Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park
Address and contact information
185 W. Trendley Ave., East St. Louis, IL 62201 (View Map Here)
April thru October: dawn until 10:00 p.m. (7 days a week, 365 days a year)
November thru March: dawn until dusk (Sun-Thur); dawn until 10:00 p.m. (Fri-Sat)
Gateway Geyser Schedule
12 pm, 3 pm, and 6 pm, daily (April 15 - October 15)
November thru March: dawn until dusk (Sun-Thur); dawn until 10:00 p.m. (Fri-Sat)
About the Park
On June 7th, 2005, Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis officially transferred title of the Gateway Geyser and the 34.1 acres of grounds, known as the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, to Metro East Park and Recreation District. The Gateway Center had worked tirelessly for 40 years to protect the property from commercial development and, with the transfer, was entrusting MEPRD with the task of bringing to life the dream of their founder and benefactor, Malcolm W. Martin, to transform the property into a true memorial park complementing the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial grounds across the river. On June 18th, 2005, the park was officially dedicated as the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, in honor of the man whose passion, dedication and generosity made the project possible.
In January 2006, the East St. Louis City Council passes a resolution designating the property as a park/conservation area to help facilitate the project's development and preserve it for years to come. The park's development has been largely funded through donations provided by the Gateway Center Board, valued at over $15 million for both the park's creation and its ongoing maintenance, so it can be enjoyed by future generations. Gateway's Board continues to support major developments within the park, which today is home to the Gateway Geyser and the Mississippi River Overlook. The Malcolm. W. Martin Memorial Park officially opened to the public in the spring of 2009.
Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, located on the East St. Louis Riverfront, complements the renowned Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, home of the St. Louis Gateway Arch, across the Mississippi River. Eero Saarinen, designer of the St. Louis Arch, originally included a park on both sides of the Mississippi River; decades later his vision has become a reality.
Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park boasts two distinct features: the Mississippi River Overlook and a fountain known as the Gateway Geyser. The Gateway Geyser erupts three times a day during the spring and summer months. The geyser erupts to a height of 630 feet (on a windless day), as tall as the Arch itself.
The geyser is surrounded by a small lake and four fountains, representing the four rivers that meet at St. Louis. The geyser is powered by three 800 horsepower pumps, and can shoot 8,000 gallons of water per minute at the rate of 250 feet per second. The four smaller fountains are powered by a single125 horsepower pump. The lake surrounding the geyser is six acres, 600 feet in diameter, and contains more than a million gallons of water. Nearby aircraft are alerted by a beacon on the roof of the pump house when the geyser will soon go off.
The Mississippi River Overlook stands 40 ft. tall on the opposite end of the park. Its tiered structure boasts stainless steel railings and architectural concrete. The MRO offers visitors marvelous views of the park, both sides of the Mississippi River, and the St. Louis City Skyline. The new park also provides passive open green space for visitors to enjoy. The Metro East Park and Recreation District owns and operates the park grounds. The park is the result of a partnership between MEPRD and the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis.
About the Gateway geyser
One of the tallest fountains in the world, the Gateway Geyser began operation on May 27, 1995, helping to fulfill Malcolm W. Martin's vision of creating a landmark in East St. Louis that would complement the Gateway Arch. The Gateway Geyser was established with the help of the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis, a non-profit group founded by Martin whose members raised $4 million in private donations to fully fund the geyser's development.
By the Numbers
Powered by three 800-horsepower pumps, the Gateway Geyser can blast 8,000 gallons of water a minute.
Each eruption of the Gateway Geyser lasts approximately 10 minutes (wind/weather permitting).
When the wind is less than 4 mph, the Gateway Geyser reaches a maximum height of 600 feet into the sky, matching the height of the Gateway Arch.
Four smaller fountains that erupt 100 feet into the air surround the main geyser, symbolizing the Mississippi, Missouri, Meramec and Illinois rivers.
The Gateway Geyser is the world's second tallest fountain, it is second to King Fahd's Fountain in Saudi Arabia which reaches a height of 853 feet.
About Malcolm W. Martin (1912-2004)
Martin's Military and Civil Rights Experiences
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. In 1941 he cofounded Martin, Peper, and Martin with his father and Chris Peper. Shortly after founding the firm, the United States entered into World War Two. 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. He later described it as being a "super traffic cop…..with about 5,000 ships in the channel". For his contributions in planning and coordinating the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, he received a Bronze Star.
His experiences during and after World War Two sparked his interest in civil rights issues. In World War Two, minorities were segregated, and were placed in non-combative roles such as cooks or truck drivers. Martin investigated complaints from an all African American unit about improper food and equipment; Martin found that they were not given proper food and equipment, and ensured to improve conditions for this unit. Upon return to the states, Martin again stood up for civil rights. He was the commanding officer of a troop returning to St. Louis, and when they arrived in Newport News, VA, authorities wanted to segregate his troop because the state was segregated at the time. He refused to yield to the segregation authorities and kept his troop together. Later he defended an African American attorney who was trying to get into the bar during the Civil Rights Era.
Martin’s Community Contributions
After the war Martin continued his contributions to the community. He was one of the founders of the 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 Conversation Award of the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1988. He received the former for work in developing the east bank extension of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park.
Before the arch was completed in 1965, Martin wanted to extend the surrounding park to encompass both sides of the river, and complete the arch’s’ architect Eero Saarinen’s vision of the park. Martin became chairman of the executive committee of the federal commission established in 1987 to plan the extension, and established the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis. He organized and led the center, and used his money to purchase over thirty acres of land for the extension.
This vision became Martin’s life dream. His work on this dream led to the creation of a geyser fountain, the tallest man made freshwater fountain in the world. Inspired by a fountain Martin saw outside of Geneva, Switzerland, it is commonly known as the Gateway Geyser because of its resemblance to a geyser.
In addition to his work with the Gateway Center, he was also a board member of several different organizations working for the same goal, the development of an east riverfront extension of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park.
Upon his death in 2004, Malcolm W. Martin donated over $5 million to the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis to continue his mission. In addition he donated $200,000 each to the St. Louis Art Museum Foundation and the St. Louis Symphony Society.