Ellen and I moved to St. Louis in 1994. The driver was mainly my new job at the Missouri Historical Society, but Ellen’s parents were here, too, and I’d always known I wanted to live in a bigger city than my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri, or my college town of Columbia.

We moved into the first floor of a two-family flat in Tower Grove Heights. Our landlord was Don Crinklaw, husband of novelist and St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Elaine Viets. That appealed to the word nerd in me, and Don appealed to everything else. Hot water radiator burst and the basement’s full of water? No problem. You want a dishwasher? Done. The stack needs to be replaced? Sure.

But as all St. Louisans seem to do eventually, after a few years we moved west–all the way west to Nottingham Ave., near the Route 66 landmark Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. A few years after that we moved back east–a whole half-mile or so, to our current home in the Southampton neighborhood.

I have explored St. Louis by car, bicycle, and now on foot through my running. I know the city best, though I still find myself lost in the Central West End (north or south of Lindell? I can never get it straight) . Parts of the county may as well be the moon. And in Soulard, if it wasn’t for the Arch, I would sometimes have no idea what east and west is.

Still, I’ve come to love it–its quirkiness, its hidden beauty, its neighborhoods full of promise revealed and concealed. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on what goes on in this unique American city here.