National Geographic : 1965 Nov
KODACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER BRUCE DALE arches of MacArthur Bridge undulate across the horizon like the humps of a roller coaster. President Johnson will be invited to dedicate the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial next year, possibly in the spring. And by dedi cation time, the new St. Louis growing up around it will be clearly visible. But the old St. Louis will live on in its midst. On the memorial grounds, for instance, stands the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France -the Old Cathedral. Completed in 1834 on the church block designated by Laclede, this venerable cut-stone building still echoes to Masses and weddings. A block west rises the white cruciform Old Courthouse, an outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture. Begun in 1839, its 128 ton cast-iron dome towers nearly 200 feet; steamboaters used it as a landmark. Through its halls strode men like Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Hart Benton, Henry Clay. A little more than a century ago, slaves were auctioned on its east steps. In one of its courtrooms, in 1847, Dred Scott's right to be a free man was first pleaded; a decade later the United States Supreme Court ruled that he was still a slave, and America heard the distant drums of civil war. Long the city's main meeting place, the Old Courthouse quartered Union soldiers during the war. Divided in sympathies at the outset, St. Louis became a Union stronghold. Today the gracious old building is both museum and headquarters of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. When I visit ed Superintendent LeRoy R. Brown in his second-floor corner office, he led me to a win dow. We looked out at the tract and its shining monument. "What is happening here," he began, "is 617 N.G.S.