The Spirit of St. Louis!

May 5, 2011

Yep, there she is, a replica of “The Spirit of St. Louis,” the plane that Charles Lindbergh flew solo over the Atlantic back in 1927. (I shot the pano at the St. Louis History Museum) With backing from a group of St. Louis businessmen, in pursuit of the coveted $25,000 Orteig prize for the first solo flight across the Atlantic, Ryan Airlines of San Diego put together Lindbergh’s airplane in 60 days from receipt of order! (Imagine that?) Then, on a foggy morning May 20, 1927, Lindbergh took off from Curtiss Field on Long Island, and landed at Le Bourget field in Paris 33 hours later. Interesting detail about Lindbergh: As he took off, he had gone sleepless for 33 hours before. So when he landed, his poor body had gome 66 hours without sleeping. How did he stay awake? A couple of things contributed: 1) The Spirit of St. Louis was an inherently unstable aircraft, meaning he couldn’t relax his attention from the controls at all. 2) The plane’s windows were open, a constant breeze blowing through the cockpit, helping to keep our man awake. At the Museum, there were some interesting news clippings relating Lindy’s courtship of Anne Morrow (be sure to look at it full-screen so you can read the captions), and also the passport he carried to allow him to set foot on French ground! Check out our gallery for more details, kinda interesting…

Of course, you can’t visit St. Louis without seeing the Arch. There’s Jane, framed by this 600 ft. high monument in the background. The weather for that day wasn’t exactly gorgeous, so we decided not to go to the top. In fact, the Mississippi was overflowing its banks on Monday, at a height of ~31.5 feet, with a flood level of 30 feet. It was expected to rise to 35 feet by midweek; we were outta there on Tuesday evening though, got to miss that particular climax! But we walked down by the waterline and it was amazing to see how the river was covering things that used to be above water level, like the parking lot behind that fence there?

Our last day in St. Louis favored us with excellent weather. I took a shot of historic Market St., right out of our window of the Drury Hotel:

That majestic building to the right there is the historic old Courthouse where the famous Dred Scott trials began. Reading up on this case at the St. Louis History Museum was pretty interesting; I’ll share a little of my findings here. Dred Scott, originally had been a slave in the slave state of Missouri. Then he moved with his owner into the free state of Illinois and then the free territory of Wisconsin. When he returned to Missouri, thinking he was a free man, authorities returned him to slavery. He sued, in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled against him:

“In March of 1857, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, declared that all blacks — slaves as well as free — were not and could never become citizens of the United States. The court also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, thus permiting slavery in all of the country’s territories.” Referring to the language in the Declaration of Independence that includes the phrase, “all men are created equal,” Taney reasoned that “it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . .”

Well, all good things come to an end, and so it was with our visit to St. Louis and the mid-South we enjoyed for the two weeks we spent there. But on our way to the airport, we stopped in at Ted Drewes’s famous Frozen Custard shoppe for a little cool refreshment. I don’t want to make anyone jealous, so I’ve withheld photos of the actual custard concoctions we imbibed there, but Mmmmmmmm!

If you followed the weather at all during the time of our trip, you probably heard about the twister that damaged the Lambert Field terminal in St. Louis? Well, here’s a photo of the plywood windows at Terminal C, where the twister blew out most of the glass on the street side of the terminal building:

You can see more details in our daily galleryBut despite the damage, we were able to take off, and as we soared over the Mississippi, got this last view of the Mississippi Mud:

As I write this last installment of the blog for this trip, it’s now May, and a week has gone by since our return. But it was a great trip, we enjoyed everything we did, why we even received our new American-made vacuum cleaner the other day, and it works just fine! Thank you for your support. 🙂

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2 Responses to “The Spirit of St. Louis!”

  1. Marilyn said

    Glad that you’re home but will miss your blogs. When’s the next trip?

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