The Gateway Arch rises majestically 630 feet in the sky over the city of St. Louis, Mo. Officially known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the Gateway Arch celebrates 48 years on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.
The last four-foot piece of the Arch was placed at the top on Oct. 28, 1965, using over 500 tons of pressure to jack the north and south legs of the Arch apart, according to GatewayArch.com.
The Arch was built to honor Thomas Jefferson,who bought the Louisiana Territory in the Louisiana Purchase, making westward expansion possible.
A celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Visitor Center below the Arch to mark the anniversary. At the free event, visitors can meet the builders of the Arch and learn more about the construction.
The builders will also share their own photographs and memorabilia and first-hand stories of building the Arch. Book readings and signings will be held for two new children’s books in the Gateway Arch Museum Store on Monday.
Sandy Kreitner, author of What’s that Arch?, and Amanda E. Doyle, author of To the Top! A Gateway Arch Story, will be on site at the Arch during the celebration.
The Gateway Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the arch and museum are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitors can ride a tram to the top of the Arch.
Trams operate every 10 minutes when one tram is running and every five minutes when both trams are running. Each tram holds 240 passengers.
The viewing area at the top of the Arch, which can hold up to 160 people, contains 16 windows. From the windows, visitors can see up to 30 miles in either direction on a clear day.
The Old Courthouse is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The Old Courthouse is the site where Dred and Harriet Scott, an enslaved husband and wife, sued for their freedom and where Virginia Minor sued for a woman’s right to vote in 1872.
Many who visit the Gateway Arch take a ride on the replica 19th-century paddle-wheel boats, located on the Mississippi River below the south leg of the Arch. Cruises run April through October.
At the Museum for Westward Expansion, visitors can learn more about life in the 1800s through interactive displays and movies.
If you can’t make it to the celebration on Oct. 28, make plans to visit the Gateway Arch over the Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 9-11.
Entrance fees to the Arch and the other 400 national parks will be waived during the Veterans Day weekend.