Visitors Guide to the
First State Capitol of Missouri
State Historic Site
200-216 South Main Street
St. Charles, Missouri

Street Parking or Nearby Lot Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Missouri Historical Site Accessible Restrooms


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.

The Legislative chambers
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 Historic Site
     Visiting Hours
          Interpretive Center
               Monday or Tuesday - Saturday: 9 am - 4 pm
               Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm
          Capitol Building Tours
               Tours start on the hour
               Monday or Tuesday - Saturday: 9 am - 3 pm
               Sunday: 11 am - 4 pm
          Note: The site is closed on Mondays during the months of January, February, and March.

There is no charge to visit the Interpretive Center. 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.

GPS Coordinates
N  38  46.836
W 90  28.900

Learn 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.

Daniel Boone Home
Defiance, MO
Foundry Art Centre
St. Charles, MO
Katy Trail
State Park
Lewis & Clark

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