Gateway to the West

“It’s moving! It’s moving!” my mom exclaimed. I stared up at the Gateway Arch and replied, “Ma, it’s the clouds that are moving, not the arch.” Secretly though, I agreed with her. From my vantage point, down on the ground, the Gateway Arch looked like it was swaying in the wind. My mom and I are on a long drive from Illinois to Texas and our route took us through St. Louis, Missouri. The drive from Illinois to Missouri had me with aching wrists from controlling the steering wheel – it was incredibly windy. Staring up the Arch, I wondered if it did sway with the wind. The though alone turned my knees to jelly.

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 Mark Twain obviously saw something in Missouri, having set the state as the home for his well-known character, Tom Sawyer. Sure enough, on the Mississippi river just in front of the Arch were the riverboats, the Tom Sawyer and the Becky Thatcher. There is a one-hour riverboat cruise that tells of the St Louis’s history, one which I, unfortunately was not able to take due to time constraints.

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 I used the Gateway Arch website for information on the Arch and Riverboat Cruises.

Because our main goal was to see the Arch and we had little time, I didn’t do a lot of research on other areas of interest. As luck would have it, Garrie my GPS sent us to Laclede’s Landing, which, according to the website Explore St Louis, was the “Historical business, dining and entertainment district with original cobblestone streets.” As much as I love historical places, the cobblestones were murder on Henry’s tires. Right off the bat, we saw several pubs and breweries. I’m not a beer drinker but I would have definitely gotten beer if I had the time! 

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The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial where the Gateway Arch is located was undergoing construction, so we ended up in a parking lot in Laclede’s Landing. The parking lot attendant told us that we can take the free shuttle, which was great because it meant that we didn’t have to walk the long way around. The shuttle picked us up right at the side of the parking lot and had two other stops which were the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse. We were able to get pics of the Arch up close, though, it was really difficult to take a pic of the whole Arch when you’re too close. Note to self: Head to front of Old Courthouse and have picture taken from there. Or, since we entered the Arch park through the old Cathedral, another picture view includes the Cathedral.

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Leonardo Da Vinci once said that, “An arch consists of two weaknesses which, leaning one against the other, make a strength.” With the Gateway Arch being, according to Wikipedia, 630-foot tall, it is the world’s tallest arch, tallest man-made monument in the Western hemisphere, Missouri’s tallest accessible building, and built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. Add in its stainless steel finish glaringly different from the old historical buildings of downtown St Louis, I’d have to agree with old Leo – this particular arch is a true symbol of strength. And, I look forward to visiting it again.

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Note: I own all the pictures in this blog post.

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