Scale model of famous arch gets new home

Part of Warren’s history erected in front of WCCBI

July 16, 2011 Warren Times Observer

A scaled-down version of the Gateway Arch will honor the part Warren played in the creation of the monument.

John Papalia, Jr. said some members of the recently-completed Leadership Warren County class developed the project. The group includes Papalia, Michael Boyd, Vinnie Massa and Addison Legere.

“We found out about the arch and thought, since it was made in Warren, it’s an important part of our history,” Papalia said on Friday. “We wanted to showcase that a little bit.”

The replica stands at 10 feet tall, Papalia said. In addition, Massa said it measures another 10 feet wide from one base to the other.  Arch

The structure has been placed in front of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry office on Market Street. While currently scheduled to stay there permanently, Massa said the group could have the structure moved without too much trouble if they come up with a different location.

“We looked at the new planters downtown but they were too close to the street,” Massa said. “In the winter, road salt would have damaged it and snow would have been plowed on it.”

As the home base for industry in the area, Massa said the group felt the chamber building would be a great place for one of the icons of Warren industry.

The Leadership Warren County class was split into two groups, according to Papalia. The other group, he said, is putting together the necessary information for a dog park in hopes somebody would want to create one for the area.

For the arch, Papalia said the group is in the process of interviewing people who worked on the original monument. By doing so, he said they hope to tell part of Warren’s history.

“It’s meaningful to our city,” Legere said. “It shows we’re not a regular town. We have a large history.”

According to Massa, the PDM plant in Warren produced the steel for the arch during the 1960s. After that, Boyd said, it was shipped to St. Louis by train.

The monument was built in sections, Papalia said, and put together when it arrived in St. Louis. The project took a lot of effort, he said, especially from the workers in Warren.

Due to the precision required for the arch, Papalia said the work was an amazing feat.

“Between the lumber, gas and manufacturing industries, Warren County has done a lot for the rest of the country,” Papalia said.

By COLIN KYLER , The Times Observer