ALERT: Due to the shutdown of the federal government, the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse, which are part of the National Park Service, are closed. They will resume operations during regularly scheduled hours as soon as the government re-opens. Ticketing and tram operations at the Gateway Arch and ticketing operations at the Old Courthouse are also closed. If you have purchased a scheduled tram ride to the top or Arch entry-only ticket during this time, your ticket price will be refunded as soon as possible. Other Gateway Arch Experience activities such as the Riverboats at the Gateway Arch and Gateway Helicopter Tours, which are NOT part of the National Park Service, are currently closed for the season. Please continue to check this site or call 877-982-1410 for additional information and updates on visiting these attractions. Please pay attention to the mainstream media or visit nps.gov/jeff for the announcement regarding the resumption of federal government operations. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (JNEM) was created in 1935, and became part of the National Park Service.

Civic leader Luther Ely Smith conceived the idea of building a memorial to help revive the riverfront and memorialize the story of the nation’s westward expansion. Through a nationwide design competition conducted 1947–1948, Eero Saarinen’s stainless steel Arch was chosen as the memorial that would celebrate the accomplishments of early pioneers. St. Louis celebrated with a groundbreaking on June 23, 1959.

Over the next few years, Saarinen perfected his design and workers began excavating the grounds in 1961.

In 1962, the Bi-State Development (BSD) was asked to finance the $2 million tram system that transports visitors to and from the top of the Arch. Meanwhile, it took steadfast coordination to put every piece of the Arch into place until the final section at the top of the Arch was secured on October 28, 1965.

Trams became operational in 1967, thanks to the funds that BSD raised by selling revenue bonds. In the same year, the Visitor Center, with exhibits, opened to the public.

Less than a decade later, the massive Museum of Westward Expansion opened beneath the Arch, featuring exhibits on St. Louis’ role as the Gateway to the West. Improvements to the monument continued as engineers added floodlights to illuminate the Arch exterior in 2001. Approximately two years later, the Grand Staircase, which spans from the levee at the Mississippi River banks to the base of the Arch, was completed.

In 2009, a non-profit organization called CityArchRiver 2015 spearheaded a project that will transform JNEM by creating a safe and inviting pedestrian bridge over the highway and a new museum beneath the Arch. After renovations, visitors will also encounter a new entrance to the facility and greater accessibility throughout the grounds. Groups traveling by bus will have more convenient access to drop-offs and parking, as well as to new performance spaces on the grounds. Bicyclists will enjoy extended bike trails.

Today, BSD continues to operate the trams as a cooperative effort with the National Park Service. October 28, 2015 marked the 50th Anniversary of the completion of the Arch.

More Interesting Facts About the Gateway Arch

Thanks to hundreds of workers, the Arch was completed within budget and without the loss of one life. Delve into more details about the Arch with answers to several frequently asked questions.

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