The Gateway Arch turns 50 this month, and the public is invited to celebrate its history, beauty and nostalgia with a party befitting a national icon.
Visitors can learn more about the Ghosts of the Arch Grounds during a special ranger-led twilight walk from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, followed by stargazing. Saturday, Oct. 24, families can wish the Arch a happy birthday at Arch 50 Fest from 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. in Kiener Plaza. This free event, funded and sponsored by Great Rivers Greenway and CityArchRiver, will include children's activities, live music and fireworks. Authors NiNi Harris and Don Corte will also be signing copies of their book, "Downtown St. Louis," in the Old Courthouse from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 24.
The celebration continues with a meet-and-greet with the original builders of the Gateway Arch at the Missouri History Museum Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 9:30-11 a.m. Visitors can also learn more about construction of the Arch at the “Arch Perspectives” exhibit at the Missouri History Museum and watch the award-winning documentary “Monument to the Dream.” National Park Service rangers will also lead special Arch activities. A panel of guest speakers, which includes landscape architect Susan Saarinen (daughter of Gateway Arch architect Eero Saarinen), will discuss the icon.
At 11 a.m. the party moves downtown, where officials from the National Park Service will lead a special recognition ceremony on the Fourth Street side of the Old Courthouse. Highlights will include a performance by the U.S. Air Force Band, a bell ringing ceremony by the St. Louis Fire Department and a flag-raising ceremony by local Boy and Girl Scouts. Immediately following the ceremony visitors can enjoy free 50th anniversary cupcakes from local cupcake trucks. Note: In case of inclement weather the ceremony will be held inside the Old Courthouse Rotunda.
Those visiting the Gateway Arch on Oct. 28 can journey to the top for the original cost of $1. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Old Courthouse, online at ticketsforthearch.com or by calling 877-982-1410. As a special treat, those traveling to the top of the Arch on its birthday will also receive a commemorative pin and certificate similar to those distributed to visitors when the tram first opened. Other anniversary merchandise is available online at www.shop.jnpa.com.
Ultimate Arch fans can share their memories by submitting photos to Gateway Arch Call for Photos, a historic display that will debut in the tram loading areas in spring 2016. For more information about the Gateway Arch 50th anniversary celebration, visit gatewayarch.com/50.