The St. Louis Gateway Arch is Missouri is one of Missouri’s oldest public memorials and the tallest monument of its kind in the United States. The Gateway Arch, located on the site of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, was finished in 1963 and is meant to commemorate Western expansion by the United States. The park and the Gateway Arch are maintained by the National Park Service.
The St. Louis Gateway Arch honors three distinct events in the history of the United States; the Louisiana Purchase, the establishment of the first cathedral (the Basilica of St. Louis), and the Dred Scott Case. As many Americans are aware, the Dred Scott Case ended in an 1857 ruling that African American slaves could never become citizens of the United States. This portion of St. Louis Arch history sparked intense public debate at the time, and many feel that this section of St. Louis Arch history was one factor that sparked the American Civil War.
St. Louis Arch history goes on to reflect the decision for the location of the Gateway Arch, a debate which began in 1947. The location of the Gateway Arch was initially designated for an area near the banks of the Mississippi River, however over time this area was deemed to be too dangerous for a historic monument. The current location of the Gateway Arch was finally agreed upon in the mid 1950’s and the St. Louis Arch was built on higher ground. Construction of the Gateway arch began in 1963 and was completed in October of 1965.
The Gateway Arch is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide at its widest point. Surprisingly, it is possible to take a tram ride to the top of the Gateway Arch. Tram rides can be taken daily and take guests all the way to the top of the memorial. Tickets for the tram rides can be purchased in person at the memorial or online in advance. In addition to the tram rides, the memorial park also features the Museum of Westward Expansion and a giant IMAX movie which showcases a one hour movie about the Lewis and Clark expedition, as well as other events related to westward expansion.
Interested travelers can also purchase tickets for a Gateway Arch riverboats dinner cruise. On the dinner cruise, you will have the chance to see the arch from below as you float down the Mississippi River aboard a historic cruise ship or steam powered boat and enjoy a full dinner, drinks and dancing amid the lights of St. Louis. Tickets for the dinner cruise can also be purchased both online and in person.