ST. LOUIS – Happy Birthday to the Gateway Arch! Friday marks 57 years since crews put the finishing touches to the St. Louis staple.

On Oct. 28, 1965, crews added a 10-ton centerpiece to complete construction on the Gateway Arch. From start to finish, the project took nearly 1,000 days to complete.

For decades, the manmade monument has stood 630 feet tall in downtown St. Louis on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The Gateway Arch welcomes thousands of visitors on average each day and more than 1.1 million visitors last year.

Historians say the Gateway Arch concept dates backs to the late 1940s when the City of St. Louis and the National Park Service collaborated and selected a design for a memorial in a nationwide competition. Architect Eero Saarinen came up with the winning design for a stainless steel arch.

Construction costs were funded at $13 million at the time, while organizers also invested in a $3.5 million transportation system. The Arch weighs 17,246 tons, and its 900 tons of stainless steel are more than any other project in U.S. history. The entire construction of the Gateway Arch is documented in “Monument to the Dream,” a 28-minute film which plays at the top of each hour in the Arch grounds’ Tucker Theater.

Gateway Arch leaders recognize Oct. 28 as the monument’s birthday. From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, you can visit The Gateway Arch lobby and meet some of the builders who helped make the dream a reality.

The Associated Press archived several photos of construction included in this story. For more information on the Gateway Arch’s construction, click here.