Builders of Gateway Arch sections to tour monument

A contingent of about a dozen men who worked as Boilermakers to construct sections of the Gateway Arch in the 1960s will visit the national monument in St. Louis Nov. 15. For some, it will be the first time they’ve seen the Arch in person.

Nearly a half century ago, the men — many in their 20s and 30s during the Arch’s construction — worked in the Warren, Pa., steel fabrication plant owned by Pittsburgh-Des Moines, Inc., a renowned builder of bridges, tanks, missile silos, and other projects.

The PDM facility, organized as Local 659 of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, included about 150 craftsmen. That number swelled by more than a hundred as the firm began fabricating the wedge-shaped carbon steel/stainless steel sections that would form the Arch.

The trip to St. Louis is being organized by the Boilermakers union to honor those who worked at the “birthplace” of the Arch in Warren, Pa.

“Ironworkers, along with other trades, did a masterful job of erecting the Arch on site,” said Newton B. Jones, Boilermakers’ International President. “But there is another story that has gone largely untold. The men who did the front-end work, who crafted the individual Arch sections to exacting specifications before shipping them to St. Louis by rail, are a part of the monument’s history, too.

“By organizing this event, we hope to recognize their contributions and secure their place in history.”

The trip to the Arch will begin Nov. 14 in Warren, Pa., with the contingent departing by coach for the 700-mile trip. The group will visit the Arch grounds the following day.