George Rogers Clark Trail

Day 14: September 3rd, 1999 Chester — St. Louis

Levee Rd, Wet Land Mississippi River, IL Levee Rd, Wet Land Mississippi River, IL
Levee Rd, Wet Land Mississippi River, IL

Today I check first, whether it is a buffet or not. But I have luck and breakfast is by menu. On Highway 3 I drive up north to St. Louis. At Ellison Grove I enter some backroads, on which I reach the road on levee again.

Fort de Chartres Fort de Chartres
Fort de Chartres
Fort de Chartres Fort de Chartres
Fort de Chartres

My next destination is Fort de Chartres, which has been erected three times. In 1720, the first Fort, which was completely wooden, was erected. But it was built too close to the river banks and it decayed soon. In 1725 the second Fort was built farer away from the banks. This one lasted until 1742. But the French wanted a Fort built up by stones. They started in 1752 and have finished their build in 1760. But 1765 the Fort was given to the British because of the Paris Contracts of 1763. The new name of the Fort was now Ft. Cavendish. But the British were not too much interested in this Fort and in 1772 the south wall has been fallen into the river. In 1820, nearly nothing has been left from the Fort. Trees have been growing out of the walls and the locals took the good material for their own houses. In 1900, only the magazine depot was left. The Fort was sold in 1913 and in 1917 the magazine depot has been rebuilt. Nowadays the north wall and some of the houses have been rebuilt. Also the damages from the flooding in 1993 have been repaired.

Historic Cahokia Courthouse Historic Cahokia Courthouse
Historic Cahokia Courthouse

I drive on the road on levee up to Cahokia to visit the Cahokia Courthouse and Jarrot Mansion. The latter can not be visited, because it is currently being repaired. Also the Cahokia Courthouse can only be visited from the outside due to repairs. The building was erected in 1743. In 1793 it became the Courthouse until 1814. The Courthouse has then been moved to Belleville. In 1900 the building was only used as storage for farm equipment. In 1901 the businessman Alexander Cella bought the building. He teared it down and built it up at the St. Louis World’s Fair. But only in half of its original size and without the stone and plaster which was used in this french building style. In 1905, the Chicago Historical Society bought the house and re-erected it in the Chicago’s Jackson Park. But in 1920 the inhabitants of Cahokia demanded the Courthouse back. The last tear down of the building was in 1939 for it’s re-erecting in Cahokia. Everything was tried to build it up as original as possible. Even the original wood was placed at the original places wherever possible.

Cahokia Historic Tools Cahokia Historic Tools
Cahokia Historic Tools

My guide shows me another house, which was newly acquired. He also has given some of his own antique equipments for the exhibition.

Holy Family Parish Church Holy Family Parish Church
Holy Family Parish Church

When saying goodbuy, he suggests to also visit the “Holy Family Parish Church”, which is in the same building style. But I am too late and the church is already closed. So I can only take a look at the beautiful outside.

On Highway 3 I drive up further north through some decayed suburbs up to Interstate 270. I cross the Mississippi and reach Bridgeton, where I want to stay at the Motel 6. But I haven't thought of the Labor Day Weekend and the Motel is completely booked out. But next to the Motel 6 is a Super 8, where I have the luck to get the last room. It is a smoking room, but I have no other choice.

I–70, The Arch, St. Louis I–70, The Arch, St. Louis
I–70, The Arch, St. Louis

I have been arrived early, so I use the opportunity to drive on Interstate 70 to St. Louis. But close to I–40 I reach a traffic jam to downtown, so I decided to drive on I–40 up north to I–270 and from there back to my Motel. But at least I have got the chance to take a brief look at “The Arch”, “The Gateway to the West”. Close to my Motel I have seen a Bob Evans Restaurant, where I have dinner tonight. Tomorrow the last and longest part of my trail starts: The Lewis & Clark Trail.

  • Sights
  • Fort de Chartres (Free Admission)
  • Cahokia Courthouse (Donation)
  • General
  • Breakfast: Best Western Reid's Inn, Chester
  • Dinner: Bob Evans, Bridgeton
  • Motel: Super 8, Bridgeton
  • Distance: 138 miles