On to the Printer!

 

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The view to the west from the top of the Gateway Arch, including the new entrance and the Park Over the Highway

This week, we finally finished the proofreading of my new Gateway Arch book and sent it off to the printers. I’m told copies of The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition should be in the new warehouse no later than June 18. That’s more than enough time to have plenty of books on hand for the launch party from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at The Royale St. Louis Bar and Grill, Tavern and Restaurant. Come have fun, buy a book and have me autograph it.

The book contains much of what I wrote about in the volume that appeared in 2014 and a lot more. There’s more than 60 new pictures. I offer some fascinating details about how the Arch got its shape. Just what is a weighted catenary curve, and why did Eero Saarinen care?  I’ve come up with some answers you wouldn’t expect. I wrote about the daredevils who rappelled down the Arch to check on the strange stains on the monument and devote space to problems that might come from cleaning it. Of course, I couldn’t leave out details about the $380 million re-do of the Arch grounds and museum.

I think it’s much better than the first book, which I always thought was my best book.  Now that you know, how could you not buy it?

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An Impressive First Look

A new picture of Eero Saariinen for the second edition.

I’m sitting here at my dining room table taking a first look at the first proofs of The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. Yes, I’ve found some boo-boos, but that’s all right. That’s why you look at proofs, so you can catch the mistakes. But what I see so far is that this edition is much better than the one that came out in 2014.

Almost everything is there from the first book. But there are plenty of new details to make this stand out, in chapters about the $380 million makeover of the Arch grounds and museum and how modern “building climbers” rappelled down the Arch to check on dirty spots that showed up in the monument. I wrote about the meaning of the new Gateway Arch National Park designation and offered something on that amazing shape of the Gateway Arch. There’s more to it than just an Arch.  There are dozens of new pictures, plus 16 color pages provided by Getty Images.

It’ll be a book for every lover of the Gateway Arch, which should mean every St. Louisan. That’s why everybody in St. Louis should plan now to attend the book launch party for The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. You can buy one of the first copies available anywhere, get my autograph and have fun at the event from 2-5 p.m. Sunday June 24 at the Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to my proofreading.

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The cover for the 2nd Edition

 

 

 

We Have a Cover

The cover for the 2nd Edition

In just six weeks on so, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition, will be out. It’s getting exciting, more so that we now have a cover. It’s one of many big differences from the old book that you’ll want to see after it’s released.

Released in 2014, the original book contained well-known, and rare, stories about the visionaries, finaglers, protesters, and fearless-and-skilled hands involved in an incredible undertaking that courted as much controversy as it did enthusiasm.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was so impressed with the work that it put it on its list of the 50 best books of 2014.

With dozens of new pictures, the second edition includes that information, plus new details about how Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen used math to give the monument its peculiar shape. There are new chapters about the “building climbers” who rappelled down the Arch to take samples of strange stains on its surface, the $380 million “do-over” of the Arch grounds and the name change to the Gateway Arch National Park. It’s bound to become the essential book about the Gateway Arch.

St. Louis Through the Eyes of Kids

I can’t believe it, but I’ve talked to 104 people so far from every age and background about their experiences growing up in St. Louis for my upcoming book, Growing up St. Louis. I’ll talk to two or three more, but I’m basically done. The stories I heard during those conversations will provide the basis for a rich look at how people grew up in St. Louis since 1900. I’m just starting with the writing itself. I love it.
Dorothy Hunter (left) with her sister Ida and her brother Jack at their home on Connecticut street, just some of Tower Grove Park.


Consider Dorothy Hunter, who was 109 when I talked to her last spring. She grew up on Connecticut Street and remembered walking north to Tower Grove Park to play tennis. My oldest interview subject, she saw silent movies on Grand Avenue, led the Ukulele Club at Cleveland High School and saw her uncle off at Union Station when he got on the train to fight in World War I. My youngest interviewee was 9-year-old Milo Marston who was born more than 100 years after Dorothy Hunter​. He loves math, attends the Mallinckrodt School off Hampton and plays the flute. He also lives on Connecticut – in the same block where Dorothy Hunter grew up, actually. How’s that for a coincidence?​

You might not call what they did coincidence, but what happened to others makes for terrific reading.​

– Vivian Zwick, who is 100, was invited to join a sorority at Clayton High School, and then rejected because she was Jewish.

– Gerald Schriedel and his six siblings were crestfallen when their parents put them into an orphanage in 1942

– When Paul Hartke uttered the “N” word as a youngster in the 1940s, his mother arranged for him to meet the African-American who picked up the family’s trash. He saw that he was just another person.

– Florida Cargill has pleasant memories of attending the segregated Douglass High School in North Webster for her first three years in the 1950s. But she didn’t find a warm welcome when she spent her senior year at the newly-integrated Webster Groves High School.

– Born in 1947, Darrell L. Fuse grew up on the Hill and delivered moonshine for his grandmother in the late 1950s.

– In the mid-1950s, little Jim Horne tagged along with his dad on a trip to fix his a refrigeration unit in a bar on The Hill. He encountered Yogi Berra, who apparently was in town to play in the 1957 All Star game.

– KSDK Sports Director Frank Cusumano fell in love with sports attending pro games with his dad, including the 1968 World Series game in which Bob Gibson struck out 17.

– Andrej Dzidic came from Bosnia when he was 2 in the mid-1990s. He recalls the frustration he had of constantly translating for his parents.

– Vindya Yanamadala is the daughter of two doctors whose marriage was arranged. But the high school senior, who lives in Chesterfield, is totally Americanized. When she marries, it’ll be for love.

Here’s the notes I took during my interviews. Oh, the stories they’d tell!

​I plan to stuff other stories about kids’ reactions when they learned about the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy and 9/11. People who grew up at different times talk about their experiences at the first, second and third Busch Stadiums, Forest Park Highlands and the Gateway Arch. They are rich and poor, from every part of the St. Louis area. They’re not just anybody. They are a special group.

I believe this will be a significant book about the history of St. Louis from the point of view of children. When the book is released, I’ll give a program about it at the Central Library downtown. That’s where I found about a quarter of my interview subjects, in open houses at four branches in October. I can’t wait to get this book out.

 

 

 

 

St. Louis Through the Eyes of Kids

I can’t believe it, but I’ve talked to 104 people so far from every age and background about their experiences growing up in St. Louis for my upcoming book, Growing up St. Louis. I’ll talk to two or three more, but I’m basically done. The stories I heard during those conversations will provide the basis for a rich look at how people grew up in St. Louis since 1900. I’m just starting with the writing itself. I love it.
Dorothy Hunter (left) with her sister Ida and her brother Jack at their home on Connecticut street, just some of Tower Grove Park.


Consider Dorothy Hunter, who was 109 when I talked to her last spring. She grew up on Connecticut Street and remembered walking north to Tower Grove Park to play tennis. My oldest interview subject, she saw silent movies on Grand Avenue, led the Ukulele Club at Cleveland High School and saw her uncle off at Union Station when he got on the train to fight in World War I. My youngest interviewee was 9-year-old Milo Marston who was born more than 100 years after Dorothy Hunter​. He loves math, attends the Mallinckrodt School off Hampton and plays the flute. He also lives on Connecticut – in the same block where Dorothy Hunter grew up, actually. How’s that for a coincidence?​

You might not call what they did coincidence, but what happened to others makes for terrific reading.​

– Vivian Zwick, who is 100, was invited to join a sorority at Clayton High School, and then rejected because she was Jewish.

– Gerald Schriedel and his six siblings were crestfallen when their parents put them into an orphanage in 1942

– When Paul Hartke uttered the “N” word as a youngster in the 1940s, his mother arranged for him to meet the African-American who picked up the family’s trash. He saw that he was just another person.

– Florida Cargill has pleasant memories of attending the segregated Douglass High School in North Webster for her first three years in the 1950s. But she didn’t find a warm welcome when she spent her senior year at the newly-integrated Webster Groves High School.

– Born in 1947, Darrell L. Fuse grew up on the Hill and delivered moonshine for his grandmother in the late 1950s.

– In the mid-1950s, little Jim Horne tagged along with his dad on a trip to fix his a refrigeration unit in a bar on The Hill. He encountered Yogi Berra, who apparently was in town to play in the 1957 All Star game.

– KSDK Sports Director Frank Cusumano fell in love with sports attending pro games with his dad, including the 1968 World Series game in which Bob Gibson struck out 17.

– Andrej Dzidic came from Bosnia when he was 2 in the mid-1990s. He recalls the frustration he had of constantly translating for his parents.

– Vindya Yanamadala is the daughter of two doctors whose marriage was arranged. But the high school senior, who lives in Chesterfield, is totally Americanized. When she marries, it’ll be for love.

Here’s the notes I took during my interviews. Oh, the stories they’d tell!

​I plan to stuff other stories about kids’ reactions when they learned about the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy and 9/11. People who grew up at different times talk about their experiences at the first, second and third Busch Stadiums, Forest Park Highlands and the Gateway Arch. They are rich and poor, from every part of the St. Louis area. They’re not just anybody. They are a special group.

I believe this will be a significant book about the history of St. Louis from the point of view of children. When the book is released, I’ll give a program about it at the Central Library downtown. That’s where I found about a quarter of my interview subjects, in open houses at four branches in October. I can’t wait to get this book out.

 

 

 

 


 

A Second Look at the Gateway Arch

SONY DSCI was proud when The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch went press four years ago.  Here in one place, was the whole story of the Gateway Arch from the founding of St. Louis to the present. Others agreed, and made it the go-to book about the monument. The Post-Dispatch was impressed enough to put it on its list of the 50 best books of 2014.

I would have been happy to leave it as it was. But then came the fire in November that burned Reedy’s press’ whole inventory, including all the copies of my four books. Josh Stevens at Reedy could have chosen to bring out any of those four books to update and reprint, but he picked The Making of an Icon. So I got busy and turned in my retooled second edition yesterday, March 14.  It’s much better than the first book.

SONY DSC

I thought hard as I wrote a new chapter on how Eero Saarinen spent 14 years using math, art and his imagination to come up with the icon’s beautiful shape.  I talked to a man who rappelled down the Gateway Arch to examine the troublesome stains on its surface. I discovered the pros and cons of scrubbing them off. I considered all that’s new in the locally-funded $380 million makeover of the Arch grounds, museum and visitor center.

  Eero Saarinen at work on a model of the Gateway Arch

I pondered the new name for the federally-owned property that includes the Arch and surrounding land. The Gateway Arch National Park may correctly describe it, but may miss the intent of Luther Ely Smith, who envisioned it as a place to honor Thomas Jefferson and the westward expansion. Then I added dozens of new pictures from back in the day and now.

The finished product is the result of writing something, stewing on it for four years and then picking it up anew. It’ll be out in June, before the grand opening of the reworked Arch grounds on July 3.  Check back here for details. Then get ’em while they’re hot, and then enjoy this magnificent work of art.

51) Eero Saarinen's Amazing Weather Machine

All pictures except the black-and-white one are by Bryan Werner of the Metro East Park and Recreation District. The black-and-white one is courtesy Yale University.

 

Coming: The New Improved Gateway Arch Book!

1 ) Replace pic on viAmong other things, the fire in the Reedy Press warehouse in November destroyed all copies of my four books. It smarted, but is giving us a chance to make them even better. In late June, more or less, Reedy Press will issue The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. It’ll come just in time for the rededication of the Arch and Arch grounds on July 3.

The Making of an Icon became the go-to book about the Gateway Arch after it came out in 2014. The revised book will be even more comprehensive than the first one. It will featurenew information about the renovated Arch grounds and new museum along with plans to tie the icon to St. Louis’s downtown. You can read about the people who rappelled down the Arch in 2014 to investigate the stains on the Arch. And you can peruse dozens of new pictures.

The updated book will make the perfect subject for presentations at clubs or another addition to your library. Check back to jimmerkelthewriter.com for complete information.

Meanwhile, I haven’t forgotten Growing Up St. Louis, about my interviews of 100 people who spent their early years in St. Louis. It still should come out in 2019. I’ll be busy writing.