By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
The National Park Service and Gateway Arch Park Foundation have selected St. Louis-based Tarlton Corporation to lead the renovation of the Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park.
A groundbreaking ceremony is being planned for early 2023.
An historic gem, the courthouse served as the venue for the mid-1800s Dred Scott (v. Sandford) case, a decade-long fight for freedom. Also in the mid-1800s, the Old Courthouse provided the stage for Virginia Minor and her attorney husband, Francis Minor, in a lawsuit asserting Virginia’s right to vote as a woman. According to St. Louis Circuit Court records, more than 300 other freedom suits were filed there by 1860.
“We’re honored to preserve and protect the Old Courthouse and the many stories told within its walls,” said Gateway Arch National Park Superintendent Jeremy Sweat. “These renovations will maintain the Old Courthouse’s historical integrity and safeguard its lasting legacy.”
Renovations will include the installation of an elevator for greater accessibility within the building. Critical building system updates – a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, fire suppression system – are also part of the project scope. The $24.5 million renovation also includes updated exhibit galleries, general restoration and improvements to the building’s historically significant features such as windows, doors, ceilings, flooring and other decorative elements. During the renovation, artifacts will be carefully moved and stored. The park’s archives and library will be temporarily relocated to the Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis.
“As the philanthropic partner of Gateway Arch National Park, our mission is to ensure this national park site remains vibrant and welcoming for generations to come,” said Gateway Arch Park Foundation Executive Director Ryan McClure. “These renovations to the Old Courthouse will certainly accomplish that.”