Rocheport Historic District

missouri river in rocheport, missouri
View of the Missouri River in Rocheport, Missouri

Photo by Aimee Castenell

Quick Facts

Location:
Rocheport, Missouri
Significance:
Clark noted petroglyphs in the area
Designation:
National Historic District
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Yes

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 . . .”

 

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.

 

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.