Established in 1845, the Mercantile Library is the oldest general library in continuous existence west of the Mississippi River. Over the years it's had multiple locations, but since 1998 has been housed at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL).
The library has a large selection of book as well as non-literary items. Among
other things, it houses the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library and
the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library. The things we saw ranged
|Check out the intricate pedestal underneath this bust of Robert Burns.|
|2014 plywood art from a boarded up Ferguson storefront||
This Mark Twain quote was new to me, but spot-on in the current political climate. In case you can't read it, it says:
"But in this country we have our great privileged which they don't have in other countries. When a thing gets to be absolutely unbearable the people can rise up and throw it off. That's the finest asset we've got-the ballot box."
I had a great time wandering through the library's displays. Pre-Covid they used to offer tours. Tony learned from the gentleman at the desk they may be returning later this summer. If they do, I suspect Tony and I will be there.
After we left the library we walked around the UMSL campus, which was greatly changed since Tony took the last of his
classes there decades ago, and the nearby Bel-Nor neighborhood.Then we got in the car and headed toward our main assignment.
We arrived at the olive oil and vinegar store about 11:30. However, there was note on the door saying that due to unforeseen circumstances the store would not open until 1 pm. All of a sudden we needed to kill an hour and a half. We've been in Alton enough times to have seen everything in the downtown area, but there was one area attraction that we'd never been to. We got in the car and drove to the statue of Robert Wadlow, who at 8 feet 11 inches is the tallest person in recorded history.
For reference, we are 6 feet and 5 1/2 feet tall
We also found a place to get a cup of coffee and browsed through an antique mall.
When we arrived back at the olive oil store shortly after 1 pm there was a large Open flag next to the door. Ten minutes later we left with four 375ml bottles of
balsamic vinegar--traditional aged, white pineapple. garlic cilantro, and
mango, and a two ounce sample bottle of bell pepper. That should be enough to
last us until at least next summer.