Fort Belle Fontaine Spanish Lake , MO
Fort Belle Fontaine Park is a 305.6 acres park maintained by the St. Louis County Park System. It is located within an hours drive from the City of St. Louis, Mo. In the park are remnants of the first United States Military Fort built in 1805 west of the Mississippi River after the Louisiana Purchase. A 6-pound cannon overlooks the Missouri River from an area built by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Other limestone works can be found through out the park. When Lewis and Clark returned from there trip to the Pacific Northwest the Fort built in 1805 was their last stop before reaching St. Louis. There is a 3-mile Lewis and Clark interpretative trail in the park. Special family events are also scheduled throughout the year such as Eagle Days.
Backstory and Context
The new Fort Belle Fontaine was built in 1805 to serve as a starting point for new expeditions and fur traders going west. It was here that Lewis and Clark stayed on their return before their finale leg of their trip down river to St. Louis. Fort Belle Fontaine had poor access to the Missouri River a port was needed for the expanded amount of military supplies, and in 1826 the Fort was closed and the Army moved to Jefferson Barracks, South of St. Louis on the Mississippi River.
During the 1930s the Work Progress Administration developed limestone stairs, walls and built a new gun emplacement over looking the Missouri River. The 3 - mile nature walk passes through areas of the tall grass prairie, creek beds, woods and wetlands.