It took eight years of construction and fundraising to build the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower near the site where the explorers embarked on their Louisiana Purchase journey. Even though hopes to have the tower finished in time for the journey's 2004 bicentennial were long dashed, the view proved to be worth the wait. As of this summer, visitors can ascend the two towers and view the confluences of the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers from outdoor viewing platforms suspended 50, 100 and 150 feet in the air. It's a view of where St. Louis and the American West were born, and of a natural wonder that shaped our geography and, eventually, our nation. And on a clear day, you can see, um, downtown.