On February 15, 1764 fourteen-year-old Auguste Chouteau led 30 workmen up a limestone bluff on the west bank of the Mississippi River and began clearing trees for a trading post that would become the city of St. Louis. Chouteau had landed at the spot previously chosen by his step father, Pierre Laclede. Laclede was a partner in a New Orleans-based fur trading company that had won the rights to trade in the upper Louisiana Territory. Laclede returned to the spot a month later and began laying out the town that would become the fourth largest city of the 19th Century in the United States. Laclede named his new town for the patron saint of the then French King Louis XV.
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
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