Jefferson Barracks was established in 1826 as the country’s first “Infantry School of Practice." It served as a major United States military installation until it was deactivated in June 1946. Named as a tribute to former President Thomas Jefferson, who died on the fourth of July in 1826, the post played an important role in westward expansion.
Jefferson Barracks served as a gathering point for troops and supplies bound for service in the Mexican War, Civil War, various Indian conflicts, Spanish-American War, Philippine War, and World Wars I and II. Jefferson Barracks also served as the first Army Air Corps basic training site. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan, Stephen W. Kearny and William T. Sherman were a few of the famous Americans to serve at Jefferson Barracks.
In 1950, the federal government ceded the northern 420-acres of the post, including its oldest surviving buildings from the 1850s, to St. Louis County for use as Jefferson Barracks Park. In 1971, Jefferson Barracks Park, the adjacent active military base and several other adjoining land parcels were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jefferson Barracks Park is open from 8 a.m. to ½ hour past sunset. The park museums are open noon-4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, and are closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free but a donation is suggested. Note the Missouri Civil War Museum at Jefferson Barracks is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.