The Gateway Arch is a 192 m (630 ft) high decorative arch and forms the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Museum. The Gateway Arch is located in the US city of St. Louis and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, and the United States in general. The arch itself if clad in stainless steel and, since 2001, has been lit at night. The arch is the tallest man-made monument in the United States and is a popular tourist attraction. Visitor numbers to the arch are estimated to be around 4 million per year, which would make it one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. Visitors can also climb the arch, about a million people do this each year, with stunning views of up to 48 km (30 miles).
Who designed the Gateway Arch?
The idea for the monument came in 1933 from St Louis lawyer Luther Ely Smith who proposed a memorial on the dilapidated St. Louis riverfront area. He shared his idea with the mayor Bernard Dickmann and it was sanctioned by the city leaders later the same year. The years after were spent acquiring land and demolishing buildings, along with trying to convince locals that it was a good idea. It wasn’t until 1944 that a design competition was devised and it was officially announced a year later. However, the project was short of funds so the two stage competition didn’t begin until 1947. The first stage of the competition received 172 submissions and the judges narrowed the entries to just five. The designs were refined and on February 18, 1948 the design by architect Eero Saarinen was unanimously named the winner. Saarinen worked with a team including designer J. Henderson Barr, architect Dan Kiley, sculptor Lily Swann Saarinen and painter Alexander Girard.
Who Built the Gateway Arch?
The construction company MacDonald Construction Co. was awarded the tender to build the arch in 1962 with a bid of just under $11.5 million for the project. The Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company was subcontracted to work on the shell of the arch. The structural engineer was Severud Associates. Construction began in 1963 and was completed in October 1965.
Did you know?
The Gateway Arch was made a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1987.
The arch is lit with white light at night, but permission was given by the U.S. Senate in 2004 to use pink lights during Breast Cancer Awareness month.