If you haven’t been to downtown St. Louis in a while, you are in for a surprise! The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial has a new name: The Gateway Arch National Park. Over the last five years, the park has been undergoing a $350 million renovation. Updates include a landscaped bridge connecting downtown to the park so that visitors don’t have to cross traffic, a new entrance to an expanded and interactive museum, and 2,400 new trees with new walkways and bike trails. For a bird’s-eye view of the new park grounds, click here.
The original Catholic cathedral located on the park ground was the first cathedral west of the Mississippi, and has also undergone a renovation thanks to donations to the Archdiocese made by the faithful of St. Louis. Originally a one-room log structure, the cathedral stands on land deeded to the people of St. Louis in 1764 by city founders Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau. A restoration photo gallery can be seen here. The “old cathedral”, as it is known, is still an active Catholic church with daily and weekend Masses. It is a popular site for weddings.
Rendering courtesy of CityArchRiver