Americans like to immortalize every major event with monuments, hence the country is dotted with monuments from the east coast to the west coast, and each is as unique and profound as they come. Among the many monuments, there is one that stands out the most due to its sheer size. The Gateway Arch is the tallest human-made monument in the whole of the Western Hemisphere and the most recognized symbol in St. Louis.
In 1933, in a bid to revive the St. Louis riverfront and stimulate the economy of the place a civic leader, Luther Ely proposed the construction of a memorial structure. The proposal was given the green light despite disapproval from the public because was perceived that it would use too much of taxpayer’s money but the promise of creating jobs during the construction and the long-term benefits that would come off it carried the day. The foundation of the monument was laid down in 1961, the official construction kicked off two years later in 1963, and it took another two years before the whole thing was wrapped up in 1965. The total cost of the whole project stood at $13 million which in the current market is equivalent to $77 million.
The Gateway Arch Structure
The Gateway Arch sits on 25 hectares of land. The structure has a width of 630 feet and a height of 630 feet, and it is made of pure stainless steel making it the world’s tallest steel structure. The main parts of the structure are designed in the form of equilateral triangles, and each wall is made of stainless steel covering that holds together the walls made of carbon-steel and the reinforced concrete at the center. On the inside the arch is hollow to provide space for a tram which ferries visitors and sightseers to the observatory deck situated at the top of the arch. The Gateway Arch is a mathematical marvel, a handiwork of Hannskarl Bandel who came up with the equation behind the smooth curve that constitutes the structure. The arch is illuminated with different clouded lights that give the place a beautiful touch at night, these lights can be seen from miles away.
Symbolism and Benefits
The arch was built to symbolize the spirit of the American people who never bow down to anyone and always thrive to see to the future. The structure quickly became a landmark of the whole city with many businesses adding the name Gateway Arch to their addresses to show their pride in the monument. The initial intention of the arch was also realized as the arch has spurred an economic boom in the St. Louis region. Being the most famous human-made monument, visitors from across the states and the world flock to St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch and get a chance to ascend to the observation deck, and this translates to money being brought in which in turn gets re-invested in the city. The management of the structure, as well as the maintenance, falls onto the locals who are now employees paid to tend to the tourists and ensure the structure remains in top conditions throughout the year.