The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is a monument that was built in the 1960s to honor the westward expansion of the United States. The Arch is a 630-foot tall stainless steel structure that stands on the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis. It is the tallest arch in the world and the tallest man-made monument in the United States.
The idea for the Arch was first proposed in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that a design competition was held to choose the final design. The winning design was submitted by Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-American architect. Construction on the Arch began in 1963 and was completed in October 1965.
When Did the Gateway Arch Become a National Park?
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, was designated a national park in 2018 by then President Trump as part of the National Park Service’s City Arch River project. The project was initiated to revitalize the area around the Arch and to improve the visitor experience at the park.
Before it became an official national park, the Gateway Arch was managed by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site. It was designated a national historic site in 1987 in recognition of its historical and cultural significance.
National Park Controversy
While no one disputes the Arch as a historic site, plenty believe that it should never have been designated as an official National Park.
Some people believe that National Parks should only be incredible natural resources that need the protection such a designation affords. The Gateway Arch, which is a man-made structure, does not meet this basic threshold. National parks are typically designated to protect and preserve unique and diverse natural, cultural, and recreational resources, and some people may feel that the Arch does not meet these criteria.
Another reason could be that some people may feel that the Arch is not a significant enough resource to warrant national park status. Most believe that it should have been left a National Historic Site.
However, there are several reasons why we believe the Gateway Arch was rightfully designated a national park.
1. We Need More Parks Anyway
In addition, in the Midwest, there simply aren’t many national parks to begin with. With the overcrowding of the most popular parks in the NPS, it should come as no surprise that we simply need more parks.
Since 1976, total recreation visits to our National Parks have increased by 75%. 92 million visits were counted at the 63 national parks in 2021. The National Park system simply demands more parks to help spread out the visitors.
2. It Is An Iconic Symbol in America
The Gateway Arch is also an iconic and iconic symbol of the city of St. Louis and the United States. It is a popular tourist attraction that attracts millions of visitors each year. The Arch is a 630-foot tall stainless steel structure that stands on the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis. It is the tallest arch in the world and the tallest man-made monument in the United States.
3. It Has Historical Significance
The Gateway Arch is a significant cultural and historical resource as well. It was built in the 1960s as a tribute to the westward expansion of the United States, and it is an important part of the city’s history and identity.
The Arch is a significant cultural and historical resource because it is a symbol of the westward expansion of the United States and the pioneering spirit of the American people. It is also a reminder of the significant role that St. Louis played in the westward expansion, as it was a major gateway for people, goods, and ideas traveling westward.
4. It is a Recreational Hub
lastly, the Gateway Arch is located in a beautiful setting along the Mississippi River, and the park offers a range of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, and sightseeing.
Luther Ely Smith Park is the main recreational area inside the National Park, and home to the Gateway Arch Trail. The park is named after Luther Ely Smith, a lawyer and civic leader who played a key role in the development of the Arch. Smith was instrumental in the effort to revitalize the area around the Arch and to improve the visitor experience at the park.
Overall, the Gateway Arch is a unique and significant cultural and natural resource, and it is well-deserving of its national park designation. It is a place that has the potential to provide a meaningful and enriching experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.