If you’ve ever been to St. Louis, most likely you've been to the beautiful Gateway Arch and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It was definitely on our to-do list the first time we were in Missouri. We took the 630-foot ride to the top of this world-famous stainless steel monument and saw the most amazing views of the city. The Gateway Arch is the world's tallest arch, the tallest monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri's tallest accessible building. Sitting on the west bank of the Mississippi River, it is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and has become an internationally famous symbol of St. Louis.
I will tell you a little more about our visit in a minute, but I want to share a little history of the Gateway Arch first. The vision originated in late 1933 when civic leader Luther Ely Smith, saw the St. Louis riverfront area and envisioned that building a memorial there would both revive the riverfront and stimulate the economy. After many years of opposition, early railroad negotiations, and design competitions, construction on the arch finally began on February 12, 1963. The arch was dedicated by Vice President Hubert Humphrey on May 25, 1968. He declared that the arch was "a soaring curve in the sky that links the rich heritage of yesterday with the richer future of tomorrow and brings a new purpose and a new sense of urgency to wipe out every slum."
The first time I saw the Gateway Arch I was in awe. It is so tall and looked so amazing. Gene and I were there with his brother during the week of Christmas and it was freezing. We were still Californians at the time, so we weren’t accustomed to the low temperatures. The wind coming off the Mississippi River didn’t help, lol. We bought tickets to take the tram and got in line. It didn’t take too long as it was a slow week for them. Finally it was our turn and when I saw the vehicle we would be using to get to the top, I couldn’t help but start cracking up. The women behind us apparently was a little claustrophobic, and didn’t think it was too funny. I just couldn’t stop thinking that it reminded me of the egg that Mork came to Earth in on Mork and Mindy, lol Yes, I know I’m dating myself, but I enjoyed that show and that was exactly what it reminded me of when I saw it.
The ride actually only takes about 4 minutes to get to the enclosed Observation Deck, but we felt like we were in a different world. It was so amazing looking through the little windows and seeing the city of St. Louis. Apparently on a clear day you can actually see up to 30 miles in each direction. If you look west you will be able to see the Old Courthouse, Busch Stadium & Ballpark Village (both really cool) and the Edward Jones Dome. If you look east you can view the Mississippi River and Illinois, as well as five unique bridges and a historical train trestle connecting Illinois to Missouri. We had a great time looking around and trying to see what we could recognize from up there. It is absolutely beautiful. People say you can feel it swaying and that did make me a little nervous before we went up, especially since it was so windy down below. However, I didn't feel it too much while we were up there.
This is what it looked like on our first visit but have been back several times, I have yet to go up the Gateway Arch again during the spring or summer, but would like to go back up when it wasn't white and cold, lol.