Last year was a year to forget. Don’t you agree? But that’s over, and now we’re in a year to celebrate. For 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the topping-out of the Gateway Arch.
Officially, it happened on October 28, 1965. So we have a while before the actual date. But why wait?
The mid-1960s were an incredible time of optimism in St. Louis and the nation. A generation that survived the Great Depression and defeated the Nazis was in charge. We were going to the moon, were about to end segregation, and finally make the world right.
The building of the Gateway Arch was the local equivalent of going to the moon. It brought on a sense of celebration not seen since the St. Louis World’s Fair six decades before. Nobody would build it today. The big croquet wicket was too frivolous, too expensive, for us to do it today.
Back then, though, downtown workers each day looked out the window to notice the latest progress of construction. Kids like me looked forward to the Sunday afternoon visits to the Arch grounds. That’s one of the many reasons I loved writing The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch. It brought the town together and have us a hope we’ve lost.
Last year gave us plenty of reasons for St. Louisans to lose hope. But it’s a new year and time to reflect on what we once did. It shows us we can do great things. On the fiftieth anniversary of the completion of the Gateway Arch, we again have reason to hope and celebrate.