Just before the end of summer, we squeezed in a trip to the Arch. I love this St. Louis landmark. Even if you're not from St. Louis, you know about the Arch. It makes me proud to be a St. Louisan!
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St. Louis Gateway Arch
The Arch is a monument to Thomas Jefferson and for all those pioneers for who St. Louis was the Gateway to the West. St. Louis was founded by traders moving north and south on the river, and by explorers and frontier families from the eastern states pushing restlessly west. It is a place that is neither northern nor southern, neither eastern nor western, but
one place that combines traits of all.
Construction on the Arch started in February 1963 and the last piece was put into place on October 28, 1965. The north leg was completed first and opened in July 1967 and the south leg opened in May 1968.
Sidney is trying to get into the Arch!
The Arch, designed by architect, Eero Saarinen, cost $13,420,168. The grand total spent for the total area development is $51,300,373. This figure consists of a large amount of non-federal funds and includes the $1,977,750 for the transportation system.
The tram capsules travel 340 feet per minute, approximately 3.86 miles per hour. It takes 4 minutes to travel to the top and 3 minutes to return back to the bottom.
The Arch is 630 feet, 63 stories, 192 meters, or 7560 inches tall. The Arch is as tall (630 feet) as it is wide (630 feet).
A classic Arch photo. The 16 windows on each side of the observation deck are 7” x 27”. Over 500 tons of pressure was used to jack the north and south legs of the Arch apart for the last four-foot piece to be placed at the top. A larger window would not withstand that pressure.
The Arch is designed to sway as much as 18 inches, and can withstand an earthquake, however under normal conditions the Arch does not sway. It takes a 50-mile an hour wind to move the top 1.5 inches each side of center.
Visitors are encouraged to picnic on the 62-acres of Arch grounds. They also offer free walking tours around the Arch grounds. In the summer months, you can participate in free yoga classes on Saturdays from 9-10am. Visit their Events page for more info.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is about 91 acres that includes the Gateway Arch and grounds (about 62 acres), plus another 30 acres or so encompassing the Old Courthouse and Luther Ely Smith Square. The Old Courthouse sits next to Kiener Plaza. This cake is the Kiener Plaza cake.
The famous Dred Scott case - one of the most important cases tried in the American court system - began in the Old Courthouse in 1846 when Dred and Harriet Scott initiated a lawsuit for their freedom. The case was brought to trial in 1847 in the Old Courthouse, but due to a legal technicality, a new trial was ordered. In the second trial held in the same courtroom in 1850, the jury decided the Scott's were entitled to their freedom under Missouri law. Mrs. Emerson, Dred Scott's owner, appealed her case to the MO State Supreme Court, which in 1852 reversed the ruling made in St. Louis. Dred Scott then appealed the US Supreme Court and 7 of the 9 justices agreed that Dred Scott should remain a slave. The Dred Scott Decision of 1857 pushed the nation into the Civil War.
Dred Scott and his family were finally granted freedom in the Old Courthouse in 1857.
Another significant trial started as a lawsuit in the Old Courthouse and reached the US Supreme Court at a time when women's rights were being redefined in America. Virginia Minor, an early founder of the women's suffrage movement in MO, attempted to register to vote in St. Louis in 1872. Reese Happersett, the local voter registrar in St. Louis, denied Minor's request on the basis of MO law which prohibited women from voting. Minor sued Happersett for the right to vote based on the 14th Amendment. The local court in St. Louis and the MO State Supreme Court both decided against Minor. An appeal to the US Supreme Court was made in 1874 where the court upheld the right for individual states to decide who could vote in elections within their borders.
Virginia Minor died in 1894. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920, finally granting women the right to vote.
Minor's challenge in the courts, along with the earlier Dred Scott case, pushed our nation to define citizenship and civil rights for all its people.
The Arch viewed through the windows at the top of the rotunda.
Old Courthouse cake
Also, click here to see some of our other STL 250 Cake Quests.