Do you see what I see, St. Louis? In our backyard lies one of the greatest mysteries in pop culture! We were visiting City Garden last weekend and came across St. Louis’ only remaining “toynbee tile”…at 8th and Market. Hundreds of these tiles have been found scattered throughout a dozen or so US cities and South America since the late 80’s. Most say the same thing “Toynbee Idea / In Kubrick’s 2001 / Resurrect Dead / On Planet Jupiter.” Huh? Exactly. They’re about the size of a license plate and are embedded in the asphalt of city streets. How they got there, who put them there, and why they say what they say are all a mystery. It’s believed that “Toynbee” refers to British historian Arnold Toynbee, and that “Kubrick” is Stanley Kubrick, who co-wrote and directed the film 2001: A Space Odyssey which is about a manned mission to Jupiter. Another idea is that the tiles are referring to the Toynbee Convector, Ray Bradbury’s short story. But no theory is set in stone, if you will.
Want to know more? Read, Mysterious ‘Toynbee Tiles’ becoming targets of theft in St. Louis, The Mysterious Toynbee Tiles; Watch Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. And most importantly, go check them out before they disappear!