St. Charles County, Missouri
"A Town For All Seasons"
The town of
Augusta is located on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River Valley
on scenic highway 94. The community traces it roots back to Leonard
Harold, one of the settlers that followed Daniel Boone to Missouri.
Leonard purchased over 300 acres of government land in 1821 and grew
tobacco and other crops on his farm. Realizing that there was good
access to the Missouri River from his property he decided to he laid out
the first streets and lots on a portion of his farm in 1836 and called
the town Mount Pleasant.
The town grew largely from
the immigration of German Liberals who had supported the revolutions of 1830
and 1848. At least two-thirds of the German immigrants into St. Charles
County came from an area in northwest Germany and most tended to settle near
other immigrants who had been their neighbors in Germany. Of the immigrants
from Oldenburg most settled along the Missouri River between Augusta and
Dutzow. When the town applied for a post office in 1842 the residents found
that there was already a Mount Pleasant post office in Missouri and adopted
the name of Augusta. Although local tradition claims the name honors
Harold’s wife, records indicate that neither of his two wives was named
By 1855, when Augusta
incorporated, the town had become a prosperous agricultural community and
river port. The town had also become a trading center and supported numerous
craftsmen, merchants, hotels, and wineries. Augusta’s role as a river port
ended in 1872 when a flood shifted the channel of the Missouri River. The
arrival of the Missouri, Kansas & Eastern Railroad in the early 1890s helped
replace the loss of river traffic.
The Germans in St. Charles
County began making wine soon after their arrival and the vineyards in the
Augusta area had achieved notoriety by the 1850s. By the 1880s about 400
acres in St. Charles County were dedicated to vineyards and were producing
100,000 gallons of wine annually. Over half of that acreage was in the
Augusta area and Augusta had 20 wine cellars. The favored grapes for wine
making were the Norton’s Virginia Seedling and the Concord. The wine
business in Missouri was dealt a severe blow when the Prohibition era began
with the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919 and many of the grape growers
turned to other crops and the remaining vines were killed by pesticides.
vineyards (photo left) began to revive in the late 1960s and
Highway 94 has become known as the Weinstrasse, or "The Wine
Road." Today Augusta’s economy caters to visitors and offers
antique shops, small boutiques, restaurants, and bed and
breakfast inns. Katy Trail State Park, built on the former
corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad (better
known as the Katy) makes a stop at Augusta. This unique
and popular state park consists of a bike trail that stretches
nearly across the state. Other nearby attractions include the
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Daniel Boone Home,
and Klondike Park.