When we think of the American National Parks, we usually think of wide-open spaces, vast, beautiful parklands untouched by the hands of mankind. And that's mostly true. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and it wasn't that long ago that a new park was added to the roster, a stunning creation not by the hands of nature, but by the hands of mankind! We're speaking of Gateway Arch National Park, one of the new additions to the park roster and a park quite unlike any other.
The History of Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park was designated on February 22nd, 2018, having been formerly known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial for many decades prior. The park was initially established in 1935 to commemorate three, critical moments in U.S. history:
1). The Louisiana Purchase and the subsequent westward movement of American explorers, pioneers, and colonists.
2). The first American civil government west of the Mississippi River.
3). The debate over slavery brought to light by the Dred Scott case.
Located along the Mississippi Riverbank at the site of the Old Courthouse, Gateway Arch National Park is technically the smallest American National Park, coming in at just under 100 acres. But that does not stop it from receiving over two million visitors per year!
As soon as Gateway Arch was changed from a National Memorial to a National Park, our award-winning poster artists immediately set to work designing vintage National Park art of the stunning monument so we could add it to our National Park poster art collection.
As for some more history, the park space upon which the monument stands was set aside as a public commons in 1935, but the memorial itself was not designed until 1947 and was not built until 1963-1965.
We thought the historical background of the park was perfect because much of our vintage poster art and National Park art is inspired by the travel art and vintage ad art of the early and mid-1900s. Our vintage art designs and retro posters are a great way to celebrate all the unique places we've come to know and love, and Gateway Arch National Park poster art is a guaranteed favorite for St. Louis fans and National Park enthusiasts alike!
Fun Facts about Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park has earned fame and recognition across the world not only for its beauty and unique design, but also for the fact that the Arch itself is a stunning feat of engineering. For example:
- Gateway Arch stands 630 feet tall, the world's tallest arch and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere! Gateway Arch is also the tallest stainless steel monument in the world. And while you wouldn't guess it from looking at it, Gateway Arch is exactly as wide as it is tall!
- As there is no other man-made structure on Earth quite like it, Gateway Arch has become an international symbol for the city of St. Louis.
- While construction of the Arch did not begin until 1963, the Arch was envisioned and designed much earlier, in 1947. At that time, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association conducted a contest to create a structure that would honor the settlers who expanded the United States westward immediately following the Louisiana Purchase. Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen won the competition with his concept of a magnificent stainless steel arch.
- While the outside skin of the Arch is comprised of brilliant, light-reflecting stainless steel, much of the arch was built from concrete and reinforced steel. Speaking of concrete, the massive structure has concrete foundations sunk 60 feet into the ground on either side!
- The arch weighs in at 42,878 tons, and the cross-sections of the arch's legs are equilateral triangles, an ideal geometric shape for supporting that much weight! At its base, the legs are 54 feet per triangle side, but at the top of the arch, the dimensions narrow down to 17 feet per side.
Traveling to the Top, the Best Way to Enjoy Gateway Arch National Park
While Gateway Arch National Park offers many attractions including numerous walking paths and picnic areas, a river walk, the Museum at the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse, we believe that National Park adventurers who want to get the absolute best experience at Gateway Arch National Park must take one of the trams to the top of the Arch. There is one tram in each leg of the arch, and each tram can hold up to 40 passengers at once. Tight-packed certainly, but the ride to the top is only four minutes long, and the descent back down only takes three minutes.
Each tram opens out to an arched deck, 65 feet long and about 7 feet wide. The viewing deck can hold about 160 people, and it offers sixteen windows on each side, allowing visitors to gaze out over St. Louis and into the horizon beyond. According to experts, on a clear day, visitors can see up to 30 miles east across the Mississippi River all the way to the Cahokia Mounds in Southern Illinois. As for the western view, visitors can see across the skyline of St. Louis and into rural St. Louis County beyond.
Without a doubt, a short tram-ride to the top of one of world's most dazzling structures is absolutely worth it!
To learn more about Gateway Arch National Park, be sure to check out the National Park Service website. That's the best place to get up-to-date news on park activities, closures, special events, and park advice.
Vintage National Park Poster Art - Decorating with Memories of Cherished Adventures
The 62 American National Parks Collection by Anderson Design Group features just shy of 300 unique designs by our award-winning artists. Our posters were inspired by the nostalgia and the magic of vintage poster art, the iconic retro travel posters of the early and mid-20th century.
When folks look at our National Park artwork, they find themselves reminiscing on their own adventures to the Parks. And that's quite fitting, as much of our artwork takes after the WPA-commissioned poster art of the 1930s, the same artwork that inspired folks back then to visit the National Parks!
We hope you enjoy our National Parks art collection, and we just know there will be a unique design in there with your name on it!
Until next time, happy decorating!
- Ren Brabenec
Anderson Design Group Writing Staff