Gateway Arch in St. Louis | At Home With P. Allen Smith

Uploaded by ehowhome on 29.06.2012

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Architecture. Landscape. Historical significance. Pretty cool. Stainless steel all the way around.
This is the corner of a massive equilateral triangle. What we have here is the Great Arch
in St. Louis–a fascinating story about a park that surrounds this piece of architecture.
At the starting point of the Lewis and Clark expedition in St. Louis, Missouri, lies the
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Designated as a National memorial in December of 1935,
the park was established to commemorate three things: The Louisiana Purchase –which St.
Louis was the capital– the First civil government west of the Mississippi River, and the Dred
Scott Case, which brought the slavery debate to the forefront of American culture and politics.
Lying along the banks of the Mississippi River, the 91 acre park is the site of some of St.
Louis' most famous buildings, including the old court house where the Dred Scott case
was first heard, and the Museum of Westward Expansion, where you'll experience the Old
West as you take a journey into the past and see the tools, guns and animals. And wagons
of explorers. Pioneers, cowboys, and Native Americans, who helped forge our nation. The
park also has beautiful reflecting pools that allow for some great photographs on clear
days. Residents and tourists alike, enjoy relaxing among the beautiful trees. And occasionally,
even a ballgame is played here. I'm a klutz, what can I say? But the most famous attraction
is the glorious Gateway Arch. In 1944, it was determined that a memorial should be built
in the park that would be transcending in spiritual and aesthetic values, and include
one central feature: A single shaft, a building, an arch, or something else that would symbolize
American culture and civilization. Seven judges unanimously chose a design by a Finnish-American
architect and furniture designer named, Eero Saarinen. Saarinen had immigrated to the United
States in 1923, at the age of 13, and took courses in sculpture and furniture design
at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Construction began on February 12, 1963 and
ended on October 28, 1965. The final cost was $13 million. With inflation, that would
be over $90 million today. The Gateway Arch officially opened to the public on June 10,
1967. The cross sections of the arch's legs are equilateral triangles, towering from 54
feet per side at the base, to 17 feet at the top. Each wall consists of a stainless steel
skin, covering a sandwich of two carbon steel walls. With reinforced concrete in the middle,
from ground level to 300 feet, with carbon steel from that point, all the way to the
peak. You can actually walk right up to the arch and touch the stainless steel walls.
The arch itself is actually hallow to accommodate a unique tram system that takes visitors to
an observation deck on the top. Unless, of course, they would rather climb the 1,076
stairs in one of the legs. Either way, the view is worth it. Once at the top, visitors
can see the mighty Mississippi River to the east and the beautiful St. Louis skyline to
the west. At 630 feet, the Gateway Arch is not only Missouri's tallest successful building,
but also the tallest man-made monument in the United States. In order to support itself,
the arch is heavy, weighing more than 43,000 tons. But it was designed to sway in the wind.
In a 20 mile per hour wind, it moves up to an inch. But if the wind hits a 150 miles
per hour, the arch can sway up to 18 inches. Not only does it move, but in cold temperatures
it actually shrinks. In January, 1970, the Arch shrank a full 3 inches. I'm glad I wasn't
there that day. Today, St. Louis' Gateway Arch is one of the most visited man-made attractions
in the world, with over 4 million visitors annually, of which, 1 million travel all the
way to the top. You know, I hope you've enjoyed learning some interesting facts about the
style and design of this incredible National Monument. And I hope you'll subscribe to eHow