Libby Reuter and Joshua Rowan
August 2014
Meramec River at Route 66 State Park
97 Outer Road East, No.1
Eureka, Missouri
N38.505075 W090.591528

Tethys sits on the piling of an earlier Route 66 bridge. The bridge in the background was decommissioned and its roadbed removed after being replaced by Interstate 44. The much-larger I-44 Bridge is a stone’s throw away, behind the camera. Advocates would like to see the historic bridge restored for pedestrian and bike access to the trails and to link the Route 66 State Park museum on the east bank of the Meramec with the rest of the park on the west side.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Tethys is the mother of all rivers. The Tethys cairn celebrates the family of rivers and creeks flowing through the southern St. Louis region. Placed in several locations on the rivers’ path to the Mississippi River, an upturned vase serves as the sculpture’s base and mirrors the sparkling water around it. A clear fishbowl reveals the green vase inside it, and a broken hand-blown vase looks like a white flower that has captured a fisherman’s bobber. This area is an example of what involved citizens can do to protect and preserve the watershed. Since 1965, community volunteers, working with the Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region have stopped a proposed dam; restored over 500 miles on the Meramec, Courtois, Huzzah rivers; and conserved the land adjacent to the river for future floaters, paddlers, and anglers.

The Tethys images were created for the Open Space Council’s “Lower Meramec Hands- On Stewardship & Watershed Education” program, supported by a Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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