Thursday, May 09, 2013

Gateway Arch

No trip to St. Louis is complete without a trip to the Arch. It is really pretty awesome. It is officially the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It serves as an accent piece for all of downtown but it is really more than that. It is unique in its symbolism, its structure and its history. When you first see it, you just can't imagine that people are IN it.

The Arch was the dream of Eero Saarinen.  It commemorates President Jefferson and his Louisiana Purchase and St. Louis' role as a Gateway to the West.


The closer you get to it, the more you feel compelled to take photos of it.



I took many, many photos of it. Lucky for you, I'm too lazy to load them all into this blog post, but I'll give it a pretty good go.


The Gateway Arch is in St. Louis for a reason. St. Louis served as the last stop at a city of any size back when people were heading West. It sits right by the Mississippi River, symbolizing the gateway from the East to the West. Here are some fun facts I learned:
  • It is 630 feet tall and is our tallest national monument.
  • Construction began in February of 1963. Working from the two bottom legs and meeting in the    middle at the top, the last section was put into place in October of 1965. 
  • The Arch weighs over 17 tons. They used 900 tons of stainless steel to build it.
  • It cost $13 million to build. 
  • It is really sleek and cool-looking (I added that fact myself)
It is so very photogenic! I couldn't hardly stop from taking photos as it makes just pretty much anyone feel like a professional photographer!








Isn't the simplicity of it just beautiful?!


When you get close to those big legs, you realize it is very, very large! The weird thing, though, is that there is a LOT to see underground! Yes! Underground, between those big legs, you go down, down, down. There is a museum, gift shop, place to watch a movie, etc. It just looks like the Arch is sitting in a pretty park. You don't even see the entrances down into it until you are right by those big legs. These are people heading down below. You have to go down before you can go up.


To go up inside they line you up and walk you even further underground.
You are then assigned a little door to wait by.
5 people are squished into one little pod type elevator thingy.
There is room for five bottoms to sit down, but not exactly room
for five pairs of legs. It's pretty cozy.


When the door closes, it is a see-through door. You can't see outside but you can see the stairway and mechanical equipment along the way. Seeing that stairway made gave me comfort somehow.
It is a 4 minute ride up to the top.
When you climb some stairs the last part of the way, you still don't see out.
Once in that top part of the Arch, it looks like this:


I didn't realize I took photos of so many people's bottoms.
No I am wondering how many of their photos have my hinder showing!?
Never mind....let's not think about that.
Anyway...

It takes all my courage to lean on my tummy to look out those windows.
We texted Maria from the top. 
It was mean of us as she is afraid of heights.
She told us just that text made her palms sweat.
This post is likely making her palms sweat as well!



Here, let me take you back outside for a second. This is an underside shot of those windows. 
It is a weird feeling to be able to look down at that angle.


Why would we do such a thing?
Because the view from up there is so beautiful!
You could see the City of St. Louis to the West.


 The flooded Mississippi River was to the East.


And the park was right below...straight down below....Yikes!
I was quickly ready to come back down.


On the East side of the Arch, as I said, is the Mississippi. We walked down a lot of steps to the road that runs along the river. The problem was, we couldn't get that far because the river was rising up to meet us instead. Luckily, we'd had the riverboat cruise experience on a previous visit as they'd closed down due to the flooding. The river actually looked pretty dangerous with lots of uprooted trees and such floating down.


Usually you can walk right out to that dock.


There was a lot of water!


I'll leave you with this photo of the guy who just canoed up as far as he could get.
We don't know his story but we were intrigued. The photo isn't very good but in the
far left of the photo is a duck that seemed to be his pet.
You've got to like a guy with a pet duck, don't you?