Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Administrative History
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Administrative History
Bob Moore

Chronology of Events, JEFF, 1980-1991


The City of St. Louis informs the National Park Service that it intends to build a $12 million parking garage on the north end of the memorial grounds, but is unable to sell the necessary revenue bonds.

JEFF begins the observance of Black Heritage Month in February in an effort to better acknowledge the contribution of African-Americans in the settlement of the West and St. Louis history.

On April 15, restoration work on the Old Courthouse lantern is completed; this includes the repair of damage caused by the June 1979 fire.

On the first weekend in May, the first Storytelling Festival is held at JEFF, sponsored jointly by the park and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

15% of more than 2 million visitors to the Arch attend interpretive programs at the Museum of Westward Expansion.

A report by the regional law enforcement specialist notes the inadequacies of JEFF's protection division. This leads to reorganization and expansion of the division.


JEFF's museum education program becomes involved with the St. Louis Public Schools' Partnership Program. The goal is to provide a unique learning opportunity for students outside the classroom.

On July 4, the first Veiled Prophet Fair is held on the Arch grounds; attendance is estimated at more than 1.5 million people.

On August 28, the exterior restoration of the Old Courthouse from the base of the lantern to the main roof is completed; this includes the lantern balustrade, main dome, and upper and lower drums. Paint is removed by applying crushed walnut shells under high pressure; this method has less impact on the historic fabric of the building.

White Haven is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Bi-State Development Agency agrees to sell $8.5 million in bonds to finance a parking garage on the north end of the memorial grounds.


NPS Chief Librarian David Nathanson completes a study of JEFF's library and archives collection.

From April 2 to August 29, JEFF hosts a major exhibition of work by western artist Charles M. Russell.


The JEFF Interpretation Division publishes the first issue of Gone West!; publication is continued until 1985.

The last Frontier Folklife Festival is held at JEFF; funding is no longer available.

In March the contract for building the Arch parking garage is awarded to Fred Weber, Inc., of St. Louis.

On March 15, U.S. Representative Melvin Price introduces a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enlarge JEFF to the Illinois side of the Mississippi.


JNEHA appoints Ray Breun as its first Executive Director.

In February, archeological monitoring at the parking garage construction site begins and is continued until January of 1985. No significant resources are found.

On April 30, a contract is awarded to WVP Corporation for A/E services to determine the causes of deterioration of the terrazzo entrance ramps at the Arch, and to propose solutions.

On August 24, President Ronald Reagan signs Public Law 98-398, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Amendments Act, which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to designate up to 100 acres on the east side as an enlargement of JEFF. It also mandates the creation of a Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Commission to develop a plan for the east St. Louis addition.

On September 26, a contract is awarded to Ed Jefferson Contracting Company to replace the terrazzo surfaces on the Arch entrance ramps with granite blocks and to install an electrical ice melt system under the walks.


On September 28, the interior restoration of the Old Courthouse dome begins. It includes replastering and an investigation to determine the best means of preserving the decorative painting and the restoration of a selected decorative design scheme in the upper rotunda and main dome. A later modification calls for a full color rendering of the 1880 design scheme by Ettore Miragoli.


The museum education staff begins a revision of the entire program to make it coincide more closely with Missouri curriculum requirements.

The City of St. Louis passes an ordinance prohibiting all glass containers at the VP Fair. This substantially reduces the incidence of problems with broken glass.

JNEHA interpreters begin working in the Museum of Westward Expansion.

In February, JEFF installs an energy management system to monitor the park's energy use.

On July 12, Midwest Construction, which had been awarded the contract for the Old Courthouse interior restoration, declares bankruptcy. The contract is terminated and the project finished by the security company, the Integon Indemnity Company, in January 1986.

On July 28, the next phase of the Old Courthouse restoration is completed. This includes rehabilitation from the level of the cornices to the foundation: paint removal and repainting; repair and replacement of wood and glass; and replacement of stonework.

On November 25-26, the first meeting of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Commission is held.

In December, JEFF accepts the donation of a major collection of American Indian peace medals.


JNEHA interpreters begin staffing the Old Courthouse in order to keep it open to the public. This is necessitated by NPS budget cuts, and accomplished by JNEHA's assumption of the theater operation at the Arch. A fee for the movie is instituted, and the proceeds help to fund the Old Courthouse positions.


The Summer Education Experiences (S.E.E.) program is first offered by JEFF. This makes education programs available year round.

JEFF develops an education program with the Stix Investigative Learning Center, a Magnet School for gifted students.

On May 6, the Arch parking garage is officially opened.


On May 27, Treeland Nurseries completes a contract to replace plants on the Memorial grounds.

On June 26, the Regional Director, Midwest Region, requests Jefferson National Expansion Memorial to undertake a study of the White Haven site to develop alternative management strategies.

On June 27, White Haven is designated a National Historic Landmark.

On December 8, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Commission holds its fourth meeting and the NPS presents six development alternatives for consideration. The Commission selects the Gateway Museum/National Museum alternative, assuming it is feasible.

On December 19, Treeland Nurseries completes a contract for the replacement of dead trees on the Memorial grounds.

The four St. Louis History galleries are opened in the Old Courthouse.

A wheelchair lift is installed at the west entrance of the Old Courthouse to provide accessibility to the first floor of the building.


A contract for A/E services is awarded to Zurheide-Hermann, Inc. to determine the sources of water intrusion at the Arch complex and propose a solution. The project is expanded in 1990 to include repairs to the structural systems and asbestos removal.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Commission drops the museum idea from their proposal.

In July, arrangements are made between the National Park Service and IMAX for the production of a movie in the wide-screen format for the second theater at the Arch.


The museum education program begins offering traveling trunks.

In September, a non-NPS Education Coordinator and five education interpreters are hired by JNEHA.

The Division of Law Enforcement is reorganized and the number of commissioned rangers doubled.

The first "Scout day" is held for area Boy Scouts.

From June to August, the Interpretation Division conducts its Union Station Urban Initiative Project as a way to bring the National Park system to the urban residents of St. Louis. Fifteen rangers representing eight NPS regions and 12 individual parks present interpretive programs.

On September 17, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Commission submits the final Development and Management Plan to the Secretary of the Interior.

A full inventory of the park's museum collection is completed.


The first "Scout Day" is held for area Girl Scouts.

The JEFF Archives are formally created and the park hires its first professional archivist. Funding for the position is provided by JNEHA.

Air conditioning is installed in the first floor galleries of the Old Courthouse.

On March 21, U.S. Representative Richard Gephardt introduces a bill into the House of Representatives for inclusion of White Haven in the National Park System.

In May, JEFF begins collecting a $1.00 per person entrance fee.

In August, the Interpretation Division produces the first issue of the Museum Gazette.

In August, Woodward-Clyde Consultants begin a geotechnical analysis to determine the effect of constructing a second theater in the Arch complex, and decide there will be no detrimental effects.


On September 15, in a letter to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Commission, the Secretary of the Interior says: "Because the acquisition of binding commitments has proven to be an elusive goal, I must withhold my final approval until those commitments are obtained, pursuant to the law." The Interior Department further outlines 14 steps that are necessary for the plan and states, "This will take years to accomplish."

On October 6, Senators John Danforth and Christopher Bond introduce legislation in the Senate to establish White Haven as a national historic site.

By December, 6,015 recataloging worksheets are completed for the JEFF museum collection, and 966 accession records and 5,390 catalog records are computerized.


Bi-State assumes collection of NPS entrance fees as part of their centralized revenue collection and ticketing system. This leads to a major remodeling of the ticket area.

The carpeting in the Museum of Westward Expansion is replaced.

The Law Enforcement Division is reorganized and re-named the Division of Law Enforcement and Safety.

In July the deal with IMAX for a wide-screen projection system is canceled because of a disagreement concerning the projectors; IMAX wants to rent them, the NPS wants to buy them.

In September, the University of Missouri-Rolla and the National Park Service sign a Memorandum of Agreement for use of a high pressure water jet for rock excavation for the second theater.

JNEHA funds the park's first full-time librarian position.

By December, 90% of the park's museum collection records have been computerized.

"Victorian Christmas at the Old Courthouse" has its biggest year so far, with special children's programs, noontime concerts, and evening candlelight tours.

The NPS signs a contract with Lucasfilms for the development of a script for a film about westward expansion entitled "Gateway America."


All park Emergency Operations Plans are rewritten.

The High School Education Program is initiated; its success leads to the High School Intern Program.

In June the film project with Lucasfilms is canceled due to the inability to find corporate sponsors to finance the production.

On October 28, NPS Director James Ridenour, Chairman of the Southwest Illinois Development Authority Earl Lazerson, and Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan, sign a Memorandum of Understanding whereby SWIDA promises to acquire land on the east side of the Mississippi for donation to JEFF and to obtain binding financial commitments required for final approval. Lujan promises to designate the site once the lands are donated.

Work begins on the repair of the roof of the Arch visitor center. All soil is removed and a waterproofing membrane installed.


With the outbreak of the Gulf War with Iraq, tighter security measures are introduced to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks. Access to the Old Courthouse and the Arch is restricted with magnetometer check points.

The Interpretation Division purchases the Ventura Desktop Publishing system to facilitate more in-house production of publications.

In May, JEFF is accepted into the Educator Career Internship Program.

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Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004