The United States is a nation of immigrants and indigenous people, and Missouri reflects this. We owe the vibrancy of our state to the many, many people here before us. How better to learn about Missouri's history than to spend a crisp fall day exploring the historic sites, giving us insight into our past?
Travel three centuries back by visiting the Osage Village State Historic Site, east of Nevada in Vernon County. From 1700 to 1775, the Osage Indians called this lush river valley their home. They planted crops, hunted, made pottery and engaged in successful trading with the Europeans visiting the area. Today, pottery, weapons and tools help tell the story of how the Osage lived from day to day. Visitors discover them at several outdoor exhibits and along a walking trail.
A few decades after the peak of Osage Indian culture along the Missouri River, Daniel and Nathan Boone (sons of American folk hero Daniel Boone) began processing salt from Boone's Lick Spring in Arrow Rock. At the Boone's Lick State Historic Site follow the trail to the original spring, where interpretive information guides your way. Picnic tables are available, so pack a lunch and make an afternoon of it at Arrow Rock State Historic Site, which manages Boone's Lick.
Visitors interested in learning more about Missouri's German immigrants explore the Deutschheim State Historic Site in Hermann, where beautiful homes tell the tale of their 19th-century inhabitants. The Pommer-Gentner House features a period-appropriate garden as well as a half-timbered barn displaying tools from the 1830s and 1840s, while the Strehly House boasts a winery with one of the Midwest's only remaining carved wine casks. (The Strehly House was once home to the printing company of a German-language newspaper.)
In Ste. Genevieve, the Felix Vallé House State Historic Site includes three gorgeous homes. Built in 1818, the Felix Vallé House is a Federal-style dwelling that exemplifies fine French colonial architecture. Tours are offered every day.