GRANDSON'S COLLEGE GRADUATION TRIP travel blog

The Arch

The Arch

Sign at top of Arch viewing area

View of the Mississippi River from viewing area

View of St. Louis from viewing area

Trolley car


Ross got up this morning around 0730 and his foot with the gout was better than yesterday evening but still not great. Ross made coffee and shortly after Marge got up. They kicked around a few options for the remaining 450 miles and decided to stay in Granite City one more day and then on Saturday morning head for Joliet, Illinois for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That will have them arriving in Grand Rapids on Tuesday where they will spend a week and attend their grandson's graduation from college.

Around 1030 they left for St. Louis and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial that is a memorial museum that celebrates and memorializes the great expansion of the United States following the exploration if the area west of St. Louis by the Louis and Clark Expedition. St. Louis became the gateway for the explosion of settlers that settled the American West.

Construction of the Arch was started in 1963 and it was opened in 1965. The Arch is designed as a catenary curve which is the shape that occurs when a chain or rope is suspended freely between two points. The structure is a sandwich of stainless steel on the outside, carbon steel on the inside, and concrete in between. The shape of the structure is that of a triangle inside of a triangle and the engineering that went into the design and the construction is mind numbing especially remembering that computers were not yet in wide use.

In the empty inside of the triangle is another very unique item. There is a trolley type elevator, one on each side of the arch. These trolleys are cable driven and they are designed so that the car is vertical as the trolley travels up and down the arch of the structure. There are eight cars on each trolley and each car can take no more than 5 persons at a time. The trolley cars are small and anyone over five feet tall must bend slightly because you cannot sit up straight inside the car. The travel time up and down is about 5 minutes each way. Ross was a bit apprehensive about the car being too claustrophobic but there is a sample car in the museum lobby and Ross was able to sit in it and decided he would not have a panic attack.

The arch is 630 feet high and the view from the top is spectacular. The viewing area is strictly that as there are no other facilities in the viewing area. According to a movie that is shown in one of the theatres in the lobby of the museum the structure is designed to withstand winds up to 150 mph. If you get a chance to visit St. Louis a visit to the Memorial is well worth it. It was late when we toured the museum and so we had to make it a very fast tour. The tickets (Entry Fee) are good for 7 days so they may make a return trip tomorrow to do a more thorough tour of the museum that pays tribute to Louis and Clark as well as the pioneers that followed and settled the west.

That is all for now,

Ross & Marge

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