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Wednesday, October 28, 2015
St. Louis Arch celebrates 50 years
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is 630 feet tall - 63 stories - and tthe span between the legs is 630 feet wide at the base.
It is made out of concrete and steel.
Browse this timeline of benchmark moments that make up the inspiring story behind the tallest man-made national monument – the Gateway Arch.
1933 | Civic leader Luther Ely Smith conceived the idea for the memorial as a way to help revitalize the riverfront and stimulate the economy.
1934 | The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association [JNEMA] was chartered.
1935 | JNEM was created through a Presidential proclamation and became a unit of the National Park Service.
1947 | An architectural competition was held to decide the design of the memorial.
1948 | Architect Eero Saarinen’s design of a stainless steel Arch won the contest.
1958–1961 | Saarinen perfected his design.
1959 | On June 23, 1959, St. Louis celebrated with a groundbreaking for the memorial.
1961 | Excavations for the foundations began.
1962 | The Bi-State Development Agency was asked to finance the $2 million tram system that would take visitors to and from the top of the Arch. They did so by selling revenue bonds, which allowed trams to open in 1967.
1963 | Construction began on February 12, 1963.
1963 | Work was delayed due to a strike by hoisting and operating engineers. Later, construction on the south leg was delayed because of problems achieving the proper tension in the interior sections.
1965 | The final section was placed and the Arch was completed on October 28, 1965.
1966 | The Building and Construction Trades Council unanimously voted to stop work on the visitor center over issues of hiring contractors not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). This controversy was initiated when an African-American plumbing company was hired in an effort to meet federal equal opportunity requirements. Later, a temporary injunction was filed that required union workers to return to work.
1967 | The Visitor Center opened to the public and visitors took their first ride on the north trams.
1976 | The Museum of Westward Expansion opened to the public.
1981 | Landscaping was completed.
1991 | The underground visitor center was augmented with a 70mm giant-screen theatre, as well as exhibits throughout the tram load zones.
1998 | The north and south tram load zones were extensively renovated to create additional space for museum displays. The three-story atrium was altered by the infill of the concrete flooring slab, removal of the concrete guard walls and installation of carpeting over the terrazzo flooring.
2001 | Permanent floodlights were installed to light the Arch exterior.
2003 | The Grand Staircase was completed.
2009 | CityArchRiver hosted a design competition for renovations to the Arch grounds.
2015 | St. Louis celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the completion of the Arch.