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WEEKLY HIGHLIGHT

Jefferson Barracks Historic District, St. Louis County, Missouri

[photo] Jefferson Barracks Historic DistrictJefferson Barracks, in St. Louis County, Missouri, was the first permanent American military post west of the Mississippi, and played a prominent role in every American conflict from the time of its founding in 1826 until the Army declared it surplus in 1946. During the Civil War, the post housed one of the nation’s largest military hospitals, making critical advances in the treatment of the wounded sent there from distant battlefields. Among the “firsts” occurring within the Jefferson Barracks Historic District are the Barracks’ initial mission as the U.S. Army’s first basic training center, the organization of the First Dragoons (forerunners of the American cavalry), and the first successful parachute jump from an airplane, as well as the operation of the first Army Air Corps Technical Training School. The Barracks provided the first military escort to merchant trains on the Santa Fe Trail, sent exploratory and protective troops out on the Oregon Trail, and served as a central depot sending both men and supplies to a major network of western forts active during the various conflicts with the American Indians. Today, a portion of the listed district is operated and maintained by the Missouri National Guard while the oldest extant buildings are maintained by the St. Louis County Parks Department as the Jefferson barracks Historic Park.

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