Fort Belle Fontaine – St. Louis, Missouri
Once known, tired to the west Fort Belle Fontaine was built immediately after the Louisiana Purchase was signed to protect the newly marked gateway to the west, St. Louis.
Today, Fort Belle Fontaine is a hidden gem park on the muddy banks of the Missouri. The ruins are not the original lumber store, which rotted over a century ago. Instead, these limestone structures, outbuildings, stone chimneys, and bathhouses were added much later during the Works Progress Administration project.
The beautification initiative drew amusement seekers to the sculpted site for decades, but eventually fell into disrepair as the city changed. Now, overgrown with vines and moss, the picturesque ruins lie half-hidden on a three-mile trail that runs the river and Coldwater Creek. However, it’s hard to miss the heart of the park, the Grand Staircase, which is still almost completely intact and leads down the escarpment to the shore.
When visiting, keep an eye out for the stern signs at the entrance prohibiting the recognition of metal, and leave Fort Belle Fontaine’s fascinating past untouched.