The 'Arch'

Diane was insistent that we go to St. Louis and photograph this iconic monument.  It was on her 'bucket list'.  We went along with that and boy am I ever glad we did!!  The arch is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It is more formally called the 'Gateway Arch'. For starters, here are some impressive facts.  It is the tallest monument in the United States at 630 feet in height.  it is the world's tallest arch. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.  The monument, dedicated to the American people, expresses the important westward expansion that was essential in building this country.  The tribute to President Jefferson celebrates his vision of our country as he was an ardent supporter of exploration and early development of the western territories.

 We agreed to leave early in the morning and start our adventure at the Malcolm Martin Memorial Park.  We had done some research on the best place to photograph the arch and this was one place that had high marks.  From here, we looked across the Mississippi River westward toward St. Louis.

We agreed to leave early in the morning and start our adventure at the Malcolm Martin Memorial Park.  We had done some research on the best place to photograph the arch and this was one place that had high marks.  From here, we looked across the Mississippi River westward toward St. Louis.

 This is the park showing the slow rising walkway on the left with the arch in clear view in early morning light.

This is the park showing the slow rising walkway on the left with the arch in clear view in early morning light.

 This is an important image to have in your 'bucket list' file.  There is a lot of information about how the Old Courthouse would be used as the centerpiece in the arch's orientation.  The arch frames that important city icon.  You can also notice that barges are already moving down the river in the early morning hours.

This is an important image to have in your 'bucket list' file.  There is a lot of information about how the Old Courthouse would be used as the centerpiece in the arch's orientation.  The arch frames that important city icon.  You can also notice that barges are already moving down the river in the early morning hours.

 A fish-eye photograph showing the two bridges on each side.  Bridges crossing the river are the transportation lifelines of St. Louis and were a major consideration in the design and placement of the arch.

A fish-eye photograph showing the two bridges on each side.  Bridges crossing the river are the transportation lifelines of St. Louis and were a major consideration in the design and placement of the arch.

 Surely, the sun rises and the picture changes.

Surely, the sun rises and the picture changes.

 The Old Courthouse, now a museum.

The Old Courthouse, now a museum.

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 Who is this?  Impersonator?  Eddie?

Who is this?  Impersonator?  Eddie?

 We left the Memorial Park and headed across the river to get closer to the arch.  Right away one feels a sense of private openness.  The whole memorial space was designed to provide a sense of in an integrated and yet separated space.  Nearby traffic is barely noticeable as it is hidden by berms and trees.

We left the Memorial Park and headed across the river to get closer to the arch.  Right away one feels a sense of private openness.  The whole memorial space was designed to provide a sense of in an integrated and yet separated space.  Nearby traffic is barely noticeable as it is hidden by berms and trees.

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 If you look really really closely you might discern some people standing at the bottom of the arch (towards the left).

If you look really really closely you might discern some people standing at the bottom of the arch (towards the left).

 We were very disappointed to find out that the two reflecting pools had been drained for maintenance.  Tom had been there when they were full and he told us that reflections in the pools were one of the best parts of the experience.  But, due to the 'magic of Tom' we have a chance to see what that would look like!!

We were very disappointed to find out that the two reflecting pools had been drained for maintenance.  Tom had been there when they were full and he told us that reflections in the pools were one of the best parts of the experience.  But, due to the 'magic of Tom' we have a chance to see what that would look like!!

 At the top you can spot the windows that allow visitors that pay to take the tram to the top a birds-eye view of the city and river.  We had reserved tickets to take the tram ride but there were delays, probably because of mechanical issues, and we decided not to waste our limited time waiting around on an off-chance they would be resolved.

At the top you can spot the windows that allow visitors that pay to take the tram to the top a birds-eye view of the city and river.  We had reserved tickets to take the tram ride but there were delays, probably because of mechanical issues, and we decided not to waste our limited time waiting around on an off-chance they would be resolved.

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 The architect for the Memorial was Eero Saarinen.  He worked closely with Dan Kiley, a landscape architect.  The arch is clad in stainless steel.  It is the most famous of the weighten caternary arches (flat at the bottom and skinny at the top).  There is actually a mathematical formula for this kind of arch!

The architect for the Memorial was Eero Saarinen.  He worked closely with Dan Kiley, a landscape architect.  The arch is clad in stainless steel.  It is the most famous of the weighten caternary arches (flat at the bottom and skinny at the top).  There is actually a mathematical formula for this kind of arch!

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 The patina or reflections on the stainless sheets was interesting.

The patina or reflections on the stainless sheets was interesting.

 One of several informative signs alluding to the importance of St. Louis as a starting point for westward expansion.

One of several informative signs alluding to the importance of St. Louis as a starting point for westward expansion.

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 Looking northward from the edge of the mall.

Looking northward from the edge of the mall.

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For me personally, the item of the Gateway Arch is only a half check off my bucket list.  I want to go back when construction and maintenance is finished.  I would like to take the tram, a marvel in design in its own right.  Besides, I only have a half check on another item, the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  That trip is coming up on a future blog posting.  So, I think I shall visit St. Louis again (sigh).  I bet I can talk Diane into meeting up for a repeat!!