Check out how the state's government was formed and what life was like in the early 1800s. Visit St. Charles where Missouri's first state legislators managed state affairs. Allow the era of the 1800s to wrap its history around the visitor. "Rough hewn timbers and dark wood floors whisper the tales of the state's first legislature."

The upper floors of the Peck Brothers' General Store and residence served as Missouri's first capital from 1821 until the Jefferson City Capital was ready for use in 1826. St. Charles offered free meeting space if the city was chosen for legislation. The free space provided areas for both the Senate and the House, and smaller rooms for the governor and a committee room.

This Federal-style brick historic building at 200 S. Main St. took 10 years to restore. The building, at the end of Booneslick Road, consists of 11 rooms refurbished to the time when Missouri joined the Union.

The 10-block, two-hundred-year-old Frenchtown Historic Main Street, is Missouri's first and largest historic district. Saint Charles (twenty-five minutes from downtown St. Louis) is known for its historic architecture, specialty

"St. Charles shops" stores, antiques, parks, and various recreation areas. "Shop your way down Main Street. Savor the local St. Charles restaurants. When evening falls, take a carriage ride along the historic brick-paved streets in The Frenchtown District."

Visitors can enjoy a variety of businesses from antique and collectible shops and tea rooms to wineries and a micro brewery.

While in town, a visit to the Foundry Art Center at 520 N. Main may prove worthwhile. It includes a large exhibit area, Grand Hall, as well as adult and children's workshops. Or, visit the 1818 Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne, Academy of the Sacred Heart. This was the first free school west of the Mississippi. Shrine and historic areas of the school are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. located at 619 N. Second Street.

The Haviland Museum is located within the 1838 historic Newbill-McElhiney House. The Museum contains nearly a thousand pieces of fine Haviland China dating from the 1850s to the 1920s. Tours are available by appointment every day except Wednesday and Sunday. Tours are $4.50 per person.

And there is the Commemorative Air Force Museum at the St. Charles County Airport opened on Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

"During WWII control of the skies was one of the main objectives of militaries around the globe. To honor those aviators and the aircraft built by the everyday citizens, the Commemorative Air Force was organized. These tours are perfect to the light historian, the educator, the student and anyone that wants to know, respect and remember those years labeled with War That Changed the World." The museum surrounds the visitors with artifacts, aircraft and ground-support vehicles.

A few other visitor ideas include Fast Lane Classic Cars at 427 Little Hills Blvd., Frenchtown Heritage Museum & Research Center at 1121 N. Second St., and the St. Charles County Heritage Museum at Heritage Park at 1630 Heritage Landing.