Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Gateway Arch

Wednesday September 23, 2015

By Explore St. Louis Guest

What’s your Arch story? Do you remember your first visit or attending a concert at Fair St. Louis? Have you ever taken a tram ride to the top, enjoyed a riverboat cruise or a helicopter tour? Everyone should take a tram ride at least once even if you’re afraid of heights. It’s such a thrilling experience that you will never forget. The Gateway Arch represents our city’s history on the riverfront, as the Gateway to the West.

It is the tallest man-made monument in the U.S., and just about as tall as it is wide at-630 feet to be exact. In fact, it’s taller than the Washington Monument and more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. More than 90 acres make up the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which is part of the National Park Service. It was created as part of a design competition to pay tribute to Thomas Jefferson and the Westward Expansion of the U.S. After many years of planning the monument was completed on Oct. 28, 1965 when the final piece was set into place.

Now 50 years later, we commemorate the legendary icon, a symbol that represents St. Louis, and await the transformation of new Gateway Arch grounds as the CityArchRiver project is underway.

CityArchRiver is a $380 million renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds that will feature a park over the highway, enhanced access to the riverfront and new spaces for events. The visitor’s experience at the historic monument will be transformed to provide new park acreage connecting the Arch to the Old Courthouse. Also being renovated is the museum under the Arch, which will include interactive technology and additional experiences for guests. The functionality and accessibility of the grounds will be enhanced with new bicycle trails, paths and performance venues. This project is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Be a Part of the Action in late October

You can celebrate the anniversary of the Gateway Arch in many ways. On Saturday, Oct. 24, Arch 50 Fest will take place at Kiener Plaza. The community and visitors are invited to take part in this day-long free event featuring live music, food and drink vendors, children’s activities and concluding with a fireworks show.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, leaders of the National Park Service, local officials and dignitaries will lead a Recognition Ceremony to commemorate the Arch. Additionally, tram ride tickets can be purchased for $1 on Oct. 28 at the Old Courthouse. During the renovation, artifacts from the Museum of Westward Expansion have been moved to the Old Courthouse that is now the Ticketing & Visitor’s Center for the Arch. Guests can purchase limited edition 50th anniversary merchandise at the Old Courthouse Gift Shop, the Arch museum store and online.

The Missouri History Museum is also hosting a number of events and exhibits related to the history of the Gateway Arch. On Oct. 28, you can meet the builders of the Gateway Arch at a free event. The Arch Perspectives exhibit is currently on display at the museum featuring photos of the Arch spanning 50 years. You can also enjoy the award-winning documentary “Monument to the Dream,” and activities that celebrate the Arch’s history. ‘The Gateway Arch: An Icon for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow’ panel discussion about the history of the arch will also take place at the Missouri History Museum.

Everyone is encouraged to take pride in this momentous occasion and purchase tickets prior to your visit to the Arch. You can learn more information about the Gateway Arch at www.gatewayarch.com.