~I had only received information from The Nine Network for this post. We are strong supporters of The Nine Network!~
On February 10th The Nine Network will be featuring Chouteau’s Journal: In His Own Words, a rare historical, handwritten account of the founding of St. Louis. Auguste Chouteau was only a young teenage boy when he directed a crew of men to clear land around the Mississippi River and lay down streets and recounted these adventures in manuscript.
Although it was Pierre Laclede that chose the site of the trading post that would become St. Louis, he left initial construction to his stepson, Chouteau. His journal was written decades after the events he describes and is currently held at the St. Louis Mercantile Library; although it is an incomplete fragment of a larger work that has been lost. Experts and Historians read between the lines of the journal to present a more complete version of the picture drawn by Chouteau from his memory.
St. Louis was a diverse, multicultural town that maintained a peaceful and profitable co-existence with the region’s American Indian tribes. “This is not the story of settlers and Indians we are used to hearing,” says producer Jim Kirchherr. The arrival of European Americans after the Louisiana Purchase and colorful tales of westward expansion over time pushed aside in popular culture the remarkable narrative of the city’s early years.
There are also many great interviews by historians Sharon Person of St. Louis Community College, Peter Acsay of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Bob Moore of the National Park Service; Chouteau descendant Ted Atwood; St. Louis Mercantile Library director John Hoover; and Webster University language professor Lionel Cuillé.
This is a wonderful way to celebrate the 250th Birthday of St. Louis and its wonderful and diverse history! You can catch it on The Nine Network on February 10th at 7:00pm CST on Nine/PBS.