Please help us build the Baby Arch project!
Donate Now & Help Preserve the PDM Boilermakers part in U.S. history.
The Committee of Retired Boilermakers, based in Warren, Pennsylvania, recently initiated a campaign for recognition of the men who worked for the Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel Company plant in Warren, more commonly known as PDM. A fact often obscured in the history of the Arch is the fabrication of its components. While the base of the structure was a combination of concrete, steel and other foundation elements put in place by the Ironworkers and other tradesmen, the above-ground part of the Arch— 80 percent of the structure –was fabricated off-site and shipped to St. Louis by rail. That fabrication job was left to the small PDM boilermaker shop in Warren.
These Boilermakers were responsible for fabricating the pieces that became the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, on the national park known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. From 1962 to 1965, there were approximately 280 men who worked on the Gateway Arch project welding, cutting and fabricating the pieces that would be shipped by train and semi-trucks from Warren to St. Louis. Each piece had to be intricately cut, measured and ground to within 1/64th of an inch to make sure they would fit together perfectly with the other two pieces to form the triangle that began the base of each leg on each side. They were built continuously in this manner, only to be adjusted as the degree for the arch was adjusted. The completed Arch stands 630 feet tall in St. Louis to this day, with the 50th anniversary approaching in October of 2015.
As recommended in a tourism study done by consultant Gary Esolen of PLACES in 2007, it is our wish to build and place a new miniature replica of the Arch at the PA Visitor’s Center located in Starbrick, PA where visitors and tourists stop often to get information regarding information on things to do in Warren, PA and also the history of Warren, PA. Our goal is to have this “Baby Arch” project completed with everything set up at the Visitor’s Center this year. After the “Baby Arch” project is complete, we want to start planning for the real Arch’s 50th anniversary celebration with a trip to St. Louis in October of 2015. We will bring news of the completed project to the reunion of Arch builders being planned for the anniversary.
Our Committee is now soliciting potential donors for a new project to fabricate and erect a scale model replica (“Baby Arch”) of the St. Louis Gateway Arch at the Warren County PA Visitors Center to let visitors know that the PDM shop in Warren was the birthplace of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The PA Visitors Center would also be connected with the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial ("the Arch") in St. Louis. The Boilermakers' union also provided our Committee with videos and murals that we could put on display in the PA Visitor’s Center. Labor for the project is being donated by committee volunteers. We need $10,000 to pay for the stainless steel, concrete foundations, signage for the highway and to set up the display in the Visitor’s Center. The “Baby Arch” Replica is being fabricated now. Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council, a 501c3 charitable organization based in North Warren, is serving as our committee’s financial agent.
In November of 2012, the Committee of Retired Boilermakers from Warren boarded a motor coach bound for Saint Louis. Their mission: claim their contribution as Boilermakers in building the Gateway Arch, and to “put Warren on the map” as “the home of the Arch” where most of its wedge-shaped components were fabricated. When these Boilermakers toured the Gateway Arch, Tom Bradley, superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, held a ceremony and lunch to honor the men. “We’ve had many reunions here of workers over the years, but none quite like this one. Many of you were instrumental in building the Arch, this incredible memorial, yet never saw it when it was completed,” Bradley told the men. “But it’s due to your hard work that we are here today.” The National Park Service presented each retired Boilermaker a special commemorative book about the history of the Arch project.
We invite all persons, organizations and businesses interested in the “Baby Arch” Project to tour this web-site and to donate in support of our cause. Please help us build this project to honor the boilermakers!
Help us build the Baby Arch to recognize Warren, PA and PDM boilermakers role in building the Gateway Arch
The Pittsburgh Des Moines Steel Company shop that fabricated many of the Arch sections was located in Warren, PA. From 1962-1965, as many as 280 men laid out, cut steel, and fabricated many sections of the arch which were then shipped to St. Louis, Missouri for assembly.
For most of the retired Boilermakers, the completed Arch was something they had only seen in pictures. When they finally made it to the Arch in person in 2012, two video crews were waiting for them to get their impressions on the results of their work. Dana Dean of Saint Louis television KDSK Channel 5 interviewed the men, live on-the-air, for the station’s morning show.
The retired boilermaker committee is working with Matt Kuchcinski who is donating his labor to construct a scale model of the Gateway Arch called the Baby Arch to recognize Warren, PA as the Home of the Arch. Here they are pictured working with the first prototype scale model of the Baby Arch.