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Saint Louis Gateway Arch
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
11 N. 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102
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Industrial Rope Access Project
October 16, 2014 - Engineers from Wiss Janney Elstner Associates begin the rope work for the Industrial Rope Access project to collect stain samples from the north leg of the Arch's exterior.

Industrial Rope Access Project
October 21, 2014 - An engineer, suspended from a rig and using suction cups, completes the task of gathering samples from the surface of the west side of north leg of the Gateway Arch.
WJE Engineers Successfully Finish Rope Access Project
Bob Moore,
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, October 21, 2014 - After several delays due to rain, wind and even heat, engineers from Wiss Janney Elstner Associates (WJE) have successfully completed the task of gathering samples from the surface on the west side of north leg of the Gateway Arch.

On October 16, a team of 10 engineers and architects began the rope work for the Industrial Rope Access project. Over the next week, work was delayed several times because of rain, wind and even heat.

On Tuesday morning, October 21, an engineer clung to the west side of the north leg of the Gateway Arch. Suspended from a special rig and using suction cups, he moved slowly to the left and then to the right across the surface to take samples from heavily stained areas.

The Luther Ely Smith Square across from the Arch has been the scene of activity with engineers, Park Service staff, visitors and downtown workers watching the progress of the team on the Arch.

Ann Honious, public information office, National Park Service, stated that the purpose of the rope access project was to take samples of some of the larger stains on the northern leg of the Arch on the western side.

"We haven't been able to get to this area in any other way. This was the only way that both the Park Service and our contractor determined we could get to this spot. He is using gunshot residue tape, camera and taking samples," she said.

"We have a conservator and an engineer that are on the ground watching him and looking at the photos he takes. The photos are coming to them electronically and they are guiding him on what to take for samples."

"The gun residue tape picks up samples," Honious continued. "It's an extra strong, sticky tape so it will pick up whatever is on the Arch. The tape will be sent to a lab for evaluation."

"The sample that was the hardest to get was also the last portion of the work they have been doing for the past week," concluded Honious.

The National Park Service is expecting the report that analyses everything sometime in January.

Previous story
Construction of the Gateway Arch began February 12, 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965. Since that time, no one has been up at the top.

Since 2005, the National Park Service (NPS) has completed studies to determine the potential causes of stains on the iconic stainless steel structure, rising 630 feet above the St. Louis Riverfront.

The team, suspended by an intricate rope system, descended from the hatch at the apex of the Arch (17 feet wide) down the monument's north leg to areas approximately 425 feet from the ground. Samples are being collected from the exterior to set the stage for decision making about potential future surface cleaning.

Potential causes of stains have been identified:

  • 1. Markings caused during fabrication and handing
  • 2. Different types of welding techniques. welding in the factory vs. welding in the field during construction).
  • 3. Marking left from the stabilizing strut, placed between the two legs during construction.
  • 4. Human-created scratches and etching (at the bottom of both legs).
  • 5. Mild corrosion due to de-icing salts (at the bottom of both legs).
  • 6. Atmospheric soiling from nearby industries.
Spectators can watch the work from a public viewing area in the Luther Ely Smith Square, complete with scopes and educational materials provided by the National Park Service.

The Arch will remain open throughout the duration of this project. Visitors may enter the Arch at the south leg only. Tram rides to the top are still available, the observation deck at the top will have restrictions. Usual walking paths may be closed; please look for signage or a Ranger for walking directions.

"Meet the Builders" of the Gateway Arch on it's 49th Anniversary
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, September 22, 2014 - Commemorate the 49th anniversary of the completion of the Gateway Arch with "Meet the Builders" on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

The National Park Service, in association with Jefferson National Parks Association and Bi-State Development Agency, invites the public to meet the builders of the tallest manmade monument in the United States.

This event is free and is hosted by Jefferson National Parks Association, the cooperating association of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The actual anniversary of the Arch's completion is October 28.

From 10 to 11:30 a.m., the Arch's original iron workers, electricians, sheet-metal workers, draftsmen, field engineers and X-ray technicians will greet guests and sign autographs in the Gateway Arch Visitor Center. The builders will share personal stories and rarely seen private memorabilia and photographs chronicling their experience in constructing architect Eero Saarinen's unique vision. Commemorative posters and hard hats will be available for purchase.

"Meet the Builders gives the public a rare opportunity to meet history and discover the stories of the Arch's construction," said Ann Honious, Chief, Museum Services and Interpretation, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. "Without these builders, we wouldn't be celebrating the Arch's golden anniversary in 2015, or welcoming a new museum and park experience to downtown St. Louis in the coming years."

Guests are encouraged to make a day of the celebration by taking a Journey to the Top tram ride; enjoying a documentary movie detailing the construction of the Arch; or visiting the Arch Museum Store to pick up exclusive commemorative items.

For additional information about the event or directions, call the Gateway Arch call center at 877-982-1410.

CityArchRiver Web Camera Shows Live Construction, Panoramic Gateway Arch Views
ST. LOUIS, MO, ( - CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation features a camera that shows comprehensive views of construction on the renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds and its surroundings.

The robotic camera, placed on the roof of the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch, offer panoramic views of the Gateway Arch grounds and downtown St. Louis in addition to high-resolution images of different components of the CityArchRiver 2015 project.

Visitors to the project website can view archived progress and time-lapse videos of construction:

The robotic camera is added to the other CityArchRiver webcams launched earlier this year that show construction on the Riverfront and Walnut Street Bridge.

St. Louis Gateway Arch Provides Spectacular View of St. Louis City From 360 Feet Above
ST. LOUIS, MO, ( - The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park was established on the banks of the Mississippi River, on December 21, 1935, to commemorate the westward growth of the United States between 1803 and 1890. Cost for the $30 million national monument was shared by the federal government and the City of St. Louis.

The park features the Gateway Arch, designed by architect Eero Saarinen who won the design competition in 1947. The stainless steel structure rises 630 feet high from a 60-foot foundation and spans 630 feet at ground level. Its classic weighted catenary curve sways 1/2" - 1" in 20 mph wind. The Arch weighs 17,246 tons. Nine hundred tons of stainless steel was used to build the Arch, more than any other project in history. Construction on the nation's tallest memorial, built at a cost of $13 million began February 12, 1963 with the "topping out" on October 28, 1965. It was dedicated in 1966.

The floor plan of the Underground Visitor Center follows a circular pattern with galleries depicting a 100-year span of westward expansion and the Tucker Theatre. Additional attractions include two passenger trams to the observation room at the top and the Museum of Westward Expansion.

Visitors to the Gateway Arch can step back in time and savor the past at Levee Mercantile. The 1870s style riverfront general store is located in the Visitor Center beneath the Arch. Many food products selected for Levee Mercantile feature Missouri artisans who use traditional recipes and time-honored production methods.

Monument to the Dream - A documentary film by Charles Guggenheim on the construction of the Arch is shown daily in the Tucker Theatre. Large screen movies are shown on the Arch's Odyssey Theatre's four story high screen featuring a 70 mm projection system and THX Sound.

Summer hours - 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Arch trams will run daily starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 9:10 p.m. Trams to the top of the Arch leave at least every 10 minutes.

Winter hours - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week from the day after Labor Day until the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. Arch trams will run daily starting at 9:20 am and ending at 5:10 pm. Trams to the top of the Arch leave at least every 10 minutes.

The Arch is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Accessibility at Gateway Arch - The Arch lobby and Museum of Westward Expansion are accessible by ramps located throughout the building. The Tucker Theater and Odyssey Theatre are both accessible to visitors using wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are available for loan on a first-come, first-served basis (inquire at information desk). Wheelchairs or strollers are not allowed at the top of the Gateway Arch.

Tram tickets: $10 adults (16 & older); $5 children (3 - 15)

Movie Tickets: $7 adults (16 & older); $2.50 children (3 - 15).

Tram & 1 Movie: $14 adults (16 & older); $7.50 children (3 - 15)
Tram & 2 Movies: $18 adults (16 & older); $10 children (3 - 15)

2 Movies: $11 adults (16 & older); $5 children (3 - 15)
Each adult tram ticket includes a $3.00 National Park entrance fee. For more information or reservations, call 877-982-1410.

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Old Cathedral Under Wraps for Two Year Restoration
A $15 million effort is underway to restore the nearly 180-year-old Basilica of St. Louis King of France - known fondly as the "Old Cathedral", which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See related story: Old Cathedral Under Wraps for Two Year Restoration

Basilica of St. Louis King of France (Old Cathedral)
ST. LOUIS, MO, ( - The St. Louis' historic Old Cathedral, known officially as the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, is one of the world's most honored churches. It stands on a tiny plot on the downtown riverfront near the south leg of the Gateway Arch. The original log chapel was dedicated over 200 years ago in 1770.

The structure of the Old Cathedral, completed in the autumn of 1834, is a prominent example of Greek Revival architecture in the United States, and it is included on the National Register of Historic Places. The exterior stone facade and the four columns that support the Doric style portico are carved from Joliet stone, mined near Joliet, Ill.

In 1961, the most important honor ever afforded any American church was handed down by His Holiness, the late Pope John XXIII, who decreed Basilican status upon the church. An intensive rehabilitation program on the appearance of the Old Cathedral was completed in 1963.

Visitors can see the tomb of Bishop Joseph Rosati, builder of the present Old Cathedral building, paintings dating back to the late 1700's and a dramatic series of Arteaga photos at the Old Cathedral Museum. The Old Cathredal is located at 209 Walnut Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63102. For more information, call 314-231-3250.

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