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Historic St Charles Missouri

Updated on November 20, 2014

Downtown St. Charles

On the riverfront- St. Charles
On the riverfront- St. Charles | Source

St. Charles-Missouri's First Capital

St. Charles was the first capital of Missouri. Today, this bustling city on the banks of the Missouri river is home to more than 60,000 people. It has many modern areas, but this page will highlight many of the historic features of this town.

The historic downtown area has been restored and is a vibrant part of the community. The many special events, along with small shops and wonderful restaurants bring visitors from far and near. Visitors can experience the historic area as a prosperous trading center in the 10 block nationally registered historic area. As you stroll down the brick sidewalk you will note the brick paved streets, the gaslights, and the many restored buildings from the 1800's that now house unique shops and restaurants. You can also visit the buildings where Missouri's first legislature met during the period when St. Charles was the capitol of the state.

Whatever the season, there is always something fun to do in St. Charles.

photos by mbgphoto

On the banks of the Missouri river

St. Charles is just west of St. Louis across the Missouri river. After Missouri gained statehood in 1821, the citizens of St. Charles offered room in their town for the Missouri government to meet until the new capitol building could be completed in Jefferson City. From 1821-1826 St. Charles was the capitol of Missouri. You can tour the restored 1st capital buildings on Main Street in the historic district.

Lewis and Clark Monument - at the riverfront in St. Charles

St. Charles was the beginning site for many travelers in the westward expansion. Today Frontier Park on the banks of the Missouri is the site of a monument to two of the early explorers (Lewis & Clark). Frontier park is also the starting point for the popular Katy Trail, which has 230 miles of hiking/bicycling trails.

St Charles Then and Now

A great look at historic and present day St. Charles.

Shops on Main Street St. Charles - Historic St. Charles

Decorated Doorways on Main Street
Decorated Doorways on Main Street | Source

The Old Main Street in St. Charles features brick paved streets, gas lights and many unique shops and restaurants in restored buildings from the 1800's. I love to wander along the street, stopping to browse at all of the wonderful shops. If you are looking for a special gift, downtown St. Charles is the place to go. On a recent visit I enjoyed seeing a needlework shop, a quilt shop, a shop with beautiful stained glass designs and several shops with artistic jewelry.

Doorway on Main Street in St Charles - historic buildings

Special Events in Downtown St Charles - St Charles a Happening Place

The photo above depicts an entry in the Fete de Glace ice carving competition that is held each January on North Main street in St. Charles. I attended this years event and found the ice carving to be amazing. In the morning competition teams of two carvers were each challenged to create an ice sculpture out of 5 blocks of ice. Visitors would then vote on their favorites. This is just one of the many events during the year that brings people to historic downtown St. Charles.

Some of the other events include : Art exhibits, a concert series, a farmers market, Music in the street, the Lewis &Clark Heritage Days, Irish Fest, July 4th Celebration, Litlle Festival of the Hills (craft festival), Family Bike Ride, Trick or Treat on Main and Christmas Traditions.

Rally Squirrel Ice Sculpture

Rally Squirrel Ice Sculpture
Rally Squirrel Ice Sculpture

Christmas Traditions in Saint Charles - historic touch to Christmas celebration

Christmas brings Santa's from all different lands!
Christmas brings Santa's from all different lands! | Source

Downtown Saint Charles celebrates Christmas in a big way. Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas thousands of visitors fill the street to join in the festive Christmas celebrations.

In this photo you see children gathering cards from one of the many characters along main street. You will find Santa's from different countries, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Town Crier, a Jester, the Ice Queen and many more colorful characters who interact with the visitiors. There are also carolers and parades going up and down the streets.

photo by mbgphoto

Christmas Traditions Parade

Christmas Traditions Parade
Christmas Traditions Parade | Source

Church Steeple in St. Charles

Up the hill from Main Street you will find many churches. This is a photo of the steeple of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Historic home on Jefferson Street

one of many historic homes

A sign in front of this historic home at 562 Jefferson states that it was a federal style "Mother-in-Law" house built around 1867. The house was constructed of bricks that were made on site. Both the exterior and the interior brick walls are 12 " wide. The house features pine floors, high ceilings, wood shutters and grained woodwork.

Have you ever been to St. Charles? - tell us about your favorite historic town

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      What great photos, I have been through Missouri but have never stopped to spend time there, hubby and I should one day.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I feel as though I visit the world when I visit the many travel articles on Squidoo. Your photographs of St. Charles Missouri are gorgeous. I feel like I have now visited and seen this historical city through your eyes. I loved my visit.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      5 years ago

      Great lens, I love when people talk about a place and put a map of the place as well. Thanks!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      5 years ago

      Never, but St. Charles looks like a wonderful place to live and visit.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      St. Charles sounds like such a fun place to visit, and your photos make me want to go even more. You really have a knack for catching interesting scenes. Love this lens!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image


      6 years ago

      What a beautiful and quirky place! I'd love to visit it someday...

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 

      6 years ago

      Yes. We diverted away from a fishing trip in N. Arkansas (Mountain Home) and enjoyed the whole area! We promised to do it again! Great lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm originally from St. Charles so I'm always glad to see a great feature on it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well, I have never been there, but it sure looks inviting from your pictures!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You've done a great job featuring St Charles. Your photos are lovely.


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