Stop M: Boone's Lick Trail

Boone's Lick Trail
S. Main St & Boone's Lick Road

Here at the corner of Main and Boone's Lick Road is where the Boone’s Lick Trail started. Daniel Boone first blazed this trail following old Indian paths to a salt spring near Booneville, MO. In 1806 Boone's sons, Nathan and Daniel Morgan moved to the salt springs near Booneville to harvest salt for pioneers. Salt, essential for the preservation of meat, sold for $4 a bushel. In 1821, Nathan was commissioned to help survey and straighten the trail, renaming it the Boone's Lick Road. It became a state road in 1827. Boone's Lick became the first westward passage to the Oregon, Santa Fe and California Trails. The Franklin County newspaper, the "Missouri Intelligencer," in its April 23, 1819 paper wrote...

"During the month of October no less than 271 wagons and four wheeled carriages and 55 two wheeled carriages and carts passed near St. Charles bound for Boone’s Lick Country".

On April 14, 1849, the St. Charles Western Star predicted, "thirty thousand pioneers will use this route to get to the California Gold Rush in the next three months." Saint Charles can truly lay claim to the title given by historians as being "The Cross Road of the Nation."

At the Western House, located at 1001 S Main (located at the southwest corner), settlers would make preparation for their trip west. It had a large stable, wagon yard and blacksmith shop located in the rear. Earlier we talked about Eckert's Tavern, well, following William Eckert's death, Mrs. Eckert continued in the hotel business managing the Western House.

Across the street at 1000 S Main on the southeast corner is the Carter-Rice House. This 2 ½ story Federal Style building with 2 part rear wing was probably built by two owners: William Carter and later, Dr. Caleb Rice, a herbalist physician from the east cost. He was a city councilman and introduced a city ordinance that people with dread diseases should stay outside the city limits of town. It is believed that he tried to make the building into a small hospital or infirmary. With the convergence of the creeks and the flooding of the river, over the years hundreds of "squares of rock" raised the level of the roadway making the 1st floor noticeably below street level. Peter Hausam bought the house in 1866. In the 1850’s Hausam was contracted to build the St. Charles Western Plank Road along the Boone’s lick Trail. While the idea of a Plank Road was extremely popular for builders, the reality of a wooden road proved it impractical. It’s believed the Boone’s Lick Road was planked for the first 10 miles. You can see one of those original planks hanging on the north wall of the rear wing of the building now used as a bed and breakfast inn.

Looking toward the northeast corner at 920 S Main was a grist mill that Louis Blanchette conveyed the property to John Coontz in 1789 who built and operated the mill until about 1811. Water power turned the huge dressed stones which ground grain into flour and meal. The mill served a social purpose as well. It was a place to visit and share local news. Gibbs and Broadwater converted the grain mill to a steam powered woolen mill in the 1850’s and later used as the Missouri Corn Cob Pipe Factory.

Our next stop is just a few steps north to a "Marker" placed at the location where the founder of St. Charles started his settlement on the Missouri River. Proceed to 906 S. Main. Select "N" when you arrive.

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