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)
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    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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A Great Day on Great Day St. Louis

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Kent Ehrhardt interviews me on Great Day St. Louis.

The KMOV studios were a great place to be this morning as I talked about The Making of an Icon, 2nd Edition, with Kent Ehrhardt of Great Day St. Louis.  We had fun on the Channel 4 morning program talking about how the Arch came to be. We also talked about a most important part of the project: the way-high-up outhouses on derricks on both legs.

After I left the KMOV studios, I swung by KMOX AM 1120 for an interview with Brian Kelly. I showed him one of the special projects experts said could clean the Arch: Bar Keepers Friend. I also showed off two chains meant to demonstrate the difference between a catenary curve and a weighted catenary curve. The Arch is a weighted catenary curve. That’ll be on either 8:20 or 8:50 Sunday.  You also can see a picture of my demonstration on Facebook. I’ll post a link.

If that’s not enough, my friend Steve Potter will broadcast an interview of me at 9 a.m. Friday on Alton station WBGZ 1570 AM and 94.3 FM. You also can hear it on podcast. .Hear all of them and then read the book

 

You’re Out of Time, So Get Going

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There’s no better place to have a book launch party than the Royale.

For days, I’ve been telling you to start getting ready 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. Since you’re like me, you didn’t. It’s time to get out of that chair, grab that wallet, those key and your phone and head to your car.  Drive it to Steven Fitzpatrick Smith’s awesome Royale eatery and drinkery at 3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd. You’ll find my launch party in the courtyard from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday, June 24.

When you get there, you may want to buy a copy of the book and have me personally inscribe it. If you wish, you also can pick up a copy of my last book, The Colorful Characters of St. Louis. We thought all the copies burned up in that Reedy Press warehouse fire last year. Fortunately, Reedy found some copies of that book.

After that, you’ll probably be hungry and thirsty. Fortunately, the Royale has a solution in a great menu. You’ll find good company among the lovers of the Gateway Arch in attendance. I understand there will be some fun authors there, for Reedy and other publishers. At 3:30 p.m. you can compete for a free copy of one of my books in a trivia contest. Our sources say there is a 90 percent chance that the trivia master will be fellow Reedy Press author Amanda Doyle. She’s penned a slew of tomes about this town, including a children’s book, To the Top! A Gateway Arch Story.  She also was one of the characters in The Colorful Characters of St. Louis.

Make sure you stick around and test your knowledge of the Arch. But also just make sure you come. The book contains some amazing history about an amazing St. Louis treasure. It’s time to make some history of your own and show up at the launch party for The Making of an Icon, 2nd Edition.

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On Sunday afternoon, lovers of books about the Gateway Arch will fill the courtyard of the Royale, in the launch party for The Making of an Icon, 2nd Edition.

 

 

4 Days to Go! Time to Get Ready

Big Icon

There’s just four days to go until the launch party for my book, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch, 2nd Edition. I’m getting ready, as you can see above.  No, it’s not a really big print edition of my book about the Arch. It’s the sign you’ll see at my table at the  party. You’ll go there to buy a book. I’ll sign it for you, and then the fun will begin.

To review, 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. Then you’ll have conversation with fellow lovers of the city’s greatest treasure, a chance to try your knowledge of the Arch in a killer trivia contest and some of the greatest food and drink on the South Side.

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.

Get ready now. There are only four days to go. Then look for me at the big sign.

 

 

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

hysterical
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!

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.