St. Louis Union Station Whispering Arch

This sound effect was discovered when “a workman dropped a hammer on one side of the arch and a painter on the other side, nearly 40 feet away heard him.”

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The whispering arch is a treat, talk towards the wall and someone 20 yards away can plainly hear you. pretty cool.

Aquariuz, Trip Advisor

The whispering arch is the structure to the left in the old postcard, there’s a plaque marking the spot. This whispering arch dates back to when the building was a large railway station in the nineteenth century. When someone talks into the wall, you can get sound that stays close to the edge of the arched ceiling. A classic way of illustrating this is to consider sound as a snooker ball bouncing around the edge of a circular table.

Sound in a whispering arch modelled as a bouncing ball

Location

In the lobby of the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. Head for the stained Tiffany glass window featuring three robed women figures.

Credits:

Photos: Public Domain and onasill

Author: Trevor Cox

I am a Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford where I carry out research and teaching focussing on architectural acoustics, signal processing and audio perception. I am also an author and radio broadcaster having presented many documentaries on BBC radio and written books for academics and the general public.