Last Thursday evening Great Rivers Greenway threw a "street-party-meets-happy-hour" event at The Trestle, above, to introduce the public to the landmark structure. As the invitation said: "New York has the High Line, Paris has the Promenade Plantee, and soon St. Louis will have The Trestle, making us the third city in the world to incorporate an elevated historic railway into an urban destination. Of the three cities St. Louis is the only one to integrate its trestle into a region-wide system of interconnected greenways, parks and trails known as 'The River Ring.' "
The event was held on a large parcel of ground under The Trestle at 10th and Madison on the Near North Side. Although this project has been in the works since the trestle was acquired by Great Rivers Greenway in 2005, many of the people I spoke to had not been aware of its existence until the invitation arrived.
The view from the top looking south toward the city is stunning. The 1.5 mile elevated railroad trestle begins at the intersection of Howard and Hadley Streets, and connects to the Branch Street Trestle and the Mississippi Riverfront Trail. In the near distance you can see signs of construction on the new bridge that will cross the Mississippi River.
There were quite a few CWEnders on the Elevate St. Louis Committee, including Mike Murray (in suit above) pictured with his wife Barbara. When I spoke to Mike about the enormity of the project, he remarked that it is going to take the whole community to make it work. The Trestle, which has some Federal funding that was used to acquire "right-of-way," is currently in design development and will not see further progress, other than painting the section spanning I-70, until additional funding is secured.
Since posting this story I have learned from Mike Murray, one of three Great Rivers Greenway Board Members from St. Louis, that some money is available to begin work on the elevated section from Branch St. to where it touches down at Howard St. Mike, who represents the central corridor, said that Great Rivers Greenway will be organizing a "Friends of The Trestle" support group soon. Visit the website for additional info.
Other Elevate St. Louis Committee Members from the CWE included gallery owner Duane Reed, above in green shirt, Jill and Dan McGuire, Lois and Vince Schoemehl, art consultant Mary McElwain, Tracy Boaz, John McCarthy, Susan Barrett, and Anne & Chris Sommers. Neighborhood sponsors of the event were Pi and Pulaski Bank.
Mayor Francis Slay (in blue shirt) was in the crowd.
Several food trucks provided a variety of delicious offerings for the occasion. The pizza at the Pi Truck was snapped up fast.
Lulu's Local Eatery travels with an herb garden on the roof, see above.
Seoul Taco served plate after plate of delicious tacos, and Sarah's Cupcakes, below, offered five or six varieties of scrumptious cupcakes. All of these trucks are included among those parked at BJC (on Scott west of Taylor) on different days of the week.
The last photo, showing the L. Cherrick Horseradish Co. (and the American flag, of course) is an example of why the evening was so interesting. Having a great excuse to explore an area of the city that you know nothing about is exhilarating. Thanks to Great Rivers Greenway for the amazing work they have already done in connecting the areas west and north of downtown with bike and pedestrian trails that follow the Mississippi River. And someday The Trestle will link the areas together.