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Road Trippin' - St. Louis

When you think of St. Louis, you might think of its beautiful downtown area, Cardinals baseball, and the Gateway Arch.

Did you know? The land that the Gateway Arch stands on is actually called the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and it represents about a century of American history.

â??That westward expansion period in the 1900s begins in a sense with Lewis and Clark, goes almost until 1980,â?? said Rick Ziino of the National Park Service. â??So for that 100 year period, this country is developing from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Thatâ??s what this park is about â?? Jeffersonâ??s dream and national expansion.â??

Soâ?| why an arch? In 1947, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association held a monument design contest. Architect Eero Saarinen won the contest with his idea of a stainless steel arch. 18 years and $13 million later, his vision was completed.

The Gateway Arch stands at an astonishing 630 feet, or 63 stories tall. It weighs in at a massive 17,246 tons. About a million people take a tram ride up those 63 stories each year.

â??If you come to St. Louis, you wanna go to the top of the arch and see out as far as you can see,â?? said Ziino. â??On a very clear day, the horizonâ??s about 30 miles.â??

Residents of St. Louis are proud to claim the iconic Gateway Arch as their own.

â??If you go to New York, you wanna go to the top of the Empire State Building. If you go to Seattle, the Space Needle,â?? said Ziino.

â??If you come to St. Louis, you wanna go to the top of the arch.â??

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