The Park's Story
& Malcolm's Story
About the Park
On June 7th, 2005, Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis transferred title of the Gateway Geyser and 30+ undeveloped acres of land to Metro East Park and Recreation District (MEPRD). The Gateway Center worked tirelessly for 40 years to protect the property from commercial development and with the transfer, entrusted MEPRD with the task of bringing to transforming the property into Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park. On June 18th, 2005, the park was officially dedicated in honor of the man whose passion, dedication and generosity made the project possible.
The park's development has been largely funded through donations provided by the Gateway Center, valued at over $15 million, for both the park's development and its ongoing maintenance/operations.
The park is not only home to the Gateway Geyser, but also the Mississippi River Overlook, which stands 40 ft. tall on the west end of the park. Its tiered structure boasts stainless steel railings which are lit at night. Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park is no doubt the best place to photograph the Gateway Arch and St. Louis Skyline! Many St. Louis postcards are captured by photographers from the overlook! It offers visitors marvelous views of the park and unprecedented views of the Gateway Arch, the Mississippi River, and the St. Louis city skyline. The park also provides passive open green space, ideal for play or picnics!
Malcolm W. Martin was born in St. Louis in 1912. He graduated from Yale University in 1933 and St. Louis City College of Law in 1941, the same year in which he co-founded Martin, Peper, and Martin with his father and Chris Peper. Shortly after founding the firm, the United States entered into World War II. Martin was drafted into the U.S. Army as a private, spending much of his service time in London. He was promoted to sergeant, and was later involved in planning the D-Day invasion at Normandy. He studied the tides of the English Channel to find the best place, time, and method for the ships to arrive on the beaches. These contributions led to his promotion to captain, and involvement in coordinating the ships on D-Day. For his contributions in planning and coordinating the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, he received a Bronze Star.
After the war Martin continued his contributions to the community. He was one of the founders of KETC Channel 9 and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis. He was a trustee of the St. Louis Symphony, a member and president of the St. Louis Board of Education from 1965-1977, Chairman of the St. Louis Committee on Foreign Relations, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and trustee of the St. Louis Art Museum. He received the 1984 St. Louis Award and the National Conservation Award of the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1988 for work related to the proposed future development of the east bank extension of the Gateway Arch National Park.
Before the Gateway Arch was completed in 1965, Martin wanted to extend the Memorial Park to encompass both sides of the river, and complete Eero Saarinen’s (the architect of the Gateway Arch) original vision for the Gateway Arch National Park, which included an Illinois component. Martin became chairman of the executive committee of the federal commission established in 1987 to plan the Illinois extension and established the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis.
Making the Illinois expansion of the Gateway Arch National Park a reality was Malcolm Martin’s top priority and goal. Upon Mr. Martin's death in 2004, Malcolm donated over $5 million to the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis to continue this work. A goal the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis and Metro East Park and Recreation District continue to lobby and strive for to this day.