Thursday, September 4, 2014

Gateway Geyser at Malcolm W Martin Memorial Park

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.

I know, stunning view of the Con Agra plant, right? We live about four blocks from the Mississippi River, so river commerce is home sweet home to me. I wish we had been here on a weekday.

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!


  1. Okay NERD ALERT here, the hubcap-stealing, directions-asking scene in VACATION is supposed to take place in regular Saint Louis, NOT East Saint Louis. The scene just before shows the Wagon Queen Family Truckster crossing the Mississippi from Illinois into Missouri (DEEEEEEEEEP RIVER!), and THEN the "F*@! Yo Mama!" scene happens. At no time (during that scene) is any specific reference to their location on one side of the river or the other made, but ostensibly if they'd crossed the river once going west, they wouldn't likely cross it again going east. On the other hand, they WERE lost and asking for directions in that scene, and I can think of at least one instance where I crossed into Illinois by sheer accident (downtown driving, I tell ya what!). I tend to maintain that the scene takes place on the Missouri-side, though. I wonder if there's a listing on the IMDb "Goofs" page or anything for that, cuz I know it's a commonly-held belief that the scene takes place in East Saint Louis.

    Anyway I always feel like a square for not doing the cool things you write about in CC&G. I'M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!

    1. Man, I knew someone would bring that up! The confusion is because of the East St Louis sign that is shown right before they end up in the "hood", but yes, even Harold Ramis has said that they crossed the river. In any case, that scene didn't look like East St Louis OR Downtown OR the North side.