Youth, It Was A Gas

The Gasometers on Hwy 44 are down! NOOOOO!!!

For non-St. Louisans – two giant gasometers used to sit along 44 right at the border between St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Toby from the awesome B.E.L.T. blog explains why these gasometers were so rare and loved here. He also shot this great video of a sight that’s so familiar to St. Louisans:

When I was a teenage Shortcake, my friends and I would sneak into the city to party with our more badass friends. Before I drove and understood how the city was put together, these structures told me I had arrived.

Every time I saw these gasometers to my left, my brain said, “IT’S PARTY TIME.” And every time I saw them to my right, I thought, “Man, that was a great time.”

(Actually, since I commute to the county from the city now, my brain said the exact same thing.*)

Like that giant dove at West County Mall (which signaled to a young me that I was almost home), this is a landmark that wasn’t just a familiar sight. It sparked familiar feelings. Great ones.

R.I.P. Gasometers. You will be missed.

*Mostly unrelated, but is there anything more depressing than listening to “School’s Out” while heading back to work on your lunch break? Cuz that happened to me today.


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5 responses to “Youth, It Was A Gas

  1. Janternet

    Interesting. I don’t think “I’m in the City” until I see the water tower by the Grand exit. But in STL I’ve never lived farther west than Webster Groves so the gasometers were very closeby.

  2. Brett

    I always wondered what the hell those things were, always thought they were unfinished water towers.

    As an east-sider that spent years of city-bound school field trips via route IL-3 North, the big, bright beautiful bounties of downtown Sauget always let me know when the city was near. Later years, as my friends relocated in South City, the stretch of 40 between the Grand and Kings exits held similar gasometer-y tidings. The Science Center skywalk never ceases to flick my heartstrings.

  3. Jess

    it’s kinda funny how everyone has those little landmarks they remember from childhood… for me, the A-B sign with the flying eagle that switches to the A filling up always told me we were going to the zoo… also, the Baldwin power plant smoke stacks (it’s in the middle of BFE, IL) signaled we were almost home from Grammy’s or Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I was literally just talking about this the other day… haha.

  4. The first time I drove on the new HWY 40 downtown and saw that A-B Eagle again, I almost teared up. Had no idea I missed it that much. That thing is magical.

  5. Jen


    ‘Jen’ posted this on Thu 31 Dec 2009, 3:33 pm visit their home page
    Thanks for posting this. I, too, was moved to write a memorial.

    It was so thoughtful of Toby to have made a video for posterity. I’ve been perusing his posts and B.E.L.T. is my new favorite blog 🙂

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