The Mississippi Greenway: Jefferson Barracks Park to River City Casino offers magnificent views of the river and also provides a great connection to the historic Jefferson Barracks – a U.S. Army Post that dates back to 1826. Named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson, the site once served as the outfitting and training center for the military effort of the western half of the United States. The greenway connects to the existing paved trails in Jefferson Barracks Park—the 1.6 mile Dennis Schick North and 1.1 Dennis Schick South Trails. (Click here for a map of trails in the park.)
Below are just a few of the sites that may catch your eye as you travel along and near the greenway!
Jefferson Barracks Visitor’s Center
The Jefferson Barracks Visitors Center is located across from the trailhead on Bagby Road. Built in 1878, it was originally a two-level, 6,500-square-foot barn for the Barrack’s artillery department’s animals and wagons. Over the years, it has been remodeled and served many purposes including an exercise facility, reception site for new inductees, and information office. The second level was removed in the late 1940’s and the remaining stone level has seen a number of uses including the Red Rose Tavern and South County police station–but of course not at the same time! Working off photographs from the late 1870’s, the structure was restored to closely mirror its original historic design and now serves as the parks Visitors’ Center. (Stop by and visit anytime between noon and 4pm Wednesday through Sunday.)
Limestone Powder Magazines
Two of the remaining limestone powder magazines (east and south of Bagby Road) now serve as museums—The Old Ordnance Room and Powder Magazine. They were built with thick limestone walls, arched ceilings, and a wooden floor. The strategy behind this architecture was that if the gunpowder accidentally exploded, it would take the path of least resistance, blowing through the wooden floor. The concussion from the blast would cause each arch to fall, ultimately smothering any fire. (This never happened, and is why you can still see them today!)
Notre Dame High School
As you walk or ride between River City Casino and Jefferson Barracks Park, you’ll see the historic School Sisters of Notre Dame Mother House and Notre Dame High School campus sitting atop the hill. The high school’s roots in St. Louis date back to 1897 and the 43-acre site enjoys sweeping views of the Mighty Mississippi River.
Have you ever heard of the Mississippi Flyway? It is a bird migration route that generally follows the Mississippi River from central Canada to the region surrounding the Gulf of Mexico. Birds use this route because there are no mountains or ridges to block their flight and they can count on good sources of water, food and cover. As you walk or ride, be sure to slow down and look for the Wild Turkey, Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks, various raptors, Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons that share this route with you!
For more information about the Mississippi Greenway, click here.