The Gateway Arch, designed by Finnish-born, American-educated architect Eero Saarinen, was built to commemorate President Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and to honor St. Louis' pivotal role in the subsequent fast westward development. The arch was completed in 1965 after many delays caused by World War II and its aftermath.
St. Louis has been called America's living museum because of its historic architecture. In fact, so many buildings are centuries old that Mizzou School of Journalism calls St. Louis "the most photographed city in America."
Besides being beautiful to look at, the arch serves a functional purpose as well. It provides a place where people can gather and experience something unique - the view of the Mississippi River. The arch also acts as a beacon for travelers, telling them they're near downtown St. Louis.
In addition to being a monument and a hotel, the arch is also used as a venue for music concerts and festivals such as the famous Blues Festival that takes place every summer on nearby Park Avenue.
There are two reasons why there is an arch in St. Louis. One reason is because it marks the spot where the Mississippi River meets the Missouri River. At one time, the area was home to several Native American tribes who would meet here to trade goods with each other and with Europeans who arrived later.
The Gateway Arch, the nation's highest landmark, has welcomed tourists for fifty years with its distinctive, awe-inspiring form. The Gateway Arch, designed by famous architect Eero Saarinen, celebrates Thomas Jefferson's vision and St. Louis' significance in the United States' westward development. The arch stands as a symbol of hope, innovation, and progress for millions of visitors each year.
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman who served as President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. A principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, he is considered one of the founders of the modern world. In 1804, Jefferson proposed building an "arch of triumph" as a federal monument to welcome Americans returning from war with France. He wanted it to be the world's largest bridge or arch, but the project was never completed.
In 1964, after several years of planning and construction, the Gateway Arch was opened to the public. The $14 million structure sits on the banks of the Missouri River just eight miles south of downtown St. Louis. An elevator brings visitors up 49 feet for a view of the city and river basin below. The arch itself is 21 feet high and 420 feet long. It weighs nearly 14,000 tons and is made of reinforced concrete with some sections of glass fiber plastic.
The Arch was constructed by architect Eero Saarinen as a homage to westward progress. This week, the Gateway Arch was designated as a national park. President Trump signed legislation designating the landmark building on the St. Louis riverfront as a national park on Thursday. The bill now goes to Congress for its approval.
The National Park Service says the Arch serves as a symbol of our nation's growth and achievement. It also provides visitors with an opportunity to experience history while enjoying nature.
The Gateway Arch attracts more than 5 million visitors each year. It is one of the most popular attractions in Missouri and one of the top 10 most visited monuments in the country.
Construction on the Arch began in 1965 and it was completed in 1972. The idea came from then-governor of Missouri John M. Dalton. He wanted to create something that would show the state had matured beyond its mining days.
Dalton chose Eero Saarinen as the designer because he believed his modern approach would appeal to tourists who were looking for new experiences. Plus, Dalton knew that Finnish architect Eero Saarinen could build anything.
The Gateway Arch, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, commemorates the achievements of 19th-century westward pioneers and celebrates the city's status as the "Gateway to the West." The city conducted a countrywide competition to design the new monument from 1947 to 1948. The entry by Arthur Brown and Charles E. Whittingham was chosen over more than 70 others.
The memorial consists of an 828-foot-high (255 m) concrete arch flanked by two 120-foot (37 m) tall pillars made of Missouri granite with bronze plating on their exposed surfaces. The arch itself is anchored to the bedrock at its base. It stands in the middle of downtown St. Louis, between the Mississippi River and Union Boulevard. More than 250,000 people can view the monument from beneath its arch each day.
The arch was built by the partnership of architect Arthur Brown and engineer Charles E. Whittington. Brown was a native of Ohio who had come to St. Louis to work for another architectural firm but soon started his own practice. He is best known for designing numerous churches, including the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. Whittington was also born in Ohio and came to St. Louis to work for a bridge construction company before forming his own engineering firm. He is best known for designing several bridges across the United States.
The arch was not intended to be permanent.