June 12, 2010 Day 52 We See the Arch and Grant’s Home

We get up early and start downtown to see the Westward Expansion Arch. We hope we don’t run into too much traffic because there is a Susan Koman Run for the Cure going on today downtown at 9 am. They predict 70, 000 people at the event and have closed several exits on the interstate down there.

We make it OK and park in the garage. Our tickets we have bought are for 9:20 am but when we get there and through security we ask about going earlier and are told we can go now on the south tram. So we walk down there and have our pictures taken like on a cruise. Then we wait for the tram to come back. It runs every 10 minutes. The cars are tiny with 5 hard plastic seats in them but they let more than 5 people in them. Our car had 7 people. There was a family of 4 with kids as old as 5 that had to sit on their parents laps while we went up. It was a tight fit since the walls are curved. But it only lasted about 3 minutes to get to the viewing level. We got out and were able to look out the windows over St Louis and the Mississippi River. We took video and lots of pictures. The Old Courthouse was easy to see. After 10 minutes we caught the next car going down the north leg. This time we rode by ourselves. Then we looked around the Westward Expansion museum and PTCC worked on her Jr Ranger badge. They have several movies and a riverboat cruise as well as the tram tour. We finished up in the museum and PTCC received her badge then we walked across the street to the Old Courthouse where Dred Scott started his case about slavery here and went all the way to the Supreme Court with it. We took a ranger led tour here and then walked around the bottom and 2nd, and 3rd floors. You could not get to the cupola level though. PTCC worked on another Jr Ranger but received the same badge as across the street.

After finishing here we drive a few miles and go to the home of Ulysses S Grant called White Haven. This was his home after marrying Julia Dent, whose family owned the property, until they lived in the White House. We took another ranger led tour here. They let you wander around the house because nothing here is from the Grants. They had put their furniture in storage while in the White House and where they had it stored had a fire and everything was lost.

The part of the story that is interesting is that Grant was a staunch anti slavery person but he married into a very pro slavery family. He even owned at least one slave which he set free. His own father would not visit him at White Haven because of the slavery issue.

PTCC worked on another Jr Ranger and we watched the movie and toured the house as well as the museum that was set up in the horse barn that Grant built to start a horse breeding business after the Presidency. Unfortunately none of that happened and they ended up moving to New York and living there.

Next door is the Busch Wildlife area that has the house that Grant built called Hardscrabble that they only lived in for 3 months. The park is free to visit but you must pay a steep parking fee ($11 car). It looked interesting with different animals as well as the Clydesdale that Budweiser uses. We didn’t visit since it was getting late.

We drive back to Babler and check out the Visitor Center in the park. They have a great center with several displays of the animals that are native to the area. They also have a snake video but I declined to see that. When we got there a volunteer was teaching some kids about the animals in the area, I think they were working on their naturalist badge. PTCC doesn’t have enough time to work on this since we were gone so long today. We took a drive around the park and saw the area that the Olympic pool is in. The pool has been closed permanently since they could not afford to do the maintenance and upkeep on it.

We went back to the site and all of us took naps. It is very humid here and we were tired from the sun and getting up early. After we get up CC replaces our bath fan that PTCC and I bought the other day at Camping World. I am working on catching up our on blog and photos. Don’t know what PTCC is doing.

We’re trying to cookout tonight but the rain keeps coming. We have a 15 minute break before the next group of storms roll through. CC is grilling under the awning right now hopefully we will have cooked food to eat. I guess we’ll see soon.

We eat then take a walk, the rain has mostly stopped though we are still hitting pockets of it. We see a bunny on our walk near the edge of the woods. We come back and try to have a fire. The whole fire ring is wet though. We get a small flame going enough to have a couple of smores and roasted marshmellows then we quit and go inside. We need to be up early tomorrow to make it to Kentucky.

Leave a Reply