Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial


The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

The World famous, Eero Saarinen designed, St. Louis Arch. It is kind of a cliche to many. It represents the "flyover" States. If you are making a movie or commercial and you want to represent a cross country trip you have an obligation to show an image of the Arch out the window of a moving car as it crosses the Mississippi.

To residents (or at least transplants like me) it means a lot more. The Arch represents a different era to me. 1965 was a time when people still valued creativity. When building a 630 foot sculpture wouldn't have been considered a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. The Arch is a grounding object. I see the Arch on a daily basis and it gives me a sense of direction. I always know which way is East because of the Arch. In that way it is a helpful friend.

Up close the Arch is magnificent. All that stainless steel seems both modern and timeless. I love the fact that you can walk right up and give it a slap. And I do recommend slapping it. It's so massive that it doesn't give one millimeter. There is no hollow ping to the Arch. It's solid and will stand for centuries. As a structure it's massive size and beauty are inspiring.

I wish every city in the world had such a structure with which to identify. I hope you can come to St. Louis and visit our monument. We'd be happy to host you. You can go up to the top of the Arch in little podlike trams and look out to the West and the future of America in a way that Lewis and Clark couldn't have dreamed of. Did I mention it was inspiring?

2 comments:

337is said...

I've seen and touched your monument (that sounds kinda' dirty) but I've never ridden (ummm...) it to the top. I'd like to do that some time.

It's Lisa, y'all said...

I visited the St. Louis Arch many years ago when I was probably 10 or 11. I thought the pod cars you rode up in were really cool and I remember being able to feel it moving at the top (was that just my imagination or did I really feel that?).

However, now that I'm much more clausterphobic, the idea of riding those small cars to the top makes me very nervous adn stress. Similar to how I feel when climbing up the statue of liberty. How do you get out if there's an emergency?

Still, it's such a cool thing that I will visit it again and go up it. I'm brave, at least about overcoming phobias!

I agree that it's cool to live in a city where you have a visual icon as a definition.