Gateway arch

All About the Gateway Arch

gateway arch in st louis

The Gateway Arch is a tall monument in the City of St. Louis, MO in the United States of America. Made of stainless steel and standing about 630 feet (192 m) tall, this monument was built as a weighted catenary arch and currently remains the tallest arch in the world, Missouri’s tallest accessible building, and the tallest artificial monument in the entire Western Hemisphere. Constructed as a monument when the U.S. was expanding toward the west and officially dedicated to U.S. citizens, the Gateway to the West or simply the Arch is the heart of Gateway Arch National Park. It is also a world-renowned symbol of St. Louis and has become a popular tourist destination. Learn about the Missouri Botanical Garden.

History of the Arch

Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-American architect, designed the Arch in 1947 before its construction began in February 1963 and completed in October 1965 at an approximate cost of $13 million, which is equivalent to 2018’s $82 million. The Arch was officially open to the public in early June 1967. Currently located at the site where St. Louis was founded in the Mississippi River’s west bank, this monument inspires you to want to explore new experiences and reach new heights.

The Arch was built to commemorate President Thomas Jefferson’s major Louisiana Purchase (1803) as well as to celebrate the city’s central role in the subsequent westward expansion. St. Louis was the market and supply center for fur traders and explorers, and even the popular Meriwether Lewis & William Clark. It grew rapidly following the War of 1812 when a large number of people started traveling by wagon train in search of their fortunes on the western part of the Mississippi River. While Saarinen won the widely contested competition to design an iconic monument to honor the spirit of the western pioneers, he lost his life to a brain tumor in 1961 and never lived to see his design being transformed into reality in 1963.

Features of the Gateway Arch

Therefore, in only half a century since its construction, the monument has been many things, including a commemoration of an expedition by Lewis and Clark, a monument to President Thomas Jefferson, and a national park. Its most recent designation in February 2018 has continued to confuse many. Covering over 90 urban acres, this national park doesn’t look anything like its fellows. Recent massive renovations and upgrades to a state-of-the-art American history museum have enhanced its significance as a monumental landmark.

About $380 million was used in its renovation. The waterfront green space is laced with decent walking trails and interpretive signs help to guide visitors by dotting the paths and allowing them to connect to downtown St. Louis, making the monument more accessible than ever. The massive and costly changes were worth it after all, as the area’s upgraded status has enhanced its overall look and feel. A parking garage has been transformed into an amphitheater and a pedestrian bridge cuts across the interstate. Besides, the glassy visitor center looks futuristic and complements its interior. Undoubtedly, the Arch represents a complex homage to the nation’s complex yet interesting past, much like the monument itself.

It took $13 million, over 43, 200 tons of stainless steel, and 7 solid years to construct the world’s largest man-made arch. While you may not be able to climb its more than 1, 070 steps to the top, a 4-minute tram ride will take you up through its hollow legs to obtain the 630-foot-high view, but you have to endure a much longer wait in line for your turn. If you want to stay at the top of the Arch for as long as you like, you’re welcome. Just know that you may also want to view it from as many angles as possible. Other activities to enjoy here include a 1-hour Mississippi riverboat cruise. You may also opt for a helicopter tour if you want to have an aerial view of the Arch and its environs. Same-day tickets are available upon request, although you’re advised to consider advance reservations during the busy summer months. Laclede’s Landing is located in the northern part of the park grounds and is St. Louis’s oldest district currently featuring renovated warehouses as well as riverfront patios. The James Beard offers dining with a view for those who would like a memorable evening.

Therefore, the Gateway Arch is a great place to visit either alone or with friends and loved ones. You’ll not only get to see the tallest man-made monument but will also have an opportunity to learn more about the history of the Arch.

Directions to our office from the Gateway Arch

Take I-44 to Lumiere Pl Blvd. Take exit 292 from I-44
Get on I-64 W/US-40 W from N Broadway
Follow I-64 W to S Hanley Rd in Richmond Heights. Take exit 31B from I-64 W
Merge onto S Hanley Rd
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