Excerpt from article featured in the Chicago Tribune
Fusing the traditional form of an arch with the modern materials of steel and concrete, the Gateway Arch doesn’t just pay tribute to America’s westward expansion. The glistening, gravity-defying landmark is a symbol of St. Louis, visible in everything from TV news backdrops to travel posters. In truth, however, this towering presence along the Mississippi River — the nation’s tallest monument— has always seemed a little removed from the city around it.
For decades, a highway trench and a busy surface street cut off the Arch from nearby downtown. People walking to the Eero Saarinen-designed landmark had to cross narrow highway bridges as cars and trucks sped below. Other visitors would deposit their vehicles in a parking deck on the north side of the Arch’s grounds, take in the 630-foot-tall icon, then leave without ever setting foot downtown.