 2010
From the Arch grounds, June 2011
From the Arch grounds, June 2011

Unfortunately. these images don’t give you a good overview. For that we need to look down from somewhere high up — like the Arch.

From the Arch we see Memorial Drive on either side of the depressed interstate lanes and Luther Ely Smith Square, December 2012
From the Arch we see Memorial Drive on either side of the depressed interstate lanes and Luther Ely Smith Square, December 2012
Tighter crop focusing on the Square -- was pretty boring.
Tighter crop focusing on the Square — was pretty boring.
Construction on the "lid" over the highway, July 2014
Construction on the “lid” over the highway, July 2014

Okay, let’s take a look at the new Luther Ely Smith Square (LESS):

The current view looking East from the Old Courthouse
The current view looking East from the Old Courthouse
From the base of the new flagpole
From the base of the new flagpole
Walkways on either side of a low bern lead you tossed the Arch. The previous flight of steps in the center meant many didn't go through the Square.
Walkways on either side of a low bern lead you tossed the Arch. The previous flight of steps in the center meant many didn’t go through the Square.
Mostly the new walkways are a smooth exposed aggregate concrete, but brick was used in some locations.
Mostly the new walkways are a smooth exposed aggregate concrete, but brick was used in some locations.
Modern bike racks, that will support the bike frame, are along the South & North outer walkways.
Modern bike racks, that will support the bike frame, are along the South & North outer walkways.
Looking East along the wide sidewalk next to Olive. This will be a drop off point for Arch visitors
Looking East along the wide sidewalk next to Olive. This will be a drop off point for Arch visitors
Each side has a small oval-shaped space accessed from the outer walks or steps from the center
Each side has a small oval-shaped space accessed from the outer walks or steps from the center
From inside the South oval
From inside the South oval
Continuing East on the outer sidewalk we see the motorized bollards that can be lowered as needed. These will likely be a maintenance issue.
Continuing East on the outer sidewalk we see the motorized bollards that can be lowered as needed. These will likely be a maintenance issue.
Everything is directing you toward the new Arch entry, now under construction
Everything is directing you toward the new Arch entry, now under construction
Looking North over what was the opening down to the highway. A small platform has been built to allow you to see the construction activity.
Looking North over what was the opening down to the highway. A small platform has been built to allow you to see the construction activity.
The accessible platform allows to peak over the concrete barrier
The accessible platform allows to peak over the concrete barrier
The North side just inside the bollards seen to be the new spot where everyone is posing for pics
The North side just inside the bollards seen to be the new spot where everyone is posing for pics
What I really like are the views back to the Old Courthouse
What I really like are the views back to the Old Courthouse
Closer, from the North center walkway
Closer, from the North center walkway
Looking toward 4th & Chestnut
Looking toward 4th & Chestnut

This Square is an important part of the new plan to have visitors enter the Arch grounds from downtown. It’s well-designed and draws you toward the Arch. The lid over the highway can become the lid over a boulevard in the future.

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Stephen Ducker says:

    This was how CityArchRiver.org has decided to promote the new Arch grounds expansion and park in the DC Metro system. Notice the wonderful view of Illinois through the arch legs. The foreground and rendering of this redesigned park is covered by the ad. Someone needs to revisit this marketing campaign.

     
  2. David Ducker says:

    Good catch Steve !

     

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