Jefferson Barracks Park and National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO
Jefferson Barracks was the United States first Infantry School and opened in 1826. It closed in 1946 and is named after President Thomas Jefferson. It’s location high up on the Mississippi River was ideal.
Many famous soldiers deployed through here, like Ulysses S. Grant, in 1843.
Jefferson Barracks was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Today you can tour historical buildings (some turned museums), a recreational park, and the National Cemetery that covers 331 acres with over 237,000 burials.
Visiting Jefferson Barracks is an absolute privilege.
Yet, it can seem a little overwhelming. If you have only one day set aside to visit I have you covered. This 4 part itinerary has been successfully used by family, friends, and church groups. I hope this guide helps you get the most out of your day visiting Jefferson Barracks.
Part 1: Start your day at the Missouri Civil War Museum. It is the best Civil War museum, library, and educational center in Missouri. The building itself has 118 years of its own amazing history.
now restored to honor the soldiers who fought in the Civil War from both sides. 16,000 civil war soldiers are buried at jefferson barracks.
Here you will explore exhibits, films, and artifacts from this pivotal time in Missouri history. There is free parking and tickets are under $8 per person. There are discounts for veterans, seniors and students. Trip Tip: Use the bathroom facilities here.
Part 2: Drive 1.6 miles to the Jefferson Barracks Powder Magazine building and museum. This building just celebrated its 165th birthday. The building boasts 4 foot thick limestone walls. From rifles to ammunition the troops at Jefferson Barracks utilized this building for years. This impressive site tells the history of Jefferson Barracks. The Powder Magazine is free to park and visit. The suggested donation is $3 per person.
The Powder magazine has a beautiful patio that overlooks the Mississippi River and leads to a remarkable WWII Battle of the Bulge Monument and GI Bronze statue. Trip Tip: Pack a snack and enjoy it at this stop.
Part 3: Drive the 1.7 miles into Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The cemetery is open every day of the year. If you want to visit a particular grave click here to look up the location. I suggest two graves to visit. Trip Tip: Bring real or artificial flowers or a memento to leave on the graves. You will wish you had them.
Drive and park at section 85 and search for grave 1. Here you will find the resting place for 1st Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie.
Blassie was previously interred in the tomb of the unknown soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
His identity was discovered with the use of modern DNA analysis and was brought home to be interred in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in 1998. Posted below is a short HISTORY® video (under 10 minutes) about the story of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and the history of 1st Lieutenant Michael J. Blassie. This video is a great overview of his story.
The second grave you will have the honor of visiting is that of famous St. Louis broadcasting pioneer Jack Buck. He is buried in section 85 grave 117. John Francis Buck served in WWII and received the Purple Heart.
Buck received many honors during his lifetime. In 1987 he received the Ford C. Frick Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. For his contributions to professional football, he received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the National Football Hall of Fame in 1996. Finally, on August 20, 1998, the City of St. Louis erected a bronze statue of Buck outside of Busch Stadium.By Jeremy Hulshof from https://historicmissourians.shsmo.org/jack-buck
Below is a short video highlighting Jack and his legendary life and career. This video makes my native St. Louis heart crack from nostalgic memories of Jack Buck and St. Louis Cardinal Baseball.
After visiting Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery and honoring these two veterans you may have worked up an appetite.
Part 4: 1.1 miles away is Cafe Telegraph. This is a great little lunch spot. Their menu is ample and the food is good. There is no reason to go anywhere else. Trip Tip: They are very accommodating for large groups. Call ahead to schedule your party.
This Jefferson Barracks day trip Itinerary is based around a morning visit followed by lunch.
If you have more time to spend in the park you have options. Hiking, walking, picnic tables, shelters, memorials, trails, museums and guided tours are at your finger tips. Click here discover more fun at Jefferson Barracks!
Check out my day trip itinerary to Springfield, IL if you want to explore the Lincoln State!