Signing Books in a Favorite Place

Arch window 3
The view from inide the window of the new Gateway Arch westward looking entrance.

I’ve been to all kinds of places promoting the second edition of The Making of an Icon since it came out about a month ago. I’ve been on radio and television, have spoken at a Rotary meeting and a senior living apartments center and signed books at a gift shop. It’s all been fun, but I had a special thrill on Sunday, when I signed books at The Arch Store in the Visitor Center of the Gateway Arch.

I’ve been too busy to go down there since it opened just before Independence Day. Sorry for repeating a cliche, but it’s amazing. The entrance is spectacular, and the new museum does a much better job of telling the story of the westward expansion and the Gateway Arch than before. I’ll write about it more some time. A mockup of the middle of the observation deck gives a good sense of what it’s like to be at the top of the Arch, down to the view from cameras at the top.

What I liked the best on Sunday, of course, was talking to visitors from everywhere, including one guy from Australia. I talked to a lot of people from Indiana, for some reason, and explained when St. Louisans mean when they say “Hoosiers.” More than anything, I liked signing books and telling people why the Arch is the best thing St. Louis has.

I liked almost all of it, except for the wait to get in. I came at a really busy time. It took more than an hour standing in line before I passed through security. They have three metal detectors, but only used one. Fortunately, lines are inside where it’s cool rather than outside where it’s hot, as it was with the old entrances. Maybe they should run all three metal detectors when crowds are heavy.

Meanwhile, we can come when there aren’t many people. Regardless, everyone should see the new visitor center and museum, and everyone should buy The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. If you want to support a struggling freelance writer and get an autographed copy, click here.

Too Busy

Slow down, world.

A writer’s life is never slow, but it really zooms after a book comes out. That’s what I’m going through with The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. 

Between now and Sunday, I’m doing two interviews, two presentations and two signings. It would be nice to stretch it out. But it’s worth it if I can talk up my favorites subject.

Wednesday at 10, I’ll be at the studios of STL TV on Oakland Avenue for a taping of Steve Potter’s City Corner, a current events program of the city’s informational cable TV station. Then at noon, I’ll give a presentation to a Rotary Club in the county. Thursday afternoon, I’ll do another presentation at a senior living facility in Webster Groves.

This morning, Jim Doyle sent an e-mail asking me to come on his program “Friday Morning With The Arts,” at 9 a.m. Friday on the Radio Arts Foundation. I can’t turn him down, no matter how busy I am.  You can listen to him at , at 107.3, at KNOU, 96.3 HD2, or on line. 

From noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, you’ll see me signing my books at Circa STL Restaurant and Tavern at 1090 Old Des Peres Road in Des Peres. Come in, have an STL BBQ Pork Steak Dinner and a beverage and have me autograph a book. What could be better?

What could be better is four hours outside the Arch Store at the Gateway Arch Visitor Center. That’s where I’ll be signing books from 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Come see me and then see the museum and go to the top. 

I’ll be busy in the next few days, but I’ll love it. I hope to see you some time from now to Sunday. If you’re too busy to see or hear me in the next few days, press here to buy a book.




Fun Facts About the Arch

Let’s Celebrate!

As we celebrate the opening of the reconfigured Gateway Arch grounds, museum and visitor center, it’s a good time to think about some of the odd, weird and fun facts about our town’s treasure. Here’s a few of them, along with the pages where you’ll find out more in The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition.

51) Eero Saarinen's Amazing Weather Machine-GS
Eero Saarinen’s Amazing Weather Machine 
  • An enduring urban legend holds that bad storms veer away from St. Louis because of an “Arch Effect.” Supposedly, an iconic pulse in the icon’s legs, originally developed for a doomsday weather weapon against the Nazis, nudges the storms away. (Pages 176-177)
  • The Missouri Secretary of State’s online database of corporate names lists more than 4,600 corporations, past and present, whose name includes the name “Arch”  or “Gateway.” There is no list of businesses with different names that include a figure of the Arch in their logo, but there surely are many of them. (Page 170-172.)
  • When a small plane flew through the legs of the Arch less than nine months after it was topped out, the Federal Aviation Administration promised it would punish the offending pilot most severely after they caught him. It never did. Then in 2016, Donna Dorris of Madison, Il. went to the Post-Dispatch and said her late father Earl Bolin made the fly-through on June 22, 1966. That was the first of 11 confirmed fly-throughs from 1966 to 1984. (Pages 165-167)
  • The company that sent a team of building climbers down the Arch to check out unsightly stains and smudges on the surface offered a list of low-tech products to clean the icon. They include Zud Heavy Duty Cleanser, Avesta Cleaner 401, Barkeeper’s Friend and Scotchbrite Lite Duty Cleaning Pad. (Pages 202-207)
    How to Clean the Arch (Top and middle pictures by Bryan Werner)

    To find the whole story of the Arch, you can buy The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hat Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition here.  

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