St. Charles

In 1769 the settlement of Les Petites Côtes (Little Hills) was founded on the banks of the Missouri by French Canadian Louis Blanchette. The first church was built  in 1791 and dedicated to San Carlos Borromeo. The same year the town was renamed San Carlos del Misuri in honour of Charles IV of Spain. Frontiersman Daniel Boone moved into the area in 1799, building his home in Femme Osage, a little further up river.  Boone spent the rest of his life there, dying in 1821 in the home of his son Nathan. Following the US acquisition of the area the name of the town was anglicised to St. Charles and for the Lewis and Clark Expedition it was their last taste of town life on their journey across the Louisiana Purchase. When Missouri became a state in 1821, St. Charles was the temporary capital until a permanent capital could be established. Westward expansion and German immigration triggered growth in the population and the arrival of railroads bridging the river enabled St. Charles to continue to grow despite the resultant reduction in river traffic. By the 20th century, St. Charles was suffering from being a little too near to St. Louis as a result of which it escaped the destruction of modernisation. This has left St. Charles with a wealth of historic buildings which have made it a major tourist centre.




Main Street

Main Street St. Charles is full of interesting old buildings, as can be seen in this picture. However there is something missing fro this picture. We visited on a Sunday in early October, there was an event going on and the town was full of people. How we managed to get a picture with nobody in it is a mystery. Being a tourist town, St. Charles holds many events each year including an annual Oktoberfest in late September to celebrate the German heritage of the town.  St. Charles is worth a visit for its old buildings and atmosphere, but be warned that if there is an event going on parking can be a problem,

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Gazebo, Albert F Kister Park

Not all of the downtown area is old, the Albert F. Kister Park dates back only to 1975. George Worthington designed this infill public park on Main Street to blend in with the historic buildings and he supervised the construction work. The centrepiece of the park is this gazebo typical of the Victorian era which was built using construction techniques from that era.


- Some nice old buildings and a lovely atmosphere.
-  Trying to find a parking space at a weekend when there is an event on.
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Home > US States > Midwest > Missouri

To move forwards or backwards through the Missouri  trail click the arrows above, or select your next destination on the Minimap.


First Missouri State Capitol, Main Street

When the Missouri Compromise opened the way for Missouri to become a state, the next issue was where to put the capital. Missourians decided that their capital should be in the centre of the state at the location of a village called Lohman's Landing, which was to be renamed Missouriopolis.   Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the name was changed to Jefferson City. Apart from the small village, the new capital was a greenfield site and it was going to take time for a Capitol building to be designed and built. Missouri politicians and legislators needed a place to conduct governmental affairs so it was decided to set up a temporary capital. Several cities vied for that honour, St. Charles won the battle after it pledged free meeting space. The temporary Capitol was set up in St. Charles in two adjoining Federal-style brick buildings on Main Street owned by merchants, Charles and Ruluff Peck, and a craftsman named Chauncey Shepard. The upper floors of the two buildings were combined to house the Senate, the House, Governor’s Office and a committee room. The building became the seat of the territorial government on June 4, 1821 and continued as the seat of state government until October 1, 1826. The building has been preserved as First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site and is open to the public. Click Tab 2 to see the rear of the building with its galleries.




First Missouri State Capitol, Main Street, St Charles, MO, USA
Tab 1
Tab 2
Main Street, St Charles, MO, USA
Gazebo, Albert F Kister Park, St Charles, MO, USA
Pumpkin Display, Main Street, St Charles, MO, USA

Pumpkin Display, Main Street

St,. Charles is full of small shops, and in the run up to Halloween some of them have superb pumpkin displays. This display was outside a store called European Accent in Main Street.

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