Scenic USA - Missouri

The Gateway Arch

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The Gateway Arch - Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Saint Louis, Missouri

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
Inset photo courtesy of the NPS

      Classic stone designs, towers, the obelisk, pyramids and grand statues had all been done. Eero Saarinen set out to achieve the extraordinary in his design for a 1947-48 national competition. First conceived by high-school student Geneva Abbott in 1933, Saarinen went on to apply his spin on this colossal 630 foot stainless steel arch, and put the design to paper. After Saarinen had finished, he then realized the design symbolized the Gateway to the West.
     Years and years went into the engineering and design work of the freestanding, catenary curved arch. Anxious for construction, a revolutionary design by John Dinkeloo was needed to begin. Anchored by massive 44 foot thick concrete footers laced with 252 high strength tensioning rods, the foundations for the 13 million dollar Gateway Arch View - St Louis, Missouri arch were established and raising the arch could proceed.
     The stainless steel clad legs taper from 54 feet at the bottom, thinning to 17 feet at the top. Sway at the top of the arch, negligible most of the time, is estimated to be a mere 18 inches during a 150 mile an hour wind. Each leg supports a passenger tram, whisking 40 people to the top in four minutes for phenomenal view of the St Louis metro area and the Mississippi River.
     When visitors arrive at the Gateway Arch Riverfront Park, deciding what to do may pose the biggest problem. Should the ride to the top come first? Riverboat cruises, documentary movies, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial museum and store are all vying for attention.

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