Monday, September 28, 2009

Gateway Arch: Site Report

Building Collector reader Scott D. recently visited St. Louis and brings us this report about the city’s most famous landmark:

“When people think of St Louis, they think of the Arch. To be more precise, The Gateway Arch. Also known as the Gateway to the West, the Arch is an integral part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and the iconic image of St. Louis, Missouri. I recently made a trip to St Louis and the Arch. As many of us building collectors know, there have been versions of the Arch since it’s completion on October 28, 1965. It was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel in 1947. The Arch is 630 feet tall and both the Washington Monument and the Seattle Space Need could fit under it. I was amazed how big it was as pictures you see of the monument do nothing to show the size. It is the tallest habitable structure in Missouri, 7 feet higher than the 623 foot spire of One Kansas City Place in Kansas City, and 37 feet higher than the roof of Metropolitan Square in St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, I hit the gift shop located underground where you ride to the top of the Arch. I found a wide variety of Gateway Arches in every size and ever materials. From plastic, metal, wood, cardboard and even a piece of cable that pulled the tram cars to the top of the arch in the form of an arch. One interesting souvenir was a 3-D wooden version of the Old Court house with the Arch going across it. Another interesting thing to check out when you’re under the arch is the sculpture murals that show the builders and the arch being completed. Souvenir versions of the Gateway Arch have been in existence since at least 1964. The earliest one I know of is the plastic bank that shows the Gateway Arch and the city behind it. It was made for the cities Bicentennial 1964-1966. I like how the bottom says to cut it open to get the money out. Nicer versions of the Gateway Arch are the metal. Some are on hard plastic bases and other on wood bases. I’ve also see versions like this use an awards and one was even a trophy. Other versions of the Gateway Arch have the city included with the piece. Personally, I find these much more interesting. Also, there have been a few version with river boats and other items located under the Arch. The Gateway Arch is very fascinating and very well worth the trip to see it. As for building collectors where many different versions can be bought from as little at $10 all the way to $60, you can bring a lot home for your collection and you may want to try to find a Washington Monument or Space needle to put under it! “- Scott

InFocusTech has produced finely-detailed 150' scale metal replica of the St. Louis Arch which stands just under 4-3/4" inches and is finished in antique pewter.

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