The Gateway Arch: A Biography by Tracy Campbell

By Tracy Campbell

Rising to a victorious top of 630 toes, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is a respected monument to America’s western enlargement. anticipated in 1947 yet now not accomplished till the mid-1960s, the arch at the present time draws thousands of visitors every year and is likely one of the world’s most generally famous buildings. by way of weaving jointly social, political, and cultural heritage, historian Tracy Campbell uncovers the advanced and troubling background of the cherished constitution. This compelling ebook explores how a medley of gamers with greatly divergent motivations (civic delight, ambition, greed, between others) introduced the Gateway Arch to fruition, yet at a value the town keeps to pay.
Campbell dispels long-held myths and casts a provocative new mild at the precise origins and which means of the Gateway Arch. He indicates that the monument used to be the scheme of wise urban leaders who sought to resume downtown St. Louis and have been keen to scouse borrow an election, wreck old constructions, and force out local community and companies to accomplish their aim. Campbell additionally tells the human tale of the architect Eero Saarinen, whose prize-winning layout introduced him acclaim but in addition fees of plagiarism, and who by no means lived to work out the final touch of his imaginative and prescient. As a countrywide image, the Gateway Arch has a novel position in American tradition, Campbell concludes, but it additionally stands as an instructive instance of failed city planning.

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With this, the Post-Dispatch noted, “The JNEM became the St. ” The deal, however, did not produce a hearty revenue stream. In late June 1946, the daily parking rate was cut from 25 cents to 15 cents because not enough cars were using the lot. 13 Critics of the project had warned a decade earlier that razing the riverfront buildings would cost the city tax revenue. With that reality at hand and with nothing to show for their efforts except the dismal parking lot, Luther Ely Smith decided to act.

Waldo G. Leland, who headed the American Council of Learned Societies, protested to Interior Secretary Harold Ickes that he would be “very happy to see the project abandoned,” since he felt the riverfront memorial effort had always been “much more of an effort to boom real estate in the city of St. ” Ickes had other suspicions that added to his doubts about the St. Louis project. In May 1939, he wrote to his staff that “word has come to me that some of the politicians of St. ”3 Another constituency, which Jacobs would have found instantly recognizable, also tried to save as much of the doomed area as possible.

Some of the buildings in the area were of considerable historic value. Dr. Sigfried Giedion, a Swiss architectural historian who had founded the International Congress of Modern Architecture, was outspoken in his efforts to keep many of the cast-iron buildings from being destroyed. These buildings were unlike any others in the nation, he said, and must be saved from the wrecking ball. S. Express Company, which had doors made completely of cast iron. Another structure was a four-story warehouse at the corner of First and Washington in which graceful cast-iron pillars sup- 41 Chapter 2 ported the upper floors.

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