A City of Gates That Do Not Swing Wide

Historical photo of the St. Louis Arch

Arthur Witman Photograph Collection, The State Historical Society of Missouri, Photograph Collection.

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A gate is an opening. A threshold. An entrance. But a gate is also an exit. And a gate can be a barrier. It’s one of the oldest and most powerful symbols in the world for transformation. So what is it like to live in a city with a giant arch—a gate—at its heart? Writer Edward McPherson offers this meditation on the enduring symbolism of living in the shadow of the Gateway Arch.