Operated by the Discovery Expedition
of St. Charles, the new Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center (a
certified site of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail) is
the Discovery Expedition's permanent home replacing their old facility on
710 Riverside Drive. Located on the banks of the Missouri River at Bishop’s
Landing and only a five minute walk from the downtown historic district,
the site features hand-crafted replicas of boats used by the Corps of
Discovery, exhibits relating to the Expedition and the Missouri River
ecosystem, and a gift shop.
Lewis and Clark Connection
Opposite of St. Charles at 12 oClock, this village is at the foot of a
Hill from which it takes its real name Peeteite Coete [Petite Côte]
or the little hill, it contains about 100 indefferent houses,
and abot 450
Inhabetents principally frinch, those people appear pore and extremely
kind …” William Clark made this entry when the Corps
arrived at St. Charles on Wednesday, May 14, 1804.
Clark and the Corps waited for Lewis, who was in
St. Louis attending to last minute details. Lewis arrived in St. Charles in
the evening of Saturday, May 20, 1804 in the company of some local
dignitaries from St. Louis. After attending Mass the next morning and making
sure all preparations had been completed, the Corps of discovery departed
St. Charles on the afternoon of
Monday, May 21, 1804. Clark noted this event in
his journals as he wrote "Set out at
half passed three oClock under three Cheers from the gentlemen on the bank
and proceeded on
The departure from St. Charles marked the setting
out of the expedition with all its members and the last that they saw of a
significant European settlement until they returned in September of 1806.
"at 4 P M we arived in Sight of St. Charles,
the party rejoiced at the Sight of this hospital village
plyed thear ores with great dexterity and we Soon arived opposit the Town, this day being Sunday we observed
a number of Gentlemen and ladies walking on the bank, we Saluted the
Village by three rounds from our blunderbuts and the Small arms
of the party, and landed near the lower part of the town.
we were met by great numbers of the inhabitants, we
found them excessively polite."
William Clark made this entry when the Corps
arrived at St. Charles on Sunday, September 21, 1806. The Corps spent
the night at St. Charles and two days later ended their journey when
they arrived in St. Louis on September 23, 1806.
|Visit our special Lewis
and Clark Section to learn more about the Corps of Discovery’s
experience during their stay in the Middle Mississippi River Valley. greatriverroad.com’s
special coverage includes information on all of the region’s sites and
events as well as supplemental articles relating to the expedition’s
experience during the winter of 1803-04.
The Discovery Expedition of St.
Charles has put together a modern museum to interpret the Lewis and
Clark's experience in St. Charles as well as the Corps of Discovery in
general. The lower level of the Boat House is
home to full size replicas of a keelboat and two pirogues with workspace
and displays. The lower level has a flow through design, permitting the
boats to be easily moved and preventing damage to the building from floodwaters. The boats are often on tour, making an annual journey retracing
portions of the Lewis and Clark’s journey and attending special events.
When the boats are not on tour, visitors will be able to get up close to these
vessels as well as talk to informed volunteers about their use and
upper level features the contents of the old Lewis and Clark Museum, as
well as dioramas (photo left) by museum artist Evangeline Groth that
illustrate the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Native
American tribes they encountered, examples of the flora and fauna Lewis
and Clark encountered on their journey, and life in early 19th-century
Saint Charles. A classroom accommodates class field trips, and tours and
The Trading Post, the facility’s gift shop offers many historical books
and unusual gift items. The Boat House is adjacent to
Frontier Park which has picnic facilities and is the trail head for the
Katy Trail, a 225 mile bike trail that starts in St. Charles and runs
parallel to the Missouri River and the route that Lewis and Clark took.
Visiting the Lewis & Clark
Boathouse & Nature Center
Monday - Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm
An admission is charged to visit the Lewis &
Clark Boathouse & Nature Center.
Group rates available.
Directions: From I-70 take exit 229 (Fifth Street North) into
St. Charles. Turn right at the second stoplight (Boone’s Lick Road.)
Shortly after crossing South Main Street, turn right into large parking
lot. The Boat House and Nature Center is on the far side of the parking
lot, next to the river.
N 38 46.380
W 90 28.944
Learn more about the
Official site of the Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center
which features information on a wide variety of subjects and more detailed
information on what the organization does and how to contact them.