This week the Gateway Arch celebrated 50 years since the final piece was fitted into place.
Note - GatewayArch.com kindly provided us with tickets for both our visit to the top of the Arch and the Riverboat tour.
50th Anniversary Event
This was pure luck, really. As we’ve been making our way down the Great River Road we started planning our St. Louis visit and learned we’d be there during the 50th Anniversary of the Arch’s exterior completion (once the shell was complete the interior work only just began).
There would be a commemorative event, free cupcakes and discounted rides to the top.
I always love exploring museums to find connections between what we are doing and places we have been. In the Old Courthouse building there was a map that showed how St. Louis was part of the Mormon Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the California Trail (hence the “Gateway” name).
The Mormon trail started at the small town of Nauvoo, IL - also on the Mississippi River. We drove through Nauvoo a few days ago and hoped to explore it some. It was raining buckets that day so we pressed on - but did drive past the large Mormon Temple there.
Our riverboat tickets were shortly after the commemorative event so we grabbed our cupcakes and headed down.
We’ve seen the Mississippi as a stream. As a small river. As a scenic backdrop for fishermen, houseboats, and Roadside America type attractions. Down this far, the changing use of the River is made clear - it’s all about industry.
The Mississippi River in St. Louis is a busy commercial water highway with barges large and small moving goods up and down the river.
We went under bridges made nearly 100 years ago and bridges made in the last decade.
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And with the ongoing construction under the Arch we saw a city still working to improve itself in ways both visual and relational.