We know what you’re thinking: where can I find that combination of military history, gravestones, tame deer, music, craft beer and hipsters that mid-August just cries out for? Well, the St. Louis Arts Blog has got you covered!
To say that Jefferson Barracks has history is a gross understatement. Started as a military post in 1826, it was named after one Thomas Jefferson, the ginger US President and Louisiana Purchaser who had just died the year before. The location on the banks of the Mississippi River had supreme geographic importance at a time when St. Louis was truly a gateway to westward expansion. The post was the army’s first permanent post west of the Mississippi and, by the 1840s, it became the largest military post in the country.
During the Civil War, the post became a training ground for Union forces and featured a hospital for its sick and wounded. The Civil War also posed a new issue for the country: what to do with the vast number of corpses the unimaginably brutal war was creating. In 1862, Congress established a bill authorizing the President “to purchase cemetery grounds, and cause them to be securely enclosed, to be used as a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall have died in the service of the country.” Jefferson Barracks was established as such in 1866.
Gravestones? Jefferson Barracks has plenty. The old cemetery has over 20,000, including over 1,000 Confederate dead and Union soldiers who are arranged, as best could be determined, by the State of their regiments. Today, the Barracks covers 331 acres and holds over 188,000 graves.
While no interments could surpass the fame and honor we should bestow on our nation’s veterans, including two Medal of Honor recipients and three Revolutionary War veterans, there are some noteworthy individuals buried in Jefferson Barracks too, including, somewhat oddly, several musicians. Individuals of note include: sports announcer extraordinaire Jack Buck, nine-decade-recording artist and bluesman Henry Townsend, opera singer Robert McFerrin Sr. and legendary pianist and Chuck Berry cohort Johnnie Johnson.
So where are we? Ah, yes, music!
The Mojo Craft Beer and Music Festival, featuring and initiated by local music heroes, Story of the Year, will make its debut this August 19th at the Jefferson Barracks Park. In addition to Story of the Year, other acts include P.O.D., Unwritten Law, The Orwells, Lucky Boys Confusion and Joe Dirt and the Dirt Boys Band. That last group seems quite apropos.
The all-day event will feature over 80 craft beers on tap, including a special, one-day-only concoction by 4 Hands called, rather cleverly, Story of the Beer. Tickets for the festival range from $40 to $199 and can be found by visiting the festival’s Facebook page.
So we have military history, gravestones, music and craft beer, which just leaves us wanting the tame deer and hipsters. But, as the photos show, the tame deer will find you and, with all the other components in place, we believe the hipsters will too.
The Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery is located at 2900 Sheridan Road in St. Louis and is adjacent to the Jefferson Barracks Park, located at 345 North Road. The Park includes the Old Ordnance Museum, the Powder Magazine Museum, the Laborer’s House and Ordnance Stable, the Missouri Civil War Museum, the Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum and a Visitors Center.