The Riverfront Era

The Port of St. Louis

covered wagon in front of commercial wares display

National Park Service, Tom Dewey

In 1817, the first steamboat to arrive in St. Louis changed the city forever. Steamboats made the Missouri River a gateway to the West. During the 1840s and 1850s, the St. Louis levee bustled with intense daily activity. Hundreds of boats moored there each year. The city made a fortune on fees charged at the port. The Port of St. Louis was important as a Midwest distribution point for goods from other parts of the United States and for international imports, facilitating and fueling westward expansion.

Last updated: June 27, 2018

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