"Oldest City on the Missouri River" Top 5 Page for this destination Saint Charles by deecat

Saint Charles Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 86 photos

Missouri"s Largest Historic District

Saint Charles was the LAST place we stayed on our Missouri trip, but I keep it in FIRST place in my memories. Like Ste. Genevieve, Kimmswick, and Saint Louis, Saint Charles is a River Town, an historic town,a restored town. Yet, it's even more...it's a town "Where History Comes Alive Everyday!" Yes, the town's motto is correct. While visiting Saint Charles, one is transported to another century. The gaslights, the brick paved streets, and the authentically restored buildings extend the entire length of Main Street, Missouri's largest Historic District. The ten block-long Main Street is a shopper and/or historians' delight. Saint Charles is notes for the ornate iron work on the balcony's and Stone Row houses where the front of the building faces the river and the side of the house faces Main Street.

At first, Saint Charles was Spanish owned and the district of San Carlos after 1769. In 1804 it became Saint Charles.
As seen in the photograph, these duplex or double houses and row houses were unique to this area.

Some interesting facts we discovered while we stayed in St. Charles:

Saint Charles was settled in 1769 by Louis Blanchette, a French Canadian who was a hunter and fur trader.

Saint Charles flew the flags of 3 countries during one day's time: They were owned by the Spanish, then the French, and finally the United States.

Daniel Boone came to Saint Charles and became a judge in the town in 1820. He lived and was buried nearby in Marthasville, Missouri. He was here and met with Lewis and Clark.

Here on the Missouri River Lewis and Clark organized and tranversed to North Dakota, which took one year.

Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable (founder of Chicago) is buried here in Saint Charles.

This was the temporary capitol city for five years.

There was a huge flood here in 1993, but the town survived.

Restoration of Saint Charles started in 1965. I'm impressed with the care taken to preserve the buildings and the area; countless organization and individuals had the insight to see the value of its heritage and so worked hard to preserve it. While visiting, I had the feeling that I was in an earlier century. It evoked an imaginary journey through history.

What a perfect place to stay while ending a perfect trip.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Paved Brick Streets, Gas Lights, River Boats, Restored Buildings, Upscale Shops
  • Cons:None
  • In a nutshell:A Charming Town That Rekindles the Pioneer Spirit of America
  • Last visit to Saint Charles: Apr 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (39)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    I absolutely love places like these Dee! Right up my alley. I so enjoy historic homes and the history that goes with it. Beautiful page!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    Saint Charles sounds/looks like a very charming place to visit--just the type of place I like. Wonderful accommodation tip!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    I'd like to visit that Classy Town too...

  • jillzi's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    What a great time to be in Saint Charles and what a great time the two of you had there. The shopping looks especially good and the food sounds splendid.

  • Jan 2, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    Excellent tip about that fabulous B&B. Enjoyed the travelogues also. The shopping tips are really great and places I would enjoy. You and Jill make a wonderful team.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2009 at 7:01 AM

    Your "in a nutshell" comment that this is a charming town seems spot on, Dee! How lovely to see such care taken in the restoration of so historical a town :-)

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2009 at 5:05 AM

    Dee- Saint Charles has much to attract me. The great restorations, the SHOPS AND GOOD FOOD. I always get a thrill on meeting writers. The riverboats look like fun. Good photos and tips.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    Dee, I must admit that I have never heard of Saint Charles, but staying at the Old Elm Tree Inn and having dinner at the Lewis & Clark's sounds like a relaxing holiday. :-)

  • imran8852's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    Another well written tips. Thanks Dee!

  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2009 at 8:01 AM

    Dee, you make everything so much like being there. What a wonderful and historic town. Thanks for introducing me to it.


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