Gateway Arch

A visit to St. Louis prompts a post about the famous Gateway Arch, international symbol of this fine city:

From Wikipedia.

Technically it is a catenary arch, as long as it is high. One can take a tram capsule up the interior of one of the legs to an observation deck at the top. St. Louisans love it!

They’ve even built their baseball stadium so that there’s a good view of it (I took this photo in July):

The arch was finished in 1965 after many years of negotiation over the land acquisition, design, construction, etc. It is in fact only the most obvious part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which also includes a park, a underground museum, and the Old Courthouse (seen on the right in the top photograph), where the Dred Scott case was heard. The whole thing is supposed to commemorate Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, the ensuing Lewis and Clark expedition, and subsequent waves of white settlers conquering the West and fulfilling America’s Manifest Destiny (this is why I think that the arch is less of a “gateway” than an updated version of a Roman triumphal arch). Actually, the whole thing does strike me as a relic from America at midcentury – beautiful modern architecture (by Eero Saarinen, no less) in confident celebration of American achievement, before everything went to pot in the late 1960s.

For a good book on the arch see Tracy Campbell’s The Gateway Arch: A Biography which came out in 2013 in the Icons of America series from Yale University Press.