Your city may have an ocean. It may have mountains. It may have an NBA franchise, or even a Major League Soccer team. It may have real subways. It may have a happily integrated population and a vibrant downtown nightlife. But unless your city is my city, it doesn’t have an Arch. Or at least not one as grand as the Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the St. Louis riverfront.
At 630 feet tall, the Gateway Arch is supposedly the tallest man-made monument in America, and the tallest stainless-steel monument in the world (these facts according to Wikipedia, which has more than you’ll ever want to know about the history of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial). True, it is tall—the tallest structure in Missouri, in fact—but more importantly, it’s beautiful. It’s basically a long, triangular tube of stainless steel, shaped into a graceful centenary curve.
You can ride to the top and get a great view of the city and the Mississippi River, but, for me, the Arch is best appreciated from the ground. It rises out of a hill that itself rises from the river, and stands benevolently watching over the city. Its surface is stainless steel, shiny enough to reflect the light, but also rough enough to scatter the light and make the sunrise and sunset particularly spectacular.
The photograph above is one of my favorites, because it makes it appear that the Arch has sprouted out of the forest, with nothing else man-made visible. The picture was taken from Eads Bridge, not far from Memorial Drive, while the bridge is still over land. That vantage point also works vertically, as you’ll see below.
Anyway, the Arch is one of my favorite photographic subjects. Below are a few more shots I’ve taken over the years. (You know the drill: click on the thumbnails for a better view.) Hope you like ’em.