Thursday, May 12, 2005
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?