Gateway Arch National Park

Did You Know?
  • The former name of this park was Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; the name was changed in 2018.
  • A tram ride to the top of the Arch takes four minutes, but the journey back down only takes three.
  • There are 1,076 steps in each leg of the Arch, but they are only used by maintenance personnel.
  • Land for the historic Old Courthouse was donated in 1816, by Judge John Baptisite Charles Lucas and St. Louis founder, Rene Auguste Chouteau.

The Gateway Arch National Park (formerly Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. It is bookended by two nationally significant monuments: the world-renowned Gateway Arch and the equally important Old Courthouse. As its prior name suggests, the 90-acre national park is a memorial to President Thomas Jefferson's role in opening the American West to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred and Harriet Scott, and enslaved couple who sued for their freedom in the Old Courthouse.

The soaring 630-foot stainless steel Arch at the center of the park is the nation's tallest national monument. It was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and completed in 1968. Visitors can explore the stunning structure on numerous levels: underground in the park's subterranean Visitor Center, above ground on the banks of the Mississippi, and high in the air from the viewing deck at the top of the Arch, accessed by a short tram ride inside the legs of the structure. The Visitor Center was renovated and greatly expanded in 2018. It features a museum that interprets the nation's westward expansion, St. Louis' early history, and the design and construction of the Gateway Arch. Highlights include an extensive collection of artifacts from the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Two blocks west of the Arch is the 1839-era Old Courthouse, one of the oldest standing buildings in St. Louis. It was here that the first two trials of the Dred Scott case were held in 1847 and 1850. The Old Courthouse is currently closed for renovations but when it re-opens it will offer expanded exhibits and other visitor amenities. 

What JNPA Does Here

Through the operation of The Arch Store in the Gateway Arch visitor center, JNPA generates revenue that helps ensure a rich educational experience for the millions of annual visitors who come to this park.

The products we sell commemorate the history of the nation’s westward expansion, the early days of St. Louis, and the design and construction of the Gateway Arch.

The proceeds from this store help maintain and enhance a wide variety of educational programs, exhibits and public events at the park. Here is a sample of our contributions:

  • We employ the park Librarian as well as several education staff that help deliver valuable programs to teachers and park visitors.
  • We funded and produced the virtual reality program Cobblestones & Courage, which immerses visitors in a 360 depiction of the 1850s St. Louis riverfront, where the Gateway Arch now stands.
  • We support numerous special events and educational programs during the year, including astronomy presentations, living history demonstrations and evening programs.
  • We support the preservation of the park’s history by underwriting conservation and archival work.