We visited Fort Belle Fontaine on July 8, 2018 and as someone who loves texture, I was in amazement. It is located 13002 Bellefontaine Road, St. Louis, St. Louis County, Missouri. We did not walk on any of the trails and I need to go back and explore more to find what else awaits an adventure.
The original site of the Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery's campsite and the first Fort Belle Fontaine have been destroyed by shifts in the Missouri River channel. The grounds below the bluff became a popular summer retreat during the late 1930s and in 1936 the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a grand limestone staircase down from the bluff along with a number of other structures. This grand staircase is what we see in the video above. My mind likes to imagine wearing a big puffed out party dress and walking up and down the staircase. I would love to do that!
Established in 1805, this was the first United States military installation west of the Mississippi River. Being established while Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery expedition was out west, they spent their last night at the fort. Other major expeditions left from this site between 1805 and 1819 to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. Until it was replaced by Jefferson Barracks in 1826, Fort Belle Fontaine was an important gathering place in the wilderness for officers and enlisted men, Native American, French, Spanish and American settlers, trappers and traders, and the local businessmen and farmers who supplied the fort with necessities.