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This picturesque little town lies between the bluffs, at the confluence of the Osage River and Missouri River. During its prime, Bonnots Mill was a hub for commerce, with riverboats and steam-powered trains supplying the region with goods.
Today, this early French settlement offers a general store, bank, a saloon and restaurant, a bed and breakfast inn, and a wedding chapel. This entire district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This restored 1790s French and American Indian trading post and village includes five log houses, all of which are furnished with 1700s American antiques. One house is the oldest log home west of the Mississippi River.
The trading post contains an extraordinary collection of 18th and 19th century artifacts and furnishings, including a trade room, a blacksmith's shop and living quarters.
Overlooks the Missouri River, the landscaping and gardens represent the period.
A historian gives a one-hour tour, by appointment only. While admission is not charged, donations are appreciated.
Journey to a time when Missouri was way out West, in the wilderness. Experience the lives of the men and women who secured the American frontier. Built in 1808, under the direction of William Clark, co-leader of the Lewis & Clark expedition, the Fort served a dual role as a military garrison and a trade center. Overlooking the Missouri River, this historic site has been reconstructed to portray Fort Osage as it was in 1812. Authentically attired interpreters provide living-history insights into the daily life of the military, civilian and American Indian populations.
The Fort Osage Education Center, adjacent to the Fort, has a permanent exhibit area which features interactive exhibits on geology, local flora and fauna of the early 19th century, Hopewell Indians, Osage Indians, Lewis and Clark, Fort Osage, and the Missouri River. The Center has special exhibit space, classroom, meeting rooms, auditorium and conservation laboratory, including archival storage.
From Kansas City: Route 24 east to Buckner; north at Sibley Street (Route BB); through Sibley, following signs to Fort Osage.
Admission: $7, ages 5-13, $4, age 62+, $3.
This scenic street, once part of the Santa Fe Trail, runs along the bluff above the Missouri River. The district contains more than 25 homes built in the 1800s. Don’t miss the Missouri River overlook from the World War Memorial Steps.
Historic District map available at Lexington Tourism Bureau, 927 Main St.
Once named the Williamsburg of the West by Southern Living magazine, this Main Street region is Missouri's first and largest nationally registered historic district. Running parallel to the Missouri River, the brick-paved streets are home to one-of-a-kind shops, in restored buildings that date to the 1800s.
The area welcomes visitors who enjoy experiencing the sights and sounds of early America. Shop for, among other things: teas; tobacco; books; artwork; fashion accessories; furniture; antiques; clothing; home decor; wine; hand-blown glass; fine jewelry; and stained glass.
When you're ready for a break, you'll find ice cream and desserts; cafes and coffee houses; a winery; a microbrewery; a wide variety of restaurants; and a casino. (Some shops and all restaurants restrict pets, other than service animals.)
Experience history while you dine. This building has served travelers along the Santa Fe Trail since 1834, making it the oldest continually-serving restaurant west of the Mississippi River. Tours are available year-round, but the restaurant itself is open seasonally.
The tavern was built by Joseph Huston as the Huston family home in 1834, as a Federal-style 2 1/2 story brick structure. By 1840, Huston was known as a hotelkeeper, serving Missouri River and Santa Fe Trail Travelers. At this time, a brick addition was added housing a mercantile store on the first floor and ballroom that doubles as the town hall on the second floor.
A rare example of 19th century decorative stenciling has survived and the lobby maintains the original wood floors. Frame additions for dining space and additional bedrooms were added after 1850 and the detached summer kitchen was incorporated into the main building.
A cupola on the roof houses a salvaged steamboat bell that announced meal times and emergencies. Visitors today enjoy ringing the bell by tugging the rope that hangs in the lobby, suspended from above.
In 1912, the National Old Trails Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) brought national attention to the “Old Tavern” because of its association with the Santa Fe Trail. In 1923, the DAR persuaded the state legislature to purchase the Tavern for $5,000, making it the first building in Missouri set aside for historic preservation with public funds. They were appointed by the state as “custodians” of the Tavern; in 1937 they reported that they had served 1,834 meals, an amount now surpassed in a single month.
The memorial includes the Gateway Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and the Old Courthouse. Ride the tram to the top of the Gateway Arch; view a film; enjoy the extensive collection of artifacts and history of the American West in the museum; learn about the freedom trials of Dred Scott, which took place at the Old Courthouse. Operated by the National Park Service.
It was here that French merchants Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau first cleared land, built trading posts and established St. Louis.
Today, The Landing, the only riverfront entertainment and dining district downtown, is a mix of old and new. Nineteenth century warehouses still stand, given a second life as office and residential space. In this historic, nine-block area, you find more than 20 restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, shops and attractions.
Most nights, the streets and bars are alive with visitors having a drink, listening to a band or checking out the wares of shops and other attractions. Horse-drawn carriages ply the original cobblestone streets. The Landing hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Laclede's Landing is located beside the Mississippi River, north of the Gateway Arch, three blocks east of the American’s Center.
Visit our website for a list of attractions and event schedules.
Greek Revival Courthouse built in 1847 and occupied continuously, making it the oldest courthouse in Missouri still in use. The hole from a cannonball fired during the 1861 Battle of Lexington is still visible in the left-most column facade. A Memorial to Lafayette County Veterans is on the Courthouse square.
Lexington's downtown area is listed on the National Register and includes the 1847 Lafayette County Courthouse and many 19th century storefronts and structures.
Shopkeepers, restaurants and offices on Main Street and Franklin Avenue still do business in the same buildings where the early citizens of Lexington worked and shopped.
Many of the buildings contain antique and gift shops, each one with its own personality. Visit the shops and enjoy the period renovation that showcases each building.
Lexington, founded in 1822, was, by 1830, the largest and most important Missouri River town west of St. Louis. The Old Neighborhoods Historic District east of downtown on Main Street, Franklin Avenue and South Street, contains 19th- and 20th-century homes and churches with a variety of architecture, from early Greek Revival to Italianate to Queen Anne and Colonial.
Route 224 has been designated as the Old Trails Road Scenic Byway because of its unique history, and its scenic, recreational, cultural and natural qualities.
The picturesque drive from Lexington through Wellington and Waterloo to Napoleon runs alongside the Missouri River. Travelers experience a roadway that was traveled by American Indians, fur traders, trappers, explorers, westward pioneers, gold seekers, ox carts, covered wagons, Santa Fe Trail traders, Civil War troops, Jayhawkers, Bushwhackers, coal miners, farmers, early-day motorists and present-day tourists.
Built between 1839 and 1862, this historic courthouse was the scene of one of the nation's most important cases: the freedom trial of Dred and Harriet Scott. The Old Courthouse is part of the Core of Discovery, a downtown St. Louis family attractions district. Daily tours and films are offered.
Built in 1819, Thornhill is the oldest governor’s home still standing in Missouri. It was the home of Frederick Bates, Missouri’s second governor (1824), and his family. The site includes: the home; the original barn; a second barn which was built around 1860; a distillery; a smokehouse; an icehouse; a granary; and the blacksmith’s shop. The family cemetery holds the graves of Frederick Bates, his wife, Nancy, two of their four children and three family friends.
Prior to becoming governor, Bates was the territorial secretary for the Louisiana Territory under Territorial Governor William Clark. Frederick Bates was the brother of Edward Bates, who was Attorney General under Abraham Lincoln, and James Bates, the Territorial Senator to the Arkansas Territory. Thornhill is the trailhead of the 1.4-mile Governor Frederick Bates Trail, which winds down the Missouri River bluffs, then up through Faust Park.
Founded in 1880, Wentworth Military Academy and College is one of nation's oldest and most respected military schools. It offers high school and college degrees.
"The Doughboy" statue and Vietnam War memorial are on campus. The district surrounding the academy is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can walk or drive through the campus. Tours are available by appointment.
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