Well, yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of the completion of the Saint Louis Gateway Arch. The above photo was one I took of the early stages of construction in the early 60s. Over the years, I’ve taken a lot of pictures of this colossus on the bank of the Mississippi River.
Right now, the entire national park grounds are being retransformed into the monument to westward expansion that architect Eero Saarinen envisioned in 1947. The new park will connect the river to the monument into the city with no traffic obstruction. US70/US44 which ran behind the Arch has been covered over with a fully landscaped park that connects the park grounds with the Memorial Plaza which continues for seven city blocks into the heart of downtown Saint Louis. The original Westward Expansion Museum built under the legs of the Arch is currently being replaced and expanded for future generations in the next fifty years.
But in order to take the picture, I had to go across the Mississippi River into Illinois and walk along the railroad track to get in position to shoot. And drat, look at all the power lines that got in the way. So I’m adding a couple of bonus pictures. I’ve been photographing the Arch for years, and this is the first photo I shot…
THE MONUMENT UNDER CONSTRUCTION
This was taken in 1965. It’s also a black and white photo, since this was before digital photography. And how many young men could afford Kodachrome film. I also took a photo from the top floor of the office building where I worked the day the center section was lowered into position to join the two legs. (Unfortunately, it’s stored on a slide in one of the many boxes holding years of slide trays that are stored in the back of the closets.)
And in case you’ve never been to Saint Louis to visit the arch in person and you’re wondering how people get up to the top of the 630-foot-high monument to look out of the little windows there … well, there are steps, but not many people would want to climb up them. Instead, there is a little train with little people pods that will carry you up and down.
The People Pod
And trust me, it is a real trip up to the top! By the way, the Arch’s real name is The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and it is part of a National Park that runs along the Mississippi River at the exact location where French fur traders landed 250 years ago to found the city dedicated to Louis IX, saint and king of France. So we’re having a big birthday party around here this year. Come visit and help us celebrate.
Saint Louis is the perfect city for photographing curves. And to find them all you have to do is take a trip down to the riverfront and visit THE JEFFERSON NATIONAL EXPANSION MEMORIAL.
But everyone calls it the GATEWAY ARCH!
The ARCH actually is a 630-foot tall catenary curve planted 60-feet deep in the bedrock of a natural bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Catenary means it is the shape a free-hanging chain takes when held at both ends.
Check out this gallery of curves …
The theme for the 11th Day of Creativity is NOSTALGIA, and out special guest star Woody is back with something he discovered last week when he was hanging around in a stack of clutter. It was a commemorative medallion dating back to 1968. He agreed to pose with it at the sight of the original historic event almost 50 years ago.
30 DAYS OF CREATIVITY – 11 June 2013
THE DEDICATION OF
THE JEFFERSON NATIONAL EXPANSION
May 27, 1962
Almost everyone in the county and a lot of people around the world will recognize this riverfront cityscape as Saint Louis. This is mainly because of the Gateway Arch that is the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which is a National Park that runs along the riverfront.
Well, as of next month, this might no longer be the case. It seems like a new cable series will be starting on the SyFy Network that has our planet being invaded by nasties from another planet. Yeah, I know, it seems like this has been happening several times each season in the past few years, but this time they’re getting close to me in West Walnut Manor which happens to be one of Saint Louis’ nicer suburbs.
Don’t know what happened to the river, but the Arch in now in center of desolation and destruction as far as the eyes can see. I guess those mountains are actually supposed to be piles of rubble, because while Saint Louis does have a number of hill, it really doesn’t have a lot of mountains around the Arch.
Now apparently the aliens weren’t able to get the blueprints showing the foundations of the Arch, because then they would have known that it would take a whole lot of whacking to bring that giant stainless steel croquet wicket down. I was able to get access to copy of the super-secret original plans …
And this is what keeps the whole thing standing!
SO ALIENS BEWARE! THE WICKET CITY IS WAITING FOR YOU!
Recently I’ve been searching for an envelope of photos taken of me on stage and in costume for number of plays in which I have performed. The photos were last seen in the early 90s and I have no idea where I put them for safe keeping. I must have tucked them away in a very safe place, because I haven’t been able to find them since. Well, I thought I was getting close today, because I found the 12 album pages that preceded the theatrical era photo pages. They contained photos of my military history and photos of the summer I lived in Chicago. I also discovered one that I had forgotten I’d even taken.It doesn’t look very impressive, but I took the photo on February 14, 1965, which just happened to be the 2o1st anniversary of the founding of the city of Saint Louis. The photo shows the approximate site where the founding took place.
Today the same site looks like this … In case you’re wondering how they built the Arch, look closely at the top photo. Those tracks on the outside of each leg of the arch were used by specially built “creeping” cranes to slowly climb to the top. On the left leg you can see a segment that had been assembled on the ground being moved into place. I also was able to get a photo of the center and last segment being put into place six months later. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to locate that photo. Yet!
This is probably the photographic view of the Gateway Arch that almost everyone recognizes. It shows the Arch in the foreground and the Old Courthouse centered between the legs. To take this picture you have to cross the river to the Gateway Observation platform in East Saint Louis.
But a couple of weeks ago I was able to take a picture showing the scene from a reverse point of view.
And there’s only one spot where you can get this picture … you have to stand in the exact center of the band stand in Kiener Plaza. You could even get a better picture by climbing on top of the band stand. You could also get arrested, too!
Now you’ve seen the Arch from both sides! Enjoy, it’s my Pick Pic Of The Week!