Fort Charette, Missouri, was established by French fur trader Joseph Chadron in 1790.
This trading post, near present-day Washington, Missouri, was noted by Lewis and Clark during their Corps of Discovery exploration of the Missouri River. Stopping at the small outpost, they wrote in their diaries that it was the last white settlement they encountered. A village called La Charette grew up around the trading post. It was one of the earliest melting-pot communities in the West, including Native Americans, African-Americans, French, Spanish, and German immigrants. In addition to Lewis and Clark, several other notable historic characters also passed through here, including Daniel Boone, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, John Colter, and others who helped shape American history.
Unfortunately, the fort and the village were later washed away by the Missouri River in the floods of 1842-43. However, after several artifacts and remains of the old trading post were discovered in a farm field, the old post was painstakingly relocated and rebuilt in Washington. Today, the restored trading post is divided into a trading room, blacksmith’s shop, and frontier living quarters houses an impressive collection of artifacts and period furnishings.
Fort Charrette Historic Village
4515 Old Highway 100 East
Washington, Missouri 63090
Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated February 2022.