The St. Louis Arch–Fifty Years Old Today!

There are many events that force us to remember exactly what we were doing at that time: 9/11, the announcement of the coming of your first child, major weather events–you get the picture.

I came across this editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch which allowed me to recall what I was doing on Oct. 27, 1965. I was watching TV to see the completion of the Arch in St. Louis.

I was into my high school years (CORRECTION: my wife reminded me I could not have been in high school in 1965 and she is, once again, right. I was in the eighth grade! Close but no cigar … ) and I remember we took some time that morning to watch the Arch being capped and thereby enclosed. After seeing the two legs move steadily upward for a couple of years I found it fascinating to see that both legs lined up almost perfectly with each other for the final piece to be put into place. For a guy who has found hammering a nail straight to be challenging, to watch the workers actually push the legs apart (with machinery, not by hands!) so that the final piece could be fit in place and close in for a very tight fit was astounding. I was proud for my city and for my country that day.

In the years since the Arch came together, I’ve been up inside it a few times marveling at the ability of the transport capsules to safely get their passengers up to the top and down again to the ground. The view from above is staggering and breath-taking. On a clear day you can see miles to the west and the east and marvel at what you take in.

The planned upgrade to the Arch grounds will be greatly appreciated by everyone but the coolest thing is to go stand next to one of those legs and look up at the gorgeous sight of stainless steel glistening in the sunlight. I also find it amazing at how little damage the Arch has sustained in its 50 year history. Graffiti artists have pretty much left it alone. I pray that was done out of respect and not for lack of opportunity.

My life has been blessed to see many modern wonders and sites in our country and Europe but my favorite remains the St. Louis Arch.

May it stand for many more years!

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