Most of my life I have lived near the Mississippi River. Living in southern Illinois near St. Louis, Missouri I crossed the river almost every day as I lived in Illinois but worked in Missouri. The arch dominates the view as you cross into downtown St. Louis.
Taking over two years to build (1963 to 1965) the Gateway Arch is the world’s tallest arch and the tallest stainless steel monument in the world (630-foot).
The arch was built to celebrate the westward expansion of the United States and has become a famous symbol of St. Louis.
As a young bride my husband and I often fished along its banks. Sometimes we would fish at night and I would love seeing the riverboats with all its bright lights and imagine myself taking a cruise down the river on one of the steam boats.
Fishing was good then but I’m not sure I would want to eat any fish caught along the river near St. Louis now because of all the pollution.
When I moved to northern Illinois 24 years ago I began my commute crossing the river from Illinois to Iowa to go to work and also to go shopping or eat at the many wonderful restaurants on the Iowa side.
There are several bridges crossing the river between the two states but I one I love to see at night is the Centennial Bridge
This bridge was the first tied arch bridge to cross the Mississippi River. This bridge is unusual because it has five spans rather than a single main span common among tied arch bridges. Reportedly these spans symbolize the five largest cities in the “Quad Cities” area. Originally this was a toll bridge and as I crossed the bridge going to work in Iowa, I had to stop in the middle of the bridge where the toll booths were located. A few years before I retired, the tolls were removed and today all that remains of the toll booths is the canopy that had been built over them.
Another interesting bridge is the Government Bridge. This bridge, also known as the Arsenal Bridge includes a swing section to accommodate barge traffic navigating the locks at Lock and Dam No. 15. The current bridge is the fourth in a succession at this location between Rock Island Illinois and Davenport Iowa. The first bridge built at this site was the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi.
Because it is a swing bridge and is built very low close to the river itself, I was afraid to drive across it when we first moved to this area. However, the closest way for me to get from work to home was to cross this bridge so in time I overcame my fear.
We will be leaving this area soon moving hundreds of miles from the river. I am going to miss this mighty river.
- The Mississippi River is 2,340 miles long.
- From its source in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River drops 1,475 feet.
- The Mississippi River is home to 360 species of fish, 326 species of birds, 145 species of amphibians and 50 species of mammals.
- The Mississippi River is the third largest watershed in the world.
- It takes 90 days for a drop of water to travel the entire length of the Mississippi River.
- At Lake Itasca, the river is between 20 and 30 feet wide, the narrowest stretch for its entire length.
- The widest part of the Mississippi can be found at Lake Winnibigoshish near Bena, MN, where it is wider than 11 miles.
- The Mississippi River lies in the following ten US states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Roll on ole man river! I will miss you!