Mini-Flood 4: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

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photograph by Patrick Gioia

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is a park located on a parcel of land where many of the earliest buildings in St. Louis once stood. This Federally funded National Memorial commemorates the westward expansion of the United States, the struggles of slavery (particularly the court decision against Dred Scott), and the first civil government west of the Mississippi. The Gateway Arch, Old Courthouse, Museum of Westward Expansion and more occupy the grounds.

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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photograph by Sunjoo Lee

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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photograph by Theresa Harter

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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photograph by Jason Gray

There is little doubt that St. Louis’ most recognizable feature is the Gateway Arch. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the tallest man-made monument in the United States opened to the public in 1967. Standing 630 feet tall, the structure represents many things to many people, but the construction of the monument and the memorial was not without some controversy.

The land that the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial now occupies was where the initial settlement of St. Louis was located, and at the time of its clearing, contained many important representations of the city’s best architecture. Additionally, the 40 city blocks that constituted the area were home to a unique, literary and arts scene that never fully re-materialized after displacement.

Area now occupied by Jefferson National Expansion Memorial:
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John Caspar Wild; Panorama of St. Louis and Vicinity, 1842.

That said, the park has brought much development to the region, over the years, and a recent effort to revitalize the grounds promises to continue this gift. Not to mention, the skyline of St. Louis would be much less remarkable without the colossal structure. The grounds themselves are also quite beautiful, and the other attractions (mentioned at the top of this article) offer great opportunities to round out a trip to the riverfront.

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photograph by Patrick Gioia

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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photograph by Patrick Gioia

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Jeni Kulka

The map:
miniflood4

4 Comments
  1. […] Towers (now Millennium Hotel I and II), Pet Plaza (now Pointe 400), and the Gateway Arch. The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the park surrounding the Arch, is situated upon the site of the original St. Louis settlement. […]

  2. […] and rolling mill in the area. Incidentally, Scullin was one of the suppliers of steel for the Gateway Arch. In 1992, the former Scullin Steel Company complex was demolished for the St. Louis Marketplace. […]

  3. […] the latter half of the 18th century, a small settlement, about 7 miles south of the Arch, was established almost simultaneously to that of St. Louis. This settlement was known initially as […]

  4. […] the levee, the country’s tallest monument looms. Despite this, a presence does seem to be missing from the riverfront; a character which […]

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