Skip to: Site menu | Main content

The Top 100 Reasons to Come to DRSWCVI!

REASON 69 - PILLAR THAT SEEMS TO HOLD UP THE SKY
Suggested by MarkO  ♦  Take a ride into North St. Louis to the corner of Grand and 20th, and what do you see in the middle of the road (which traffic is routed around) extending toward the heavens, seeming to hold up the sky - nothing other than a giant Corinthian Column which functions as a water tower. Built in a time when being aesthetically pleasing was as important as functionality, this water tower is like none you'll ever see elsewhere. Standing sentry in this kingdom of empty warehouses, broken windows, and crumbling masonry, this behemoth reminds one of how the neighborhood once was in time long past. So when coming to St. Louis, if you want to see an awesome water tower, roll up those windows, lock those car doors, make sure the car has plenty of gas, and start driving north on grand. Believe me, you can't miss it. (Note: it is merely coincidental that reason number 69 happens to be phallic. Nothing sexual was meant to be implied by this message). Click on the image for more of the pic, including MarkO's car.

REASON 68 - ANHEUSER-BUSCH
Suggested by Dan Schimpf  ♦  Anheuser-Busch, Inc. has a 145 year history brewing quality beer and has led the U.S. brewing industry since 1957. It is the world's largest brewing organization. The company sold 96.6 million barrels of beer in 1997. It is also the second-largest U.S. manufacturer of aluminum beverage containers and one of the largest theme park operators in the U.S. Since 1933, when August A. Busch, Jr. introduced the first Clydesdale hitch as a surprise gift to his father to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition, the famed Budweiser Clydesdale eight-horse hitch has been thundering across America. In an effort to preserve and perpetuate this championship breed, Anheuser-Busch operates its own training and breeding facility at Grant's Farm in St. Louis. Between 25 and 30 foals are born at the breeding farms each year. Tours are available of the Brewery in St. Louis and Grant's Farm.

REASON 67 - ST. LOUIS HASH HOUSE HARRIERS
Suggested by Orly Kamin  ♦  The Hash House Harriers is an international organization whose motto is "A drinking club with a running problem". The first hash was held in Kuala Lampur in the 1920s and has since spread to all corners of the world, including the great city of St. Louis. The St. Louis area is host to three separate hashing groups - The St. Louis Hash, The Bell-Scott Hash, and The Full Moon Hash. The St. Louis Hash is the group which more of you are familiar. The hash meets at different sites throughout the area and runs a route as determined by the "hare" (person who sets the trail that is followed) of the week. The route is set using flour and toilet paper and has different marks indicating the correct direction to run. Once again, all conference attendees are welcome to join the St. Louis Hash in their weekly run on Sunday and see a different side of St. Louis. Information about the St. Louis hashes can be obtained from the hot-line (314) 230-HASH.

REASON 66 - THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
Suggested by Kevin Keply, The Mathineer  ♦  The Great River Road (actually Highway 3) runs along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The most interesting section (for me) extends from Alton, Illinois to Grafton, Illinois and on up to Pere Marquette State Park. Along this section runs the Great River Road Bike Path. The round trip from Alton to Grafton is about 29 miles, if my memory serves, and the trail continues on past Grafton about 4 more miles to Pere Marquett. Along the way are numerous limestone bluffs which provide nesting sites for eagles. The little town of Elsah, about 10 miles north of Alton has some interesting shops, and is worth a visit. Grafton has some attractions as well, not the least of which is a little store that sells some excellent fudge. Also of interest is the Clark Bridge in Alton, and for those with more money than sense, a river boat gambling casino. The 10 mile Great River Road Run is held each fall, starting in North Alton, and extending 5 miles up the River Road. It is a flat and fast course, has good aid, and great goomies and beer after the run. There's nothing quite like eating donuts and drinking beer while watching Mike Toolen pick up his award! Also held each fall, is the Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Run (also called Mountainzilla). This run is advertised as the toughest run in the midwest, and does not allow wimps or whiners. The course is about 7 miles, and covers some steep, dirt trails in the beautiful park from which it takes its name.

REASON 65 - THE HOLY GRILL
Suggested by Kevin Keply, The Mathineer  ♦  To understand the genesis of the Holy Grill, it is necessary to understand my father. Since that isn't possible, we shall have to examine some important aspects of his life. Dad liked to cook large quantities of meat for large quantities of folks while drinking large quantities of [insert alcoholic beverage of choice]. I remember once when he and several other good ol' boys dug a pit, and improvised a pig roast. But, Dad was never satisfied with pit roasting. He wanted a more efficient solution to the problem of effectively burning large quantities of meat. So, he got one of his cronies to build the Holy Grill for him. I'm not sure who actually built it, but I reckon it was probably Lightnin'. Lightnin' liked to smoke cigars and drink whiskey. He also liked BBQ. I believe that the Holy Grill was built from a fuel oil storage tank that was cut in half for the purpose. It sits on two trailer wheels, and has quite a robust hitch arrangement. It can be towed behind a pickup truck to the BBQ site. It has three charcoal compartments, and two thermometers, one at each end. With all three comparments full of glowing coals, the lid closed, and both chimneys open, the Holy Grill is a thing of beauty - a smoke belching product of the industrial age. A reminder of simpler times in rural America when the future still looked bright, when your kids could go running around down by the creek with their BB guns, when the biggest trouble they were likely to get into was hitting a baseball through a neighbor's window, and by God they still had the integrity to admit it. That's right, my fellow runners, the Holy Grill is a legacy. Passed on to me, from my Father. And, that's not all that was passed on. Nosireebob, for I too like to burn large quantities of meat for lots of folks while having a homebrew or six. Now you may be wondering, "Will I get to see the Holy Grill in action at WC?". Well, I guess you'll just have to come and find out!

REASON 64 - GRANT'S FARM
Suggested by Jeff Lorentz  ♦  One of my favorite memories as I was growing up in St. Louis were the trips that my family took about once a year to Grant's Farm. Located in south St. Louis County, Grant's Farm is 281 acres of land which is a combination wildlife preserve and historical site. A portion of this land was originally farmed by former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant back in the 1850s. Currently operated by Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and owned by the Busch family, there are a lot of things to see and do at Grant's Farm. One of the biggest attractions is probably the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. At Grant's Farm you can see the Clydesdales roam free in their pastures or up close in the stables. Then you can jump aboard the open-air coach which will take you around the Grant's Farm. You will be able to ride through the open grounds that contain a large variety of animals that roam free through a natural habitat. For the kids there is a small animals area where they can pet and feed the goats. Or maybe you'd like to take in an animal show featuring elephants, parrots (personal favorite), and birds of prey. For the history buffs in the crowd, take a stop to see Grant's Cabin. Now on the Grant's Farm site, but only a mile from its original location, the cabin was built in large part by Grant himself, but they only lived in the cabin a few months. It was restored in 1977 to its present condition. The fence across from the cabin was constructed from 2,563 rifle barrels as a Civil War memorial. And then, of course, there is the popular stop to sample some of A-B's products! Admission to Grant's Farm, parking, coach rides and shows is free. However, you must make reservations by calling (314) 843-1700.

REASON 63 - THE BEVO MILL
Suggested by Tom Martin  ♦  Located at the Morganford Road and Gravois Avenue intersection. Years before World War I broke out, August A. Busch, Sr. traveled Europe gathering data on windmills. He planned to build a restaurant/beer garden on the corner where Gravois, Morganford and Delor meet which was then occupied by a blacksmith shop. In 1916, he built a 5 story structure modeled after a Dutch windmill. Almost all of the stones at the bottom of the windmill were taken from Grant's Farm. Local legend has it that Mr. Busch was so exacting about the construction that he personally hand picked just the right stones for his building, and in the process wore out several Pierce Arrow autos hauling the stones from Grant's Place to the windmill. According to German tradition, a pair of storks were placed on top of the chimneys, symbolizing good luck. A set of tile murals, made at the Berlin Porcelain Factory in 1891 were mounted in the main dining room. Early in the 1900's, August Busch produced a non-alcoholic beverage tasting like beer. He names the drink "Bevo" derived from the Bohemian word Pivo meaning beer. "Bevo" was almost an overnight success and became the namesake for the now existing windmill known worldwide as Bevo Mill.

REASON 62 - UNION STATION
Suggested by Tracey G.  ♦  Once the busiest passenger railroad terminal in the world, St. Louis Union Station has been restored to a charming shopping and entertainment complex. An 11.5-acre train shed that once sheltered box cars and locomotives, now covers shops, restaurants, a hotel, and even a small lake with boats for rent. During warmer months, the sounds of live entertainment echo from rafters that used to vibrate with the hum of giant steam and diesel engines. The site for Union Station was chosen in 1890, and permits approved in 1892. In order to begin building the immense station, the following existing buildings had to be razed: one of the largest breweries in the city at that time, a large flour mill, a gas company, a soap and candle factory, a wagon factory, stores, warehouses, and over 100 homes. Several difficulties had to be overcome during construction... including dynamiting vaults and passageways under the old brewery, and stabilizing the ground where the old Chouteau Pond had been. (Willow stumps, log cabins, and "hulls of primitive boats" were found 20 feet below the surface.) After several years of construction, including 14 months after the first cornerstone was placed on the foundation, Union Station opened to the public on September 1, 1894. Just a few years later, the Train Shed was extended another 30 feet in anticipation of the influx of visitors to the 1904 World's Fair. Between 1941 and 1945, 200 trains (and 100,000 people) passed through Union Station daily. But by 1969, that number had dwindled to 14 trains each day. When the last train pulled out on October 31, 1978, things didn't look promising for the once-grand station... the location of the famous photo of President Harry S. Truman holding the newspaper headline "Dewey Beats Truman," which erroneously reported his defeat in 1948. In fact, in 1979, a redeveloper bought the property for $5.5 million... one million dollars less than the cost to build the station 85 years earlier. When restoration finally began in 1983, the structure was nearly beyond saving. It had stood empty and unused for five years, and the developers were also challenged with creating a 20th-century building while retaining its 19th-century dignity and heritage. The doors of the St. Louis Union Station were reopened on August 29, 1985. In addition to the stores and cafes, the developers also restored the magnificent Grand Hall... with a six-story, barrel-vaulted ceiling filled with frescoes, bas-reliefs, gilt and stained glass. One of the stained glass windows, the "Allegorical Window," depicts the New York, San Francisco and St. Louis train stations during the 1890's. The window is framed by the "Whispering Arch," where a visitor's whisper at one end of the arch can be heard at the other end, some 40 feet away. In 1996, a survey found that Union Station may be the most-visited destination in St. Louis, more popular than the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, the St. Louis Zoo, and the riverboat casinos. Union Station is on the Metrolink line, allowing easy access from many parts of the city. A self-guided walking tour of the building is available, and recommended.

REASON 61 - MUSEUM OF TRANSPORTATION
Suggested by Mike Biondo  ♦  Travel back through 150 years of transportation history in just a few hours at the Transportation Museum. You'll discover the fascinating stories behind hundreds of trains, automobiles, streetcars, buses, horse-drawn vehicles... even steam rollers, steam tractors, a C-47, and a tow boat. But the real draw in my opinion is the trains. If you're into trains, and I'm talkin' trains here, the huge iron giants of the steam era, you've got to see this place. The museum has the most comprehensive collection of steam locomotives in the country - 65 locomotives in all. And all topped by the Union Pacific "Big Boy", the world's largest locomotive, weighing in at over 1,000,000 pounds (Whoa! Talk about your clydesdales!!! :-) So, if you're into "transportation" any at all, you really might want to take a side trip out to see this place. It would well be worth the time to take it in. But, of course, that would mean you would have to miss some DRSWC6 event, which would most probably turn out to be the absolute highlight of your trip, if you would have been there for it, which you were not, just because you were off looking at some rusting tractor someplace!!! Oh such decisions... such decisions... :-)

REASON 60 - THE SCOTT JOPLIN HOUSE
Suggested by Joan Cook  ♦  Scott Joplin (1868-1917), composer and performer of ragtime music, lived at 2658 Morgan Street (now Delmar) in St. Louis for three years beginning in 1901. This house is the only surviving building associated with Scott Joplin and is now a National Historic Landmark. Scott Joplin grew up in Texarkana, Texas, in a musical family. He taught himself to play the piano, and his mother took him with her to her housecleaning jobs, where her employers let him practice on theirs. In 1885, he moved to St. Louis, where he found a job playing ragtime piano at the Silver Dollar Saloon. In 1983 he moved to Chicago for a year and played at the 1893 World's Fair. From there he moved to Sedalia, Missouri, where he took courses in advanced harmony and composition at the George R. Smith College for Negroes and played piano at the Maple Leaf Club to earn his tuition. In Sedalia, he began to compose and publish ragtime pieces; the first of these was the famous Maple Leaf Rag. In 1900 he married Belle Hayden and moved back to St. Louis, where they lived until 1905, when the marriage ended. During his time on Morgan Street, Joplin composed many ragtime pieces, including The Entertainer, which was the theme for the 1972 movie The Sting. He also composed a ragtime opera called A Guest of Honor, which was performed in St. Louis; the score later vanished and has never been found. In 1907, Joplin moved to New York, where he finished composing his famous opera Treemonisha. Treemonisha is about a community of freed slaves who run their own cotton plantation. The theme is "Education will set you free." Every publisher turned down the manuscript, and finally Joplin published it himself. It was first performed in 1972. Tours of the Joplin house (2658 Delmar, just west of Jefferson) are given beginning at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and the last tour leaves at 3:30. On Sunday, the house opens at noon and the last tour begins at 4:00. The fee is $2.00 for adults and $1.25 for children. They have displays of Scott Joplin memorabilia on the first floor, and they've furnished Joplin's second-floor apartment in the style of the time, although none of the furnishings are actually his. Back on the first floor are a player piano and several dozen rolls of Joplin's music, some of them recorded by the man himself. You can actually hear Scott Joplin play the Cataract Rag or the Magnetic Rag.


Reasons 100-90 | 89-80 | 79-70 | 69-60 | 59-50 | 49-40 | 39-30 | 29-20 | 19-10 | 9-1