ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Dean Sample took a job about 50 years ago that would change everything, “The business agent said they need a man, an erector down for the Arch.” Sample is a former Ironworker, “I didn't know what the Arch was, so I came down and went to work.”
Monday he was one of a handful of heroes signing autographs at the Jefferson Expansion Memorial.
This is a yearly tradition is for the men who built the Arch to share stories, a few laughs and memories about this monument to a dream.
“The center lines actually lined up within the circumference of a dime,” says Project Manager Ken Kolkmeier. “So there was no problem with it meeting. Once we put the section in, we released the jacks and everything was ready to weld.”
In the mid 1960s, this was a three-and-a-half year project that built the two legs that eventually formed the upside downcantilevered arch we know so well.
“We had no idea that this would become such an icon, that we would be here 48 years later signing autographs,” says Michael Schuller a former field engineer.
This gateway expansion to the west has drawn fans from all over the world.
“It's a big monument,” says Sokrat Bozo. “It’s very rare in the world and I like the Arch.”
“I think it'll be here as long as the Earth exists,” says Schuller. “I mean, I don’t see it going anywhere.”
“Did you leave your initials anywhere?” asks Patrick Clark.
“I left my initials all over this place,” says Sample. “I had a paint stickand I had my name all over and the first thing they did when we got done was to paint the whole inside. All that writing I did was for nothing.”