Monday, December 9, 2013

The Founding of St. Louis and a 1763 Dance at the Old Courthouse

"In late December 1763, Pierre Laclede, a partner in the New Orleans fur trading company of Maxent, Laclede and Company paddled his way up the Mississippi, landing 18 miles south of the junction of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Laclede sought a suitable place to establish an Indian fur trading post, and chose a narrow, flat bank topped by rocky limestone bluffs. Laclede's 13-year-old stepson, Auguste Chouteau, returned to the site on February 14, 1764* with a small group of men, including several African-Americans, to begin construction of a village. Laclede predicted that the site, named St. Louis in honor of France's King Louis IX, 'might become, hereafter, one of the finest cities' of the continent, 'by its locality and central position.'" - Excerpt from The French Heritage of St. Louis: 1764-1804 by Bob Moore, The Museum Gazette, February 1995 (nps.gov).

(*New research has shown this date to actually be February 15, 1764.)

The 250th anniversary of these events were commemorated by reenactments and festivities which took place at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and St. Louis City Hall. Here are some photos from the two events courtesy of Doug Harding from the National Park Service and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Read about the entire February 15th re-enactment at City Hall on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website here: St. Louis celebrates 250th birthday with City Hall re-enactment.

Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau arrive at the future site of St. Louis with their party. Photo taken by Nancy Hoppe.
Laclède makes a notch in a tree for the future site of his trading post. Photo taken by Nancy Hoppe.
On February 15th, 2014, reenactors returned to the site chosen by Pierre Laclède to begin construction. Photo by Laurie Skrivan courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Photo by Laurie Skrivan courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Photo by Laurie Skrivan courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Photo by Laurie Skrivan courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Photo by Laurie Skrivan courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In December, I attended a 1763 dance at the Old Courthouse.


I took this photo last year. This is the Old Courthouse where Dred Scott sued for his freedom in 1847.





 




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