National Geographic : 1965 Nov
MISSOURI HISTORICALSOCIETY. ST. LOUIS City starts as trading post HEY CAME UPRIVER from New Orleans in 1763 -French trader Pierre Laclede Liguest and a 14-year-old companion, Auguste Chouteau, whose portrait as an adult appears at left. They came to establish a settlement "which might hereafter be come one of the finest cities in America," said Laclede, as he was called. With elk skull and antlers for a figurehead, the adventurers' keelboat comes ashore at the chosen site in this oil painting by August H. Becker, after a fresco by his half brother, Carl Wimar, in the dome of St. Louis's Old Courthouse. In friendly greeting, Laclede extends his hand to the Indians, who proffer a peace pipe in return. Laclede and Chouteau represented a company holding an eight-year monopoly on the Indian trade of the Mississippi and Missouri country, and the following February young Chouteau and a party of 30 settlers erected the first cabins and warehouses for the trading post to be known as St. Louis. Busi ness boomed from the beginning, and by the early 1800's the city's fame was established.