The Gateway Renovation

St. Louis’s beloved Arch gets a facelift.

By Moe Godat 

Photography by Nic Lehoux

 

Since 1963, the Gateway Arch has proudly looked West. St. Louis’s most popular identifier, the Arch serves as a place of both leisure and adventure for its visitors. However, after 55 years of standing through Missouri’s ever-changing weather, it was time for the Arch to get a facelift.

The renovation wrapped up in the summer of 2018 and now provides visitors with a more accessible and interesting St. Louis experience. Before, visitors had the choice of getting a cab or braving four lanes of I-44 traffic due to lack of parking on the premises. Perhaps the largest part of the renovation was the addition of a large walkway over I-44. Not only does the new walkway make the journey from car to Arch easier, it also adds a slice of nature to the city with its plush green grass and trees.

To solidify the Arch’s title as a newly instated National Park, 46,000 square feet of expansive space was added to the Arch lobby/museum area that was already 103,546 square feet. Five miles of new walking and biking paths were also incorporated into the grounds overlooking the Mississippi River for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.

The museum area and visitors’ center at the Arch’s base now focuses on social and cultural milestones. One example is the Dred Scott case that took place across the street in the Old Courthouse. This shift in the museum’s focus shows St. Louis’s strides toward making the city a place of equality.

Lastly, builders attempted to make the Arch accessible to all. The Gateway Arch Museum and National Park are now wheelchair accessible except for the tram leading to the top. To give those who can’t travel on the tram a true Arch experience, new webcams placed on the top viewing deck now showcase the spectacular view down in the visitors’ center, showing a 30-mile radius of St. Louis on a clear day.

The new look of the Gateway Arch grounds and museum is already attracting visitors both old and new. Whether a St. Louisan or just moving in, checking out the renovations will be worth the time.