Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dog Museum

The Dog Museum is a Fine Arts Gallery.
In the 1970’s people interested in creating a national museum dedicated to art and books about “man’s best friend.” The idea continued to inspire people and in 1973 the American Kennel Club sent out a survey, asking dog enthusiasts what they thought of the idea.  In 1981 William Secord became the first director of The Dog Museum of America. It’s original home was in New York City, but soon there was a need for more space and the entire collection moved to Saint Louis County.
The Dog Museum is located in the historic Jarville House, built in 1853, which sits on the far side of Queeny Park, away from the main entrance.  The view is breathtaking.  I suspect many beautiful events take place on the grounds, and in the building.
Dogs are allowed in the Dog Museum.  I visited on a week day.  It was relatively quiet.  I met friendly people who wanted to share stories of pets and favorite dogs they’ve known.
 When it comes to stories, the Dog Museum shares plenty of them.  There is an entire wing dedicated to service dogs, canine police officers, and canine war heroes.  It’s inspiring, and if you’re like me, you might need a moment to wipe away a tear or two.

There’s plenty of quirky stuff, contemporary works, some fiber art, I got a photo of a foot stool . 

There’s formal work, oils, water color, portraits of champions, loved companions gracing walls, in cases.  The literature says it’s one of the largest collections in the world.

The museum is home to the Hope A. Levy Memorial Library which holds thousands of publications.  I peeked in, the room is inviting, i didn’t dare venture inside, or I might still be there today.

The Museum holds regular events, programs for young people, weekly talks about different breeds, and training events.

I enjoyed my time there.

1721 South Mason Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Legacy of Lions

I started to wonder why University City, Missouri has a Legacy of Lions.  Lions are seen on banners.  Lion Statues grace columns greeting people entering the city.  I’m certain no wild lions pad the streets causing concern, equally certain no one has been eaten by a lion, so it was time for me to ask around.
banners hanging from street lights, signs and stickers representing University City feature lions
 
The world class artist, George Julian Zolnay was appointed director of the art department of the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition for the World’s Fair of 1904.  His work became so popular he became director of the Art Institute in University City, Missouri in 1909.

One of his majestic creations was the “Gates of Opportunity.”  There were two columns standing on either side of Delmar Avenue.  Each Column towered forty feet high and each column supported a big cat.  There was a lion atop one and lioness on the other.

Unfortunately, it was all too heavy and began to tilt.  In 1989 the lions were recast in a modern polymer concrete and placed on top of fourteen foot columns.
 The “Gates of Opportunity” were commissioned by Edward Gardener Lewis. Mr. Lewis was the founder of University City, a Big Dreamer and, possibly one of the most colorful people of his day . . . (or any other, but that’s another story.)

Lions guard every entrance of the City Hall (once the Magazine Building)

 In 1999, Bob Cassilly (founder of City Museum) created the “Musical Lion Benches.
 One plays horn, one plays lute. You can visit them (have a seat and feel the concert) – at City Hall at Delmar & Trinity – University City, Missouri
Edward Gardener Lewis and  George Julian Zolnay surely would rejoice at the many ways their efforts ave continued to inspire residents and visitors alike for so many generations.  Their efforts have caused people to come together, share ideas, not only about public art, but about ways to create a sense of community.

They have left us a Legacy of Lions


Monday, March 21, 2016

Henry Shaw

Henry Shaw is the person who gave us the property that became Our Gorgeous Botanical Garden.
 Henry Shaw was born in Sheffield, United Kingdom, July 24th,1800.  He attended Mill Hill School in London as long as his parents could afford to send him.  Then he traveled with his father for business.
Henry proved to be good at business and when challenges came up it was often Henry Shaw to the rescue.
Henry traveled from New Orleans to the little French Village of St. Louis in 1819.  He decided to stay and establish a business of his own.  Henry’s uncle, James Hoole, gave the support needed to start a hardware business.  Henry Shaw turned out to be a great investment.
Henry Shaw; from a watercolor painting at the Missouri Botanical Garden, by permission of the Director.
Wikisource.org
His business outfitted pioneers traveling westward. By the time he was forty Henry Shaw was one of the largest landowners in St. Louis. He began to travel and explore his interest in botany.

In 1851, he commissioned George I. Barnett to build his homes.  One of them is the “Tower Grove House,”  pictured here.
 Shaw dedicated land around his home toward the study of botany.  The garden became so extensive He opened it to the public in 1859.

 Henry Shaw died August 25th, 1889.  He left a legacy of beauty, education and hope for everyone to enjoy.

Our garden is one of my favorite places.  I hope you have a chance to visit in person someday.  People come from all over the world for research.  Countless gatherings, classes, exhibits, cooking demonstrations are offered BUT, for me the best part is wandering the grounds, soaking in the beauty.

.  One frigid afternoon, I zoomed from a college class in time to meet a lady with a passion for tree trunks.  We were freezing, looking at variations in tree trunks.  Trees have never looked the same to me.  I do NOT recommend punishing yourself like that – BUT, I have developed a healthy respect for trees ever since.
“Shaw’s Garden” – Day Before Spring



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Snow Day

Today is a Snow Day.  This means school will be cancelled – 
 all of us children-at-heart can celebrate.


 The storm was expected.  First it rained, and the wind blew some kind of fierce, which was marvelous because my puppy cuddled really close to keep us safe and warm.  Then, the rain turned to heavy, wet snow.  It’s beautiful because it clings to the trees, and weighs them down, making for the excellent view.  It’s a challenge for city living because the roads are slick and power lines are compromised by the weight.


My pupster was delighted.   She ran, leaped, tasted, pranced and wagged until she needed a break.  Right now she’s napping.  i don’t know if she’s dreaming of her next romp. I do know she is happy.  Snow day means she gets to play in her all time favorite kind of weather – with her mom – because – well, that’s what “Snow Day” means around here, Mom stays home all day to play.

  Here’s the kind of folk my puppy would enjoy.  It’s interesting how every community handles winter weather.  Washington University gives lots of good tips.  This is great because students arrive here from all over the world and may have never seen snow before.

Either way, it’s sure pretty out my door.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Re-purposed – Church to Moosylvania

There is a wonderful movement to re-purpose great places instead of tearing them down.  One of the niftiest sights in Maplewood, MO is Moosylvania.
 Perhaps you remember the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” from long ago (in this era of nostalgia TV, the program continues to be enjoyed and has won awards – but, that’s another matter altogether.)   Moosylvania became a place because, before moving to “Frostbite Falls, Minnesota” to have adventures with his pal, Rocket J. Squirrel, Bullwinkle lived in Moosylvania, Lake In The Woods Island, and was the mayor there.

I’m not sure Bullwinkle, or any of his kin live in Maplewood, BUT I am certainly thrilled to see this terrific advertising doing well.
 Creative people get inspired and make the world a better place.  They find opportunity when others see challenge, like children, they bring a fresh perspective and, if something doesn’t go as planned, they take a breath and try again.  Oh yes, the thought of these “Moosy People” – settling into “my” neck of the woods, makes me happy.

Once a church, this beautiful facility has been housing these people of vision since 2003.

Steve Jobs Said:

“Creativity is just connecting things.  When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilt because they didn’t really do it, They just saw something.  It seemed obvious to them after a while.  That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things”

(thank you, Huffington Post)

Moosylvania – 7303 Marietta Ave. – Maplewood, MO 63143


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ice in the Loop! (dragon? get camera)

 
Tuesday Morning, and it’s Frigid.  I’m always in the Delmar Loop Area because we have Story Time at Subterranean Books.  I tend to arrive in the area early and enjoy a cup before walking down the street.  These guys caught my eye and i simply had to share.  Ice in the Loop!
 
That’s Right!  No matter how cold it was, I was determined to get a photo of this Dragon.

 
 Ice Visions gave a performance outside Fitz’s and these guys were left over, standing on top of the brick border that surrounds Fitz’s delivery area.  This event was part of the annual Ice Carnival.

 It had to be a splendid celebration this year, because it was Cold.  The past couple years, i think there was plenty of fun to be had, and it was crazy comfortable, I doubt people even had to wear coats, it was so warm.  This year, however – our cold days landed on the preferred date, so people could shiver and enjoy.

Fitz’s makes fabulous root beer.  Their motto is, “If it wasn’t better, we wouldn’t make it.”  Its fun to walk by and listen to families laugh together.  There’s always a lot to enjoy, and discover in The Loop neighborhood.

Ice?  Not Often..

 

 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Chinese Garden

The first day of Winter was surprisingly warm and seemed a great day to visit The Chinese Garden.  It’s official title is “The Margaret Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden.”  Lovingly referred to as “The Chinese Garden.”  It is one small part of the Missouri Botanical Garden.  You can expect to find many posts about “The Garden” because it is one of my absolute favorite hangouts in St. Louis.
The lush summer look has already disappeared, it’s easy to spot the two guardians along the path.  They grant us passage, with warnings, this is not a place tourists tread right now because construction is going on “behind the scenes.”  So, we can look around undisturbed.
 This garden is referred to as a “Scholar’s Garden.” It’s smaller and informal, a place people can come to share ideas, read and reflect . . . here’s our first peek inside . .
 The garden was built in Nanjing, then in 1996 five experts arrived from China to oversee the actual creation of our Friendship Garden.
 This marble bridge was crafted in Nanjing China, assembled in St. Louis by experts from Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Urban Parks in 1996.

 Inside there are marble bridges and beautiful stone mosaic walkways.
The entire blue stone walkway includes delicate inlay mosaic.

 This fella kept close watch.
 I could image reading, or writing at this stone table . . maybe sipping tea,
 listening to sounds of the day . . . peaceful, yes?
 These stones are nifty.  In this case they are called “Tai Hu Stone,” which tells us where they are from, but doesn’t explain what terrific garden companions they are.  Stones like these are often used in gardens, they are made of limestone, which is softer, so the elements have been able to leave their mark, color changes, holes and shapes give each stone unique character.  They seem to “speak” about place and time.  They can also be referred to as “Scholar Stones.”  One story referred to them as “Philosopher Stones,”  which makes me grin.  There are a few of them standing in this garden.  They are a nice presence.
 Perhaps it is time to say goodbye for today, with a promise to return again in the future.

Thank you for visiting.

Missouri Botanical Garden – 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110