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: In 1769, French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette built a cabin on the Missouri River in what is today St. Charles. He called the settlement Les Petites Cotes, or the little hills. Other now famous explorers soon passed this way, including Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who began their expedition here in 1804 to explore the Louisiana Purchase territory. Daniel Boone forged a path through St. Charles along the Boone’s Lick Trail, which later joined the Santa Fe Trail and then the Oregon Trail. Today St. Charles hosts many annual events to celebrate its rich history and transport visitors to the past. However, the site of Missouri’s first state capitol has not survived without tragedy and an occasional natural disaster, including a cholera epidemic, tornadoes, floods, and a couple of disastrous railroad bridge accidents.