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Vintage KSDK: 56 years ago, the final piece of the Gateway Arch was dropped into place

The ceremony where construction workers would secure the keystone at the top was delayed several times. One big concern was, would it fit?

ST. LOUIS — This week's Vintage KSDK takes us back to Oct. 28, 1965.

Fifty-six years ago, the final section of the Gateway Arch was lifted into place.

Construction had begun two years and eight months earlier. The city watched the steady progress as the two legs of the Arch took shape, rising into the sky.

The topping-out ceremony, where construction workers would place the final piece at the top, was supposed to happen earlier in October.

But workers struggled to make their deadlines, even working double shifts. The ceremony had to be rescheduled twice.

Channel 5 reporter Chris Condon asked Edwynne Murphy of the McDonald Construction Company to explain all the delays.

"They thought that something might be wrong," said Murphy about the team planning the placement of that final piece. "That it wouldn't fit, and that they would be embarrassed in front of this crowd. And this official responded that he thought it would fit. If it didn't fit, the least number of people there would make him happy."

In the lead-up to the placement of that final piece, a time capsule containing the signatures of over half a million St. Louisans, including school children and these residents of a nursing home, was welded into the keystone.

Finally, on Oct. 28, with crowds and dignitaries in place, including Vice President Hubert Humphrey watching from a helicopter, crews were ready for the big moment.

The keystone was hoisted high above the Mississippi.

By noon on the morning of Oct. 28, our iconic Gateway Arch was complete.

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