St. Louis Gateway Arch

June 2009

Map of where the arch standsClick here to see it in Google Earth


    We spent most of the afternoon at the Jefferson National Memorial which has the arch as part of the memorial it was an awesome experience. In St. Louis, Missouri is a landmark that is known as the "Gateway to the West." The arch is part of the Jefferson National Memorial. In 1947, a group of civic investors wanted to hold a national contest for the design for part of the Jefferson National Memorial Expansion. Eero Saarinen won with his design of a 590 foot arch. Over the next fifteen years the design would be modified and expanded. Saarinen never got to see the arch completed. He died in 1961.
    Actual construction started on February 12th, 1963. It was completed on October 28th, 1965. The arch was dedicated on May 25th , 1968. The total cost of about 15 million dollars. The arch stands 630 feet tall and has a base of 54 feet. It is also 60 feet deep. It was built to withstand strong earthquakes and high winds. It is built to move at least 18 inches at the top. A wind of 50 miles an hour will move it about 1 and half inches. The total weight of the arch is 17,260 tons.
  The top of the arch can hold 160 people at one time in it's 17 foot wide viewing area. From the top of the arch, a visitor can view both the East and the West. Two trams are located in each leg to move people up and down the inside of the arch. There are also stairs that people can use in an emergency.
  History buffs, especially those interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition, won't want to miss the free Museum of Westward Expansion under the arch.


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We could see the arch driving into St. Louis on I-44.

We took a wrong turn and ended up in Illinois. This is the arch from I-55 driving west over the Mississippi River.

View of the arch from the St. Louis Riverfront.

These are the steps leading up to the arch from the St. Louis Riverfront.

We head back to the parking garage. arch is on the left.

Walkway to the arch through Jefferson National Memorial park.

Jefferson National Memorial Park has two lakes and lots of trees.

Looking up at the arch.

Windows at the top of the arch we can look out.

This is the little tram we ride up in along with four others. It is very cramped.

We buy tickets and wait for tram number four. There are seven trams that assend on the same track.

We enter and exit at the end of the room and take in the view from all the little windows along the ledge.

From the west side of the arch this is looking downtown St. Louis. The old courthouse in the center.

The ball field south of downtown.

Looking north of downtown.

I zoomed up on the old courthouse.

The shadow of the arch is on the old courthouse lawn.

I zoomed in on this guy is sitting on a bench on the courthouse lawn 630 feet below.

From the east side of the arch this is looking up the Mississippi River.

I zoomed in on a tug boat pushing a barge up the Mississippi river.

I zoomed up on the tug boat.

There is a casino across in Illinois called the Casino Queen

There is a RV park at the Casino Queen.

There is also a riverboat tour and cafe on the riverfront.

The sign for the riverfront tour and cafe

There are also helicopter tours.

Looking straight down at the steps coming up from the riverfront.

There is a train going through the park and into a tunnel.

The second bridge over is the Martin Luther King memorial bridge where a 18 wheeler caught fire yesterday and backed traffic up for 5 miles on I-70.

This is a sculptor of the designer and the last section being lifted into place. A brace between the two sides keep the arches from bending together.

Because the arch is "Gateway to the West" and the Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis' role in the Westward Expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson's role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse. Visitors to the Gateway Arch can tour the Museum of Westward Expansion under the arch, ride the tram to the top, and watch two movies Gateway to the West and Monument to the Dream. These are some pictures from the museum.

Replica of a sod house.

They have a stage coach.

Here is a ox cart.

An Indian teepee.

Inside the Indian teepee.

They even have a beaver pond.

There are three animatronic figures. Chief Red Cloud, Sergeant Robert Banks and William Clark. They each have a speech and move as if they are giving the speech. Pretty cool! There is a sign at each exhibit which you can read by clicking of the link.

William Clark Click here to read the sign

Sergeant Robert BanksClick here to read the sign

Chief Red CloudClick here to read the sign

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