St. Louis in 1804

Black and white painting with Americans, Spanish, and Native Americans

Transfer of upper Louisiana Territory to the United States at St. Louis, Mar. 9, 1804.

Ford P. Kaiser

Library of Congress

Photogravure of painting used as illustration in: J.W. Buel, Louisiana and the Fair, (Saint Louis: World's Progress Publishing Co.,1904-05), III, 896–897.

What was St. Louis like when the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived?

masthead saying 'We Proceeded On'
Reprinted from We Proceeded On1

Editor's Note: The following speech was presented at the Foundation's 25th Annual Meeting by Frances H. Stadler.

The St. Louis of 1804 is a dead city, as completely vanished from sight as ancient Troy. Not one building remains which was here in 1804, and nothing marks the original site of Laclede's village. To reconstruct the life of St. Louis when Lewis and Clark arrived to prepare for their momentous expedition, we must turn to all of three sources—first, records kept by those who lived here; second, the recorded impressions in letters, diaries, and published travel accounts of visitors; and third, histories compiled after the time from the recollections of old-timers, archives, and physical remnants of the local culture such as clothing, furniture, silver, and other objects used and preserved.