They opened the stainless steel St. Louis Gateway Arch when I was in my early teens. We lived not very far away from the riverfront and we kids had ridden down there on our bicycles to watch it being built. Now we finally got a chance to ride to the top. It had been three days since it had opened and the crowd was huge. We waited over three hours until we finally got inside.
I was crowed into the little capsule that went to the top with several of my friends. I remember thinking that someone could climb all the way up using the emergency stairs that you could see out the window. I was looking out the tiny window at the stairs.
Every so often the capsule made a squeaking sound and adjusted on the tracks. I wondered if we were going to get stuck in this thing forever, but we finally made it to the top.
The view out of the small window on the observation deck was fantastic. We could see all the way across the river into Illinois. If you went to the other side, you could see Busch Stadium and all the way to St. Louis County. I thought that I could see my house from there.
Now the St. Louis arch is 45-years-old. According to the St. Louis front Page: “October marks the 45th anniversary of the completion of the Gateway Arch! During a celebration event, October 30, from 9 am. – 12:30 pm. Visitors will have an opportunity to “Meet the Builders” and hear their first-hand recollections of the construction of the tallest national monument in the United States.”
The Arch was built back before there were computers, so everything had to be done by hand. A lot of structural engineers said that it couldn’t be done. They said that a good strong wind would blow it over.
The Gateway Arch is actually part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park, a national park that is dedicated to the westward expansion of the settlers after this country was founded. St. Louis was an important center for trade and commerce because of its close proximity to the Mississippi River.
The Arch is 630 ft. tall and sways anywhere from one-half inch to one inch in a 20-mile-per-hour wind. But it’s also supposed to be able to stand up to hurricane force winds. But an earthquake is another story altogether. That may topple it.
Several films are shown in the theater below the Arch. Hours are 9 am till 10 pm.