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Former L-659 members create ‘baby’ Gateway Arch

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Ed Atwood solicits comments from former Boilermakers who worked on the Gateway Arch project in the 1960s.

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Ed Atwood, left, and Ike Erdman stand beneath the “Baby Arch” and address the crowd attending dedication ceremonies at the Warren County Visitors Center near Warren, Pennsylvania June 30. Atwood, whose father-in-law was an “ace welder” working for Pittsburgh-Des Moines on the Gateway Arch, led the effort to build the tribute. Erdman also worked on the Arch segments for the company and helped build the Baby Arch.

Builders of original monument dedicate structure near Warren, PA

A SMALL GROUP of former Boilermakers who helped build the nation’s tallest monument, the 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch in St. Louis, can now look upon a 1/45 scale (14-foot-tall) version of the structure near Warren, Pennsylvania, the small town where they once worked on the famous project.

The men, who belonged to Local 659 (now disbanded) spent the past two years constructing what they fondly call the “Baby Arch,” built of stainless steel, just like the actual monument. It was dedicated in front of the Warren County Visitors Center June 30.

From 1962 to 1965, nearly 300 L-659 members built 80 percent of the sections that formed the Gateway Arch while employed by the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company in Warren. Those sections were shipped 700 miles by rail to St. Louis for assembly by union construction crews, predominantly Ironworkers. Although Pittsburgh-Des Moines closed long ago and the lodge is no more, the Baby Arch now stands as a permanent reminder of the highly skilled work performed by Boilermakers far from the monument site in St. Louis.

The idea to create the Baby Arch followed a 2012 trip to the Gateway Arch by a small contingent of L-659 members. Sponsored by the Boilermakers International, the trip offered some of the retired workers their first opportunity to see the completed monument.

For information on the “Baby Arch” project visit www.babyarch.org.

Locals  L-659
Reporter  V56N3
Published on the Web: October 17, 2017

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