Let me admit something crazy – I heard about Lewis and Clark’s expedition first while movie “Night at the Museum”. I do have an excuse – I came to this country when I was twenty. At that point, American history wasn’t on top of my priorities. However, if you are like, “We got you, girl, but seriously, what is so special about Lewis and Clark?”, get comfortable and listen up! – I have a story to share with you about Midwest Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Midwest Lewis and Clark Expedition
Before we go any further, let’s get the basics out of the way
Who Are Lewis and Clark?
After the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson sought to explore transportation routes for a possible trade with Native Americans and others in the new territory.
Meanwhile, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lt. William Clark were asked to lead the exploration. The Midwest Lewis and Clark expedition traveled upstream along the Missouri River.
Eventually, they explored other rivers before. For the final leg of the expedition, they traveled along the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean near the Oregon/Washington state border.
Much of the expedition took place in Midwestern states, including Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. At the present time, you can follow your own expeditions along the Lewis and Clark trail from St. Louis to Washburn, North Dakota.
Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Museum – St. Charles
The Lewis and Clark team started its 8,000-mile round trip from St. Charles. The 45-member Corps of Discovery left St. Charles on May 14, 1804, to begin a 2.5-year expedition of the northern half of the Louisiana Purchase.
The Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Museum explores the history of the Lewis and Clark story. Here you will find replicas of keelboat and pirogues often used during living history events depicting scenes from the expedition. A statue of the leaders is located in a park, not far from the Missouri River.
Museum of Westward Expansion – St. Louis
The Lewis and Clark expedition completed its journey Sept. 23, 1806, arriving in St. Louis. In the Jefferson National Memorial Museum of Westward Expansion, you’ll find rare artifacts from the expedition. You will also have a chance to see the world’s largest collection of peace medals. A marker recognizing the Corps’ arrival is located near the Gateway Arch.
Lewis and Clark Trailhead Plaza – Jefferson City
Find a magnificent sculpture of Lewis and Clark and the dog Seaman on the Lewis and Clark Trailhead Plaza. It is located near the Missouri state capitol in Jefferson City. The sculpture was built on top of limestone rocks and it emphasizes a manicured landscape with small waterfalls.
All things considered, this historical art piece is a part of the public art on the capitol grounds. It also provides an excellent view of the Missouri River.
Kaw Point Park – Kansas City
About 45 days after departing from St. Charles, the expedition arrived near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers in modern-day Kansas City (aka KCK). There they camped for three days while repairing their boats and exploring the area.
If you walk through Kaw Point Park, then you can stand alongside the Missouri River where Lewis and Clark came ashore. A marker highlights the Corps’ arrival. Looking across the river, you can see the skyline of Kansas City, Missouri. The 10-acre park includes a Native American memorial.
Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center – Nebraska City
The Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Visitor Center’s focuses on the scientific discoveries of the expedition. Exhibits highlight nearly 180 plants and more than 120 animals. This collection includes prairie dogs, mountain goats, and bison, encountered during the 2.5-year journey.
You can easily imagine the view the expedition had as they traveled upriver. The Lewis and Clark Center also hosts living history exhibits, featuring reenactors portraying soldiers and fur traders from the era.
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park – Fort Calhoun
Did you know that the first American military fort built west of the Missouri River in 1819? Fort Atkinson Historical Park in Fort Calhoun overlooks a spot where Lewis and Clark met with a group of Native American leaders of area tribes.
“Council Bluff” honors the meeting with the Otoe and Missouri people.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center – Sioux City
While Lewis and Clark expedition went through many places, it spent about two months in the Sioux City area from July through September 1804. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center shares the expedition stories with interactive exhibits,. It also features President Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Sergeant Charles Floyd – the only person to die on the expedition.
A monument resembling the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, honors the non-commissioned officer. The visitors center hugs the shoreline of the Missouri River. Furthermore, it features sculptures of animals, such as the first prairie dog the team encountered near Lynch, Nebraska.
Lewis and Clark Information Center – Chamberlain
Here you will find a 55-foot-long replica of the expedition’s keel boat. The Lewis and Clark Information Center in Chamberlain also includes a 30-foot-long wall of glass, overlooking the Missouri River. The information center includes exhibits showcasing items used during the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center – Washburn
The Lewis and Clark team spent its first winter at Fort Mandan from December through the following April, which they constructed along the Missouri River.
As you tour the fort’s replica, you’ll see the area where the officers roomed together. The enlisted men shared a couple of bunkhouses in the well-organized, the fort had storage rooms for food, as well as other supplies.
A short drive from the fort, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center showcases more than 100 items on display. There you will find buffalo hides and stuffed animals, as well as interactive exhibits.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park – Bismark
By the time Lewis and Clark discovered On-A-Slant Village in late 1804, it was already long abandoned and in the advanced stay of decay. However, it is a great educational stop. Reconstructed earth lodges share the story of Mandan Indians, their rich culture, and their sedentary lifestyle.
The State Park offers a carefully reconstructed Fort with Central Barracks, Granary, Commissary, and Stables. You can also tour the Victorian-style home of a United States Army officer and cavalry commander.
Midwest Lewis and Clark Expedition
If you wanted to go on a historical trip, this Midwest Lewis and Clark Expedition Road Trip is exactly what you need!
Explore Midwest! Discover the story of the Midwest Lewis and Clark expedition for yourself! Learn about the Native Americans, like tribes of South Dakota, who lived in the area long before the Americans made their way upriver.