Gateway Arch is 50 and still fabulous

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The Gateway Arch just turned 50!

On the occasional of this milestone birthday, some fun facts about the iconic monument:

  • It’s the world’s largest manmade arch, 630 feet in all.
  • It is called an “inverted catenary curve” and constructing it required a complex mathematical equation.
  • Two architects named Saarinen (father Eliel and son Eero) entered the design competition which resulted in the arch. While Eliel received a telegram telling him he’d won, the news was intended for his son.
  • It cost $13 million to build the arch which was completed in 1965.
  • It was estimated that 13 people would die during the two-and-a-half year construction of the arch but no one was killed, or even seriously injured.
  • Up to 6,400 people per day can take the four-minute interior tram ride to the top of the arch.
  • Hundreds of lightning bolts hit the arch every year but its interior is insulated and its lightning rods are grounded into bedrock.
  • The arch is designed to sway as much as 18 inches, and thus could withstand an earthquake, but to move the arch just 1.5 inches takes a 50-mile-per-hour wind.

For more information and insights on what there’s to see at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, see my post Gateway Arch and Much More.