Nearly obscured by a grain elevator and the flashy facade of a casino hotel is the second tallest fountain in the world. The Gateway Geyser sits directly across the Mississippi River from the St. Louis Gateway Arch, capable of blasting up to 7,500 gallons of water a minute into the sky.
Eero Saarinen, the architect who designed the Arch in 1947, envisioned twin memorials, one on each side of the river. While the famous Arch’s original Illinois counterpart was scrapped due to lack of funding, this superfountain arrived in 1995. On a windless day its water jets up to 630 feet, the exact height of the Arch.
The fountain is part of Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, one of the best places from which to see the Arch. The park’s vantage point of the River is often empty except for a single occupant, Malcolm W. Martin himself, cast in bronze and forever admiring the view. Martin has every right to such a permanent place of honor, being the local businessman, veteran, and civil rights activist who originally raised the funds to pay for the park and its watery homage to the Gateway Arch.
The green, trimmed grass and the whimsy of the fountain itself are jarring contrasts to the struggling development along the city’s waterfront, but they provide a small refuge for East St. Louis—fighting hard to come back and reclaim its title as The City of Champions.
Unfortunately, the world’s second-tallest fountain appears to have ceased operations sometime during 2021. The stop is worth it though just to see the view of the Arch.
Know Before You Go
From Illinois I-55/I-70/I-64: Exit 2A (for 3rd St) off I-55/I-70/I-64. Turn right at W Broadway/Riverpark Drive, then left at S Front Street, and left onto W. Trendley Avenue. Parking lot is on the left