Gateway Arch

38 years ago, when we moved from Michigan to Texas, I first encountered the Gateway Arch as we drove though St. Louis and recall with a young mind of 12 how awe-inspiring this structure was.  Ten years later I found my self at the top of the arch for the first time and was again captivated by its architecture and innovative engineering.

This trip I again marveled at this structure with a new perspective and 30 years of engineering under my belt.

Visitors Center
Visitors Center

They are renovating the entire riverfront around the Arch which made buying tickets and getting to the Arch a little complicated.   Having purchased our tickets we made our way through a maze of streets and construction barriers to the Visitors Center located underground beneath the 630-foot, stainless steel monument.

Tram Cars
Tram Cars

We were ushered into 5 seat pods that are part of a 8 car tram that would take us to the top.  These claustrophobia inducing pods then make a 4 minute journey to the top along the interior of the Arch and shifting every few moments to stay horizontal.  The pods basically swing like Ferris-wheel cars as they ascend and descend the arch.  Luckily, they have small windows so you can see the structure and the 1,076-step emergency stairs which included many landings and sets of spiral stairs.

Inside the top of the Arch
Inside the top of the Arch

At the top there is a narrow room with a floor that curves and 16 small windows on each side.  The windows are such that not only can you look straight down, you can also see to the other-side.

The views are incredible from the top and the good news is the ride down is only 3 minutes….

The Gateway Arch

These photos were taken in 1988 on a real short weekend trip to St. Louis.  The Gateway Arch is a magnificent structure with awesome views.  The elevator itself is quite the adventure.  It rotates in a jerky fashion as it maneuvers the curve of the Arch.