The Arch At Warren
Two Warren County residents would like to see the replica of the Gateway Arch that sits in front of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry on Market Street moved to the Warren County Visitors Bureau in Starbrick.
Others, including a WCVB board member, not so much.
“We are definitely not trying to take it away,” said Karen Subkowski of the Vacation Bureau.
Ed Atwood and Laurie Maxwell want to remove the 10 by 10 scaled-down version of the Gateway Arch that was mostly fabricated in Warren County by the International Boilermakers Union to the WCVB.
“We’re not going to do anything to try and take it away,” said Subkowski.
The replica arch was a project of Leadership Warren County and was placed in front of the WCCBI in July of 2011.
“The problem we are having is that there is a miniature version of the Arch that now sits in front of the Warren County Chamber of Commerce Building. Because of the location the replica of the St. Louis Arch cannot be seen by many people in this town and is certainly missed by visitors and tourists to our City of Warren. It is our wish to be allowed to move this replica to the PA visitor’s center which is 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,” a draft of a letter Atwood and Maxwell plan to send to local politicians says.
According to Atwood, information on the construction of the arch in Warren including a video and murals would be displayed at the visitors center.
“It is our understanding that once that information is set up at our PA visitor center, they can coordinate with other visitors centers throughout the United States. This will get our information out and draw more people to our area. This is a huge historical event, and Warren should be proud of what these men did for Warren, St. Louis, Mo., and the United States,” the letter states.
John Papalia Jr., director of the Council on Tourism and a Leadership Warren County graduate, said the arch was given to the class to highlight some of Warren’s industrial history.
“Our group worked with the Chamber and the City of Warren to get it displayed in front of the WCCBI,” said Papalia. “This version of the Arch represents one of the town’s greatest triumphs during it’s industrial period. We believe it belongs in town, where it can remind the community of what it has been capable of doing. We feel that in front of the Chamber of Business and Industry is very fitting and is where our group wishes it to stay.”
“If it was at the Visitors Center it would be a lot better than where it is now, and we could do something with it,” said Atwood, “I think the town should support it…this town built a national monument. I think that is should be at the Visitors Center.”
“They won’t let us move that arch, they want to keep it there,” said Maxwell, whose grandfather, Robert Youngquist, was a cutter on the arch project in Warren. “We approached them several times, both the chamber of commerce and the commissioners; no they don’t want it moved; they want it to stay on Market Street.”
Both Maxwell and Atwood cite consultant Gary Esolen’s tourism study which they say does not “directly address the issue of the visitor arrival experience on Route 6, but they refer to an important lack of “small town charm” in communities.
“They recognize that the county has not yet clearly identified its target markets, and does not fully understand the visitor experience, largely from a lack of direct research or a budget to carry out direct research. And they see opportunity in state tourism promotion of the region, in local regional cooperation, and in a growing arts community,” Maxwell and Atwood say in the letter.
If they can’t get the arch moved, Maxwell and Atwood say they’d attempt to raise funds to build a smaller version and have it placed at the visitors center.
The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, headquartered in Kansas City, Kan., arranged for 11 local men to take the trip and see the St. Louis Gateway Arch in November of last year.
The Boilermakers built the Arch sections in Warren and large base elements were constructed at Neville Island in Pittsburgh while union Ironworkers assembled them on site and other union craftsmen performed the electrical, plumbing, concrete and construction.