Installed in 1975-76, a bear represents the bears on the state seal of Missouri. In its hands it holds the famed St. Louis Arch. The Eastern Missouri Committee of the National Cathedral Association donated the gargoyle, wanting to ensure that the Show-Me State had a permanent home at the Cathedral.
The bear is one of 112 gargoyles and grotesques across the Cathedral, which act as water spouts to divert water away from the building. Gargoyles carry away excess water via pipe running through their mouths; grotesques deflect rainwater by bouncing it off the top of their heads, noses or other fanciful body parts. They are often (but not always) carved in the form of fantastic or imaginary animals or humans.