It’s not just a big fountain, it’s the biggest water fountain in the United States. The Gateway Geyser is located in East Saint Louis – just 6 minutes across the Mississippi river from the Gateway Arch.
Locals will almost certainly tell you to avoid East St. Louis. It’s a poverty stricken area that for many years has been known only for crime and local government corruption.
Not quite ten years ago, I hosted a charity event where I met two nuns that were regular radio listeners. If I’m being honest – I’d never really met a nun before, or if I had, I didn’t know it. Both nuns worked and spent most of their time in East St. Louis. I figured if these two nuns were brave enough to visit East Saint Louis – then what’s my excuse?
Truth is the fountain is located in a very nice park with awesome views of downtown Saint Louis and of course the Gateway Arch and Mississippi River. Driving to the park isn’t so much sketchy as it is disappointing. A beautiful park sits a mile or so down bumpy, broken down roads that will leave you wondering for a few minutes if I’ve given you really bad information.
The GPS said 6 minutes driving from the Arch grounds, crossing the bridge into Illinois and then getting to the park – it was pretty accurate. It’s a quick trip.
The fountain shoots water as high as 630 feet in the air. Windy conditions can alter the height. Constructed in 1995, a non for profit group raised $4 million in private donations to get it built.
The fountain, or Geyser, shoots 7,500 gallons of water each minute at 250 feet per second. Each blast lasts about 10 minutes with scheduled times through out the day. The first was at noon.
Several other fountains come on first, shooting 100 feet in the air. They look fairly impressive until the big daddy of the bunch gets going.
The Malcom W. Martin Memorial Park is definitely worth a visit. Around noon on a Saturday, there were quite a few visitors checking out the views and the fountain. In fact, a youth group from Saint Louis county included the fountain as part of a scavenger hunt that was going during my visit. Every 5 minutes, another group of kids were driving into the park to capture a selfie with the fountain.
Having said that, I’d certainly use caution and travel with more than one person and avoid visiting at night. Just remember – if a nun can do it…