Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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May 25th
The Gateway Arch
On this day in 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey dedicated the nation’s tallest monument, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. The arch, soaring 630 feet above the banks of the Mississippi River, is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which honors Thomas Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase, and the pioneers who settled the West.

The gleaming stainless-steel arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen and German-American structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. It stands 75 feet taller than the Washington Monument and more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. Construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1965, though the structure’s tram system wasn’t fully installed until 1968.

In each leg, visitors can board a tram made of eight five-passenger capsules for a fourminute ride to the top. There, windows give views of the Mississippi River to the east and St. Louis to the west.

St. Louis, which started as a French fur trading post in 1764, became part of the United States in 1803 when President Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from France. The next year the Lewis and Clark expedition set out for the Pacific Ocean from the St. Louis area. The town became a “gateway to the West” for settlers, as well as a steamship port and railroad center. The gleaming arch has come to represent the spirit of a nation always ready to take on the next frontier.

American History Parade
1787
The Constitutional Convention opens in Philadelphia after reaching a quorum of seven states.

1935
Babe Ruth hits the last of his 714 home runs.

1961
President John F. Kennedy asks the nation to commit itself to the goal of landing a man on the moon before the decade is out.

1968
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is dedicated.

1977
Star Wars, one of the most popular movies of all time, opens.

2008
The Phoenix spacecraft lands on Mars to search for evidence of microbial life in its soil.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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