Main Gate Memories


I am a lover of tradition. I believe in preserving memories and history. One of my favorite things about the Missouri State Fairgrounds is that no matter how much time and technology change, the history of the grounds remains. The 16th Street Main Gate has been an iconic landmark at the Missouri State Fair for almost 80 years, and its appearance has remained the same since its construction in 1939. For me, driving through the Main Gate each year is nostalgic, and I love that it has welcomed me and other Fairgoers home for decades.

Over the years, many fairgoers have mentioned the desire to have their photo taken at the Main Gate. However, the gate’s location and high traffic make it difficult (and unsafe) to do so. At the 2017 Missouri State Fair, my favorite Fair landmark is being commemorated with a one-third scale replica of itself. This miniature version of the West 16th Street Historic Main Gate will be on display just inside the Centennial entrance on State Fair Boulevard.

Fairgoers are encouraged to stop by and take pictures with the fairground’s new addition, and it will be a permanent structure on the grounds available for photo opportunities year-round. During the 2017 Fair, Aug. 10-20, fairgoers can post their picture to social media and share it with the hashtag #MSFMainGate for a chance to win tickets to the 2018 State Fair.

interns in front of the main gate replica
The interns- Molly, me, Sarah and Darby, in front of the Main Gate Replica.

Once you’ve seen the Main Gate Replica, take a moment to search for other pieces of the Fair’s 115-year history. Information about each historic building’s construction can be found on the outside of them, and the Missouri State Fair museum, located in the Womans Building, will be open to the public during the Fair. I think it’s important to recognize the history behind one of Missouri’s century-old traditions, and you might even learn something new!

History of the Main Gate

The 16th Street Historic Main Gate was added to the fairgrounds in 1939. Arthur J.P. Schwarz and Harvey King designed the gate made up of three ticket booths spanned by steel arch work. The gate was repaired and repainted in 2002 and again in 2016, and still serves as the well-known gateway to the Fair. The new replica model was built and donated in part by WB Young Company, Inc. of Marshall, MO, who also built the Farm Family Tribute exhibit in 2015.