The author of a book about the Gateway Arch, “The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, the Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch,” will be in Washington Thursday, July 26, for a book signing and presentation at Neighborhood Reads bookstore from 5 to 7 p.m.

Jim Merkel’s second edition of the book, updated like the Arch itself, which just reopened in July after several years of renovations, captures the spirit behind the conception and construction of one of America’s most distinctive and beloved national monuments.

More than 2 million people visit the Gateway Arch each year, and the stories behind it are detailed in the book — compiled from interviews with the visionaries, finaglers, protesters, and intrepid workers who built the Arch while one misstep away from a fatal fall. Merkel’s book helps readers appreciate the relentless pursuit, innovation and toil that raised the Arch to the sky.

The newest edition, published by Reedy Press of St. Louis, offers even more lore and the addition of color images. Merkel includes new information on the Arch grounds and museum.

Merkel will sign copies of the book, available for purchase at Neighborhood Reads, from 5 to 6 p.m. Beginning at 6, he will give a presentation on his extensive research.

Merkel grew up in St. Louis where he watched the progress of construction on the Gateway Arch with his father in the 1960s.

Merkel is the author of “The Colorful Characters of St. Louis,” “Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis’s South Side,” and “Beer, Brats, and Baseball: German-Americans in St. Louis.” For more information on the author, visit

Readers unable to attend the presentation can preorder signed copies of the book by visiting or calling Neighborhood Reads, 636-390-9673, 401 Lafayette St., in Downtown Washington.