Missouri River passing the
limestone bluffs of Rocheport
Photo by Jane Phillips, courtesy of www.rocheport.com
On June 7, 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through
the area of modern day Rocheport, Missouri. Clark noted this
area in his journal:
. . . a Short distance above the mouth of [a] Creek, is
Several Courious paintings and carving on the projecting rock
of Limestone inlade with white red & blue flint, of a verry
good quallity, the Indians have taken of this flint great quantities.
We landed at this Inscription and found it a Den of Rattle Snakes,
we had not landed 3 Minites before three verry large Snakes
was observed on the Crevises of the rocks & killed . . .(DeVoto
Near the mouth of Moniteau Creek Clark also observed "uncouth
paintings of animals," known as manitous--a French version of
an Algonquian word for spirit--which he sketched in his journal
before continuing on. These petroglyphs are no longer visible.
Manitou, buffalo, and person
on a rock near Big Manitou Creek, that William Clark drew
in his journal, June 7, 1804 (Moulton 2:284), traced by
Larry Grantham, March 9, 1990
Courtesy of Larry Grantham, Missouri Department
of Natural Resources
After completing their journey to the Pacific Ocean, the explorers
retraced their steps and passed through Rocheport again on September
19, 1806. The Rocheport Historic District, with its significant
collection of 19th-century frame and brick buildings, is an
example of a Missouri river town whose growth paralleled the
fortunes of steamboat transportation on the river.
The Rocheport Historic District is located 12 miles west
of Columbia and two miles north of Hwy I-70. Visit the website for further information.