Frequently Asked Questions
How tall is the Gateway Arch?
How long can we stay at the top?
Do we go back down the same side we came up?
What river is that directly below?
How many stories tall is the Arch?
How long until the tram returns to the top?
When do we board the tram to go down?
Do we go down in the same car we came up in?
How big is the viewing area at the top?
Are there restrooms or a snack bar at the top?
Can we walk down the stairs?
Is the Arch moving?
Has the Arch been hit by lightning?
Why are the windows so small?
How much did the Arch cost to build?
When was the Arch built?
How many people can go to the top each day?
How far can you see in either direction at the top?
Which side is Missouri and which is Illinois?
Why are Park Rangers at the top and do they work there all day?
How large is the Memorial and does the Memorial consist of more than the Gateway Arch?
The entire Memorial is about 91 acres. This includes the Gateway Arch and grounds (about 62 acres), plus another 30 acres or so encompassing the Old Courthouse, Luther Ely Smith Square and a good bit of the surrounding streets (managed as easements).
Why does the memorial consist of more than just the Arch?
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial was envisioned, from the time it was proposed by civic leaders in the 1930s, as being a commemorative site that would interpret St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States. Over the years several different schemes and proposals were put forward to accomplish this goal, all of which utilized the entire landscape of a large, rectangular area roughly corresponding with the original site of the French colonial town of St. Louis. Eero Saarinen’s vision of the site, which was judged the winner of the 1947-1948 architectural competition, also encompassed the entire area. All 172 entrants in the competition had to create a landscape design as well as “a large, central feature,” and most retained landscape architects on their design teams to ensure that they created a holistic space within the 62 plus acres of the site, and not just a spectacular centerpiece. The seven-person competition jury that chose the Saarinen design purposely included a landscape architect, S. Herbert Hare, for just this reason. The centerpiece of Saarinen’s design, the magnificent Gateway Arch, so enthralled the competition judges (and all later viewers) that it not only dominated the site but made people forget that a specific landscape was also designed to correspond with and enhance the Arch. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is the entire site, and not just the Gateway Arch.
Does the National Historic Landmark Nomination refer to both the Gateway Arch and the grounds which surround it?
Yes. Sixty-two acres of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, including the Gateway Arch structure and the surrounding landscape, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Although most people realize that the Gateway Arch stands with the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Rushmore, and the Washington Monument as universally recognizable forms and symbols of national identity, few are aware of the significance of the landscape which surrounds it. Architect Eero Saarinen and landscape architect Dan Kiley planned a landscape for the Arch which complements, enhances and echoes the graceful lines of the structure, while not calling attention to itself. The National Historic Landmark designation included not only the “massive stainless steel structure” of the Arch itself but also the “curvilinear, graceful staircases of toned concrete at the north and south ends [which] provide access to the grounds from the riverfront. The grounds themselves are carefully landscaped with ponds, trees, and walkways that again reflect the gentle curve of the Arch. Similar curves are repeated in the tunnel entrances for the railroad tracks that cut through the property.” The scale, impact, and design of the grounds constitute an essential mooring for the world-famous Arch and merge the Arch and its grounds, with one reflecting the other.