This is a general review of the first 50 years of the St Louis Gateway Arch, the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Its focus rests not so much on the landmark itself as on all that it surveys. From the aggregate stones in the concrete walks to the 1000-foot barge assemblages drifting by on the Mississippi River, it examines St. Louis industry, ecology, culture and history, all within the context of the Arch. Not only a useful visitor’s guide, the book is of regional interest to all who wish to gain a broader perspective of the Arch. It is a timely milestone for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial because there is currently a half billion dollar plan to expand and improve the Memorial. The announcement of a design competition for the expansion inspired this book. Having walked the Arch grounds for more than 30 years, Alves recalled the questions visitors commonly asked and wondered what would be of most interest about the surroundings.
Being born outside the United States, the author has the unique perspective of a detached observer. He presents an overview of the Arch that is both insightful and grounded in careful analysis and research. And, he hopes that future attentions to the grounds will prove true to the original design intent.