My corner of the world is about 38.6270° N, 90.1994° W. Or, if you don’t like coordinates, it sits on the western bank of the muddy Mississippi River. St. Louis has a long history, with many stunning buildings. Of course, we are also home to the Gateway Arch, which has been dubbed “The Gateway to the West’’. It got this name because St. Louis was the original starting point for the Louis and Clark Expedition, so you can see right away that there is importance in this city. STL also has die-hard sports fans that support the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis City SC—our very own soccer team that got approval in 2019.
St. Louis has an enormous history, starting way back in AD 700 before St. Louis was even a city, with an enormous civilization known as the Cahokia. It had a population of 20,000 people and dominated the area for more than 600 years. In the 1500s, European settlers first mapped the Mississippi River, and the city of mounds was abandoned. Even today, the people of Cahokia are remembered by Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and Interpretive Center, in which you can walk the very steps that an ancient civilization did hundreds of years ago. We did not forget about these people, and they will be remembered as great builders, for the mounds are truly spectacular. In support of Native Americans, there are also annual dances and activities held in remembrance of these truly amazing cultures. I had the privilege of going to a Black Lives Matter protest, and it was clear as day that there was a palpable energy that hovered over all of us, knowing that we were part of something even more massive than we could ever know. It gave me a glimpse of a world without racism, and it would’ve started right here in the very heart of St. Louis.
St. Louis was also the host for the 1904 World’s Fair, which celebrated the century mark of President Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase. The fair was set up in Forest Park, a 1300-acre park that has great attractions such as the Art Museum, History Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Planetarium. St. Louis is also home to Union Station, where it was one of the busiest rail terminals in the world. It has been renovated and turned into a 13,000 animal aquarium, 200-foot St. Louis Wheel, carousel, 18-hole mini-golf course, mirror maze, ropes course, train park, and several restaurants to go along with St. Louis Union Station Hotel. If you don’t think that’s enough, then you truly haven’t visited the City Museum.
The City Museum was once a giant shoe warehouse but has since been turned into a hidden gem—a house of fun. Why a shoe warehouse? I have no idea. I guess it was just big. Anyways, if you’re driving down the road and you happen to see a school bus on a roof looking like it would fall off any second, don’t be alarmed. There is no one in there, and it was built to be sturdy. I think. I’m not sure anyone wants to be the test subject to that. Thousands of people visit the City Museum every year, and it’s a really cool and intriguing place for parents and kids alike.
STL also has many parks that are usually booming with people taking in the sun, sledding down a snowy hill, or just having a good time. The Missouri Conservation Department stocks the park’s ponds and lakes with fish such as largemouth bass, channel catfish, sunfish, and trout. If you’re really looking for adventure, try checking out a local state park such as Castlewood, which sits on the edge of the Meramec River, and also has a creek that’s super fun to play in. Whether you’re wade fishing for large cats, or hiking the beautiful scenic trails, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. As I close this essay, I want to take the opportunity to thank St. Louis, for giving me something to cheer for, for giving me the opportunity to go to a great school, and for giving me the opportunity to play for a great soccer club. These are just a few of the gifts that St. Louis has given me. I am glad to have spent my youth in this great city and am totally excited for our new soccer team—St. Louis City SC. Greatness awaits!