Monday, May 21, 2012

Gateway to the West

Standing at 630 feet, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the nation’s tallest man-made monument. Completed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen in 1965, the Arch commemorates Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States. The Arch is located at the site of St. Louis' foundation, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Back in 1764, this was the spot where Pierre Laclède told his aide, Auguste Chouteau to build a city.

Up close, the Arch is just so impressive and it is hard to gauge how massively tall this structure is until you are standing under it. Or hugging it, like I did. Trying to photograph the Arch proved next to impossible and I became quite the contortionist to try and get the whole thing in the frame. If you think you’re going to get a cute picture standing underneath of the Arch, you can pretty much forget it. See below for reference. Ironically, I think my best photograph of it was taken while we were on a tour bus driving through downtown St. Louis.

Beneath the Arch, you will find the Museum of Westward Expansion. This museum is chock full of artifacts from our nation’s pioneer days, from tools and guns to the covered wagons of the explorers, pioneers, cowboys and Native Americans who helped forge our nation. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we didn’t spend a lot of time in here but got the general idea of what it was all about.

Our biggest regret is not travelling up to the top of the Arch. We didn’t realize that ‘Journey to the Top’ tickets sell out pretty quickly each day and were long gone by the time we got there. I’m sure the view from those little windows at the top of the Arch would have been worth climbing into that extremely claustrophobic tram ride for. Next time!

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