YIKES! 6 Days to Go. YIKES! 6 Days to Go. YIKES! 6 Days . . .

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Why aren’t you ready yet?

Where’s your wallet? Your car keys? Your appetite for the best food and drink around!!! It’s just SIX (Count ’em, six.) days until the launch party for The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. Keep lollygagging like this, and you won’t be ready to go on Sunday afternoon, June 24. You KNOW it’s from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. that day at Steven Fitzpatrick Smith’s fantastic Royale, at 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd., JUST south of Arsenal Street.

What are you waiting for?

With everything going on at that great St. Louis icon, the great Gateway Arch, you know you want to read a great book about it, don’t you? The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition is it! It’s even better than the first edition, which made the Post-Dispatch list of the 50 best books of 2014. Besides all the great history and stuff from the first edition, you’ll read about the $380 million redo of the Arch grounds and museum, what’s up with those stains on the Arch, the new name for the park and so much more. You’ll peruse more than 60 new pictures.

You can get your own copy, and my autograph on it, at the event, and participate in a fantastic trivia contest. Did I mention the great food and drink? WOW!

But you read all that, and you’re not getting ready.

YIKES! Time to start. There’s just SIX DAYS TO GO!

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Get Ready! Just Seven Days to the Launch Party!

seven days

A week can go by fast. That’s why you have to start getting ready now for the launch party for my new book, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. That’s just seven days from today, Monday. Did I say just seven days? If you don’t start now, it’ll be noon on Sunday, June 24 before you know it. Then you’ll have to rush out the door so you can make it to the party at the Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd. Did I tell you it’s from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.? No wonder you you’d have to rush!

You wouldn’t have to rush if you’d start getting ready a week in advance. Then you could relax, come with plenty of time to spare, buy a book and have me sign it. Next, you could sit in an awesome courtyard and feast on the best food and drink around. Then you could peek about a book about the Arch that’s even better than the first edition. The book features are more than sixty new pictures and great new chapters about everything new at the Arch.  You’ll be glad you didn’t wait until the last minute to get ready.

 

The Arch Becomes a Whole ‘nother Story

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Kevin Killeen at work

I’ve known Kevin Killeen for close to 20 years. From 2002 to 2009, we both covered St. Louis City Hall. I wrote for the old Suburban Journals, while Kevin was a news guy for KMOX Radio. He always had the oddball question guaranteed to peeve politicians. He still does.

I left the City Hall beat in 2009, but Kevin remained. He keeps busy reporting for KMOX, more so because he also does oddball features several times at week for a brief show called a Whole ‘nother Story. He’s interviewed me about my books several times since my first volume, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis’ South Side came out in 2010.  His interviews for a Whole ‘Nother Story are always fun because he employes the same kind of unexpected queries in them that he poses to politicians. He also shows his talent for showing the funny side of life by writing the annual KMOX Holiday Show and four novels about growing up Catholic in the 70s.

On Friday, Kevin interviewed me for that show about my latest book, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, the Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. It was sweltering when we met me outside at Fourth and Market Streets, in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. His questions were just as hot, about topics like “Could they build it today?” and “How long will it last?” I explain why the Arch is and isn’t a catenary curve. To learn how, you’ll have to listen to the program, or, better yet, buy the book and read my full explanation.

 

 

Help My Birthday Cause, Please

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Can you help this poor man? Donate on my birthday. Better yet, buy a book.

Next Tuesday, June 19, is my birthday. I’ve decided to take Facebook’s advice and have all my friends donate to a needy cause. I’ve studied this carefully and decided the poor person pictured with this post has the greatest need. So I’m asking all of you to send the biggest bills possible to the Jim Merkel Benovolence and Improvement Association, LLC.

To make it easy on yourself, come to the launch party for my new book, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition on Sunday, June 24 and buy a book. It’s from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Steven Fitzpatrick Smith’s fantastic bar and restaurant, The Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd.

Remember: a birthday is a terrible thing to waste.

The 2nd “Icon” Hits the Streets

me with Icon 2This morning, I finally took a gander at the The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats, 2nd Edition, at the new Reedy Press warehouse.  It looks better than I thought was possible, much better than the first edition published in 2014. It’s slick, bright white, with some great color pictures that show the drama the Arch builders experienced  as they assembled Eero Saarinen’s dream. It frames beautifully the stories I told in the old book, along with new chapters about the $380 million renovation of the Arch grounds, visitor center and museum, the Gateway Arch National Park and how the Arch got its name.

Now it’s your turn. You can buy a copy at a book store, or – better yet – you can get one at my launch party, from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 24 at the Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd. After I sign the book, you can relax with some of the best food, drink, and Gateway Arch lovers around. After you’ve read the book, you’ll be really to visit the upgraded Arch with a full appreciation of what it’s all about.

It is Our Image, It is Our Identity

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Photo by Bryan Werner

 The Gateway Arch has held (Former Mayor Francis Slay) in awe since his father, popular St. Louis restaurateur and political figure Francis R. Slay, regularly brought him and other family members to the icon during its construction. It’s easy for him to remember the day it was topped off: October 28, 1965. That was his father’s birthday. “That’s why I always remember when it happened,” said Slay, who served until 2017…..

If there was no Gateway Arch, Slay said, the city would be nondescript. “There wouldn’t be a whole lot to set it apart from other cities in terms of skyline,” he said. “When you say St. Louis, people think of the Arch. When you say the Arch, people think of St. Louis. Wherever you are in the United States and pretty much wherever you are in the world, it is our image, it is our identity.”

  • Page 216 and 220, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition, by Jim Merkel.

Come buy one of the first copies of the second edition of The Making of an Icon and have Jim Merkel sign it at at the book’s launch party from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, July 24 at The Royale St. Louis Bar and Grill, Tavern and Restaurant, 3132 South Kingshighway Blvd, St. Louis. Then experience the reopening of the renovated Gateway Arch museum and visitor center on July 3.

OK. So Laugh Already!

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The Arch Coming From My Head

Go ahead. Ask what kind of a goofball would put a picture like this on his website. Maybe somebody who’s written so much about it that the Arch comes out of his head? That would make for some kind of book, one that you ought to buy and have me sign.

You’ll get your first chance to do that at the launch party for my book, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch from 2-5 p.m. Sunday,  June 24, at the Royale, 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd. Be careful, though. After you read it, you may know so much about the Gateway Arch that it’ll come out of your head.