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St. Louis Bound

Gateway to the West at the River Crossroads

October 6-12, 2013
Historian Guide: Jon G. James

High on a limestone bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, with forested areas beyond the cliffs, French fur traders traveled up from New Orleans in 1762 and found an ideal site to establish a trading post. Following a prediction that the village they built "might become hereafter one of the finest cities of America," the settlement quickly grew because of its central location in the Upper Mississippi Valley, close to the confluences of the Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers.

By the time Captain Meriwether Lewis saw it during December 1803, St. Louis was a thriving community with almost 200 white-washed houses and a population of perhaps a thousand people from all walks of life and nationalities. Established by the French in the hopes of a trade monopoly with the Indians, governed by the Spanish, and purchased by President Jefferson for America, St. Louis has always been cosmopolitan in nature as it transitioned from a frontier river town to a metropolitan mercantile empire.

Come spend a week in St. Louis with River Historian Jon G. James, and explore all the local, regional, and national attractions associated with the most famous events and people in American history. You will walk through ethnic neighborhoods and on the original levee and riverfront and recount the compelling legends and gripping stories of countless boatmen, cowboys, Indians, politicians, priests, slaves, soldiers, and voyageurs who passed through or resided in this vibrant city, the Gateway to the West.

7 Days / 6 Nights

Cost: $2,695 Single Occupancy, $2,295 Double Occupancy

Click to request a 2013 printed Travel Guide.


Sunday, October 6
Gather in St. Louis, our home for the week, for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Jon James and HistoryAmerica TOURS.

Monday, October 7
Jon sets the stage for early history of the region with a visit to Cahokia Mounds, a flourishing culture of 1,000 years ago whose people were accomplished builders and made significant advances in agriculture, astronomy, and economics. Travel south along the Great River Road to Fort Chartres, built by the French in the 1750s. To the north we visit Camp River Dubois and a reconstruction of the stockade occupied by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Tuesday, October 8
Continue our journey through time as we travel to the National Historic Landmark District of Ste. Genevieve, the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri and one of the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. Founded by French Canadian colonists sometime between 1730 and 1750, we will see the best and largest collection of homes built in the French Colonial architectural style in North America, as well as other buildings of the rarest styles in the United States.

Wednesday, October 9
Follow the Wine Road west to the Missouri River and the last home of frontiersman Daniel Boone. Encouraged by the Spanish governor to re-settle in Upper Louisiana (Missouri), he was offered 1,000 arpents (a little more than a square mile) of land and appointed as syndic (justice of the peace and militia commandant) of the Femme Osage District. Proceed through the picturesque Femme Osage Valley, settled by German immigrants during the 1830s, and then to the site of La Charrette Village, the last small settlement on the edge of the western frontier. We hear about mountain man John Colter's final days at his farm on the Missouri River and tour Fort Charrette Historic Village.

Thursday, October 10
Visit the site of Fort Belle Fontaine, a staging point for several military expeditions exploring the American West. See Bellefontaine and Calvary Cemeteries, final resting place for William Clark, Senator Thomas Hart Benton, Dred Scott, and William T. Sherman. This afternoon we visit Jefferson Barracks, a principal U. S. Army training depot for cavalry recruits, and we'll tour Ulysses S. Grant's farm, White Haven.

Friday, October 11
First stop today is the majestic Old Court-house, setting of the two famous Dred Scott slavery trials. At the awe-inspiring Gateway Arch, we'll visit the unique museum in the underground complex, and you'll have the opportunity to travel to the top of the Arch for spectacular views. Our final event of the week is a dinner cruise on the Mississippi River.

Saturday, October 12
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.

© 2013 HistoryAmerica TOURS
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Updated on 4 November, 2012