STL: 5 Things We Love About St. Louis Lambert International Airport

[Updated August 30, 2020 with two ‘bonus’ items]

Our “5 Things We Love About…” series celebrating features and amenities at airports around the country and the world lands today at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

The airport is named in honor of Major Albert Bond Lambert, who learned to fly with the Wright Brothers and in 1911 was the first person in St. Louis to receive a private pilot’s license.

Keep in mind that some of the modern-day amenities we love at STL may not be available or accessible due to health concerns. We’re confident they’ll be back.

If we miss one of the STL features you love, be sure to leave a note in the comments section below.

And be sure to take a look at the other airports in the “5 Things We Love About...” series as well.

5 Things We Love About St. Louis Lambert International Airport – STL

1. The Historic STL Terminal

In 1956, famed Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki’s iconic arched terminal opened at Lambert.

Yamasaki also designed the original World Trade Center in New York City and many other iconic buildings.

The signature terminal at STL was originally built as a multi-level facility with a grand ticketing hall topped with three 30-ft high domed, concrete vaults.

The STL terminal expanded in 1965 with a fourth identical dome.

That original mid-century design has been credited with influencing the designs for other iconic terminals, including the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (now the TWA Hotel) and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., both designed by Eero Saarinen. 

2. The art collection at STL

St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) has an art museum feel, with ten major works on temporary or permanent display in both terminals.

One of the most notable art pieces at STL is Zhu Wei’s China China bronze statue (above), on loan from the Gateway Foundation.

Here’s a sampling of some of the other artwork you’ll find at STL in the Lambert Gallery (in Terminal 1) and on Concourses A and C.

The Confluence, by Joan Hall. Gate C5 in Terminal 1


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Nucleic Life Formation – by Amy Cheng


3. STL’s Historic Black Americans in Flight Mural

August 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the impressive and important Black Americans in Flight mural.

The 5-panel mural is eight feet tall and 51 feet long. It pays tribute to African-American achievements in aviation from 1917 onward.

You’ll find it on the lower level of Terminal 1, outside of security, near Exit 11.

4. STL’s Red Rocking Chairs

Rocking chairs are one of the calming amenities travelers most enjoy when they’re stuck at the airport.

At some airports, the rockers are white or plain brown. Elsewhere, they’re painted by artists and each is different.

At STL Airport the rocking chairs are bright red and emblazoned with the STL logo.

Is it the cardinal red of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team? Maybe. But these rockers are hard to miss and clearly very, very comfortable.

5. The bonus views

In the 1960s, Lambert International Airport was the home to a McDonnell Douglas facility that built the Gemini space capsule.

Today, there’s a Boeing plant on the STL property that builds the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 Hornet jet fighter, which can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.5. The plant also produces the T-7 Air Force trainer jet and the Navy’s MQ-25 refueling drone.

Passengers landing at STL are sometimes treated to the sight of a military or Boeing test pilot making a vertical ascent.  

Like this:

Even more thing we love at STL Airport

Here are two extra bonus items we love at STL Airport: Vending Machines for Ted Drewes Ice Cream and the Glatz Monocoupe.

Ted Drewes Ice Cream Machines at STL

If you live in St. Louis – or have visited – you’re probably a fan of Ted Drewes frozen custard. Lucky thing, then, that there are four Ted Drewes vending machines at STL airport. Two are in the Southwest Airlines Terminal 2 near Gates E10 and E20. Two other machines are in the historic Terminal 1, by Gate A15 and Gate C15.

StuckatTheAirport.com first wrote about the arrival of the Ted Drewes vending machines at STL airport back in 2015.

The Glatz Monocoupe at STL

In STL Terminal 2 you’ll find a Monocoupe 110 Special on display.

The “Glatz” Monocoupe, as it is known, is on loan from the Missouri Historical Society and was manufactured by the Mono Aircraft Corporation of Moline, Illinois in March 1931. The plane has been on display at STL since 1998.

Did we miss one of your favorite features or amenities at STL? Be sure to leave a note in the comments section below. And let us know where our “5 Things We Love About …” series should land next.

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