When it became apparent that Missouri would
ultimately be granted statehood, Missourians chose the central location of
Jefferson City as the site of their permanent state Capitol. But before
construction could be completed on the Capitol Building, politicians and
legislators needed a place to conduct governmental affairs. Several
cities vied for the honor of hosting the temporary seat of government and
St. Charles was chosen after its citizens pledged free meeting space if
their city was chosen.
The site chosen for the temporary seat of government
was the second floor of two adjoining Federal-style brick buildings on
Main Street owned by the merchants, Charles and Ruluff Peck, and a
craftsman named Chauncey Shepard. The upper floors of these two buildings
were combined and partitioned with space provided for both the Senate and
the House, with smaller quarters for an office for the governor and a committee room. From June 4, 1821 until August 10, 1821 this space served
as the seat of the territorial government and continued as the seat of
state government until October 1, 1826, when the building in Jefferson
City was ready.
on the upper floor
||The Peck Bros.
Dry Good and Harwood Store
After years of decay, the state of Missouri bought
the First Capitol buildings in 1961. The restoration project which lasted
ten years helped
spark the revitalization of historic downtown St. Charles. Eleven rooms in the
complex have been restored. The second floor has been restored to reflect
how the rooms used by the new government would have looked during the 1821-1826
time period. The Peck Brothers Dry Good & Hardware Store has been refurbished and outfitted as to what a typical store in the 1820's would
have on hand including cloth, dishes, flour, tobacco, cooking appliances,
candles, tools, and traps. Stores of this era typically used the barter
system as coins and currency with fur pelts being the most frequent form
of payment and the common types of fur pelts used as barter are on
display. Also restored is the family residence of Ruluff Peck. Adjacent to the
historic site building is the Interpretive Center, which offers two floors of
exhibits and an orientation show. Events occur in the St. Charles Historic
District throughout the year and the original buildings of the First State Capitol
of Missouri Historic Site are open to the
public free of charge during the Historical Children’s Festival, held in
the Spring, and on Statehood Day, held in August.
Visiting the First State Capitol of Missouri State
Monday or Tuesday - Saturday: 9 am - 4 pm
Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm
Tours start on the hour
Monday or Tuesday - Saturday: 9 am - 3 pm
Sunday: 11 am - 4 pm
site is closed on Mondays during the months of January, February, and
There is no charge to visit the Interpretive
A small admission fee is charged for tours.
The First State Capitol
of Missouri State Historic Site is located on S. Main Street in the historic downtown
district of St. Charles. Parking on Main Street may be hard to find but a
large free parking lot can be found one block east of S. Main Street and
additional parking can be found on side streets to the west.
N 38 46.836
W 90 28.900
more about the St. Charles area.
For more information on this and related topics
the following links have been provided:
Official site provided by the Missouri State Parks system.