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Lord Stanley of Preston pretty much overshadowed Old Man River on Sunday, despite the Old Man’s cresting in St. Louis Saturday night.

Handlers of the Stanley Cup brought the icon down in front of the Gateway Arch for an hour or so mid-day Sunday. Fans stood in line to take pictures with it in front of Luther Ely Smith park, a grassy spot between the Old Courthouse and the Arch grounds, and then again at the north leg of the Arch.

“Nash, do not touch it,” a dad in a Blues Jersey warned to a little boy in a Blues Jersey before they both posed for a picture. Some believe that that if you touch it, your team loses. Nash kept his hands to himself.

A white-gloved Phil Pritchard of the Hockey Hall of Fame stood by. He said they brought the cup out mostly to film short spots for NBC Sports. After people lined up for pictures, a camera crew instructed a crowd to stand around the cup and yell sound bites like: “There’s nothing like the Stanley Cup! There’s nothing like the Blues!”

The crowd happily complied.

Meanwhile, down by the steps between the Arch legs, the Mississippi River didn’t get nearly as much attention. It crested at 46.02 feet at 9:15 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said, the second-highest crest in history.

A plaque on the Arch steps marked the record crest of 1993, about 3.5 feet higher than Saturday's crest. The water lapped about seven steps below the plaque at midday Sunday. It will stay near that level through Monday.

Tourists and locals strolled the grounds and sat on the steps to see the water.

“It’s crazy, but what can you do, right?” said Shane Lann of Wentzville, as he waited for out-of-town relatives taking took a tram ride to the top of the Arch. He decided to stay to get the water view from the ground.

When told about the Stanley Cup nearby, he turned around, deciding for another photo op.

Jennifer and Brandon Nelson of Jefferson City came to town after scoring tickets for Sunday night's game, and strolled to the Arch grounds after breakfast to see the water. “We’re here for the game, not the flood,” Brandon Nelson said. “We’re hoping we can see some history.”

He was clearly talking about the game, not the flood. And when they, too, were told about the Stanley Cup nearby, they got up, turned away from the water, and sought the trophy.

The camera crew and Pritchard, the cup’s handler, gave the crowd a warning before packing up the cup in a black trunk. They pushed it west, away from the river.

“It’s headed to the arena after this,” Pritchard said.

Our earlier story:

ST. LOUIS — The Mississippi River's crest forecast kept changing over the last several days, but the river has reached its height, officials say.

The National Weather Service says the river crested at 46.02 feet at 9:15 p.m. Saturday night — 16 feet above flood stage — and will stay near that level through Monday. 

The river was at 45.85 feet at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Predictions have been a moving target because of rainfall and levee breaches. 

That’s still the second-highest crest in recorded history, but below the record 49.6 feet measured during the Great Flood of 1993.

Editor's note: This article has been changed to correct the time and date of the river crest. 

Valerie Schremp Hahn is a features writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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