Welcome to Laclede's Landing and this self-guided walking tour. The tour is designed to help you experience the landing's history as you walk along its cobblestone streets originally surveyed by Pierre Laclede in 1763. This tour includes 18 historic stops covering the 9-block neighborhood including 1st, 2nd and 3rd Streets, bound by Laclede’s Landing Blvd on the north and Washington Ave. on the south. It will take approximately one hour to complete the tour but feel free to take a break and visit one of our bars and restaurants as you explore the history of our neighborhood.
This is a walking tour, so pace yourself accordingly. Use the map as your guide located at the bottom of the screen. Each presentation comes with audio narration. To listen to the presentation, simply touch the play button located in the upper left side of the screen. You can follow the stop numbers as presented, or create your own tour route in any order. This tour gives you the flexibility to do as much or as little as your time permits. At the end of each presentation, touch the "Home" icon to return to the main menu. Be sure to leave plenty of time to discover all the landing has to offer. The smells of the kitchen are calling, and there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from.
Laclede's Landing History
St. Louis entered the Victorian Age with style and a massive growth of industry and commerce. Resources of iron, the era of the steamboat and railroad, and the age of invention molded the city into a thriving metropolis. Today, the Landing's nine block is area is all that's left of the old riverfront commercial district.
It was here that French merchant Pierre Laclede surveyed the area in 1763 for a fur trading post. And in 1784, St. Louis (named in honor of the patron saint of the king of France) began to take shape as a small village with only three main streets running parallel to the Mississippi River. First, Second and Third Streets. During the early eighteen hundreds, the village became the center of commerce with furs as the main source of exchange for goods. Later it developed into a commercial district filled with companies producing coffee, leather goods, mattresses, tobacco, whiskey, candy, and cast-iron. Steamboats were reported to be anchored along the levee, three deep and a mile long. St. Louis was the nation's third busiest port until the beginning of the Civil War.
Fire of 1849
Each building on the tour was built as part of a resurgence following the Great Fire of 1849. In the night of May 17, a steamboat called White Cloud, started a fire that destroyed 23 steamboats and 430 buildings covering 15 city blocks. Four people died along with fire Capt. Thomas Targee, the first firefighter in the United States to die while fighting fire.
Following the fire, the town council passed a new building code requiring structures along the river to be built of stone or brick and cast-iron. Here you'll see pre-fabricated, iron-fronted buildings, cast-iron skeletons, and iron pillars, railings, shutters, and ornamental details manufactured in St. Louis that made recovery possible, virtually overnight. While many of the forms were copies or adaptations of ornate, classical themes, the function was practical. St. Louis could hardly have retained its commercial prestige in the rapidly expanding west without this new form of construction.
Well, let's get started with some history. Select your first stop on the tour and take a step back to the 1800's.