“From sea to shining sea.”
Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a democratic nation that spanned the continent fueled the nation’s westward expansion during the 1800s. St. Louis was the gateway to this vast new frontier.
The Gateway Arch that now rises at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial symbolizes this city’s important place in America’s history. Completed in 1874, the 10-story stainless steel arch is an engineering marvel. Get the answers to all your questions about its design and construction. Then enjoy a 4-minute tram ride to the top, for panoramic views of the Mississippi River, Missouri, and Illinois.
Once you’re back on solid ground, visit the Museum of Westward Expansion to learn about Lewis and Clark and their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. Hear the stories that compelled people to pack up their wagons and make the long, arduous journey West.
Before you hit the road, stop into the Old Courthouse. An icon in the St. Louis skyline today, this elegant Federal-style building would have dominated the landscape in the 1880s.
The now-hushed galleries inside once roared with dissension as attorneys contested the legal issues of the day. Here, Virginia Minor demanded the right to vote, and Dred Scott the right to live as a free man.
If You Go:
Did you know: The Gateway Arch would fit perfectly inside a square box, if a large enough one existed. It is exactly 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide.