My quest to photograph all of the STL250 Cakeway to the West cakes has taken me to some pretty incredible spots, and so far this is my favorite discovery. I have known about the Gateway Geyser for years, and have seen it erupt from the St Louis side of the river, but I never imagined it to be in a beautiful park with an amazing view. You will find the cake (and amazing photo ops) at the top of that observation deck to the left of the flag. It's a ramp all the way up, and thus accessible to most.
This is Malcolm W Martin, and behind him is a live stream camera, which you can watch on the website. Malcolm Martin started the Gateway Foundation, which protected this plot of land from commercial development. He wanted a landmark here that would complement the Gateway Arch, which would fulfill Eero Saarinen's original vision of parks on both sides of the river. In 1995, the Gateway Geyser began operation, and is the second largest fountain in the world. The surrounding park, Malcolm W Martin Memorial Park, was opened to the public in 2009, and is primarily funded by donations to the Gateway Center Board.
Three 800-horsepower pumps send 8,000 gallons per minute up to 630 feet in the air! That's as tall as the Arch itself, on a completely windless day. We watched it erupt from the observation deck closer to the river, but I want to go back to see it up close. From April 15 - October 15, you can see the Gateway Geyser at noon, 3pm, and 6pm daily.
I probably don't have to tell anyone who has seen National Lampoon's Vacation that East St Louis has a pretty scary reputation. However, we found all the STL250 Cakes in the area that day with no issues. If you can make it to the Casino Queen, you can make it to Malcolm W Martin Memorial Park, I promise. Just use the directions on the website (apparently online mapping and GPS gives inaccurate directions, a fact I am familiar with from my first attempts to find the Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail).There were several carloads of families waiting for the geyser to erupt when we were there.
I said to Francis, later that day or the next, that this is the kind of thing that makes me sad for people who are not us. People who read a blog like this and say, "Oh, that looks pretty cool, I should check that out sometime." People, the second largest fountain in the world is in your backyard, and it affords a spectacular view of your city. Don't miss these kinds of opportunities!