Sunday May 8, 2011

There are 38 National Historic Landmarks located within a two-hour drive of St. Louis, and many of them represent some of the bi-state region’s most popular attractions.

One of the bridges connecting St. Louis with Illinois and all points east is the 6,442-foot long Eads Bridge, designed and built by James Buchanan Eads in 1874. The innovative structure was the world’s first alloy steel bridge and the first to depend entirely upon the use of the cantilever in the building of the superstructure. Across the river in Collinsville, Illinois, is the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which was the settlement of the Mississippians between 800 and 1400 AD.

In addition to the iconic Gateway Arch, St. Louis is home to such celebrated landmarks as the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site, former 19th century home of the King of Ragtime, and St. Louis Union Station. The train station was completed in 1894 and was once the largest and busiest passenger rail terminal in the world.

Other prominent downtown landmarks include Christ Church Cathedral, designed in the early English decorated style by architect Leopold Eidlitz in 1867, and the 1892 Wainwright Building, a 10-story, red-brick, steel-frame building considered to be the first skyscraper ever built. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery is a historic red brick complex that includes the 1868 Lyon School and the Budweiser Clydesdale Stables, built in 1885.

White Haven was the home of Civil War General and United States President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia during the 1850s. Grant married St. Louisan Julia Dent, the sister of his Jefferson Barracks roommate whom he met at the 1,000-acre plantation in 1843.

Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG), established in 1859, is the oldest functioning botanical garden in the country, and nearby Tower Grove Park, created by MBG founder Henry Shaw in 1868, features original Victorian ornamental pavilions, gateways and statues.

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