Every year the Gateway Arch draws million of tourists (and number of locals) to admire its gleaming steel curve as it dominates the St. Louis skyline. The Arch may be a national landmark, but it is embraced by St. Louisians as an emblem for our city.
Since the late 60’s tourists have tried in vain to capture the magnificence of this giant memorial to westward expansion on film, tape and digital medium.
The problem? The Arch is just too big. Standing 630 feet tall and with enough room between the legs to fit two football fields, the Arch is impossible to photograph while actually visiting it. If you line up your kids next to the Arch all you’re going to see is a giant steel wall. If you shoot from underneath it, you might get one leg–which face it, is going to look like an enormous steel stick. You might manage a side view from the Arch grounds, but it’s just not the iconic Gateway Arch photo you’re familiar with: the Arch and the city skyline.
All this bothered Malcolm Martin too. Martin was a St. Louis lawyer who formed a nonprofit group called Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis. His group raised money to buy land on the Illinois side of the river and eventually built a park so visitors could properly view the Gateway Arch in all its glory.
The Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park opened in the mid 90’s with a Gateway Geyser that fires off a giant 630 foot tall fountain of water four times a day. Five years after Martin’s death in 2009, the park finally opened the viewing platform that he had always dreamed of.
The platform is a series of concrete ramps standing 43 feet high. On the top is a statue of Martin Malcolm, gazing west at the St. Louis skyline. The ramp is tall enough to boost visitors over the levy and train tracks that run next to the Mississippi.
The park is easily accessed by the Eads Bridge and is right next door to the Casino Queen. 24 park security keeps it safe, though the park is only open to visitors from dawn to dusk, or until 10pm in winter months.
And the best part? You can pose your family on Malcolm Martin’s platform and a get a great photo of the kids, the Gateway Arch and the St. Louis city skyline.
Gateway Geyser at Malcolm Martin Park
April through October: Daily at 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM
Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park
185 W. Trendley Ave.
East St. Louis, Illinois 62201