THE ARCH OF ST LOUIS

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This is an extract of the article, with small photos. You will find the complete article with full-sized photos in my e-book View America: North West - Part 2

In the travel series View America, North West - Part 2 covers Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. It is not a traditional travelogue, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, tourist attractions and points of interest.

My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 150 full-sized photos.

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The origin

In 1928 the city of St Louis came up with a plan to establish a monument in honor of the Lewis & Clark expedition. This expedition explored and mapped the newly bought territory of the Louisiana Purchase. St Louis was the gateway to the West, and therefore an "arch" seemed to be the appropriate symbol.

In 1947 the city launched an architectural competition for the best project, and the Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen developed the project of The Gateway Arch. The city expropriated some 85 acres of land, and 36 blocks were demolished to make room for the monument. However, it took until 1959 before everything was torn down and cleaned up.

After that began the eternal discussion about a budget, but after much ado Congress appropriated 24 million dollars and finally the real work could begin. Construction began in 1963 and lasted for two years. It was an incredible masterpiece of engineering, precision and assembly, despite the extreme technical and practical difficulty.

So in fact it took "only" 37 years from the adoption of the concept in the city council to the end of the project. The construction, expropriations and related work totaled approximately 30 million dollars, even though the official estimate in all that time has remained rooted at an unwavering 15 million dollars...

The Arch of St Louis 1

The Arch of St Louis 2
   
The Arch of St Louis 3 on the Mississippi river The Arch of St Louis 4

Video : the construction of the Arch

 

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