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Gateway Arch Inaugurated By VP Humphrey Forty-Five Years Ago Today

May 25, 2013 Books, Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation 1 Comment

For  a few years now many people have been gearing up for the 50th anniversary of the last piece of the Arch being set into place, that will be on October 28, 2015. I wasn’t born yet so the topping of the Arch isn’t the big deal as it is to those alive at the time, watching it take shape. To many they only knew the Arch grounds as a parking lot.

mage from Jefferson National Expansion Memorial archives.
Demolition of nearly 40 city blocks began in 1939, for decades the area was just parking.
From the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial archives.

This parking lot is the subject of chapter three of a new book: The Gateway Arch: A Biography by Tracy Campbell. If you want a coffee table book on the Arch, this isn’t it. If you want an interesting biography of an iconic object, this is your book. This book will be released on the 28th.

The Gateway Arch was expected to open to the public by 1964, but in 1967 the public relations agency stopped forecasting the opening date. The arch’s visitor center opened on June 10, 1967 and the tram began operating on July 24.

The arch was dedicated by [VP] Humphrey on May 25, 1968. He declared that the arch was “a soaring curve in the sky that links the rich heritage of yesterday with the richer future of tomorrow” and brings a “new purpose” and a “new sense of urgency to wipe out every slum.” “Whatever is shoddy, whatever is ugly, whatever is waste, whatever is false, will be measured and condemned” in comparison to the Gateway Arch. About 250,000 people were expected to attend, but rain canceled the outdoor activities. The ceremony had to be transferred into the visitor center. After the dedication, Humphrey crouched beneath an exit as he waited for the rain to subside so he could walk to his vehicle. (Wikipedia)

Hopefully we’ll have dry weather on October 28, 2015.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Fozzie says:

    inaugurated past participle, past tense of in·au·gu·rate (Verb)
    Begin or introduce (a system, policy, or period): “inaugurated a new policy of trade”.
    Admit (someone) formally to public office: “he will be inaugurated on January 20”.



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