The Arch

“It’s out of your way,” he said. “There’s no such thing,” I replied.

I don’t mind a little side trip of a hundred miles or two. It’s “The Arch.” And that was reason enough to detour on the way home from Nashville.

Some stats from

  • It’s called the Gateway Arch
  • It’s 7560 inches tall (630 feet)
  • It sways as much as 18 inches from side to side
  • There are no bathrooms at the top
  • It was completed in 1965
  • The shape is a catenary curve, which is the same as a free-hanging chain if you hold it at both ends

Some insights from me:

  • The little eggs you ride to the top hold 5 people…but not really full-sized people.
  • If you stand below the very top of the arch, throw your head back, spread your arms out and spin in a circle while looking up, you really can’t get around more than 2-3 times before you feel really awful.
  • The main building contractor was MacDonald Construction which makes me wonder if they had anything to do with the burger joint’s arches as well.
  • In 5th grade I built a diorama of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which started in St Louis.

The museum underneath the Arch gives a pretty fair historical view of our country’s westward expansion, warts and all. Spend some time with it. Sometimes what we set out to do isn’t exactly what we end up doing.

This quote from Orville Wright stuck with me:

“When my brother and I built and flew the first man-carrying flying machine, we thought that we were introducing into the world an invention which would make further wars practically impossible…”

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